Why Are Jeep Wranglers So Expensive? (5 Reasons)

Hands down, Jeep Wranglers are the best off-roading vehicles on the planet. But is that the only justification for its huge price tag? You might be wondering, “Why are Jeep Wranglers so expensive?” Even used ones can have hefty price tags.

Here are the top 5 reasons why a Jeep Wrangler can cost a pretty penny.

  1. Jeep Wranglers are very popular
  2. Jeep Wranglers have a deep heritage
  3. Jeep Wranglers have no direct competition
  4. FCA spends a ton on R&D
  5. Jeep Wranglers are feature-rich and have unbeatable capability

Let’s examine each reason in greater detail:

Red Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport Parked on the Beach

1. Jeep Wranglers Are Very Popular

Jeep Wranglers are expensive because people are willing to pay good money for them. They’re popular among a wide range of consumers, with many communities for owners and enthusiasts. There are also Jeep festivals and events held every year. Even women love these masculine-looking off-road vehicles (thanks in part to Alicia Silverstone, who drove a Jeep Wrangler YJ in the 1995 film, Clueless). 

Also, the law of supply and demand is at play. Despite the high demand for the Jeep Wrangler, or perhaps because of it, the production of this immensely popular vehicle is kept low, which keeps prices high. 

2. Jeep Wranglers Have a Deep Heritage

Jeeps have an iconic status because they played an important role in defeating the Axis powers during World War II. In 1941, the Willys-Overland Motor Company in Ohio started producing the Willys MB for the American military. It’s not clear how the vehicle came to be known as the Jeep. However, some claim that the name originated from the military acronym “G.P.” which stands for “general purpose.” 

The Jeep could handle nearly any terrain. When it got stuck or mired down, it was light enough for the soldiers to lift and release. The vehicle did more than transport people and goods. It towed anti-tank weapons, allowing them to be deployed more efficiently. Additionally, it served as a machine gun mount and an ambulance for the injured. 

Generations later, the Jeep is still the top vehicle of choice for off-roading. Having such an iconic status plays into the Jeep Wranglers’ branding and perceived value, which influences their pricing.

3. Jeep Wranglers Have No Direct Competition

White Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Parked

Jeep Wranglers are niche vehicles. They’re primarily built for off-roading. When it comes to reliable, utilitarian performance, no other vehicle comes close. Many traditional body-on-frame cars have tried to compete with the Wrangler, but they’ve all failed to dethrone it as the king of off-road vehicles. 

Even General Motors shies away from competing with the Wrangler in the off-road sector. “I don’t think it’s worth trying to take on Wrangler,” Duncan Aldred, GMC Vice President for Sales, once told Automotive News. It’s no wonder that being the best in its class, the Wrangler can command high prices.

4. FCA Spends a Ton on R&D

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, the manufacturer of Jeep Wranglers, always aims to make the latest Jeep Wrangler models better than the previous ones. Engineers constantly improve or add new parts as well as update the software that provides features and functions to the vehicles. They make numerous tweaks between model years.  

Engineers have made it easier for LED lights to be mounted on the Wrangler, such as the YITAMOTOR 52″ inch LED light bar (view on Amazon). This light bar is ideal for off-road use and easy to install. It’s compatible with almost all Jeeps and other off-roading vehicles.

5. Jeep Wranglers Are Feature-Rich and Have Unbeatable Capability

Black Jeep Wrangler Parked Beside a Vehicle of the Week Sign

Some Jeep models look spartan, which makes most people wonder, “Why are jeeps so expensive?” But when you shell out big bucks for a Jeep, you’re paying for the features and capability, not the luxury or the look. 

The Jeep Wrangler has lockable front and rear differentials, a solid front axle, and optional electronic sway bar disconnects, which are available right out of the factory. Other features include Dana 44 axles, high ground clearance, anti-roll and roll mitigation software, tight turning radius, and integrated roll bars. All of these cost quite a bit of money. It shouldn’t be surprising that a vehicle packed with so many features can fetch a high price. 

The vehicle also allows you to remove the top, doors, and windshield. If you plan to remove your Jeep’s hardtop, you can do it safely and quickly with the HARKEN Jeep Hardtop Garage Storage Hoist (view on Amazon). It has an anti-drop system that prevents accidental release. The hoist fits all Jeep Wrangler models and comes with six bonus thumb screws/tee knobs for easy hardtop removal. No tools needed!

Are Jeep Wranglers Expensive to Insure?

No. On the contrary, the Jeep Wrangler is fifth on Insure.com’s list of the least expensive cars to insure. The ranking is based on the average premiums across the major insurance companies. Jennifer Shelton, a senior analyst with Insure.com, cites a few reasons why it’s inexpensive to insure the vehicle: 

  • The base models are relatively inexpensive. 
  • The roll-over prevention has dramatically improved over the last ten years, making the vehicles safer.
  • The repairs are not costly. But are Jeep Wrangler parts expensive? Yes. However, these parts are built to last, so in the long run, you end up saving money.
  • It’s in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety list of vehicles with the lowest overall losses from collision.

