A New or Used Jeep for Off-Roading? Pros and Cons for Both
There are some pretty astounding new Jeeps currently on the market. 2016 truly is a great year for the Jeep brand. Not only does it mark the 75th anniversary of the brand itself, but this year’s models are better than ever. There is no other brand of SUV out there that even comes close to the off-road capability of the Trail Rated Jeep models, and they all perform better than ever on the streets and highways. However, the used car market is on the rise, and there are still many Jeepers who swear by used Jeeps. This might pose a tough decision for those looking to get into a Jeep and onto the off-road trails: which one should you buy?
While there is no right or wrong answer, each side does have both pros and cons. So, let’s explore the possibilities and take a look at the ups and downs. That way, we can figure out which one is right for you.
For whatever reason, there is a divide between longtime, loyal Jeep fans. Some love buying new Jeeps, and love the direction the brand has taken, while others will never set foot in a Jeep that was made after the 2000 model year. But, there are valid reasons to get with the times and scope out the latest offerings from Jeep, while still valuing the brand’s rich and iconic past.
To start with, Jeeps are performing on the road better than ever before. The Wrangler, Cherokee, and Grand Cherokee are all not only more aerodynamic, but more efficient as well. Thanks to the 3.6-liter engine found on the Wrangler, the fuel-efficiency rivals that of a full-size pickup truck from 2016, which is a lot better compared to what it used to be. Thanks to the newfound aerodynamic nature of the Cherokee, it gets even better fuel economy, rated at 22 mpg city and 31 mpg highway. But, these models don’t sacrifice capability for efficiency. They all still come with Trail Rated badges. So, while they may be more mild-mannered on the road, they are still beasts when it comes to tearing up the off-road terrain.
When you buy a new Jeep, you also get the guarantee that you’re going to have it for a while. There will be no rust, virtually no mileage, fresh oil, and brand new parts. This fresh Jeep also comes under a new vehicle warranty, which helps protect you against any issues (that happen out of your control) or extra maintenance needs that might pop up.
You also have the option of leasing a new Jeep – a surefire way to ensure you get a new Jeep every three years or so, depending on the lease contract.
Now, for some of the cons. With any new vehicle, you have to deal with depreciation. To be clear, depreciation impacts all new vehicles as soon as you drive off the lot. What this means is that it loses value immediately after you start driving it. Then, it keeps losing value each year. When it’s time to get another new vehicle, you’re only able to sell your old one for a fraction of what it was initially priced. Even if Jeeps retain their value better than other vehicles, it’s still disappointing to realize your vehicle isn’t worth nearly as much as you bought it for, no matter how well you cared for it.
Leasing is nice, but you’ll need to worry about voiding contracts if you decide to try and modify it it. Since the vehicle isn’t technically yours, you won’t be able to modify it the way you see fit. Not to mention, you can’t really go beat it up on an off-road trail and expect to be able to return it at the end of the lease term without penalty.
Speaking of off-roading, if you do buy a new Jeep for that purpose, expect to pay a lot for repairs and replacement parts. While the older Jeeps are still expensive to repair, the parts are cheaper. Also, your new paint will get dirty and beat up.
Although you could probably come up with more pros and cons associated with purchasing a new Jeep, these are typically the main ones you’ll want to consider when thinking about your potential purchase.
When it comes to used Jeeps, things are little bit different — obviously.
The first thing you’ll notice about a used Jeep is that it’s significantly cheaper than a new model. While they retain their value quite well, even buying a pre-modded Jeep is cheaper than purchasing a new model. Speaking of pre-modded Jeeps, getting a new one can easily cost upwards of $50,000; whereas, a pre-modded Jeep from the early 1990s would likely cost you close to $15,000 at most.
You also have more options if you buy used. You can buy a 1976 CJ style Jeep, a JK Wrangler, or even a certified pre-owned model from 2015. If you’re buying a used Jeep for off-roading, especially an older one, chances are you don’t have to worry about scratching up a new paint job, since it’s already conquered off-road trails a few times.
But, a used Jeep comes with a few drawbacks. For one, you won’t have any updated technology. Some Wranglers from the 1990s might not even have A/C or a CD player.
In order to make you hesitate even more, you also have to worry about buying a good-quality used Jeep. Which means you have to go through the hassle of finding one. That means either buying from a used car dealer, or a private seller. Either way, you need to carefully and thoroughly inspect the vehicle for rust or any other issues that might cause problems later down the road.
Either way, it boils down to your personal preference and budget. How do you know your making the right choice? Simple. Whichever situation favors the pros over the cons will likely be the right choice for your driving needs and financial reality. When it comes to the benefits and drawbacks between new and used Jeeps, the purchase is a personal decision. Ask yourself which one is right for your unique situation and goals. And then get started on that test drive…New or old, all Jeeps make it possible to “Go Anywhere, Do Anything.”