What Are The Best And Worst Years For The Jeep Wrangler?

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The first-ever Jeep was created and developed by the United States Army for operations during WWII back in 1941. Four years later, the Jeep was now available for civilian use and targeted specifically towards farmers and people who would mostly drive off the road.

After decades of improvements and adjustments, in 1987, the Jeep Wrangler was created, being safer and more comfortable while riding for its WWII counterpart and continuing to see yearly releases.

Here are the best and worst years for Jeep Wrangler below and I will show you how and why they are listed as they are later in the article, so make sure to keep reading!

Best Years for Jeep Wrangler:

  1. 2018
  2. 2011
  3. 2019
  4. 2015
  5. 1996
  6. 1990
  7. 2010
  8. 2003

Worst Years for Jeep Wrangler:

  1. 2012
  2. 2008
  3. 2007
  4. 2013
  5. 2006
  6. 1987
  7. 1988
  8. 2014

Now that you know the best and worst years, let’s explore why these models are ranked.

List Of The Best Years For The Jeep Wrangler: What Years To Buy

The best years for the Jeep Wrangler reflect the car’s most successful attributes, the greatest features it can offer, emphasizing customer care and comfort while minimizing any problems as much as possible.

#1 Best Year: 2018 Jeep Wrangler

With the start of the 3rd and latest generation, the Jeep Wrangler 2018 set the standard for the new era of family-friendly products while having a great debut model for the new generation.

This model retains the classic box-like design but does not shy away from adding substantial upgrades to bring about a modern touch.

These upgrades, both to the equipment and tech of the car, increase its reliability while also providing a smooth driving experience packed with outstanding handling and great fuel efficiency.

The power and quality of this product are enough to last you for years to come. With additional options like a 2-door or 4 door model, optional all-wheel system of driving, the Wrangler 2018 has given users the choice to get exactly what they want.

This model has made Jeep better on the road and more capable of it, all while being light, friendly and roomy, solving all issues many people had about the product.

#2 Best Year: 2011 Jeep Wrangler

Jeeps were made for wild terrain, meaning they were built to be driven off the road. This is one of the few reasons the product was not offering a smooth and stable ride, even on the road.

Jeeps were known for their rough rides, but that changed with the Wrangler 2011, which did the impossible and offered customers a jeep that didn’t rock.

The model offered a comfortable ride and a comfortable interior which eradicated many of the user base’s issues on the very topic.

The suspensions were given a much-needed upgrade, and since this upgrade, most of the subsequent models have had the same level, if not greater, suspension making all the rides smooth.

#3 Best Year: 2019 Jeep Wrangler

Moving hard and fast from the success of the 2018 model, the Wrangler 2019 decided to try and one-up the 2018 model in terms of features and tech upgrades, which it succeeded in doing so.

It became the most advanced Jeep drivable, not changing the iconic and recognizable aesthetic—coming with a touchscreen in the center of the console, a nine-speaker sound system, power seats with heated cushions, and Bluetooth connectivity name a few of the features.

The same choices given in the 2018 model were also available here, allowing for further customization depending on the user’s desired model.

These features and customization also meant no compromise on the reliability and smoothness of the vehicle, which is easily maintained.

#4 Best Year: 2015 Jeep Wrangler

The second generation of the Jeep Wrangler was a long one that spanned a decade. With ten yearly models with numerous variants throughout the decade, the Wrangler 2015 stood out in its reliability, being the most reliable in the entire generation.

Everything about the 2015 Wrangler model, from the drivetrain to the suspension filled with quality and reliability.

Along with reliability and being unrivaled in its off-road capability, the model also featured modernity by having various modern features, making it an easy choice for drivers to gravitate towards.

One of these features was the optimized heating and cooling system, which people had complained about before. There was also a choice given to the customers between hard-tops and soft-tops.

#5 Best Year: 1996 Jeep Wrangler

The wrangler series was still in its infancy, being in its 4th year of the first generation. Previous models did not commit heavily to safety features despite the Wrangler series being made for off-road and rocky terrain.

