What is the best old Jeep for taking off-road?

I’m in the market for a used Jeep that my son can use as his first car (both on and off the roads). What are the best older Jeep models for taking off-road?

Kathryn Mae Kurlychek · Answered on Dec 22, 2022
Reviewed by Shannon Martin, Licensed Insurance Agent.
When it comes to old Jeeps, you won’t be hard pressed to find a reliable model—many Jeeps can last as long as 20 years with proper care and maintenance! On top of that, most Jeeps are built with off-road readiness in mind.
But it’s still a good idea to do your due diligence, as an older and neglected Jeep won’t just perform badly—it could also be unsafe for your young driver. For reliable older Jeeps that can handle off-road conditions, here are our top picks:
  • Jeep Cherokee. Cherokees are a long-time staple of the Jeep lineup, and their reputation for durability and performance remains constant throughout the years. The NY Daily News rated Cherokees released between 1984 and 2001 as one of the best used car buys for under $10,000.
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee. Like the Cherokee, the Grand Cherokee maintains a well-loved reputation for reliability—along with high ratings for off-road performance. We’d suggest taking a closer look at the 2015 and 2012 models.
  • Jeep Wrangler. Ever the classic, off-road performance is unmatched in the Wrangler—although safety isn’t this model’s strong suit. The 2003 Jeep Wrangler X stands apart as a solid option for off-road adventuring, and has retained its value over time—although you may want to add some additional safety features before letting your teen hit the road.
Of course, you should research any specific vehicles you’re looking at—including getting a Carfax report done to ensure the title is clean. While first cars are meant to be fun, safety is an equally important priority!
You may also want to think about bulking up your teen’s insurance policy with added coverages like collision and comprehensive to keep him protected on all roads.
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