Many people wonder what type of Jeep is best to buy for off-roading. This is a common question that has no definitive answer. It really depends on what year you are looking at buying, and what type of off-roading you plan on doing. Let’s look at new vehicles first.
The Jeep Commander is not a good Jeep for off-roading. It is so big that it is really only good on flat sand or dirt. Modifying it is not really an option either. So forget that model if off-roading is your goal.
The Jeep Wrangler is the most capable of all the Jeeps for off-roading. The Rubicon version is the absolute best for off-roading. The Rubicon version of the model adds stronger front differential and stronger axles, locking differentials, lower ratio gears, and a disconnecting sway bar. These upgrades are workable for most moderate to difficult trails. However, they are not considered best in class, except the strong axles. If you do decide to modify this Jeep to make it even more suitable for off-roading, the factory parts have decent resale value.
The Liberty or Grand Cherokee can also handle easy to moderate terrain, especially if you modify them. The modifications are expensive, but the additional cost is well worth it if you decide to go with this type of Jeep. The advantage to getting a Liberty or Cherokee is that they have added space and great highway capability, so if you spend as much or more time on the highway than you do off-roading, it can be well worth it to get one of these models instead of the Rubicon.
If you are looking at older vehicles, perhaps the best off-roading Jeep available is the older model Jeep Wranglers, the TJ Rubicon model. It has all of the same upgrades as the new Rubicon version, with the exception of the disconnecting sway bar. It has a peppier engine than the newer Rubicon though.
The older Jeep Cherokee, model XJ, is also very good for off-roading with a little bit of work. It takes more money to prepare a XJ for off-roading, but you can usually pick them up for a few thousand dollars. So for about ten grand you can have a great off-roading vehicle that also has additional cargo and passenger space and has on road manners.
What style Jeep do you sport on the trails?