People had complained about braking issues and rolling over. This changed with the Wrangler model 1996, in which Jeep addressed the problems head-on and tackled them swiftly.

This year’s model was made with further durable materials, which was the first step towards achieving more safety. The rolling over the issue was addressed and is no longer a problem.

By implementing a phenomenal braking system, drivers could now drive happy, knowing they won’t have to suffer from bad breaking and risk injury.

#6 Best Year: 1990 Jeep Wrangler

While other cars went for more of a family-friendly approach, the Jeep Wrangler 1990 stayed true to its roots and delivered a classic experience without all the fancy features that say SUVs provided.

Being an off-road wilderness exploring vehicle, the Wrangler 1990 was a two-seat model with enough space to pack all your hiking equipment.

However, the cherry on this cake was the upgraded acceleration, which impressed many people at the time. The engine was worked on and became compact and easy to make adjustments on.

This led to the difference in on-road and off-road rides fading away. Easy to maintain, economical to operate, it is a practical and fun vehicle and a solid entry on this list.

#7 Best Year: 2010 Jeep Wrangler

Jeep vehicles are known for their off-road capability, which is no different from the Wrangler 2010, a standard 4-wheel drive with a typical V6 engine.

This model, however, comes with heavy-duty suspensions and convertible versatility. Interior-wise, it is also not lacking with a lot of cargo room and the interior itself being washable.

The best part about the Wrangler 2010 was that it came with a much more reliable drivetrain, which made it reliable enough to rival the 2015 model.

If not for the 2015 model, this would have easily been the most reliable model of the generation, having upgraded suspensions, improvements to both on and off-road performance, and very powerful transmission.

#8 Best Year: 2003 Jeep Wrangler

The majority of the models in this list have excelled above and beyond other models, whether overall or in some specific areas.

However, the one area I did not mention up until now was the vehicle’s fun factor and user appeal. This is something which the Wrangler 2003 excels at.

The model shaped the company as a whole, bringing a two-seater vehicle that was enjoyable to ride in, especially on rugged terrain where it shined.

The design combined the classic look of the Wrangler with the technology of the early 2000s to bring a new and iconic style that will never be forgotten and instill a feeling of nostalgia unlike any other.

List Of The Worst Years For The Jeep Wrangler: What Years To Avoid

Jeep Wranglers are known for their comfort, a powerful yet controllable drive, and a good-looking design, but not all models are like this.

Here are some of the year’s Jeep Wranglers that did not quite reach the mark below:

#1 Worst Year: 2012 Jeep Wrangler

The 2012 model of Jeep Wrangler was “not so great”. Several things make it one of the worst models. One of the glaring problems is that the SUV has a habit of engine overheating.

The reason for this is that the radiator does not hold up with the amount of power that the engine was providing. Other than that, this model has some really bad acceleration. It was not a comfortable SUV to travel in despite being relatively new.

This was mainly due to the poor suspension of the vehicle. The suspension problem also made it have some really bad stability issues. Some people even complained of having roll-overs.

Other sources said that this was not the case which caused even more confusion about the problem. This makes it a very risky vehicle for off-roading activities, which you do not want to have in an SUV made to handle specifically that.

#2 Worst Year: 2008 Jeep Wrangler

Jeep Wranglers are not exactly known for being some of the quietest SUVs.

However, in 2008 Jeep Wrangler came out with a model that was a bit too loud. From the insulation-free underside of the vehicle to the bumpy suspension, it made for an obnoxiously loud vehicle to be traveling in.

One would think that this was the case when you were off-roading with the SUV, right? Wrong, it was worse when you were cruising on a highway.

Speaking of off-roading, the poor suspension of the vehicle made it uncomfortable for such activities. Other than that, this model was known for having mechanical problems, which is not common with Jeep’s SUVs, making it one of the worst years.

