The Jeep brand virtually owns the competitive landscape where toughness and capability on the road less travelled are concerned. By offering affordable capable 4x4 models like the TJ, the brand has earned one of the most enviable followings of loyal owners in the industry.

 

The last-generation Jeep TJ was on sale from 1997 through 2005 model years, and offered up two doors, two rows of seating and standard four-wheel drive. It’s not exactly a family hauler, but did offer plenty of fun for mom, dad and two kids as needed. Add in the removable roof and proven off-road prowess, and it’s no wonder TJ owners say it’s the most four-wheeled fun possible for the price.

 

Power came from a 2.5 litre four-cylinder engine with 110 to 120 horsepower, as well as a 2.4 litre unit from 2003 and on. Jeep’s famous four-litre straight-six engine was on board optionally, offering 190 horsepower and virtually bulletproof reliability.

 

Like its ride, TJ’s powerplants are far from pinnacles of refinement — but they’re known to be highly effective and tough as nails.

What Owners Like
As expected, the TJ’s most bragged-about attribute is its off-road ability, and the confident, all-terrain capability of its 4x4 system. Styling, fun factor and overall value are also highly rated, too.

What Owners Hate
Many TJ owners wish for better fuel mileage, a smoother ride and more interior space, especially in the difficult-to-access rear seats.


Common issues
Exhaust manifolds on the straight-six engine could crack, causing a noisy exhaust leak. Additionally, broken bolts on said manifold could make removal and replacement more difficult.


Check the PCV valve for proper operation, too. If it’s clogged or broken, it could cause the engine to burn oil. Thankfully, it’s a simple and cheap part to replace.