Shopping for the ultimate on and off-road SUV that’s not a Jeep? Don’t forget these Jeep alternatives on the market from Nissan, Toyota, and more!
Since the introduction of the CJ or the Civilian Jeep, the vehicle we’ve all come to know as the Wrangler has taken the lead as the country’s paramount blend of on and off-road prowess in a dapper package. Nevertheless, all these decades later, Jeep has transformed its position. Where once it was a bare-bones rig aimed at the utilitarian in us all, it’s grown into a luxury brand of sorts that commands premiums many thought it never would.
With that in mind, we’re taking a look at ten of the best Jeep alternatives that are available today. This isn’t a ranked listing so much as a handful of excellent alternative options. Each of these can be had for the price of a brand new Wrangler or less (sometimes way less). We’ll have Jeep alternatives for buyers who want all the same performance and even vehicles for those who want something far more unique than any Jeep could hope to be.
In the world of off-road enthusiasts, the FJ Cruiser is perhaps the only one aside from the Wrangler that garners the same niche audience of die-hard fans. It’s easy to see why too. While the FJ doesn’t have the removable top that the Wrangler is famous for, it makes up for it in just about every other facet of design. The interior, for instance, is far less cluttered and provides the right type of materials that won’t be easily damaged when off-roading in harsh conditions. The breakover angle of the FJ is nearly 30% better than that of the Wrangler and prices are only going to go up as time goes on.
The Defender is the Wrangler of the UK in many ways. Now, it’s seeing a resurgence of attention and popularity here in the states after departing our shores in the 1990s. It’s boxy, simplistic, exceptionally good off-road, and the drivetrain itself is reasonably reliable. Depending on the version you’re looking for, they can be had for well under $30,000 with a soft top, 2-doors, and a torque-heavy diesel motor. Line up a Defender next to a Jeep of similar condition and the Land Rover will command all the attention.
It’s hard to imagine another vehicle that’s seemingly never had a bad generation in the eye of public opinion. The fourth generation of the Toyota 4Runner is perhaps the least desirable of the bunch, but it’s still a capable vehicle off-road while providing more comfort on the road. In addition, if you’ve been frustrated at the lack of available power in the Wrangler until now, it’s nice to know that this Jeep alternative is available with a powerful 4.7L V8 engine. The first three generations are less cushy, but still wildly capable and notably reliable in a way most SUVs can only dream of. If you’re all about getting that utilitarian 2-door vibe of the Wrangler, look into the 1st or 2nd generation 4Runners as both are sure to become collectibles.
While the Xterra was never available with just 2 doors, it’s capable of excelling on the road, a factor we haven’t really focused on just yet for a Jeep alternative. With four doors and additional space behind those rear seats, this Nissan can shuttle you and 3 of your best friends almost anywhere. It’s also incredibly capable when the road runs out. With skid plates, a roof rack, roof-mounted lighting, and a locking rear differential it’s not just another mall-cruiser.
The Rodeo is an often overlooked SUV that’s simply outstanding. This Isuzu is ridiculously reliable, handsome looking, comfortable, and features some of the best off-road bones of any vehicle on this list. The fully boxed frame is something that even Jeep can’t compare to. Older models can be a bit simple inside but that’s great for someone who prefers fewer things that could break. If you want to get serious about going off-road it’s actually free to lift the suspension up to 4” inches simply by making some adjustments under the SUV.
For everyone out there dying for the new Bronco, here’s a much more unique yet similarly styled vehicle. The Scout is the perfect vehicle for anyone who wants a blend of classic, off-road, and on-road capability in their Jeep alternative. It’s not going to dominate either driving surface, but it’s a pleasure to pilot, is far more stylish, and much classier than anything else from the time period. While the Jeep absolutely helped enable Americans off-roading adventures, it’s easy to forget that the Scout did quite a bit of heavy lifting too.
Hear us out on this one. If you don’t remember the VehiCROSS, that’s ok. It’s a very strange vehicle, to say the least, but it fits this Jeep alternative demographic perfectly. While it might lack the removable panels of the Wrangler, it’s only got two-doors, it’s super capable off-road, and it’s super unique. We mean that too, only 4,153 of them were sold. So, on average you should see about four Ferrari 360s for every 1 VehiCROSS you spot on the road.
Want the same classic good looks and styling of the Scout but prefer a car from Japan that still has a modern-day iteration? Consider the Land Cruiser 40. Today it’s branched into both the FJ (discontinued) and the Land Cruiser line. That makes the 40 a collectible and its off-road prowess only adds to the legend. It does have a sparse interior but it’s an outstanding vehicle that can be subtly modernized if that’s what you prefer.
Perhaps the only Jeep alternative on this list with an aftermarket as gigantic as the Wrangler, the Suzuki Samurai is about as utilitarian as it gets. If your goal is simply to get further down the trail than anyone else can go, the Samurai can do it. The best part is that they’re super reliable, so you’ll be sure to get back out of that trail too. The small footprint means that it has go-kart-like handling on-road and exceptional maneuverability off-road. It has one main ability and it’s outstanding at it.
If there’s anything that’s more capable than a Jeep it’s got to be a military-spec Humvee. These are available in all sorts of different configurations and conditions for less than a new Jeep and frankly, is there any cooler SUV? These AM General Hummers get Lamborghini-like attention anywhere they go. Just be sure to avoid the diesel-powered models after 1996 and before 2001. They all have a fatal flaw that requires the engine to be replaced. Nevertheless, when you avoid that issue, these are the king of the hill in more ways than one.