Jeep Wrangler (1997-2007)

Looked at in purely objective terms, few people in their right minds would buy a Jeep Wrangler - not unless they're closely related to the Marquis de Sade anyway. However, if you're looking for a go-anywhere workhorse that will be used more off the road than on it, the Wrangler could be just the ticket. Just be very careful that the previous owner hasn't worn the thing out.

Key Dates

3/97: Wrangler TJ supersedes the previous YJ edition, with a choice of 2.5 (4-cylinder) or 4.0-litre (6-cylinder) engines.

7/00: Instruments and seats are redesigned.

2/01: 60th Anniversary special edition debuts.

6/02: The Grizzly limited edition arrives.

7/03: The Sport TR2 special edition appears.

2/04: The Extreme Sport limited edtion joins the range.

7/05: The Renegade special edition reaches showrooms.

12/05: Jamboree and Summer limited editions arrive.

Jeep Wrangler (1997-2007) Checklist

  • Damage from off-roading is the most common problem; watch for floorpans that have been bashed about, seriously uneven panel gaps and wrecked paint.
  • Also watch out for suspension that's been damaged or is worn out; pay close attention to the axle swivel joints.
  • Check for oil leaks from the engine and transmission; they're costly to sort.
  • If used for off roading, there's a good chance the clutch will have taken some serious abuse; check it's not slipping.
  • Make sure the brakes are okay; feel for juddering (warped discs) and check for fade, signifying they've worn out.

We Like

  • Go anywhere ability
  • Tough

We Don't Like

  • Unrefined
  • No diesels
  • Rubbish handling