Jeep, an iconic SUV brand, has etched its name into the annals of automotive history, once a generic term for compact 4×4 vehicles. In contemporary times, the Jeep identity predominantly resonates with sporty SUVs and rugged off-road 4x4s, instantly recognizable by their signature seven-slot grille. Jeep has ascended to become a celebrated lifestyle brand, boasting a legion of devoted enthusiasts who deeply appreciate its remarkable off-road prowess and the limitless array of aftermarket modification possibilities.
This article endeavors to provide an insightful comparison of the diverse Jeep models available today, shedding light on their distinctive characteristics and the notable differences that set them apart in the automotive landscape.
1. Jeep Renegade
The Jeep Renegade, a robust subcompact SUV, stands as the most budget-friendly among Jeep’s offerings. Its compact dimensions and smaller engine endow it with the title of the most fuel-efficient Jeep in the lineup, achieving an impressive 24 city miles per gallon and 32 highway miles per gallon. However, it’s worth noting that the Renegade holds the distinction of being the slowest Jeep, owing to its modest 4-cylinder 1.3L engine, resulting in a leisurely 0-60 acceleration time of 9.0 seconds.
For avid off-road enthusiasts, the Jeep Renegade Trailhawk emerges as the top choice within the Renegade lineup. Equipped with a 4×4 drive system, it’s ideally suited for thrilling off-road escapades. Renegade aficionados appreciate the incredible off-road capabilities packed into its compact frame. Despite its relatively diminutive size, the option of adding a tow package allows it to tow up to 2,000 pounds, further enhancing its versatility for outdoor adventures.
2. Jeep Compass
The Jeep Compass emerges as a sporty and compact crossover SUV, housing a robust 2.4L 4-cylinder engine. Some trim packages offer the option of a four-wheel-drive system, enhancing its versatility. Notably, the Jeep Compass Trailhawk variant arrives at the dealership with inherent off-road capabilities. It boasts a suite of off-road features, including Hill Descent Control, which aids in navigating steep descents, and the Selec-Terrain Traction Management System, enabling drivers to seamlessly switch between various traction modes like rock, sand/mud, snow, or auto. Additionally, the Compass Trailhawk is equipped with 4WD low mode, providing extra power at low speeds, facilitating the conquest of challenging terrains, including boulders and water obstacles.
While the Jeep Compass comfortably accommodates four adults, its cargo space is somewhat limited. However, it compensates for this with a spacious dual-pane panoramic sunroof that provides passengers with stunning outdoor vistas. Another noteworthy feature is its towing capacity, reaching up to 2,000 pounds. This capability proves invaluable for transporting smaller recreational vehicles such as ATVs, small fishing boats, and select compact campers, adding to its appeal for outdoor enthusiasts.
3. Jeep Wrangler
The Jeep Wrangler, an enduring icon and the most renowned of all Jeep models, has garnered a fervent and devoted following since its debut back in 1986. It stands as a rugged and compact SUV purpose-built for conquering challenging off-road terrain, equipped with an array of special features tailored for off-road enthusiasts.
Powered by a 3.6L V6 engine, the Wrangler delivers a robust performance, commencing at 285 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. It’s the go-to choice for individuals with a penchant for off-road adventures. Notably, Wrangler models feature a standard 6-speed manual transmission, providing drivers with optimal control and an enhanced sense of driving enjoyment. What truly sets Wranglers apart is their unique ability to shed their doors, tops, and even lower the windshield, delivering an unparalleled open-air driving experience that’s a rarity among most vehicles.
The Wrangler lineup offers versatility, with models available in both the classic 2-door format and a 4-door variant, providing added passenger space. Additional options include a removable hard body top or a soft top, allowing owners to tailor their Wrangler to suit their preferences. For added protection against flying rocks and debris, there’s even the option of an upgraded Gorilla Glass windshield.
For those seeking the pinnacle of Wrangler performance, the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 reigns supreme. It boasts the mightiest powerplant in the Wrangler lineup, a formidable 6.4L Hemi V8 engine capable of unleashing a staggering 470 horsepower and an equally impressive 470 lb-ft of torque, delivering a truly exhilarating driving experience.
4. Jeep Wrangler 4xe (Plug-in Hybrid-Electric)
Jeep has ventured into the realm of eco-friendly driving with its innovative plug-in hybrid Wrangler, capable of running solely on electricity for approximately 21 miles. This remarkable vehicle, boasting a dual power source that combines both electric and gasoline engines, emerges as one of the speediest contenders in the Jeep lineup. The Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon 4xe, in particular, stands out with a blistering 0-60 acceleration time that can plummet to as low as 5.5 seconds. To the casual observer, the hybrid Wrangler appears nearly indistinguishable from its gasoline-powered counterpart, save for subtle hints like the electric blue-colored tow hooks.
Dubbed the “four by E,” officially pronounced as “four by E,” the Jeep Wrangler 4xe marks Jeep’s inaugural foray into the realm of plug-in hybrids. This trailblazing technology is set to grace other Jeep models in the near future. As an electric vehicle, the 4xe qualifies for federal tax credits of up to $7,500, providing an attractive incentive for environmentally conscious consumers. Diverging from the battery placement typically seen in other electric vehicles, the 4xe ingeniously houses its electric batteries beneath the rear passenger seats.
