If you’re in the market for a new vehicle that you plan to use for off-roading, Jeep may be the first to come to mind. After all, the manufacturer has built its brand around the ability of its vehicles to handle mud, rocks, and even boulders with aplomb. But did you know that some Jeeps are better than others, when it comes to navigating off-pavement terrain? It’s true.
With that in mind, here are the best Jeep models for off-roading, in reverse order.
Remember that everything is relative; a Jeep is still a Jeep, and each one is built with adventure in mind.
1. Jeep Liberty
While this is a smallish SUV, the Liberty still offers ample room for five passengers sans the girth of a large sport-utility vehicle. Features that will serve you well on the trail include a V6 powerplant, four-wheel drive, and full skin-plate armoring. The Liberty also has steep approach and departure angles and a good suspension with a solid rear axle.
2. Jeep Patriot
We’re talking a fording ability of 19 inches, 17-inch all-terrain tires, four-wheel drive, off-road traction control, and rock-crawling capabilities. While you may not want to use it for intense terrain, the four-cylinder Patriot can easily handle mudding, rock crawling, and other off-road fun.
3. Jeep Compass
In addition to four-wheel drive, the spacious and affordable Compass offers 7.7 inches of ground clearance and 17-inch all-terrain tires. It’s constructed for mild off-roading, meaning that it’s just right for simple trails and camping trips. Trail hawk models, though, get a low “crawler” gear ratio plus a rock mode, which ups off-roading capability, and has a ground clearance of 8.6 inches.
4. Jeep Wagoneer
This refined, well-equipped family hauler with a big V8 is rear-wheel drive but three different four-wheel drive systems are available, as is adjustable air suspension that can add 3.6 inches of ground clearance. There’s also a drive-mode selector system that includes rock, snow, and sand/mud modes. Appropriately outfitted, the Wagoneer offers legitimate off-road capability. If your interest is piqued, check out these Jeep lease deals.
5. Jeep Renegade
The most-affordable Jeep, the subcompact Renegade seats five people, is powered by a torque-y turbo-four and has a comfy ride quality. If you’re serious about going off road, you’re going to want the top-of-the-line Trailhawk model, since it offers more off-road equipment, including all-terrain tires, hill descent control, and a raised suspension.
6. Jeep Grand Cherokee
This rugged, aesthetically appealing ride that’s filled with standard safety technology offers impressive off-road capability. Yes, rear-wheel drive is standard on models with the V6 engine, but there are three different all-wheel drive systems in the offing that can help with rock crawling or whatever you want to do. If you want more robust off-road capability and equipment, get the Trail hawk model. With that, you get up to 11.3 inches of ground clearance, an adjustable air suspension, and a disconnecting sway bar.
7. Jeep Wrangler Willys
Inspired by the Willys-Overland from the 1940s, Willys models offer 17-inch alum wheels and 32-inch mud-terrain tires that not only provide great style, but serious off-road traction, thanks to a Trac-Loc Limited Slip Rear Differential and protective steel rock rails. The 2022 Willys also offers the Xtreme Recon Package, which includes 35-inch tires and upgraded shocks. The Willys can ford more than 33 inches of water and offers superior approach, departure, and breakover angles.
8. Jeep Gladiator
Significantly more off-road capable than your typical truck, every trim has Jeep’s coveted Desert Rated and Trail Rated badges. While the Wrangler is more agile on the trails, its longer wheelbase makes for a better ride. The Gladiator comes ready for heavy-duty off-roading and includes equipment such as plenty of skid plates and rock-crawling ratios. It can ford up to 30 inches of water and has ample ground clearance and approach/departure angles.
9. Jeep Wrangler Rubicon
You just knew a Wrangler would come out on top, and in this case it’s the trail-rated Rubicon. This unrelentingly capable 4×4 off-roader offers 33-inch tires, lockable differentials, a full-time two-speed transfer case, aluminum Fox shocks, an electric sway bar controller, and Brake Locking Differential. No worries about water, since three tubes outside the hood move the H20 away from the intake, permitting nearly three feet of fording. Oh, and it doesn’t hurt to have a sweet V8 that puts out 470 horses and 470 pound-feet of torque. Simply put, this off-road champion can simply handle any obstacles in its way. It’s the most capable Wrangler there is, and its off-road capabilities are without peer.
There you have it, the best Jeep models for off-roading. Yes, the Wrangler Rubicon reigns supreme; it’s simply impressive in every way. But perhaps your off-roading needs are different. Consider those, along with your lifestyle, and you’re sure to come away with a Jeep that’s just right for you.