Deals are returning to the used car marketplace, but it still takes expertise and personal stance to call good buy or goodbye. Case in point? This 2006 Jeep Wrangler recently sold on Cars & Bids for $12,100 with just 12,700 miles on the clock. It’s a manual, it has half-doors, and it’s even blue. It should be a great deal, except our David Tracy thinks otherwise, and for one main reason.
The TJ Wrangler was a big deal for Jeep fans. Hell, it still is. To anyone who hated the rectangular lights of the YJ, this was a return to form, with round lamps up front masking a significant technological change underneath. Instead of the fairly agricultural YJ’s leaf springs, the TJ learned a thing or two from the ZJ Grand Cherokee and sported coil springs at all four corners for improved ride comfort. Best of all, the TJ was still quite small, especially when compared to its JK successor. As such, these things are at home in the city and on the trails.
On the face of things, this certainly isn’t the most pristine TJ out there, having seen its fair share of scratches. The seller claims it was a working ranch vehicle for the first few years of its life, so short distances but hard miles. However, TJs are built to be beaten-on, and this one’s lived its entire life in California. Rust is an absolute kiss of death for these things, so for this thing’s frame to look properly nice is a huge win.
In addition, this TJ Wrangler is tastefully specced, with half-doors, Midnight Blue paint, and cloth seats. Sure, it doesn’t have air conditioning, but that just means fewer parts to break.
So what might be the hang-up on this particular Jeep TJ Wrangler? Well, it’s a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine (it’s shared with a number of Chrysler products, including the Chrysler PT Cruiser. In the Wrangler, the engine replaced the AMC 2.5, which was related to the legendary 4.0 offered as the top engine during the TJ’s entire production run) that is best described as beach-grade. We’re talking about 147 horsepower and 165 lb.-ft. of torque, figures that are probably capable of technically moving an entire Jeep. Tilting the scale back a bit, this TJ has a six-speed manual transmission, which sounds infinitely less sucky than an automatic.
Now, David Tracy has a very firm opinion on four-cylinder TJs, which goes as follows:
Admittedly, those aren’t the exact words he used the first time around, but the initial reaction probably isn’t fit to print.
However, most Jeeps don’t see trails, and I’d argue that the best Jeep is always the one that best fits your use case. To an urbanite, the reality of a TJ is that visibility is fantastic, parking is a cinch, and going top-down and doors-off in the summer is an absolute blast. If you’re looking for a city Jeep, I reckon you could do a whole lot worse than this low-mileage four-cylinder TJ for $12,100, scratches and all. Sure, you trade a lot of torque for an extra tbree MPG city, but when you’re talking about a vehicle that gets shitty fuel economy, three MPG is a lot. Plus, unlike a Mini Cooper S convertible, this thing will run happily on 87 octane.
So, what do you say? Does this low-mileage four-cylinder TJ Wrangler have you running for the hills, or would you entertain something like this as a city Jeep? As ever, sound off in the comments below.
(Photo credits: Cars & Bids)
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