So you’ve decided you want a Jeep but have no idea what to expect as you set out on your search. You type in “Jeeps for sale” and return results for an engine with 707 hp and supercar-like acceleration? You might not know this, but Jeep not only makes the baddest off-road beasts on the planet, they also make one of the fastest SUVs ever. You were probably expecting a picture of a stout Wrangler crawling over rocks and found an SUV faster than a Porsche Cayenne Turbo. This is going to be a fun search.
But this is the real world, and you need a vehicle that can do everything. You can’t be spending time looking at the baddest and fastest vehicles on the planet. You should be thinking about your family too, right? Not exactly. While Jeep may make the fastest and toughest vehicles you’ll find, they’re also reliable all-rounders. They excel at just about everything, so you’re free to go 0-60 mph in less than four seconds while on a road trip with your family, or climb over Silby Rock on the Rubicon Trail (how cool would that be for the kids!).
This search is supposed to be fun, though, so let’s dispense of the practical aspects of these SUVs for now and take a look at the best Jeep 4×4 model of all time—and then let’s take a look at the fastest Jeep model of all time. Knowing Jeep vehicles are also built for your family makes this not only a fun search but a practical one. Who says buying a car can’t be fun? With Jeep, you can look for a supercar, an off-road warrior, or anything in between. Here are two of the best options.
Jeep Wrangler Rubicon
When the electronic disconnecting front sway bar was introduced for the 2007 model year, the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon established itself as the best off-road vehicle on the planet. You won’t find a more capable factory sports-utility vehicle today. And with each model, the Wrangler Rubicon keeps getting better and better.
The Jeep Wrangler was initially developed for use in World War II and proved to be an incredibly useful vehicle. It did everything that the U.S. military and its allies asked of it, serving as a supply vehicle, machine gun mount, and troop carrier, among other things, with the ability to tow just about anything, including guns and planes. It was even used to haul railroad rolling stock when there was no locomotive around. When troops came back to the states, however, they raved about its off-road capability. The soldiers missed driving it, and soon the first Jeeps became available for civilian use.
The original vehicle was not called a Jeep, of course, but since Jeep provided more vehicles to the war effort than any other manufacturer, the off-roader eventually became synonymous with the Jeep name. Willys-Overland actually did not register the name until 1950. But more important was the blueprint for a mass-produced off-roader had been created: a separate chassis and live axles at both ends carried on leaf springs.
It was made clear that Jeep Wranglers had a loyal, hard-core following when complaints started about Jeep adding an automatic transmission option to the Wrangler. This change was made for the 1994 model year. Why complain about this added convenience? Because driving a Wrangler means you know what you’re doing, and they feared this would open up the trails to the uninitiated. It sounds silly now, but this is partly why you’ll still get waved at by other Wrangler owners—buying a Wrangler is like joining a club. You appreciate the outdoors, clearly, along with experience over comfort, and adventure over convenience.
These days, however, with the modern Wrangler models, convenience and comfort abound alongside the Wrangler’s ever-improving off-road chops. Now the ride has smoothed out, and you can take your family with you with the addition of a four-door model. Even with the added creature comforts, the Wrangler has maintained the features that have defined it for generations while also adding modern touches for the urban weekend warrior.
Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk
The Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk proves Jeeps can be just as suited for on-road fun as they can be for off-road adventures. The Grand Cherokee features two performance-oriented models to choose from, and they are both incredibly fast. This car isn’t your parent’s family sedan or minivan—this is a family SUV built for the racetrack. The SRT trim boasts a 4.8-second 0-60 mph time, while the Trackhawk comes in at 3.4 seconds.
While the performance trims for the Grand Cherokee can hold their own off the pavement, these are designed for one thing: speed. Let’s take a look at the powertrain options that come with these trim levels so you can see just how powerful the Grand Cherokee can be. The SRT comes with a 6.4-liter V8 with 475 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque. That’s more than enough power to compete in the segment.
But things get much more interesting when climbing to the next trim level, the Trackhawk. Here you’ll find a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 with 707 hp and 645 lb-ft of torque. These are supercar-like numbers, and with an 11.6-second quarter-mile time, the Trackhawk decimates just about everything in its path, including premium brands that cost much more than the Trackhawk. With a top speed of 180 mph, there’s virtually no limit to the fun that can be had in this model.
What’s truly impressive about the Grand Cherokee is that you don’t have to spend big to get the capability you need. Maybe you can’t afford the Trackhawk or SRT model, no worries. One of the best parts about shopping for a Jeep is knowing that even the most basic trim levels come nicely equipped and can be outfitted with many upgrades, depending on the demands of your lifestyle.
Let’s take a quick look at what you get in the lower trim levels, starting with the base model Laredo. This trim has a 3.6 liter, V6 engine with 293 hp. The Laredo is also equipped with some great entertainment features, such as the 6-speaker radio system and voice-activated audio control. Additionally, this trim carries some safety features including, blind-spot sensor warnings and rear parking sensors. This base model is starting to sound like the foundations of a reliable family SUV.
If you want more than the base model, but can’t afford the highest trims, you’ll find the middle ground equally competent. The Limited model gains a rear cargo power liftgate, power and heated seats in the front, and a power sunroof. There are a lot of options to choose from, so you know you’ll be able to find exactly what you need at a price point you are comfortable with.
Whether you’re looking for the fastest or most robust vehicle around, you’ll find them both at Jeep. The Jeep Wrangler and Grand Cherokee Trackhawk are one-of-a-kind vehicles in a market saturated with uniformity. These are vehicles that stand out from the crowd. Not only can you hit the trail or the racetrack, but you can bring your family along for the ride. Who knew a family SUV could be so much fun.