Living That Jeep Life in a Used Wrangler
The Jeep Wrangler has become the ultimate expression of off-roading freedom globally, a freedom that South Africans have also fallen in love with.
The Jeep Wrangler, in particular, the third generation JK has become one of the most common modern Jeeps on our roads and it’s not unusual to see people from all and any walks of life behind the wheel of a Wrangler, be they fashionistas or Indiana Jones style, adventurers.
This popularity has meant that the used market is filled with JK Wranglers, but is it the car for you? Well, that's what we are looking to find out!
The JK Wrangler was offered in two body styles with two roof options, a three-door short wheelbase and the Unlimited five-door long wheelbase, and both were available with a folding stoptop or removal hardtop.
For the family types out there, I would recommend the five-door long wheelbase option because it offers easier access to the rear seats, more space and a larger boot. If you are single, then the short wheelbase option is the one to go for. In my personal opinion, it looks better but you do lose out on rear leg space and the boot is smaller, hence I wouldn’t suggest it for families.
When it comes to the roof options, there are far fewer softtop variants on the market and that speaks volumes about the practicality of the hardtop equipped models. The hardtop offers better security and you can remove sections of it when you want to enjoy the weather, but you must leave those sections at home.
The softtop is my personal favourite as it gives you that real “cruising in California” feel that the Wrangler is all about, but it is not that practical from a security point of the view. The soft top does give you the convenience of folding it down when the weather is good and you don’t need to leave it at home, essential if the weather takes a turn for worse.
The Engine Options
Before we delve into engine options, let me first get a hard truth out of the way; no matter which engine option you choose, the Wrangler is heavy on fuel, just accept it.
Now that we got that out of the way, let’s check out the engine options. The first petrol-powered JK Wranglers, the 2007 to 2011 spec models, were offered with a 3.8 V6 which produces 151kW and 321Nm. In 2012, the Wrangler was offered with a 3.6L Pentastar V6 which produces 285kW and 352Nm of torque.
The diesel option is a 2.8 CRD turbo diesel that produces 132kW and 409Nm of torque. Which one you prefer comes down to preference, with most off-road enthusiasts preferring the diesel.
Both motors were offered with either an automatic or manual transmission. For the sake of convenience, I would always suggest an automatic but again, this will come down to your preference.
Modified or Not?
Usually, I would never suggest buying a modified car; if you wish to modify a car, buy a stock standard example and modify it yourself.
When it comes to the Jeep Wrangler, however, throw that out of the window. With the Jeep Wrangler being such a popular off-road vehicle, tons of owners have equipped their cars with really desirable (and expensive) accessories like steel bumpers, lift kits, winches, snorkels and big off-road wheels, and naturally, they are not always able to recoup the money spent on modifications. This may be upsetting for sellers but it's gold for buyers. So, keep a look out for cars equipped with desirable accessories but make sure that quality components have been used and try to find out who installed them.
Given that Wranglers are so popular, it comes as no surprise that they have held their value extremely well. That is why it comes as no surprise that you can expect to pay R500,000 for late model JK while earlier models can be had from R270,000 depending on mileage and specification.
This may seem high, but let’s not forget that prices for a brand-new Wrangler start at R949,900 and you don’t get a diesel option.
Should I Buy One?
Do I even need to answer that question? If you don’t mind putting up with the high fuel bill and the bakkie-like ride, then getting a Wrangler is a no-brainer.
A used Wrangler is probably the most fun off-road car on the market, you can take off the roof, take off the doors, kit it out, explore the city, transverse the wilderness or simply go to work in it. If you are at the means, I would never tell anyone to forgo an opportunity to get their hands on a used Jeep Wrangler; trust me, you’ll love it.
Ready for adventure? Well, a Jeep Wrangler is waiting for you in the ClickaCar Virtual showroom.