The E-Selec control system grants drivers the flexibility to choose between exclusive electric power, solely gasoline power, or a harmonious blend of the two, exemplifying the hybrid configuration. In keeping with the trend among electric vehicles, the 4xe harnesses regenerative energy when braking or decelerating, enhancing its overall efficiency. Charging the battery is a straightforward endeavor, with a standard Level 1 charger accomplishing a full recharge in approximately 12 hours. Those who opt for a Level 2 charger can significantly reduce the charge time to a mere 2.5 hours, making it even more convenient for daily use.
5. Jeep Gladiator
If you find yourself torn between the allure of a Jeep and the practicality of a truck, the Jeep Gladiator seamlessly combines the best of both worlds.
Sporting the iconic Wrangler body and a robust pickup truck bed, the Gladiator is the epitome of versatility. It boasts a remarkable towing capacity, capable of hauling a maximum load of 7,650 pounds when equipped with the max tow package. Moreover, its 60 by 57-inch truck bed can effortlessly accommodate a payload of up to 1,700 pounds. Beyond its impressive utility, the Gladiator stands as the most off-road capable mid-size pickup truck available in the market. It achieves this feat through the inclusion of front and rear electronic-locking differentials, along with a front sway bar disconnect system, allowing drivers to confidently tackle challenging terrains and conquer demanding trails.
6. Jeep Cherokee
The Jeep Cherokee, a compact SUV, may bear a resemblance to its SUV counterparts on the outside, but it harbors an inherent sporty Jeep character within its confines. This enduring model, known as the Cherokee, has a lineage dating back to the 1970s, with the term “sports utility vehicle” making its initial appearance in a 1974 Jeep Cherokee sales brochure.
In the contemporary landscape, the Jeep Cherokee continues to deliver a modern and compelling SUV experience. Setting itself apart from the competition, it offers heightened off-road prowess and superior towing capabilities within its class. Bolstered by a potent 3.2L V6 engine and an optional 4×4 drive system, the Cherokee stands ready to tackle a wide range of terrain. Equipped with the Trailer Tow package, this SUV can effortlessly tow a maximum weight of 4,500 pounds, surpassing its rivals by at least 1,000 pounds. This remarkable towing capacity underscores the Cherokee’s suitability for those seeking a versatile and capable SUV that can handle a variety of tasks with ease.
7. Jeep Grand Cherokee
The Jeep Grand Cherokee stands as a formidable and sizable SUV that skillfully marries luxury with exceptional off-road capabilities. This versatile vehicle offers the added benefit of accommodating up to three rows of seating, especially with the Grand Cherokee L model in the lineup. Under its hood, the Grand Cherokee packs a potent punch with its robust 6.2L V8 engine, making it a powerhouse on the road. Furthermore, it boasts an impressive towing capacity, capable of pulling loads of up to 7,200 pounds with ease.
Remaining true to its off-road heritage, the Grand Cherokee distinguishes itself by being the sole vehicle in its class equipped with a sway bar disconnect feature. This innovation significantly enhances articulation and traction, making it a formidable contender on trails that present obstacles like imposing rocks.
Looking to the future, Jeep is set to introduce a plug-in hybrid electric version of the Grand Cherokee. This forward-thinking variant will offer an electric-only range of up to 25 miles, providing an eco-conscious driving option before seamlessly transitioning to gasoline power for extended range and flexibility.
Trail Rated Jeeps
Jeep vehicles that proudly bear the Trail Rated badge have earned their stripes through rigorous testing, certified by Jeep, across renowned off-road terrains such as California’s formidable Rubicon trail and the rugged landscapes of Moab, Utah. These coveted badges signify that these vehicles are purpose-built to conquer the most demanding natural obstacles nature can offer.
These arduous tests encompass a comprehensive assessment of the vehicle’s capabilities, including:
- Traction: Jeep vehicles undergo rigorous trials to demonstrate their exceptional traction, ensuring they can effectively navigate slippery, uneven, and challenging terrains with confidence.
- Water Fording: With meticulous attention to detail, these vehicles are assessed for their capability to safely traverse water obstacles, allowing drivers to confidently ford streams, rivers, and other water bodies.
- Maneuverability: Jeep’s Trail Rated vehicles showcase their exceptional maneuverability, enabling them to deftly navigate through tight spots, conquer steep inclines, and maneuver around obstacles with ease.
- Articulation: These vehicles are scrutinized for their ability to maintain tire contact with the ground, ensuring optimal traction even when faced with uneven and rugged terrain.
- Ground Clearance: Jeep’s Trail Rated vehicles excel in providing ample ground clearance, ensuring that they can gracefully clear rocks, tree roots, and other obstacles without hindrance.
In essence, the Trail Rated badge is a testament to Jeep’s commitment to delivering vehicles that are not only rugged but also purpose-built to thrive in the most challenging off-road environments, setting them apart as true champions of the great outdoors.
Discontinued Jeep Models
Jeep, over its storied history, has produced several distinct models that are no longer in active production by the brand. These notable models include:
- Jeep Commander: The Jeep Commander, a unique and commanding presence in the Jeep lineup, has ceased production. Its distinct design and spacious interior made it a standout in the brand’s offerings.
- Jeep Liberty: The Jeep Liberty, known for its blend of ruggedness and versatility, is another model that is no longer in production. It catered to those seeking a compact SUV with Jeep’s legendary off-road capabilities.
- Jeep Patriot: The Jeep Patriot, a compact crossover SUV, has also been discontinued. It combined the iconic Jeep styling with practicality, offering an appealing option for a wide range of drivers.
While these models are no longer in production, they continue to hold a special place in the hearts of Jeep enthusiasts and serve as a testament to the brand’s enduring legacy of innovation and exploration.