First off, I've never owned a wrangler, but have wanted one for 20 years. Looking for:
full hard doors
Use: as a second vehicle to cruise around with on the streets, *maybe* a little light off-roading. I've heard that 4 cylinders (the SEs) just do not have the power one would want. As a second vehicle, non-speedy, lady driver, but one who wants the capability to handle just about any condition, is it worth saving the money at the sacrifice of the power? As for many, money is tight and getting one at all would be a splurge. All the ones I have seen that are in the right price ranges are 4.0s. Thanks.
In my few months doing some research, the 4.0 6 cylinder is the engine of choice. The 2.5 is not a powerful engine, and therefore keeps your rpms up and your mileage down. That said, I don't think the 4.0 is much better fuel wise, however, it can get out of its own way...
The 2.5l gets better gas mileage. Read any of the MPG threads on this forum, people with the 2.5l engines are consistantly the ones getting 2-3 mpg more then those with the 4.0.
For cruising around town, and light highway traveling, the my 2.5l does fine. In terms of offroad, neither is better then the other, you wont miss the power at all. Though the 2.5l again gets slightly better gas mileage even offroad.
It has weak acceleration, but people seem to overplay this aspect of it. It does fine merging onto highways if you know how to drive at all.
the greatest benefit to getting a 2.5l, however, is you can consistently find them 2k$-3k$ less then 4.0l's with similar years and mileage.
Ahhh, the classic 4 vrs. 6 debate... its never ending.
I own a 4-cyl, and although Id like a 6-cyl, in this part of the country, they are twice as much...
With that being said, I love my 4-cyl. If you are only using it for weekend wheeling around town, Id say go with the 4-cyl, you will spend SIGNIFIGANTLY less than a 6-cyl, especially if this is a "splurge" purchase. Its really not THAT bad...
4-cyl come with factory 4.10 gearing... most 6-cyl come with a 3.73 or higher gear ratio, unless you get a Rubicon... so IMO, youll get similar performance between the two engines unless you regear...
Well actually from searching the mileage difference is less than 1 mpg, and once you go to larger tires like for off roading that 1mpg you get better is now worse than the 6cyl with the same tires. A 6cyl is worth the wait. Especially considering the price difference is only a thousand or two more, for around town a 4cyl will be fine, but if you go the hwy you will regret the 4cyl. Off road it doesn't make much difference.
2003 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon
4.0L, 42RLE, Dual Tops, Full Doors, JKS Front Disconnects, Cragar Soft 8 Black Wheels, 33x12.5x15 Goodyear Duratracs, .75" Front Coil Spacers, Bushwacker 6" Flat Fender Flares, Skid Row Steering Box Skid, LubeLockers, Rubicon Locker Mod, OBA, Cobra 19 Ultra III CB, 3' Firestik, Rough Country 2.2 Steering Stabilizer, RC 1.25" BL, RC 1" MML, RC Grab Handles, Fog Lamp Bent Pin Mod, 4" Apline S Series Speakers, Kenwood Excelon 6.5" Speakers, 6.5" JL Audio 6W3V3 Subwoofer (in center console) w/MTX Thunder 202 amp, IPF H4 Headlight Housing, Sliverstar H4 bulbs.
I would narrow my search a little more to 2000-2004 Wrsngler 6 cylinder. Most all in these years came with the burly NV3550 transmission. It has a lower first gear ratio and higher torque rating than the ax 15 transmission. The 4 cylinder wranglers would not have been so bad if they came with a factory ax 15 behind them, but they don't. They all come factory with the ever problematic ax 5.