#3 Worst Year: 2007 Jeep Wrangler

Jeep sure messed up with this one for a manufacturer that boasts their SUVs, which is quite upsetting to see. 2007’s model of the Jeep Wrangler was known as one of the worst in terms of off-roading experience.

The vehicle was pretty good for on-road driving with its decent handling and smooth drive. However, the suspension of the SUV was not good enough to hold it enough for more rough activities such as off-roading.

The vehicle is pretty good if you are looking for something to drive around in something with the modern Jeep design. It does have comfortable and spacious seats; however, this was not enough of a tradeoff for some owners.

#4 Worst Year: 2013 Jeep Wrangler

The 2013 model of the Jeep Wrangler was quite a formidable vehicle when it came to off-roading. It had a very good suspension, allowing for good control in the aforementioned off-roading activities.

However, it was not the most comfortable vehicle. It also tended to be quite loud on rugged surfaces, which was not a very pleasant experience either. This made the off-roading experience not quite what you would expect.

Other than that, this model also got some poor reliability ratings. This was because of the uncontrolled body motions you would face while cornering with this SUV. Since this model was designed as a two-door model, it made the back seats a bit cramped.

#5 Worst Year: 2006 Jeep Wrangler

There was so much wrong with 2006’s Jeep Wrangler model. The main thing about this model is its extremely unreliable engine. Meaning it can die on you at any time. The most common reason for this is the lack of lubrication.

This model’s engine was prone to oil leaks, which can deteriorate quite easily. The engine also had problems with its cooling system, which led to overheating problems.

For most consumers, the drive with this Jeep Wrangler was not a good experience. There were complaints of it being too hard to steer.

Although it does have some really good suspension, its interior is not very comfortable, and in fact, looks cheap, which is quite disappointing with a Jeep vehicle.

#6 Worst Year: 1987 Jeep Wrangler

Rolling over was quite a common thing for most of the older models of Jeep Wranglers. This was mainly due to the high center of gravity due to the design for off-roading activities.

However, the 1987 model takes the cake for being one of the worst in terms of stability. This model was rocky both on and off the road. This made it an uncomfortable experience for anyone who took a ride in it.

Despite its lack of proper usability, the 1987 Jeep Wrangler has now become a throwback vintage vehicle. On the plus side, though, the vehicle does have the most classic design. This has made it a very valuable vehicle.

#7 Worst Year: 1988 Jeep Wrangler

Jeep tried to modernize the design on the 1988 model of Jeep Wrangler. However, this was a swing and a miss because it ended up being one of the ugliest Jeep Wranglers to have ever been released.

The SUV, as many of the customers at the time, also claimed that it looked like a toy. The main change that Jeep made to this model was the elongated hood. This did not really work as intended as it ended up making it look like a shoe.

Other than its appearance, this model had some pretty bad stability. While off-roading, it gave quite a bumpy ride. Thankfully, though, Jeep learned from their mistakes and moved back to the more classic style in the later models.

#8 Worst Year: 2014 Jeep Wrangler

Much like its predecessor from the year before, the 2014 model of the Jeep Wrangler was a very solid SUV for off-roading. However, like its predecessor, it also had its fair share of problems.

The main problem with this one was that it was not very convenient to use. It had very poor fuel efficiency for a compact SUV. This was mainly because it was a four-wheel-drive vehicle.

This gave it some poor reliability scores in comparison to other SUVs at the time. This meant that it was not a very friendly vehicle for day-to-day use.

Other than that, the 2014 model was a formidable off-roader allowing you to take on any terrain along with its really good-looking, four-door design.

What Are The Most Common Problems With The Jeep Wrangler?

Like any other vehicle manufacturer, Jeep tries to produce newer and better models with each coming year.

To be able to be at the top of their game in terms of innovation and trendsetting, they need to take risks and step into uncharted territory with some of their models.

And sometimes, those risks do not pay off as intended. This leads to problems in these vehicles that we might not expect or know about.

