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It has a stiff ride, offers about the same noise isolation as a motorcycle and has a soft top that's a nail-buster to operate. That said, the 2000 Jeep Wrangler also offers a visceral motoring experience like no other and the off-road ability of a mountain goat.
Cheap, fun to drive, go-anywhere capability.
Interior noise with soft top, difficult to operate soft top.
Available Wrangler SUV Models
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A reengineered 4.0-liter PowerTech inline six-cylinder that is more refined and quiet, with reduced emissions, is standard for Sport and Sahara for 2000. Shift quality kicks up a notch, thanks to an all-new five-speed manual transmission. A radio/cassette combo with four speakers is now standard for the Sport, and the Sahara gains a radio/CD. Solar Yellow, Patriot Blue and Silverstone are additional exterior colors.
The Wrangler continues to be the off-road icon, even unmodified. The Jeep began as a vehicle for military use and has retained its Spartan utility while slowly evolving into a practical and popular means of transportation. The Wrangler has never lost its drive-me-hard-through-the-slop origins, despite its improvements for enjoyable daily commuting. And it's one of the cheapest convertibles around.
Available in SE, Sport and Sahara trim levels, the Wrangler fits into several budgets. Our favorite model is the Sport, with a gutsy 4.0-liter inline six engine that has allegedly been cured this year of one of our chief complaints, its noise. It can be hooked to either the standard five-speed manual or a three-speed automatic transmission. The SE is for people who don't mind a lack of power (a 2.5-liter is all she wrote at this level) and four-wheel ABS. The Sahara is the priciest of the batch, and while it gets you the same 4.0-liter offering as the Sport, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, front and rear tow hooks, the Convenience Group (with lockable storage and dual cupholders), and the Heavy-Duty Electrical Group are among its as official features.
Nobody, however, will mistake the Wrangler for a smooth-running family sedan; it's very much a truck, thanks to its high step-in height and abundant wind and road noise, particularly with the soft top. On the street, its petite size and tight turning radius make it a blast to maneuver, but it can get a little scary to drive and control at freeway speeds in severely high winds.
Its performance off-road is unmatchable. The Wrangler's Quadra-Coil suspension allows an additional 7 inches of articulation over the old leaf-spring setup, thus resulting in increased approach and departure angles. And the abundance of aftermarket parts to modify the Wrangler make it enormously popular with the rock-crawling crowd.
The Wrangler does have its quirks--rear visibility can be a challenge, and taking off and putting on the soft top aren't exactly going to be quick. And once it's on, be prepared for the flapping. Yet we're willing to look away from those flaws since Wrangler is fun to drive, cheap, and a terrific multipurpose tool.
Laura's old car was costing her a small fortune every month for gas and repairs. She didn't even want to drive her kids to the park any more. But buying a new Kia Soul changed all that.