I just replaced my 2003 Jeep Liberty for a 97 Sahara and I don't regret it. I enjoy driving a little more and can't wait to find where to store its hardtop so that I can enjoy its soft top and go topless on weekends to enjoy Puerto Rico's year-around tropical weather. I am considering a 4" lift and some 33s, but I fear affecting the MPGs too much. I might just get some traction tires for the Rubicon 16" rims it has now add a header, a KN intake and call it Christmas. Other than that just some TLC a nice carpet and catch me if you can.
Better fuel economy on the 4.0L than the 3.8L Liberty. That "Wanna get fresh" (being topless and dirty) personality that it has. Just like I like my women. :D
I don't know enough about mechanics to suggest. I did consider an eight cylinder CJ-7 before this one. Maybe a little more punch under the hood would be nice.
I had always wanted a Wrangler and when I got one I was more than pleased. I was a little nervous to get one with all the problems I had heard about with the Cherokees, but, now that I have a Wrangler, I will never go back to another vehicle. I live in Alaska and the Jeep works great on and off the road. Heat is great even at - 40F, fuel economy is alright, very fun to drive. No problems so far even after I got in an accident. The only damage I had was a dented bumper. Other vehicle could not say the same. The only things I could complain about would be a better stereo package (hard to hear with the top down) and the amount of rust on the underside. Overall, an awesome reliable vehicle
Reliability, fun to drive, looks, handling, 4WD of course, quality of the vehicle, on the fly 4WD shift, towing capabilities.
The rust on the underside can be taken care of yourself, bumpers fade but you can paint, better speakers so that you don't have to crank the volume full blast to hear the music with the top down.
I bought this Jeep after graduating about 8 years ago. The TJ was only 2 years old with 20K on it. I had to get a few minor recalls taken car of first (water leak on passenger footwell) but since then it has been rock solid. It now has 95000K and still runs like the day I got it. Even the suspension has held up the same. My only complaint is the paint quality and rust problems. I live in Canada and snow and salt really are not it's friends. Have to undercoat it every year or it will rust. Will probably last me long enough to give to my kids, or if I break down to buy a new Wrangler.
Looks, driving with the top down. Going to the beach. Off-roading. Nimble size in traffic, and visibility.
Power, fuel economy, seats aren't very comfortable. Paint and rust protection. Could change most of that yourself.
I think the Sahara is great. Took a few times driving to get used to it and appreciate it. The inline 6 has plenty of power. Hard top is great for the winter, soft top fun in the summer, especially when down. Handles good, but you do have to be cautious in bad conditions, like any vehicle. Great in the snow. No mechanical problems.
I love the fact I can do a u-turn anywhere. Super fun to have the top down. Shift on the fly 4-wheel drive.
Add rear disk brakes. Make the top easier to put up and down.