You can make your Jeep Wrangler even safer by installing the Nilight Rear Bumper (view on Amazon). It provides superior protection for your vehicle’s lower rear end and gives your Jeep exceptional towing capabilities with its heavy-duty D-rings. Its built-in two-piece 18W Nilight Flush Mount LED Pods make it perfect for any night time adventure. This bumper is easy to install and use. As an added bonus, it gives your vehicle a cool, stylish look. It’s compatible with the 2007-2018 Jeep Wrangler JK and comes with a 2-year warranty.

Why Are Used Jeep Wranglers So Expensive?

Used Off-Road Dirty Jeep Wranglers

You might be wondering, “Why are old jeeps so expensive? Isn’t it better to buy a new one?” To understand why old Jeeps are expensive, you must keep in mind that Jeep Wranglers have an almost cult-like following that has kept the brand alive. Some old models hold so much significance to enthusiasts who are willing to pay top dollar for them. This is why some well-used Jeeps can sell higher than any other used vehicle from the same year, especially when it’s been modified. 

But here’s an even better reason: Jeep Wranglers hold their value quite well. They depreciate more slowly than most vehicles. In 2018, it received a residual value award from Automotive Lease Guide (ALG). This award is for vehicles that best maintain their resale value. 

The Jeep Wrangler holds its value so well because it is built to last well after you see a six-digit number on the odometer. It’s made to withstand the most intense off-roading trails and the most difficult terrain. With good care and maintenance, it will last for many years.

Part of proper maintenance is keeping the vehicle floor clean. The Mopar 82213860 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 4-Door Black All-Weather 3-Piece Floor Mat Set (view on Amazon) can help you do just that. Its deep ribs trap and hold water, snow, and mud to protect your floor and carpet. It’s a must for rough weather conditions.

Why It Might Be a Good Idea to Buy an Old Jeep Wrangler

“Why buy an old Jeep Wrangler when you can get a new one?” you might be asking. There are a few solid reasons to buy a used Jeep, and they might surprise you.

First, you could get a souped-up Jeep Wrangler. The previous owner may have modified the Jeep to improve its performance. If you’re lucky enough to find a properly modified vehicle, you’ll end up saving thousands of dollars.

Also, Jeep offers limited edition models in their lineup, and the Wrangler models have undergone several iterations over the years. When you buy a brand new limited-edition Jeep, you’ll end up paying more than you should. Although used Jeep Wranglers are still pricey, they cost lower than brand new ones. Buying a used vehicle allows you to own a Jeep at a more affordable cost.

Jeep Wranglers are durable. A used vehicle may be as good as a new one because Jeeps depreciate slowly.

If you plan to take your newly-bought Jeep Wrangler on rough trails, better buy a used one. That way, you won’t feel hesitant or guilty over heading off-road right away and ride across every possible terrain.

Should You Buy a Jeep Wrangler?

Red Jeep Wrangler in the Desert

It depends. If you want a comfy family car, the Jeep Wrangler is not a good choice for you. It can be pretty hard to climb up the vehicle. There’s no cloud-like suspension, so the ride is going to be pretty bumpy. Also, some people complain about the noise. In short, the Jeep Wrangler is not built primarily for comfort and luxury.

But if you want a durable, rugged off-roader, you can’t find a better vehicle than the Jeep Wrangler. It is the best choice for folks who crave adventure and love the outdoors. 

If you have an adventurous streak and often drive off-road at night, you want to make sure that your headlights give you the right level of brightness in any lighting conditions. The Xprite 7″ Inch LED Halo Headlights (view on Amazon) has four lighting modes–High Beam, Low Beam, Daytime Running Light, and Amber Turn Signal Light. They allow you to drive safely into the night without worrying about the place being too dark or the headlights being too glaring. It’s plug-and-play, so it’s easy to install. It’s DOT approved and fits the Jeep Wrangler JK, TJ, and LJ (1997-2018) models.

Buying Tips: Get Your Jeep Wrangler at the Best Price

Buying a new Jeep Wrangler? Here are some helpful tips to avoid paying more than you have to for a new vehicle:

  1. Do your price research online. It will help you avoid buying an overpriced Jeep.
  2. Remember that the invoice price and true dealer cost are different. The invoice price is higher than the true dealer cost. The invoice price has holdback and other hidden markups included in the price.
  3. Know the true dealer cost. It will give you leverage for the price negotiation. 
  4. Negotiate from the cost upwards, and not from the MSRP (manufacturer suggested retail price) downwards.

Tying it All Together…

So why are Jeep Wranglers so expensive? There are at least five good reasons–their popularity, iconic status, market domination, R & D costs, and unmatched capability all factor into the Jeep Wrangler’s big price tag. That said, it’s one of the vehicles that are cheapest to insure primarily because of its improved safety, durability, and low cost of repairs.

Used Wranglers are expensive because they hold their value pretty well. Also, Jeep enthusiasts are willing to pay more for older models because of their perceived significance and value. In some cases, it may actually be a good idea to buy a used Jeep.

If you’re buying a Jeep Wrangler, it might help to think about what you want in a vehicle. That way, you’ll know whether it’s worth your hard-earned money. Before you buy, keep in mind the buying tips outlined above.

Kris Peter

Adventure seeker and off-road enthusiast. I love the thrill of going off-road and taking on the elements.

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