The 2013 Jeep Wrangler proves you don't have to follow trends to achieve sales success. Today's SUV class is populated by car-based, city-friendly crossovers, but back when the segment first launched, those first models were rough-and-tumble rock climbers ready for anything. The Wrangler remains a rare holdout that still ascribes to this original formula, and its uniquely rugged personality has won it a consistent and fiercely loyal following.
The Wrangler is a purpose-built machine that exudes a certain stark charm. Its off-road skills are second to none; the Wrangler is a veritable mountain goat, ready to tackle whatever mountain or ravine you throw its way. Removing the doors and roof brings you closer to the elements, and though the ride is rough, this Jeep can be an entertaining companion around town. With its upright stance and angular silhouette, the Wrangler oozes boxy machismo in a sea of curvy crossovers.
Still, Wrangler ownership comes with notable drawbacks. That rugged ride quality can grow tiresome if you drive the Jeep daily. Nor is a soft-top Wrangler built with tranquility in mind, so prepare to speak in your outside voice if you want to converse with passengers. The soft top can be a pain to install and remove (but gets easier with repetition) and makes the Wrangler vulnerable to theft. An optional hardtop solves both of these problems, but adds cost. Finally, braking distances and side crash-test ratings are also disappointing.
If the Wrangler's idiosyncrasies are unacceptable and you'd prefer a more livable take on the outdoorsy SUV, consider the Nissan Xterra or Toyota FJ Cruiser. But for many, as evidenced by its status as one of Jeep's top sellers, the 2013 Jeep Wrangler's rustic appeal cannot be denied.