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.