Whether you want the latest model Jeep Wrangler or a vintage classic of its boxy body style and superior off-roading capabilities, you can find an alternative. Perhaps you just have no Jeeps available locally or you can only find options that far exceed your price range.
Alternatives to the Jeep Wrangler
The latest versions of Jeep Wrangler cost about $60,000 and they aren’t known for their terrific gas mileage. Older models get even worse gas mileage than the latest design, but you can come close to its body style and off-roading capabilities with these alternatives. You will also earn much better gas mileage with most of these.
Choose the Jeep Renegade, a subcompact SUV that can off-road on any terrain. With a price tag of $7,000 less than a Wrangler, you can still drive a Jeep and save money. You can drive the same on-road as off-road, but you give up removing the top.
For years, the Ford Bronco resembled the Jeep Wrangler, and its current iteration comes even closer to it. This option lets you still own a vehicle with a removable rooftop, but which costs much less than the Jeep. You can off-road in the desert or rock crawl in this vehicle. Choose from a 2-door or 4-door option with removable doors. This vehicle comes closest to the Wrangler in body style and off-road capabilities.
Land Rover Range Rover Sport
Many similarities appear between the Land Rover Range Rover Sport and the Jeep Wrangler. Most of them are cosmetic including their two-tone bodies. Both have a vast off-roading capability that can take nearly any terrain and ground clearance.
Nissan’s off-road SUV, the Xterra costs less than a Jeep but provides a similar boxy build, a 4.0-liter VQ40DE V6 engine, and option six-speed manual transmission. You won’t get the feel of the wind in your hair because you can’t take the top off, but you can off-road in any conditions.
The Toyota 4Runner looks and performs like the Jeep Wrangler, but with a straight axle. You lose the aftermarket support on this SUV, and you would need to hunt for parts for it. While it resembles the Wrangler, this luxury SUV no longer off-roads well after changes to its design.
Ford Bronco Sport
The Ford Bronco Sport provides a newer option in the Ford line that looks a bit different from the Wrangler, but off-roads like it and has its ground clearance. You won’t get the removable roof with this choice. You do get the lower cost and a viable alternative that still appears similar
If money wasn’t why you nixed the Wrangler, you could pick a Jeep Cherokee. It still costs a bit less is a cheaper alternative. The four-door Cherokee offers a 4.0-liter engine, and its solid front and back axles help you handle tough terrain.
For those who wished that the Jeep Wrangler came as a pickup truck, Jeep heard you. They made the Jeep Gladiator by combining the Wrangler with a standard pickup truck. It resembles the Wrangler but provides an improved towing capacity plus a truck bed for massive cargo space. It uses the removable door style of the Wrangler and works great for off-roading.
Jeep Grand Cherokee
The Grand Cherokee looks nothing like the Wrangler, but if want a Jeep and ground clearance so you can off-road, you can buy this option. It features a lot of luxury options plus a straight front axle and an option V8 engine. Either the ZJ Grand or WJ will serve you well on the road and off of it.
Land Rover Defender
Choose the Land Rover Defender as a serious contender as an off-roading SUV. The downside of this is that to outdo the Jeep, they spent a lot of money. The Land Rover costs $30,000 more than the Wrangler. This isn’t true if you buy vintage, but Land Rover didn’t make the Defender for two decades, so vintage would be forever ago, and your fuel economy would be horrid. The new Defender offers the same ground clearance, angles of approach, plus a choice of 2-door or 4-door options.
Land Rover LR4
The Land Rover LR4 shares a similar boxy design and your choice between engine options – either a 3.0-liter supercharged V6 or 5.0-liter V8. You spend more on maintenance on the LR4 though and it originates in the UK.
You might not have known that Toyota makes the Lexus GX460. It does. It offers a viable alternative to the Jeep Wrangler with its off-road capabilities and 4.6-liter UR-FE V8 engine. Chock full of modern features, you’ll obtain a vehicle more suitable as a commuter vehicle as well as an off-roading vehicle. Plus, you can make your friends raise an eyebrow when you say you went rock crawling in your Lexus.
Skip the rock crawling in the Subaru Outback. You can off-road though because it offers the same ground clearance. Okay, it does not have that familiar box shape, but it offers roof rails and all-wheel drive. You also earn fantastic gas mileage and added cargo space. Enjoy the front and back seat legroom, too.
In Japan, they drive a Samurai to resemble a Wrangler. You can do the opposite. A Samurai boasts back and front straight axles plus a removable top. Although it does have a fuel injection engine, it is tiny – a 1.3-liter inline four-cylinder. This SUV weighs little and could cause an issue with high-speed off-roading since it can easily flip over. If you just want the look of Wrangler, you have it here.
Toyota FJ Cruiser
Next to a Ford Bronco, this provides your best option. It looks similar and costs less. Although it comes in a 4-door option, the Toyota FJ Cruiser has full front doors and half-sized rear doors. Although this vehicle didn’t get much after-market support, you can still find parts for it.
Where Can You Purchase These Vehicles?
At one time, you would have had to scour newspaper advertisements to find a vintage vehicle or nice used SUV, but today, you can shop online. Sure, you should check your local used car lots first for simplicity’s sake, but if you cannot find the vehicle you want, you can search online for it.
Start at a site like cars.com, carvana.com, or vroom.com. These sites let you peruse regional options from your phone or computer. Carvana has vending machines with vehicles. You can visit a local vending machine and purchase your new or used SUV from it. No salesman will call. You just plug in your information and make your payment. The garage bay opens, and you drive your vehicle away. Talk about cool technology.
You can also shop on eBay and Craigslist for these vehicle options. Most of your choices will probably fall into the category of used vehicles, but this can be a quick way to find an older used model vehicle. That’s because most used car lots carry inventory up to ten years old. Using sale by owner methods lets you find an older model SUV that may look almost exactly like a Jeep Wrangler.
It might not get the greatest gas mileage if it is an older model, but you can find terrific off-road vehicles this way.
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