Jeeps can be a lot of fun, but off-road purists have been complaining for a long time that Wranglers are porky compared to what they consider to be “real” Jeeps. While we doubt a vehicle that’s closer to the vehicle that helped win WWII will be produced for road use, let alone trail duty, anytime soon, the next best thing might be a mini jeep.
To be clear, these mini jeeps aren’t made by Jeep or Stellantis, the multinational company which now owns the Jeep brand. But these little off-roaders are far cheaper than a Jeep and most other rigs, with quite a few options at under $3,000. In other words, these let you have some fun without breaking the bank.
Just keep in mind these mini jeeps aren’t exactly the most stable thing on four wheels, so you might break your neck. This is why we’re calling these little off-roaders an “excellent bad idea” because they look fun and dangerous as hell.
A great example of what we’re talking about comes via YouTubers MisAdventure Lab. These guys took two mini jeeps out into the southern Utah desert to test out before going on a more serious trip to Moab. Just don’t expect them to be climbing Metal Masher anytime.
They had trouble with the clutch on hill climbs. Also, one of the mini jeeps had tire inflation problems possibly because they slipped the bead from running lower pressure. So beadlock rims might be in order with these.
But the scariest part was how uneven the weight distribution is and how that affects crawling over obstacles. These mini jeeps seem easy to flip if you’re not careful and there’s no roll cage.
There are many brands of mini jeeps out there, so we can’t say how all of them perform. But another YouTuber, TylerTube, bought one he summed up in two words: death trap. His had steering issues and overall pretty shoddy construction. Yet the guy could still drive it around the woods and have some fun while putting his life at risk.
So to be clear, we’re not telling anyone to buy or drive a mini jeep since they look super dangerous. But they also look super fun.
Images via Facebook, YouTube