2005 Jeep Wrangler Review

Pros & Cons

  • Cheap, fun to drive, classic styling, go-anywhere capability.
  • Soft top a handful to manipulate, poor ergonomics, difficult ingress-egress, slow steering, bouncy suspension on the street, can't get ABS on the Unlimited.
List Price Range
$9,875 - $15,288

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Edmunds' Expert Review

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, but if you're dying for a cheap convertible or an off-roader that can go just about anywhere, it's hard to beat the 2005 Jeep Wrangler.

2005 Highlights

A Rubicon version of the Unlimited joins the lineup. All 2005 Jeep Wranglers get a new six-speed manual transmission to replace the old five-speed unit. The Sahara version of the Wrangler is dropped for 2005.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2005 Jeep Wrangler.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Fun to drive
bill pierce,05/26/2010
This is my first jeep, so I didn't know what to expect. Every chance I get the rag top and doors come off. The mileage is what was listed on the factory window sticker. I get 15 to 19 mpg with my jeep, and I do not baby it. With the 6 cyl engine it has all the power I need. I tow a small boat and also an 8 ft trailer on occasion. I tow it behind my motor home which is very convenient. I recently towed it to Big Bend where I spend 4 days of off roading. Performance was exactly what I expected. I would certainly buy another.
Great Used Jeep
Tinker,09/20/2010
Bought it used and I am loving everything about it. The only thing that I have had a problem with is the zipper with the back window coming off.
The Mud
ArmyDoc115,05/05/2010
I absolutely LOVE my Jeep! This is the 4th I've owned. The 1st was an 85 CJ. There is nothing like a Jeep. Period. They're absolutely a BLAST to drive, they look amazing, get attention everywhere, and the 4.0 6 cyl is unstoppable. If you're concerned about gas mileage, a Wrangler isn't for you. The fun factor and satisfaction of the Jeep is a worthwhile payoff in my book. I average 13 mpg, but I don't care because I LOVE my Jeep. I can haul my Harley in the trailer on the highway. Not fast, but I can do it! Road noise, loud top, stiff ride. So what! It's a Jeep, what do you expect? It's all part of the experience. Unlimited possibilities to customize it and make it YOUR Jeep.
Keeper
Bumski,05/05/2006
This is my third Jeep, first Rubicon. If you are looking for a child hauling, store stopping SUV look somewhere else. This is the ultimate factory Jeep. Designed to go anywhere and return. So if your looking for an SUV for adventure, look no further! This is the perfect vehicle. It has taken me rock climbing, mud bogging, trail riding, and some fun in the snow. Never stuck, nothing broke. I'll pass this vehicle on to my kid one day.

Features & Specs

MPG
13 city / 17 hwy
Seats 4
6-speed manual
Gas
190 hp @ 4600 rpm
MPG
13 city / 17 hwy
Seats 4
6-speed manual
Gas
190 hp @ 4600 rpm
MPG
16 city / 19 hwy
Seats 4
6-speed manual
Gas
147 hp @ 5200 rpm
MPG
13 city / 17 hwy
Seats 4
6-speed manual
Gas
190 hp @ 4600 rpm
See all Used 2005 Jeep Wrangler features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Marginal
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Poor
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Acceptable

More about the 2005 Jeep Wrangler
More About This Model

For the preview of the Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon to the automotive press, Jeep chose the La Salle Mountains, which lie directly outside of Moab, Utah. For those unfamiliar with this particular terrain, imagine the mountains of Mars, only more desolate, craggy and isolated. In the context of this imposing landscape, Jeep's latest product completely defied all of my preconceived notions of what a commercially sold vehicle is capable of. This praise is considerable coming from someone who has never previously appreciated the commercial application of Jeeps.

To put things in perspective, we tested the Unlimited Rubicon on a trail named "Hell's Revenge," which is operated by the Utah Bureau of Land Management. Surrounded on all sides by towering, petrified sand dunes, and pitted with jagged, "desert-varnished" canyons, the course that Jeep had set up for us more than lived up to its name. The company brought paramedics along for the ride, and it is a testament to the impeccable off-road capabilities of the Unlimited Rubicon that we didn't need them.

The preproduction vehicles that Jeep provided allowed us to crawl over mounds so steep that at times, I could only see the sky above me while driving. The engineers made much of the fact that the Unlimited Rubicon can negotiate 15 inches of water at 5 miles per hour. Indeed, we painlessly crossed innumerable gulches that John Wayne would have thought twice about traversing on horseback.

At one point, the engineers decided to show off the Unlimited Rubicon's full potential by straddling up two twin precipices which were elevated at about a 45-degree angle. This particular bit of the course was appropriately designated as "The Gates of Hell," and Jeep could not have paid me enough money to even sit in the backseat of the vehicle during this exercise.

Sure enough, the vehicle began to lose its footing about three-quarters of the way up, and many of us present were flabbergasted when the Unlimited Rubicon finally reached the party of gawking journalists at the top. Even though I later learned that this bit of tension was staged for dramatic effect, it did little to dispel the impression of true-blue ruggedness that the car made on me.

