Depends on where you live. Here in the mountains they’re not “chick vehicles”. There aren’t very many true off-road vehicles any more. And it’s hard to beat a wrangler for stock off-road performance at a reasonable price.
I’d say buy the jeep IF you truly enjoy taking back roads and trails that lead, well, wherever they lead. Even a stock Wrangler X will get you into and safely out of places even full-size 4x4 trucks cannot go because of their long wheel base. Stock, unmodified Wrangler Rubicons are put through the ordeal of the Rubicon Trail each year just to prove they live up to their name. The Rubicon has much stronger axeles, a lower gear ration for crawling over difficult terrain, and electronic axle locks to keep all four wheels turning even if one if off of the ground. Even if you off road conservatively, as I do, you will get into situations where the extra features on the Rubicon are more than worth the extra money.
IF, however, you only want to look cool around town or just feel the breeze, get a sports car instead. The Wrangler is about the last car I would choose to be a daily driver for urban commuting or for taking long highway trips. Because of it’s stiff ride, solid axles, and spartan attention to comfort the Car Talk brothers describe it as a “conestoga wagon with a windsheld”. While acknoledging the Wrangler’s offroad capabilities, they don’t exactly recommend it as a safe or comfortable vehicle.
That said, if you still want the Wrangler, GO FOR IT. As stated in previous posts, the Wrangler is known to be in the shop a lot because people drive them way too fast over bumps, rocks, and gullies on the trail. To some, off roading seems to be a test of how fast they can cover rough ground. But you drive carefully, however, the Wrangler comes back home in the same shape it was when you pulled out of the driveway. In the past two years, I have logged over 1500 miles on rough trails in New Mexico and West Texas and never once had any trail damage.
I’ll just conclude by saying that if you do enjoy getting into the wild, the 2-door Wrangler is the best choice in my opinion, and, to counter a little of the negatives I mentioned about using it as a daily driver, the new JK models are a whole world better than the early 2000 models that Tom and Ray compared to a wagon. My 2007 Rubicon is wonderfully comfortable to drive around town and even on the highway at 70 mph.
Personally, if I could not blow off stress driving through a mountain range and being out in the wild with the coyotes and hawks I think I would go nuts. I also like the fact that the vehicle is going to take me where I need to be despite rain, snow, mud, or whatever I am likely to encounter in extreme weather. While I’m the first to admit it’s not for everyone, I wouldn’t drive anything else.
I’m female and drive a lifted black Saharah, and I like the shift configuration, but hate the gas mileage (the huge tires don’t help, and they’re expensive). Sarah (my Jeep) feels durable, but we’ve only had her about 11 months. We live in the U.P. (the pretty bit of Michigan over Wisconsin, and nearer Canada than a lot of the U.S.).
Like a few people have mentioned, they’re best at doing what they’re made for, and not for being a sports car… She drives well, but eats gas. However, I feel that she’s easiest standard/stick shift vehicle I’ve ever driven, and I LOVE the visibility of having real sized windows everywhere. I wish I had the money for a hard top, because the soft top is noisy and I’m afraid the snow will make it sag. It’s also bad for the vinyl or whatever window to use an ice scraper, so having glass windows would be lovely in the winter! Good luck.