From a capability standpoint, the JK is the best. Best A/D angles, strongest components, most power, most comfort, ect.
EDIT: And the Pentastar, in fact, does have more torque than the 4.0L. The HP/TQ ratio isn't as good, and the TQ/Weight is slightly worse, but they're all very close.
The TJ is probably the easiest to work on and the best supported aftermarket.
The YJ gets you the most Jeep for your buck.
"Buying a Jeep for on-road handling is like downloading porn to savor the cinematography."
Are you meaning "at any price"? Or "most bang for the buck"?
Well, the older the rig, the less it can be had for, generally. Leaving a larger budget for building up.
For a "strictly trail" rig, this often works out best for TJs an YJs.
If you are going for a weekend-warrior/daily-driver, I'd lean more to a TJ if your budget isnt too tight.
Only recently have the JKs been low enough for me to consider them. A lot of aftermarket parts are available for them. But the "buy in" is pretty high.
A YJ, TJ, JK are the exact same off road, you could build a YJ, TJ, and 2 door JK and they will all do the same thing to the same capacity. The YJ will need to have the most stuff done to it but it is also the cheapest and easiest to mod, a JK will need to have the least amount of stuff done to it but it is the most expensive and hardest to mod, the TJ is kind of the middle ground with the Rubicon.
On road it comes down to what you like/want. I have never driven a JK so I can't comment on that. The two TJ's I have driven I did not like, one of them had really bad body roll/nose dive, the other one felt like the back end was not connected to the Jeep when you went over bumps in the road. These were both stock Jeeps at a big car dealership. The YJ will ride a lot ruffer then a TJ but I think it feels more solid when you drive it.
The main choice is square vs round and metal vs plastic.
The 4 door JK is not a comparison to the YJ or TJ so I left it out.
For soccer practice pick up? JK all the way! Also good for a $10 cup of Starbucks run or maybe a quick trip to the nail salon. JK (I mean Just Kidding) I owned a C101 Commando that had a V6 plucked from a family sedan. The JKs are growing on me, I'll probably buy one a few years after they quit making them.
Rain coat on, waiting for the S#!+ storm to start
BTW I've had a bunch, from a 48 CJ2A through my new/used TJ, they just keep getting better, but different!