With a heritage stretching back to World War II, the 2015 Jeep Wrangler is about as throwback a vehicle as you'll find in showrooms today. It has old-school solid axles at both ends and standard crank windows. It's noisy and rough-riding. The soft top is a puzzle to put up and take down and a magnet for potential thieves. Indeed, measured against virtually any other new SUV, the Wrangler is in many ways, well, terrible. For its legions of fans, however, that's part of what makes it so much fun.
It's accurate to say that these foibles are actually indicative of an incredibly honest, back-to-basics off-roader. Of course, the Wrangler also looks pretty cool and can dive headlong into places where few other vehicles dare tread. Plus, what other new car allows you to remove not only the roof, but the doors and windshield as well? The answer is, none.
Changes for the 2015 Wrangler are minimal, so much of your shopping time for a Wrangler will be spent just figuring out what configuration you want. Certainly, the four-door Wrangler Unlimited body style is the more practical choice, but the two-door's shorter wheelbase and overall length make it more nimble on tight trails. For both, the trail-ready Rubicon trim level is a highly popular choice as well. Even if you get just a no-frills Wrangler, though, there's a dizzying array of factory and/or aftermarket upgrades available to let you customize your ride in the years to come.
True rivals to the Wrangler are few. The 2015 Nissan Xterra marches on as the only significant alternative. It provides a more civilized on-road driving experience in exchange for less maximum trail-busting ability. The same was true for the Toyota FJ Cruiser, but Toyota has discontinued it after this model year. Perhaps as consolation, Toyota is offering off-road-oriented versions of its 2015 Toyota 4Runner and Tacoma pickup. But when it really comes down to getting a vehicle with legendary off-road ability and iconic style at minimal cost, there's still nothing like the Jeep Wrangler.