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Looking for new car- Subaru Outback or Jeep Wrangler?

We’re in the market for a new car. My husband and I are considering a Subaru Outback (4 or 6 cyl) and a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. He is the primary driver and commutes about 40 miles each day. We need AWD or 4WD because regardless of weather, I am expected to show up at work (and may have to borrow his car).

We also will need the vehicle for outdoor trips, running errands to the hardware shop, and the occasional off-roading weekend.

Safety and reliability are also important. We like that both will be good for our future family but still lots of fun to drive.

Any advice for the daily commuter and frequent outdoor explorer?

Your checkbook will thank you for buying the Subaru instead of the Jeep.

About two years ago I test drove the 4 door Wrangler Unlimited with all the bells and whistles. My 8 year Blazer with 100k miles was quieter and had a nicer ride. I still thought the Wrangler was pretty cool though.

For everyday driving the Sube is probably a better choice. Take both on an extended test drive though.

Ed B.

If you or your husband will be driving on paved roads most of the time, go for the Subaru. The Jeep is great off-road, but not on-road. Rent a Jeep when you want to go off-road on weekends and buy the Subaru to drive every day.

Your choice here largely depends on what you can put up with on a daily basis. The Outback will be very easy to live with on a daily basis and should be pretty good for light off-road detail. The Wrangler is a brutal, archaic vehicle with rather poor driving manners, but is pretty well unstoppable off-road. There are also a boatload of aftermarket parts if you want to go really far off-road. The Wrangler does not make a good commuter vehicle. It is loud, brutal, and will drink a surprising amount of fuel for a vehicle its size, but if you really want to go off-road, it can’t be beat. However, the Outback will likely be better in the snow, especially if you get a set of snow tires for winter use.

If those are te only choices, forget the Jeep.

Funny, I have one each; a Subaru and a Wrangler. The Wrangler is great off-road and fine for short trips around town. It sucks on the highway, though and I expect you’ll get a bit tired of it after a few of those 40-mile commutes. In fact, I bought the Subaru specifically for road trips because I hate driving the Wrangler long distances.

Unless you plan on driving cross country, literally where there are no roads, the Wrangler is woefully inadequate for on road use compared to a much safer, more reliable and more economical Subaru.

The ONLY thing for your intended use that the Jeep has going for it on road, is the “look at me” factor. A Subaru with winter tires is one of the very best options you will ever consider for on road and rough road winter travel, bar none. If you truly do go off road, then consider a 4 Runner or Pathfinder for an SUV…be prepared to pay at the pump for any off road vehicle. If it’s “bad road” instead, an Outback is fine. You really have to be more specific about what Off road means to you.

Your cheapest option for all round use and true off road capability with camping in mind as well as commuting is a Tacoma or Frontier crew cab PU. Again, higher fuel costs compared to a car.

The Wrangler is really a poor choice for highway commuting. Poor handling, rough ride and lousy mpg are reasons why I say that. The Outback is fine for the highway, but not much for off road. If you are talking dirt roads, OK. But if off road is paths in the woods and unimproved trails the outback isn’t a good choice.

Before you make a decision look at a new Ford Explorer. The new one gets pretty good mpg, should be good for commuting and more room than either other option for family and hauling stuff from Home Depot. Not great for off road, but at least as good as the Outback.

Definitely get the Subaru, you won’t be disappointed. Have you looked at the Forester as well? It seems like you don’t really need the extra space, specially if you were willing to get a Wrangler.