My first Jeep was a 1998 Cherokee Sport (bought used). LOVED IT. Kept it for 75K, but opted to sell it, because it was automatic, and I prefer standard.
My current Jeep is a 2002 Jeep Liberty. It's manual, and I took it just a couple of weeks ago cross country to Utah to offroad with it on trails in Arches NP and Canyonlands, among other things. It did wonderfully. I've had it for almost 4 years, and mileage is at around 160K. It's a bit girlie for me (I'm a 40ish gal surrounded by "menfolk" in my family, so I'm used to being a bit tomboyish). Also, I miss the boxiness and ruggedness of the CS.
I'd go back to the Cherokee, but I'd rather have a newer Jeep to adopt for long term. Jeep folks are right...I can't go back to anything else. My goal is to use is regularly for 5 years, then start hitting the Quadratec book, and turn it into a lifted off-road toy for the weekends.
I know I want a standard transmission, 4WD(trail rated), 4 doors, air, a hard top (sorry boys, and gals tougher than me!), and a price between $12 & $17K. The newer the better. The fewer miles the better. I don't mind interior toys at all...many or few.
Not sure if I can get a 4DWrangler with those specs, but maybe a Commander? Is there an option that I'm overlooking?
Please include year in suggestion(s)? I'd like to do some research before showing suggestions to hubby and the boys. (They don't know that I'm ready to move on from the girlie Jeep yet).
Thanks sooo much...