A white 2020 used Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited is off-roading on a rocky trail in the woods.

The Used Jeep Wrangler: Picking The Best Years Of The Best Off-Roading Beast

If you’re interested in buying a used Jeep Wrangler, you may find yourself struggling to choose which one is right for you. These vehicles have been around for ages, they hold their value well, and their style is consistent. So, you may be asking yourself, “what are the best years for the Wrangler?” The honest answer to that question is that it really depends on what the buyer wants from a vehicle. In this article, we’re going to show you four different used Jeep Wrangler models, and we’ll list reasons why those models are among the best years for the Wrangler. We’ll start from the oldest and make our way up to the newest model year. Let’s get started!

The 2010 Jeep Wrangler: Off-Roading On A Budget

This model was among the first to come in both 2-door and 4-door options. If you can find a used 2010 Jeep Wrangler with an acceptable mileage level, you should highly consider getting one. You’ll save a lot of money while still ending up with some stellar performance specs. The 2010 Jeep Wrangler comes with a standard 3.8L EGH V6 engine and a max towing capacity of 3,500 pounds. The 2-door model comes in a number of different trims, including the Sport, the Sahara, the Rubicon, the Islander, and the Mountain trim. The 4-door Jeep Wrangler, otherwise known as the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, shares the same trims – but if you want to off-road, pay attention because the Unlimited Sport and Sahara trims were sold in rear-wheel drive only versions.

You’ll also find options for two different appearance packages, which include the Black Appearance Group Package and The Chrome Edition Mopar Package. This offers black or chrome exhaust tips and side steps and a black or chrome fuel tank door. Depending on your trim, the interior changes, with standard cloth options on most trims that come in dark gray or khaki colors. This Wrangler’s interior is definitely made to be water-resistant and easy to clean, but the 2010 model year was the first to offer standard Uconnect infotainment. While some folks may not love the simple interior, it’s ideal if you’re frequently going to be in the dust and the mud.

The 2010 Wrangler may be less powerful than more modern versions, but its simple design is ideal for off-roading adventures. If you plan on heading out to the trails, consider purchasing a winch for your Wrangler to really amp up its style and take advantage of its power. You never know when you or a friend might need a good pull out of the mud. Overall, the 2010 Jeep Wrangler is a great option if you’re looking to save money while still getting the full Wrangler experience.

A black used Jeep Wrangler is parked in front of a lake.

The 2012 Jeep Wrangler: More Power, Less Cash

Now, if you’re still looking to save some cash, but you really want something powerful and durable, the 2012 Wrangler is good to consider. While it is the same basic vehicle as the 2010 Wrangler, the 2012 model was the first year for the impressive Pentastar V6 engine. This motor produces up to 285 horses with 260 pound-feet of torque. Plus, you’ve got more transmission options, too. Instead of the older 4-speed automatic transmission, drivers can upgrade to a 5-speed automatic, which helps mileage and gets you up to speed quicker than lower transmissions. In short, this is the year that true power came into the picture for Wranglers.

Additionally, the 2012 Jeep Wrangler comes in six available trims for the 2-door model and eight trims for the Unlimited model. These trims include the Sport, the Sahara, the Arctic, the Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 edition, and the Freedom edition for the 2-door model. The 4-door trims include the premium Altitude trim in addition to the others. The truth is, though, if you’re not interested in technology and you’re getting a Wrangler solely for its off-roading strengths, the base Sport trim and other lower-level trims are all you’ll really need for this model.

You can still tow up to 3,500 pounds with this model year, and even the base trim comes with hill start assist. It can also get up to 21 miles per gallon if you keep its standard wheels and tires. This is one of the best years for the Wrangler if you’re looking for affordable off-roading power or if you’re feeling nostalgic about Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.

The 2016 Jeep Wrangler: Trim Options Galore

If Wrangler Rubicons are your cup of tea, then the 2016 Wrangler Rubicon Hard Rock Edition may be the Wrangler for you. The standard Rubicon is pretty impressive, as it offers electronic-locking front and rear axles and an impressive crawl ratio of 73:1. This is due to the Rock-Trac transfer case paired with those electronic-locking axles. To put this crawl ratio into perspective, the best possible crawl ratio for rock crawling is said to be around 70:1. Not only can you go mudding with ease, but you can also climb steep rocky inclines with this monster. If you’re getting a Jeep Wrangler solely for off-roading adventures, then a Rubicon is ideal. But the 2016 Rubicon Hard Rock Edition goes even further with a factory steel bumper, rock rails, and more.

Not only can you get the Rubicon Hard Rock Edition, but a used 2016 Jeep Wrangler also offers other impressive trims such as the Willys Wheeler. This trim is based on the Sport trim, but it offers the aesthetic of the classic original Willys military Jeep. Plus, it includes extra off-roading equipment and larger off-roading tires. You can also purchase the 2016 Jeep Wrangler’s 75th Anniversary Edition if you’re into having a fancier interior and a specialized exterior. Some of these trimmings include heated leather seats, a 75th Anniversary grab handle, and front and rear steel bumpers. There are multiple special trims on the 2016 Jeep Wrangler, so this is definitely a Wrangler year you’ll want to check out if you like options.

A red 2016 used Jeep Wrangler Rubicon is off-roading in the woods.

The 2020 Jeep Wrangler: Diesel Over Everything

Let’s get to talking about that diesel engine now, shall we? In 2020, Jeep finally released its Jeep Wrangler EcoDiesel option. This is only available with the 2020’s four-door models, but it’s definitely worth the investment. Diesel engines are incredibly powerful, so if you like a Wrangler that not only looks tough but feels it too, this new diesel engine option is worth checking into. Not only is the 2020 Jeep Wrangler’s diesel engine off-road capable, but it’s great for towing and general power as well.

On top of being more powerful, the diesel Wrangler engine is also more fuel-efficient. The downside to older Wranglers is that they just don’t do well when it comes to fuel economy. Now that diesel and hybrid trims are appearing, that’s no longer an issue. The diesel Wrangler can get up to 29 miles per gallon, all while producing 260 horses and 442 pound-feet of torque. Don’t forget that diesel engines also have a much longer lifespan when cared for properly, which is why they hold their value longer than gasoline engines. In the end, more power and better fuel-efficiency make it impossible not to list the 2016 diesel Wrangler as one of the best years for the Wrangler.

What Is The Best Year For The Jeep Wrangler?

We can’t genuinely answer that because there is so much to factor in here. The truth is that every Wrangler year offers something unique. Jeep is known for creating multiple trims and for surprising buyers with at least one unique trim every few years or so. What we do know is that each year offers its own benefits depending on the driver. If you want power and fuel-efficiency, then the 2020 diesel model is best. If you’re looking for an affordable price and off-roading basics, the 2010 and 2012 models are ideal. Unique trim options? The coolest used Rubicon on the market? Check out the 2016 model. There’s something out there in the Wrangler world for every off-roading enthusiast. Go out there and find yours today.