Why Buy A New $30,000 Jeep Wrangler? Why Not A Used One for $10K?

Realistically, it’s almost impossible to buy a new Jeep Wrangler for less than $30,000.

Go ahead, head online to Jeep.com and check out the “build” section for a 2020 Jeep Wrangler two-door. You’ll see the absolute least expensive model comes in at about $30,000 – bone dry. No extras, no goodies and six (free) colors to choose from.

This is the 2020 Jeep Wrangler Sport 4×4. Net/online price is $29,790.
(Image: Jeep)

While this base model Jeep Wrangler is the setup I most enjoy (I still think it’s a kick-ass value for a great out-of-the-box off-roader), it’s not for everyone. Nowadays, laying out $30,000 for a vehicle many intend to bash off-road can be an issue. That is a lot of cabbage for a project.

Read about the Hell Cat Jeep Wrangler (here).

The good news is: if you get this version, you can make it downright capable with a few, smart add-on components. Still, it will cost a few grand if you want to beef up the suspension, tires and add some goodies to make it out-perform a stock Jeep. On top of that, it will cost a LOT more if you want to alter the diffs and beef up the power.

The $10K question: Is a used Jeep Wrangler a better idea?

What if you spent a third of that and got something that is just as capable and ready for fun mods? Sure, it will have about 80-100K miles on the ticker – but it could be ready for another 100,000 miles, if it’s done right.

Think about the older Jeep Wrangler TJ (’97-’06) and JK (’07-’18). That’s the whole point of this post and the below video. Just for fun, I went online and found many TJs and JKs that ranged between $7,000 and $12,000 that were in great shape. Some, like the 2007 JK in these sales photos, even had an aftermarket lift installed and rock-sliders.

I think it was a project vehicle that someone never finished.

(Image: Denver Car Choice)

You can see that advertisement (here).

This one has about 111K miles and costs $9,999. If you look closely at the photos, you’ll see some interesting additional extras. Yes, it has the 3.8-liter V6. Sure, it’s not remarkable, but they can be mighty reliable.

My buddy has almost 250K on his 2014 and takes it to Moab, UT for bashing almost every year. Even the old TJ’s four-cylinder is lauded by some as long-lasting (provided it was properly taken care of). As for the 4.0-liter I6 that ended with the TJ? Well, some guys swear it’s the most reliable thing on the planet next to death and taxes.

The point of this, and the videos below, is to bring some of you into the fold with Jeep ownership.

Easily amused by anything with four wheels, Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. Wrecking yards, dealer lots, garages, racetracks, professional automotive testing and automotive journalism - Nathan has experienced a wide range of the automotive spectrum. Brought up in the California car culture and educated in theater, childhood education, film, journalism and history, Nathan now lives with his family in Denver, CO. His words, good humor and video are enjoyed worldwide.