There has been a lot of buzz on the difference between an SUV and a Jeep. In fact, it has led to serious debate and arguments.  Is a jeep an SUV? And what type of car is a jeep considered?

The truth is, a Jeep isn’t an SUV as people often consider it to be!

A Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) is a type of vehicle that can be used for a variety of purposes, while a Jeep is a brand name for a type of American automobile.

While that may be a short answer to the question “what is the difference between an SUV and Jeep“, a lot of folks are still unable to distinguish between Jeeps and SUVs?

In this article, we’ll answer this questions and tell you why a Jeep is considered an SUV

Here’s a caption from a national advertising campaign and apparently, Jeep wants us to believe that “…Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) was invented because they can’t call it Jeep.”

Anyone who’s read tales from WWII would definitely agree with that brilliant marketing caption. But should we all?

What type of car is a jeep considered?

What is an SUV?

SUVs are more popular than they’ve ever been. They’re a large, family-friendly, and versatile type of multipurpose automobile with characteristics of light to a medium truck but come with plenty of room, comfort, and the ability to go practically anyplace. If you still get confused about what they are, then you should read this great writeup that explains what an SUV stands for

Why an SUV is called an SUV?

Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) have a boxier body style, a higher ride height, and more ground clearance than a large saloon or family hatchback, and their shape makes them instantly identifiable. If you’re searching for a vehicle that you can use for both everyday commutes and weekend road trips, this is the vehicle for you.

SUVs can be driven on a variety of surfaces, including grass, sand, gravel, ice, dirt, and snow.  And the best part is that you can transport an entire medium family of 7-8 people or all of your friends without looking like a refugee in a little truck or local minibus.

If you want all of these features but in a more compact, city-street-friendly package, most manufacturers have introduced what is known as ‘crossovers’ to their lineup. These have the attributes of both an SUV and a saloon but in a smaller package.

What is a Jeep?

Despite the fact that modern Jeeps share some qualities with the more tough SUVs on the market, a Jeep is a whole different beast than your regular SUV. Since the 1940s, Jeep has been a registered trademark and one of the most recognizable automobile brands.

What type of vehicle is a Jeep

Jeep has become synonymous with off-road, boxy automobiles. The word was used as early as World War I, as US Army slang for new uninitiated recruits, or by mechanics to refer to new unproven vehicles.

However, the vehicle brand name originated from the WW2 utility vehicle used by the United States Army and Marines. It was initially known as “GP” – General Purpose Vehicle but when spoken aloud sounds like “jeep”. Jeep is a simple name that attracts attention. Surprisingly, the cartoon character Eugene the Jeep from “Popeye” was a major inspiration for the name.

From time immemorial, this brand turns out as a generic term for rugged-off, boxy vehicles. And because of this reason, most people get confused between Jeeps and SUVs.

Let’s take a closer look at how Jeep became a household name. There’s a fascinating fact about this.

The first SUV

Jeep Cherokee is often regarded as the first modern SUV.

While the Willy’s Jeep Station Wagon, Jeep Utility Wagon, and Jeep Panel Delivery were the first mass-market 4WD station wagons designed and built as passenger vehicles. They were so successful and popular with both the military and civilian populace that they have been produced nearly nonstop since then.

With competition from the “big three” automakers pressing on Jeep’s four-wheel-drive market, Willys management determined that a new and more advanced vehicle for adventure driving, better off-road capabilities, and genuine “off the beaten track” exploration was required, and the Wagoneer was born.

Wagoneer was introduced in 1962 with power steering and automatic transmission, two features commonly found in modern cars.

What is the difference between an SUV and a Jeep?

In the modern-day understanding of what Sport Utility Vehicles are, all Jeeps are SUVs, but the vast majority of SUVs are not Jeeps.

The modern Jeep is very similar to its SUV contemporaries, and the next-generation Grand Cherokee undoubtedly follows up on the improvements found in top-end SUVs from companies like BMW and Porsche. Depending on the trim, the Grand Cherokee blends substantial off-road prowess with near-luxury.

On the road, both Jeeps and SUVs are capable, but it’s off-road where the distinctions are most noticeable. SUVs, especially ones that advertise themselves as off-roaders, rarely offer the quick handling and sure-footedness of Jeep. Many Jeeps, especially when modified, are extremely capable vehicles for traversing rough country off-road, and excel in rock climbing, and “mudding” with the right tires.

Jeep suv in mud

You will notice, SUVs have a bulky, sporty look as their wheels are comparatively larger and have higher clearance to provide better visibility. They are sort of rugged like jeeps but, their modern and sporty appearance makes them stand out.

For people wondering what type of car is a jeep wrangler? The iconic Wrangler is a Utility Vehicle – a descendant of the original U.S. World War 2 General Purpose light vehicle. It has a body on frame design that makes it look like a truck.

Is SUV the Same as 4×4?

4WD and SUV are not the same things! You’d if this if you know what 4×4 means.

As mentioned earlier, SUV is a category of a car while 4×4 on the other hand refers to the type of drivetrain on the SUV. Depending on the type of drivetrain, drive and torque will be delivered to certain wheels on the vehicle.

The drivetrain is frequently preferred by people who want to save money on gas. And you can get away with a two-wheel-drive Jeep as long as you don’t take it off-road. In the city, a larger SUV might be preferable. If you’re out shopping, you’d have to choose one of the available drive trains – It’s crucial you know the difference between 4×4 and 4×2.

Is a Jeep an SUV?

Before the brand Jeep was established, it was just a general term that indicates the first models of Willys MB and Ford GPW. But since Jeeps are so popular, other companies created models that are identical to the Ford-Willys version. It’s no surprise that folks are perplexed. They automatically refer to automobiles like the Land Rover as Jeeps.

SUVs offer two different experiences with 4WD and 2WD models while on the other hand, Jeep is renowned for its ability to continually produce excellent 4x4s, SUVs, and off-roading vehicles.

Do All Jeeps Have 4-Wheel?

Jeeps can do well on some of the worst roads on earth; like other SUVs, they’re often 4WD, though it’s not always the case – some Jeeps are RWD, and some FWD

Many Jeep models have 2WD, and a handful has four-wheel drive (4WD). Both of these systems work in a variety of weather and road situations, but they have notable distinctions.

What Is the Difference Between SUV and Crossover?

This comparison is quite popular, however, understanding the differences between SUVs and crossovers, as opposed to comparing SUVs to Jeeps, is more beneficial. They’re so dissimilar, yet so similar at the same time.

Put simply, a crossover is a smaller and lighter type of SUV, and it is constructed on a car basis rather than a truck chassis. Crossovers get their name for crossing the best traits of a car (convenience and efficiency) with the best traits of an SUV (versatility and practicality).

Despite being smaller than SUVs, crossovers are nonetheless more spacious than regular automobiles. They also come in a variety of sizes, so you may choose something smaller or larger if you want. The small variants are designed for small families, while the medium-sized vehicles often include three rows of seats.

Final Words

The intriguing question “is a Jeep an SUV” isn’t a hard nut to crack. The only little difference between an SUV and a Jeep you may find is their appearance.

Modern SUVs are cool, powerful, and have a more sophisticated urban appearance, whereas Jeeps offer the oomph you’ll need to enjoy off-roading,


About the Author

Larry Cruise


I know a lot about cars, man. I can look at any car's headlights and tell you exactly which way it's coming.

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