Hooniverse Asks: Is the Jeep Wrangler reaching insanity levels?


The new JL version of the Jeep Wrangler is really good. I reviewed the 2-door JL Rubicon this year and I loved it. Since then I had the opportunity to drive the 4-cylinder turbo 4-door Sahara with the soon-to-be optional One-Touch power soft-top/hard-top hybrid top and it was just fantastic. That top is really a game-changer for people who are unable to otherwise remove the hard-tops off their Wranglers. 
The new Wrangler’s popularity is clearly visible here in the northeast – they’re everywhere, like Defenders on Nantucket. My good friend recently bought one, and while he loves it, he had one big issue with it – the price. His 4-door Sport S with automatic transmission and a hardtop cost him more than his full-loaded Sahara from a few years back. Configure your own 4-door Rubicon on Jeep’s own website and you’ll be knocking on $60,000 door
According to JLWranglerForums Jeep is introducing the Moab edition. It is based on the loaded Sahara model and includes a ton of stuff that would otherwise be optional, and some trim-specific stuff. Click the link to see all the details. The price for that will be $51,200 plus destination, options, BS fees, yadda yadda. That’s a lot!
AEV and other modified Jeeps have been selling for a lot more for a long time. Old crappy Defenders have been in six-figure territory forever. Old Land Cruisers and Broncos have gone up in price tremendously and people are obviously willing to pay for them. In my opinion the new Wrangler is better than all of those old vehicles and still has that old school charm despite being brand new. And yet it’s still priced much lower than some of these overhauled classic 4x4s.
So how far is this going to go? When will we see a six-figure Wrangler in a few years?

25 Comments

  1. I’m hoping the increase in MSRP– now that the upper-trim Wranglers are into luxury prices– will bring a steeper depreciation. I’ve set my sights on a JL Unlimited 6-speed as my next family vehicle (probably in about 5 years), and my only hope is to buy pre-owned.

    1. When I realistically spec out a new one, though, my total only hits $38k, which is more than I’ve ever paid for a new vehicle, but not terribly unreasonable.

  2. Part of me thinks these $50k-65k models are just out there to distract the masses and make them feel like they’re getting a good deal when they buy a $40k Jeep.

  3. As an engineer, Wranglers just look like they are overpriced. Something that looks like that, with an interior like that looks like it should cost about 30-40% less than a Grand Cherokee. I just optioned out a 4 door hardtop automatic. It came in about $32k. The Grand Cherokee starts at $35,195, but for that you get the following that are not in a Wrangler: independent front suspension, power windows, power locks, a headliner. A basic Wrangler should be mid 20k range, not low $30k range (and good luck finding one of those). I know a lot of it is the Wrangler brand and Jeep popularity, but FCA has to be making bank on these things.

        1. I’m sure the minivans factor in there on volume alone, but the margins on those are far slimmer. There’s plenty of uncut fat on the RAM and Jeep filets.

    1. A lot of the features you don’t get, eg solid front axle and manual window winders, mean that they will cost ‘more’ due to lack of volume.

  4. Just some random thoughts from someone who’s obviously quite biased
    – there is no doubt that Jeep/FCA is making a fortune selling Wranglers. They’re setting personal Wrangler sales records every month. Also keep in mind that every single one of those Wranglers has a staggeringly high destination charge of $1445. That is an insane destination charge.
    – these things do not depreciate. We looked for over 6 months to find a JK and finally realized that it wasn’t much more for a brand new JL
    – Is the pricing really that outrageous? There is no other vehicle that does what a Wrangler does. I’d say the closest is a 4Runner Offroad – spec’d out as close as I could to our Rubicon, it was only a few thousand dollars difference – and I get a manual transmission, removable top, and a lot more capability (that I’m sure I’ll never use, but I’ve still got it). Now look at a Tahoe or Expedition or Grand Cherokee.
    I don’t know what any of it means – but what I do know is that I’ve had ZERO buyer’s remorse and wished I’d have bought a Wrangler years ago.

    1. I’d say you’ve hit the nail on the head. For those who simply want “a vehicle”, the price is ridiculous, but for those who want a capable off-roader, it’s reasonable. The Wrangler doesn’t benefit from generous margins because it’s really that good, only that it has minimal competition. So, relatively-speaking, it’s a great truck. It’s not difficult to build a Wrangler, and Jeep could do much better at it, but they don’t have to. And why should they?
      Are they overpriced? Yes. Are they worth it? For some, yes. I restored a CJ-7 and drove it for years, and I still miss it. It was the crudest, most spartan vehicle I’ve ever owned, but it did things no other vehicle I’d ever had could do. I loved it. And I’d pay that money again for another one.

      1. Except now with the 4 doors, probably less than a 1/4 of them even get taken off road. It is just seen as the “cool” SUV for soccer moms. My wife thinks she might want one. I really don’t think she would like it after driving one. She thinks my 2011 Silverado 2WD WT rides too rough.

        1. I’m really surprised they haven’t brought out a Barbie or Hello Kitty Wrangler yet. Those would sell better than any other version, from what I see in mall parking lots…

  5. A few years ago, a friend of mine was dead-set on buying a Wrangler 4-door with whatever marketing name they gave to that modular hardtop system. I tried in vein to talk him out of it. I told him there were other trucks and SUVs that were cheaper, more reliable, and loads more comfortable day to day, which could still provide all the off-road capability he would ever realistically use. But he would not be dissuaded from that mental image he had of driving down the beach in his Jeep, top down (or “off”, or “folded”, or whatever the correct term would be), never mind that there’s no ocean for a thousand kilometers in any direction.
    Fast forward two years. He moved to Southern California. He regularly posts pictures of his sons riding happily under the sun in his de-topped back seat as he cruises down fire roads, ORV trails, and yes, beach sands. He says he would never love an Xterra or Chevy Colorado as much. And damnit, he’s probably right.

  6. So, when does the pickup version show up? I’m not a Jeep fanboy, but that one has me intrigued, as functionally it would check a lot of boxes for me, and my X3 is a bit long in the tooth, though still handling duties adequately. I did go to the website, but didn’t see anything…

      1. Not unless it’s imported by someone else: Suzuki left the US and I don’t think they’re coming back.

  7. I do a lot of landscaping at a “motor coach resort”. 48 out of 50 coaches pull a newer unlimited behind them most of them Rubicons some of them with mods. I think you can put the t case in neutral for flat towing but not sure. Anyways average coach runs about 3 million so if there is a 98 thousand dollar unlimited available at the jeep store some of these people are going to buy it.

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