So, here are some of the most common issues with Jeep Wranglers:

1. High Center Of Gravity

This was a problem that Jeep Wranglers were actually known for in their older models. This caused these models to have stability issues while driving on terrain that was too rugged or too slanted.

Rolling over was quite a common issue. The reason for this is the high design to allow for strong and reliable suspension for off-roading. However, if the model was designed to be too high off the ground, it would start to have stability problems.

This is not that commonplace in the newer designs, however, as the newer designs have a wider design that, despite having a higher center of gravity, eliminates the stability problem.

2. Death Wobble

The death wobble is the term used by Jeep Wrangler owners, which refers to the situation when the front axle of the vehicle begins to oscillate violently.

This looks like a simple problem, but it doesn’t have a straightforward solution as it can be caused by anything like poor alignment, unbalanced tires, worn ball joints, and a steering stabilizer bar.

3. Fuel Overflow During Refill

This problem occurs when the fuel system fails to respond to the mechanism that is supposed to shut it off. This caused the gas to spill out, soiling the vehicle and the owner who was filling it.

This is a problem that seems to be present even in the newer models of the Jeep Wranglers and is something that you should be aware of.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Which Year Jeep Wrangler Should I Avoid?

I think one of the worst years overall for Jeep Wrangler is 2012. Not only because of the one major overheating problem but also because of the confusion that was created around it.

A bunch of sources even claimed that they had rollovers with the SUV, while others contradicted it. The lack of stability in the 2012 Jeep Wrangler could very well be proof that the former case is true. So it is best to avoid it if at all possible.

Q2. What Is The Most Reliable Year For The Jeep Wrangler?

By far, the best model of Jeep Wrangler to come out was the one that came out in 2018. Mainly because this model sets the bar really high in terms of the number of upgrades that it came with.

Other than that, the Jeep Wrangler 2018 nailed the handling on this one. It is smooth, fuel-efficient, and extremely reliable. The design really succeeds in keeping the old-school box like look while also making the SUV have a modern feel to it.

Q3. What Is Considered High Mileage For A Jeep Wrangler?

Jeep Wranglers are some of the sturdiest SUVs on the planet, built to last for a long time. This is why they do not depreciate very easily. 100,000 miles of traveling is something a Jeep Wrangler can easily surpass.

In fact, some of the older models, if kept in good condition, they last beyond 200,000 miles. The newer models are expected to last longer than even more than that. So these SUVs and their maintenance are a very good investment.

Q4. Is Buying An Old Jeep Wrangler A Good Idea?

As mentioned above, Jeep Wranglers are built for long-term usage. Other than the fact that a well-kept and maintained older model will, without a doubt, last you a long time, there are also other things that can be considered.

Since Jeeps allow for numerous upgrades, you might just be able to find one that is upgraded to fit your specific requirements. Even if you don’t, Jeep Wranglers have a very good resale value, so it will be worth your while.

Q5. Do Jeep Wranglers Keep Their Value?

The short answer is yes. The long one is why Jeep Wranglers keep their value. These SUVs are built to have unsurpassable off-roading capabilities. So even if it is an older model, it will still be worth a lot.

Speaking of upgrades and modifications, you can easily upgrade the Jeep Wrangler that you buy to meet your needs. And if or when the need to sell it comes around, you won’t have to worry about whether you will make an unrecoverable loss.

Conclusion

The Jeep Wrangler has a wide range of excellent off-road and all-terrain vehicles, which put many of their competitors to shame.

While many of their yearly models are far from perfect, the best and worst years for Jeep wrangler are not the end all be all of the manufacturers, but they do bring about the cause for concern when done wrong.

The Wrangler model 2018 is the best of the bunch, offering a lot of positives, safety, features, and smooth, responsive driving.

In contrast to this, the Wrangler 2012 is not a particular model I feel pleasure in recommending, specifically because of the myriad of problems it hosted, such as overheating and poor suspensions.