Used Jeep Wrangler 4x4 1997 - 2007 review

Category: Large SUV

It has a rough and ready charm, but it's too compromised for mostly on-road use

Used Jeep Wrangler 4x4 1997 - 2007
  • Used Jeep Wrangler 4x4 1997 - 2007
  • Used Jeep Wrangler 4x4 1997 - 2007
Used Jeep Wrangler 4x4 1997 - 2007 review
Star rating

What's the used Jeep Wrangler 4x4 like?

If you've ever seen one of the classic Willys Jeeps in action in a war movie, you've already got a pretty good idea of what the Wrangler is like. It's rough, tough and something of a design icon nowadays.

It's an off-roader - and a capable one at that. So, if you want a real off-road workhorse, this will suit you down to the (muddy) ground. However, if you want a road car, you'll have to be prepared to put up with a jittery ride, plenty of body roll and precious little in the way of refinement.


It has a rough and ready charm, but it's too compromised for mostly on-road use

  • A design icon, and superb off the road
  • It's uncomfortable, unrefined and tricky in the wet

Inside, too, it's obvious that the Wrangler is a workhorse. The interior is spartan, to say the least, and wipe-clean. There's good space front and rear, although it's tricky getting into the back, and the boot is tiny.

Ownership cost

What used Jeep Wrangler 4x4 will I get for my budget?

How much does it cost to run a Jeep Wrangler 4x4?

The Wrangler works out as a quite a cheap buy. Mind you, you could argue that you're not getting a lot of car for your money, so that's perhaps fair enough.

However, what's certain is that running a Wrangler demands deep pockets. Official figures show that even the 2.5-litre returns less than 25mpg on the combined cycle. The 4.0-litre is even worse, and you're unlikely to see much more than 20mpg from either engine in everyday driving.

Insurance will also be dear, with our favourite 4.0 Sport in group 14. A Land Rover Defender will be cheaper to fuel and insure, and cars like the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4, which are more road-biased, will be cheaper still.

Routine maintenance costs match those for larger cars, such as the Land Rover Discovery, which is not good.

Our recommendations

Which used Jeep Wrangler 4x4 should I buy?

There's very little choice in terms of engines in the Wrangler. The mainstay of the range has always been the 4.0-litre engine, but there was also a 2.5-litre unit. However, that was dropped in mid-2001, leaving the larger engine as the only choice. Still, that's no bad thing, as the six-cylinder 4.0-litre was always our favourite, giving the Wrangler an impressive turn of speed without drastically consuming more fuel.

Likewise, there's not much choice in terms of trim level. The 2.5 only ever came in Sport trim, and the 4.0-litre offered a simple choice between Sport and the more lavish (well, it had air-con) Sahara. However, given the Wrangler's back-to-basics nature, we'd stick with the Sport.

Perhaps a bigger question is whether to go for the hard- or soft-top. Going for the soft top does give you a decent wind-in-the-hair experience, but it's ludicrously difficult to remove and refit.


What alternatives should I consider to a used Jeep Wrangler 4x4?