Why are Jeeps so Ridiculously Expensive?

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If you’ve recently looked into purchasing a Jeep, specifically a Wrangler, you might have noticed the ridiculously high price tags they carry. So why are Jeeps so expensive? What other off-road vehicles can you get that are better for the same price or less than a Jeep?

Before we look into why current Jeeps are so expensive, lets look at the prices of older Jeeps when they were brand new.

XJ Cherokee

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So, this is my personal Jeep. Its designed to be a step above the Wrangler in terms of luxury, but its not as luxurious as a Grand Cherokee. You can read more about this in our Wrangler vs Cherokee article. Back in 1992 when my Jeep was brand new and pretty, its list price was $19,000. Due to inflation, if my Jeep were to be sold brand new with todays dollar value it would sell for $32,141. So, my top of line, fully loaded XJ Cherokee would sell for around $32k in todays market.

A brand new 2016 Cherokee Trailhawk costs about $30k before any options are added. So in all reality the 2016 Cherokee’s are actually priced pretty fairly. As a matter of fact, nearly all Jeeps are priced pretty fairly for their category. Yes you pay a small premium for the Jeep logo and heritage, but you also pay a premium many other brands too. But, what about the Wrangler?

JK Wrangler

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The Wrangler is the pinnacle of the Jeep brand, there wouldn’t be a Jeep brand without it. Its practically in a class completely by itself, its designed specifically for off-road use. But, because of the fact it has little to no serious competition, they can charge whatever they want and people will pay for it. So what are you really getting when you drop $50k on a Jeep Wrangler? Lousy axles, a plastic filled interior, and very little interior space. JK Wrangler’s are also notoriously unreliable – Are Jeeps Actually Reliable?

What you are really paying for is the idea that you need a Wrangler for off-roading. If you are an experienced off-roader this may be the case, you have a massive aftermarket of parts to choose from as well as an excellent platform to modify. But, if you aren’t experienced at off-roading than you’re really just paying for the badge and the name. There’s no way a novice will ever need the ground clearance and articulation of the Wrangler.

So, yes Wranglers are extremely over-priced, and I genuinely feel bad for JK Wrangler owners that don’t go off-roading. They literally bought something that is designed for nothing but off-roading, is terrible to drive on the streets, and they do nothing but drive it on the streets.

What Else can You Buy?

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For the $50k you might drop on a Wrangler, what else can you buy? Well, you buy a fully built XJ Cherokee and have $40k+ left over. Or if you want something a little more modern you could buy a Toyota 4Runner, and have $10k+ left over. Or you could just buy a TJ Wrangler, which are still over-priced, but they’re only $10-$15k. As a current Jeep owner myself, if I were to drop $50k on a vehicle, it would definitely be a 4Runner TRD Pro. If you want more info on why the 4Runner is a better choice check out our Jeep vs Toyota article.

Summary

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Most Jeeps aren’t actually all that over-priced, they’re not a good deal by any means, but you’re paying for the Jeep heritage. However, the Wrangler is astronomically over-priced, for one reason only. People still buy them.  I personally think that the Wrangler should sell for $38k for a fully loaded Rubicon edition. Everything about Wrangler’s screams “I’m a $15,000 Chevy Spark!”, from the cheap plastics, to the terrible seats, terrible safety rating – Are Jeep’s Actually Safe?, and interior room. But in all seriousness, there really is no reason for Wrangler’s to be so expensive.

Author: Bryce Cleveland

Bryce is a die hard car fanatic. When he's not working on his Jeep Cherokee, he's beating it up in the desert. He started Dust Runners Automotive Journal in 2014 and continues to write content for it as much as possible.

8 thoughts on “Why are Jeeps so Ridiculously Expensive?”

  1. You forgot the resale is the best value for trade in and now you now ! Stock market is down jeep won the war for us !

  2. I have been pricing them as were in the market for one. so interesting the prices are ridiculous.
    we go to the beach every year so I figured lets get a rubicon as it has lockers and the sort… but wow.. i have found rubicons from $44k – $50k and my wife was like I dont rock climb so lets get a sahara.. well they are$40k-$48k so really.. not much of a savings. I talked to the jeep dealership and he had 8 sold that day (literally walked around asking customers what did they just buy… so I could hear it as I didnt believe him.)

    he said the east coast is dry on them so they are buying what they can and trucking them in. He said he has 10 inbound and 6 are already bought!!!!

