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Jeep as a First Car: The Honest Pros and Cons

Jeep as a First Car: The Honest Pros and Cons

Getting your first car feels daunting. Everyone seems to have the perfect solution and advice. Some demand that you get the least expensive ride out there, and others recommend getting the most expensive vehicle with every safety feature known to man. The car they often overlook is a Jeep.

A Jeep makes for a good first car, even if it is not a traditional one. These vehicles provide a practical balance between safety, affordability, and features in a package that works on and off-road. Jeeps may not have the speed or luxury standard in other cards, but they will take you anywhere.

Still, a Jeep is not the right first car in all circumstances. The difference depends on your reasons for getting your first car. By reading further, you will learn which reasons a Jeep will fill nicely as well as those in which it would not.

Are Jeeps Good as a First Car?

There is no feeling like getting your first car. You feel free and ready to take on the open road. However, finding the right first car is challenging. From the countless useless advice to the multitude of options available, it may even feel impossible.

Fortunately, there is a way to balance your safety, performance, and affordability needs and still have some fun along the way. You can get a Jeep.

Perfect for young explorers, Jeeps allow you to play in the dirt without worrying about damaging the vehicle or your passengers. They are also inexpensive if you stick with either of the two most popular models: Wrangler and Renegade.

  • Priced around $25,000, both Jeep models are great entry vehicles that feel like SUVs that easily undercut similar vehicles in size and price.
  • These subcompact crossovers feature tall, upright driving positions and a sophisticated all-wheel-drive system while providing that classic Jeep style and feel.

Both Jeep models work well on and off-road, providing first-time drivers a car-like experience they can use to get to school, work, or to have fun with their friends.

Therefore, the question then becomes which Jeep to get, and that is mostly up to personal preference and desired features.

Here’s a first hand experience video of some pros and cons, with a lot more info below:

Pros to Having a Jeep Wrangler As a First Car

The Jeep Wrangler is the more popular choice because it has a wider track for improved stability and safety, but it offers so much more. The crossover offers numerous benefits to first-time drivers.

Highest Safety Standards in the Industry

New drivers are not always the best drivers in the world. Therefore, your first car must be durable to take any beating. The durable Jeep Wrangler does this in spades. The crossover boasts one of the highest damage tolerances on the road, ensuring that you get home even if you find yourself in an accident.

The Wrangler has the most standard safety features in the industry as well.

The crossover comes with:

  • Traction control
  • Multi-stage airbags
  • Electronic stability control
  • Hill-start assist
  • Trailer sway dampening
  • Electronic roll mitigation
  • Optional brake assist
  • A ParkView rear backup camera

Inexpensive Maintenance

New drivers rarely consider maintenance costs when picking their first vehicle. They dream of the adventures but not how to get to them. Fortunately, the Jeep Wrangler is simple and cheap to maintain.

Besides being new-driver-friendly, the crossover is very new-mechanic friendly with more tasks easy enough for the do-it-yourselfer.

You can even customize and modify the Jeep Wrangler with ease, allowing burgeoning car enthusiasts to reveal their passion and interest to the world.

Wide Variety of Variants and Feature Options

The Jeep Wrangler offers numerous choices and variants that let you customize your first car to your style, favorite color, and budget.

Popular variants include:

  • Sahara
  • Sport
  • Sport S
  • MOAB
  • Altitude
  • Rubicon.

You can even get them in either standard automatic or manual transmission configurations with plenty of other features to fit your preferences.

Off-Road Driving Capabilities

For new drivers that love adrenaline-pumping activities and adventures, the Jeep Wrangler’s four-wheel-drive system offers every popular off-road driving feature on the market.

You can take these vehicles out in any weather over any type of terrain, including rocks, snow, mud, and even shallow streams.

Great for Winter Driving

Those same great off-road driving features make the Jeep Wrangler a good first car for those who live in winter climates. The four-wheel drive can cut through most snowbanks, ensuring that you will get to your destination regardless of the weather.

Some Wranglers even come with heated seats that will keep you warm and dry even in a foot of snow.

Plenty of Space

  • Space is always a premium with traveling, but the Jeep Wrangler is spacious enough to hold you, your gear, and your friends.
  • The Jeep comes in two size variants.
  • Four people can sit inside a two-door Wrangler with enough storage space for everyone.
  • The four-door variant can accommodate up to five people comfortably with more legroom as well.

A Variety of Entertainment Options and Electronics

First-time car owners want everything in their car, including every entertainment option available. They want to listen to their favorite music while driving around town while using their phones for navigation and on-the-go charging. Luckily, you can do it all with a Jeep Wrangler.

Every Jeep Wrangler comes with an Alpha nine-speaker premium audio system that will meet your music lover’s needs, but you can go much farther with some variations over others.

For instance, some models even support special features such as Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and a 5-inch touchscreen display.

Beyond the music, you can customize your entire Jeep Wrangler driving experience. That is because some models will let you drive with or without the side panels, roof, doors, and even the windshields.

Here’s another helpful pros and cons video before we continue with pros of a Jeep Renegade:

Pros to Having a Jeep Renegade as a First Car

While the Jeep Wrangler gets most of the praise, many first-time drivers stand by the Renegade instead.

