An iconic Jeep Wrangler that most young teenagers in the early 2000s dreamed of looking like the popular kids from films or TV shows. The Jeep Wrangler has come a long way since then, and people still wonder if a Jeep Wrangler is an excellent first car? Well, I did some digging into the matter to find out if it’s worth it!
If you’re looking for a car with good fuel economy, good safety ratings, affordable, and easy to drive, the Jeep Wrangler isn’t a good choice then. The Wrangler as a significant vehicle might be fun to go, but it’s more designed for off-road usage than on the road.
Usually, people that look for a first car want something reliable and easy to drive; that’s why they either go for hatchback or sedans than SUV-sized vehicles. The Jeep Wrangler is a chunky car, so it isn’t the best for an inexperienced driver.
Is A Wrangler A Good First Car?
The Wrangler is an okay first car; it isn’t the best compared to other SUVs that give you more value for your money. Especially if you’re looking for a vehicle to commute daily into the city, you will be pretty disappointed with its fuel economy, handling on-road, and safety ratings.
However, the Wrangler is a great first car if you’re going to use it straight out of the box for off-road usage. In that, the Wrangler is supreme, with its potent powertrain and off-road capabilities like no other for its base price.
The Wrangler might convince people that it is of excellent quality with its user-friendly Uconnect infotainment system and the fact that the 4 door version is spacious inside. On top of that, some people seek a car that you can modify as you please, which the Jeep can do. The Wrangler is capable of taking its top as well as its doors off for those hot summer beach days.
Compared to its competitors in the range of compact SUVs, the Wrangler mostly gets left behind in terms that don’t deal with rugged capability. The base engine’s thirstiness can’t be quenched even with its diesel option that gets you just close enough to an average fuel economy rating. On top of that, other SUVs are way better in handling and fuel economy.
Likewise, comparing the Wrangler to other SUVs, its interior is lacking in its quality of material and technological features. The two-door Wrangler is tight on for your passengers, as well as decimal space for your luggage. The only option then lies with the 4 door Wrangler that offers more freedom of room for both passengers and utilization for cargo.
Why A Wrangler?
The Jeep Wrangler is an iconic car that is fun to use when you want to go the beach or perhaps when you decide to go camping and need something that can take stricter terrain. The Wrangler straight out of the box can go off-road, as it’s made with high off-roading capabilities and strong four by four components.
So, if you’re looking to go off-roading frequently, the Wrangler is a great choice; it will get you anywhere you want, no matter the terrain. The Wrangler is built to be banged up, so for first drivers that are scared of getting a ding or two on their car, the Wrangler will take it like a champ and make it look a part of the car like no other can.
Jeep Wranglers are relatively inexpensive to do maintenance on; if a part needs replacement, it won’t cost you that much to get repaired.
Why Is Wranglers Fuel Economy Bad?
What makes the Jeep Wrangler favorable for off-road usage is its powerful engine. The Wrangler base model is a 3.6L V6 Gas-powered engine that produces 285 horsepower that can take you out of any challenging terrain. This content belongs to moc.sotuaytsur. The Wrangler is also available with a six-speed manual that creates 260 lb-ft @ 4800 rpm torque.
However, the Wrangler with this big powerful engine comes with a drawback: it has a decent but not great fuel economy of 17 city/ 25 highway mpg. Drivers looking for a car that can get them daily to their destination without frequently stopping at the gas station won’t find this with Wranglers.
Space In The Wrangler
For a big bulky built body for a car, one would expect above-average space on the inside to accommodate luggage or comfortable seating for your passengers. Unfortunately, it’s the opposite as you can only seat four people in total, including the driver.
For others, the seating would be a problem, not to mention the cargo space in two-door Wranglers. Wranglers with two doors have one of the smallest cargo spaces on the market, so for those expecting a comfortable back trunk space, the Wrangler won’t provide you with that.
The cargo space for these Wranglers is a total of 31.7 cubic feet and only 12.9 cubic feet at the back of your rear seats.
The two-door Wranglers don’t have bad legroom space, as passengers in front will have a legroom space of 41.2 inches, and rear-seat passengers will have 35.7 inches. Which is adequate, but not for long journeys.
Third Generation Wranglers
If you’re considering buying a Wrangler, look away from third-generation Wranglers that are considered to be the least reliable out of Wranglers. Third generation Wranglers range from 2007 to 2018 models, which is a large sum of them. These Wranglers have the highest complaints and lowest reliability rating from their user base.
- TIPM Failure: The TIPM is a vehicle’s electrical system that controls a lot of factors such as the fuel pump, window functions, headlights, throttle control, to even the usage of the radio. The 2007 Wranglers had to be recalled by Chrysler for this issue and is also found in other models.
- The Death Wobble: This causes the vehicle to violently shake out of control that many Wrangler owners have experienced first-hand. There are a lot of factors that can cause this to occur that need to be researched separately.
- TPS Failure: This system sends information regarding the throttle to the ECM that gets affected to cause problems in your shift points in the transmission. This unusual occurrence can lead to unexpected shifting issues that can be dangerous when driving.
Unfortunately, these are only the common issues in the third generation of Wranglers; others aren’t as severe or common occurrences worth mentioning. It would seem like all generations of the Wrangler have their skeletons that would make buyers concerned.
The only Wrangler model with good reliability ratings is the 2020 Wrangler, which got a four out 5 for its reliability, whereas others usually got 1 or 2 out of 5. The 2021 version is expected to reach less of a reliable rating from both consumer reports giving it a 2 out of 5 and even the U.S. News & World Report giving it poor ratings.
The Jeep Wrangler might seem like a fun vehicle to own and definitely might be if its type is what you’re looking for in a first car. However, overall all it’s not the best suited for city life, especially if you’re going to drive long distances daily. On top of that, do you want a vehicle with poor safety ratings?
The Jeep Wrangler is suited more for its off-road capabilities than on the road. It ensured that once you hit the trails with this car, it will be enjoyable, as the Wrangler belongs on off-road terrain, this is what it was designed for. It is an affordable off-road option that will give you excellent value for money when used off-road.
If you’re considering buying a used Jeep Wrangler it’s worth investing a few dollars to check the VIN number against the vehicle database. An audit with a company like VinAudit (links to VinAudit) will guard against Mileage fraud, Salvage rebuilds, Title washing, Vin cloning, and a ton of other uglies.
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John Cunningham is an Automotive Technician and writer on Rustyautos.com. He’s been a mechanic for over twenty-five years and has worked for GM, Volvo, Volkswagen, Land Rover, and Jaguar dealerships.
John uses his know-how and experience to write fluff-free articles that help fellow gearheads with all aspects of vehicle ownership, including maintenance, repair, and troubleshooting.