Pointing out the fact that the Unlimited Rubicon is difficult to get into and not at all comfortable to ride in seems beside the point. This car occupies a unique niche in the market and therefore has to be judged on its own terms.

The Unlimited Rubicon actually combines two separate Wrangler models — you guessed it — the Rubicon and the Unlimited, or as the people at Jeep were telling us, "chocolate and peanut butter." The standard Rubicon, introduced in 2003, was the most formidably equipped Jeep to date, with all sorts of features that provided a greatly enhanced off-road experience. The long-wheelbase Unlimited, introduced in 2004, added 15 inches to the standard Wrangler's overall length, resulting in greatly improved interior space.

With sales of the Rubicon up 30 percent last year, Jeep has apparently yielded to the most sordid fantasies of both its engineers and customers. In addition to the space increase of the Unlimited, the Rubicon hardware includes incredibly sturdy Goodyear Wrangler 31-inch tires, along with Dana 44 front and rear axles, a Rock-Trac transfer case and Tru-Lok locking front and rear differentials. In addition, the 4.0-liter Power Tech inline six, rated for 190 horsepower and 235 pound-feet of torque, is standard equipment.

Engineering Supervisor Jim Repp, who has a Jeep tattooed on his right bicep, describes the Rubicon Unlimited as his company's "image vehicle." Careful research revealed to the Jeep production team that serious off-roaders were adding up to $9,000 worth of aftermarket parts to enhance the performance of their Wranglers. The company decided to offer many of the most popular additions in a package that is much more consistently assembled than any custom job and is mass-produced to lower the overall cost.

With an MSRP of $28,825, the Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon comes in about $4,000 more than the base Unlimited and about $800 more than the standard Rubicon. In Jeep's mind, going for a factory-built Rubicon would save the average buyer several thousand dollars compared to outfitting a Jeep through the aftermarket, not to mention the time and energy involved in getting it all done. Needless to say, this vehicle could set a lot of mountain men's hearts ablaze when it appears in showrooms this December.

As you would expect, mileage isn't the Rubicon's strong point. The Unlimited Rubicon has an EPA highway rating of 18 miles per gallon and a 14 mpg city figure. Obviously, this is not the sort of vehicle that most sensible people would choose as their primary vehicle. But then again, I could only imagine a Utah park ranger or perhaps the "Crocodile Hunter" driving one of these on a daily basis.

Also, while you're wasting plenty of money on precious fuel when picking up the dry cleaning, you're guaranteed a choppy ride. In order for a car to perform as well as it does in death-defying situations, though, a lot of basic amenities have to be sacrificed. I, for one, would rather entrust my life to the Unlimited Rubicon in a treacherous situation, over any Bentley or Maybach. While bumpiness characterizes this particular sort of beast, the Unlimited Rubicon is certainly not a car intended for the faint of heart or sensitive of stomach.

When it comes to a Jeep's strengths, which are both plentiful and entirely singular, nothing can touch the Unlimited Rubicon. It more than defied my expectations in terms of its off-road capabilities and the ability to bring me from the "Gates of Hell" back to the hotel in one piece.

Used 2005 Jeep Wrangler Overview

The Used 2005 Jeep Wrangler is offered in the following submodels: Wrangler SUV. Available styles include Sport 4WD 2dr Convertible SUV (4.0L 6cyl 6M), X 4WD 2dr Convertible SUV (4.0L 6cyl 6M), SE 4WD 2dr Convertible SUV (2.4L 4cyl 6M), Rubicon 4WD 2dr Convertible SUV (4.0L 6cyl 6M), Unlimited Rubicon 4WD 2dr Convertible SUV (4.0L 6cyl 6M), and Unlimited 4WD 2dr Convertible SUV (4.0L 6cyl 6M).

What's a good price on a Used 2005 Jeep Wrangler?

Price comparisons for Used 2005 Jeep Wrangler trim styles:

  • The Used 2005 Jeep Wrangler X is priced between $12,787 and$15,288 with odometer readings between 83145 and103199 miles.
  • The Used 2005 Jeep Wrangler Sport is priced between $9,875 and$9,875 with odometer readings between 134744 and134744 miles.

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Which used 2005 Jeep Wranglers are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2005 Jeep Wrangler for sale near. There are currently 3 used and CPO 2005 Wranglers listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $9,875 and mileage as low as 83145 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2005 Jeep Wrangler.

Can't find a used 2005 Jeep Wranglers you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Jeep Wrangler for sale - 3 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $8,250.

Find a used Jeep for sale - 11 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $19,879.

Find a used certified pre-owned Jeep Wrangler for sale - 6 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $13,514.

Find a used certified pre-owned Jeep for sale - 9 great deals out of 10 listings starting at $19,707.

Should I lease or buy a 2005 Jeep Wrangler?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Jeep lease specials
Check out Jeep Wrangler lease specials