The Jeep Renegade provides the same affordability, mileage, safety standards, and attractive look, but in a smaller frame. These features make the Renegade a great first car for any teenager.  

While they make the Renegade more expensive, older first car brands rarely come with these features. Therefore, they make the Renegade an excellent, cost-effective choice for most first-time car buyers.

Great Safety Features

The Renegade supports some of the best safety features on the road, which is a good thing for inexperienced drivers. The crossover comes equipped with all of Jeep’s standard features, along with a few add-ons. These additions allow young drivers to take every precaution possible to keep them safe while driving.

For instance, the Renegade has seven airbags situated around the cabin to keep you safe in an accident, but the safety features do not end there.

The vehicle comes equipped with collision avoidance features designed to prevent accidents from happening in the first place.

  • Lane departure warning: Alerts you when you drift out of your lane along with some steering assistance to keep the vehicle straight
  • Forward collision warning: Detects potential collisions using a radar. It then warns the driver of the threat with audio and visual warnings. The system may even apply the brake to reduce the impact as needed.
  • Rear-park assist system: Provides audio and visual warnings when obstacles come too close to the rear of the vehicle

The Jeep Renegade is Inexpensive

  • Starting at around $18,500, the Jeep Renegade is among the more affordable small SUVs on the market.
  • It is also one of the most inexpensive to own with low upkeep and maintenance costs.
  • This makes the Jeep Renegade a good buy regardless of how experienced a driver you are.

Excellent Gas Mileage

The low prices continue at the pump. The Jeep Wrangler offers the best gas mileage among small SUVs, coming in around 30 miles per gallon. That saves you money for other things like enjoying your road trip with your friends.

Great Design, Colors, and Aesthetics

Finally, the Jeep Renegade comes in various designs and colors, letting you match your ride to your style. The vehicle just looks cool too. Because it comes with every standard Jeep feature, the Renegade will boost your image with its attractive body and four-wheel-drive capabilities.

Cons to Having a Jeep as A First Car

  • Jeeps are popular, cool, and iconic. Everyone, regardless of their background, can find something to love about them.
  • It is this nature that makes them great first cars, especially for off-road enthusiasts.
  • They also offer a wide range of features and options with competitive pricing.

However, they are not for everyone. Sure, they are big and sturdy with off-road capabilities they let you drive them in heavy snow, but they have their downsides too.

While some of these disadvantages are personal preference, many of them would make a Jeep a disaster in a young adult’s hands. In those situations, you are probably better off going elsewhere for your first car.

Most Inexperienced Drivers Lack the Proper Reflexes

Jeep’s reputation as a great first car comes from a philosophy shift. In the past, auto experts and safety advocates pushed families to look for something “slow, big, and ugly.”

As such, most first cars were usually the largest and cheapest used vehicle available. Advances in safety technologies made these old reliables obsolete, and Jeeps filled the void. However, their size creates a significant flaw.

Sure, Jeeps come with numerous safety features, but these features only work well at low speeds. That makes Jeeps great for new drivers who can stay on city streets or will only drive off-road. However, young drivers lack the skills required to handle them at highway speeds.

Jeeps Drive Like A Brick on Highways

Because of their large size, Jeeps have a high center of gravity and a rear-wheel bias. As such, they become more challenging to stop and maneuver with increased speed. Therefore, they are not very agile to make emergency maneuvers at highway speeds.

Since the best way to survive crashes is to avoid them, Jeep drivers must have the reaction time to make the necessary adjustments to compensate.

However, young, inexperienced drivers often lack the reflexes to pull it off, and the experience to know when to do it. This situation can lead to rollovers, turning the Jeep into one of the most dangerous vehicles on the road.

The High Safety Standards Are Only Available on Newer Models

People praise the safety features as a reason to get a Jeep as a first car. While true, most parents will not pay the $28,000 price tag for a new Jeep for their children. Therefore, most first car Jeeps will be used cars that are several years old.

That means the new driver will not have access to the latest safety features. While this should not be a problem in most cases, some young drivers need the extra safety gear to keep them safe. As such, those drivers should try something else.

There are Cheaper Alternatives

Despite their greatness, Jeeps are rather expensive cars. Sure, their owners boast about low prices, but those are only relative to other SUVs. Because of this, you may want to see if an alternative vehicle can provide the same great features but at a lower price point.

  • Luckily, you can find numerous options from other car manufacturers, such as the Mazda 3, Volkswagen Golf, and the Kia Soul.
  • If you look hard enough, you will even find a few used crossovers for similar prices as a Jeep but with better safety ratings, such as the Mazda CX-5.

Sure, you may want to foster auto enthusiasm. However, there are other ways to encourage kids than giving them something too big to handle. These alternatives might not be as cool as a Jeep, but they may make better first cars in the long run.


Buying your first car is both an exciting and challenging experience. You want something affordable but has all the safety and performance you need to hit the road with your friends. Luckily, Jeeps fit the role nicely. Sure, they might not be for everyone, but these SUVs have something for everyone.

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