    I always have bought GMs and there are markups but rebates/incentives, etc make it a great buy.
    Bought a $52k 2013 GMC Sierra Crew Cab Z92 (american luxury coach package)

    6″ lift, 35s, chrome, exhaust, etc….

    from $52k down to $33k and bought.. love it.. but looking to trade for a jeep and lift it..

    FYI one thing I will say that is nice about the jeep… well 2…

    1. you can put a 3.5″ lift and 35’s and Jeep WILL NOT void your warranty. They are meant to wheel
    2. you can swap it to the bottom of the dash. Albeit not really deep but better than nothing and warranty still good..

  3. Apparently you haven’t driven a Wrangler lately. I have a 2013 Rubicon that is more comfortable and nicer on the inside than my 5 year old BMW. It also makes less noise! Prior to that I had a 99 TJ that had 186k miles on and the only time it was in the shop was for a new muffler. When I sold it, I got more for it than my 5 year old Honda Accord.

    Maybe you should stick with a Spark cause you know nothing about the Wrangler!

  4. Everyone considering buying a new Jeep Wrangler should pump their brakes…. Seriously overpriced for the product provided. If you must have a Jeep consider finding a CJ and having it refurbished. If not, find a 4Runner TRD and enjoy!

  5. I have a 91 yj that I purchased in 1999. That 4.0 is unstoppable. Probably one of the best purchases I have ever made. I turn it on and drive it a couple of times a year. I thought about purchasing a new Wrangler a couple of years ago….but the one I wanted was waaay too much. After months of searching for the right jeep, instead I opted for a 2015 4 runner (took it off the lot with like 8 miles). Gotta say I luuuvv my 4runner. It doesn’t have 4 wheel drive and it’s not a five speed, but I’m happy with it.
    Wife keeps trying to get me to sell the jeep, but that will NEVER happen.

  6. Overpriced is what we used to say about Toyotas, but we don’t anymore. Quality and resale values are what make the difference. Yes they are pricey, and parts for up grade can cost a fortune. I thought the same thing before buying my 2014 Polar Edition JK Wrangler, gorgeous blue, put 7000 into it with 3.5in lift, 37 tires and new black fuel wheels. The 300 hp V6, creature comforts have been dramatically improved, and the resale value is oh so nice. If I wanted to sell my Jeep, I could make literally 10,000 in my pocket tomorrow. I like having an investment I know will hold its value for a very long time. Like Toyotas used to do. Its a quality financial investment in terms of resale, and value is remarkable and reliable more than you think. So you can go buy your other jeeps, trucks whatever you want, but you they won’t hold a candle to the resale value of Jeep Wrangler, if you can afford one. You can justify all the reasoning you want, like I used to do, to prove its just not worth the plunge to buy one. But, after further research, and owning one for myself, I can attest to the fact that they are a high performance off road vehicle that drives up and down the highways remarkably better then most comfort cars on the road today. I am still impressed with its abilities, and I test it to the max. I’m a hard driver, and still get 16 mpg. Its the best investment Ive made so far. But yes, they are pricey.

  7. I agree Wranglers are overpriced which is what lead me to this blog. The best deal although still expensive is to purchase a 2 year old low mileage Wrangler. No one I know needs a Rubicon with locking Dana 44’s. I laugh when I see chicks driving them on the road. I never even had my Wrangler in low range, never needed it. Limited slip is a joke now also because they all have electronic traction control. Unless you are rock crawling or mudding your 50K Rubicon (which I never would) you don’t need lockers and 4:10 rears. They just eat your fuel mileage. I get average 18 mpg with my 2012 Altitude edition. I purchased it used in 2013 with 17K miles for $32K. The sticker was $45K. I look at new ones for $45-48K and they have nothing mine does not have. I wanted a 2012 or newer because the interior in the 2007-2011 is f-ugly. The new wrangler ride as well and are as quiet as any other SUV today. I had a 95 YJ and that was harsh beast for a daily driver. I had to get rid of it because the soft top would drive me nuts on the highway. I have a hard top now and love it. Now worries about people stealing your shit in the mall parking lot.

  8. I have had a few WJs, TJs and now JK. I like the style of Wranglers best – they are different. For my Desert style of off-roading all of these platforms work well, but I prefer the 2-door Wrangler.
    I drive an 08 with 100k miles that I picked up from a girl that used it as a freeway commuter. She was going to trade it in and sold it to me for what the dealership was going to pay. No one can tell that I did not spend big money.

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