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Autotrader Find: 8,500-Mile 2003 Jeep Wrangler Sport

The Jeep Wrangler TJ that was sold for about a decade between 1997 and 2006 was the perfect balance between classic Jeep simplicity and modern amenities.

Unlike the Wrangler it replaced, the TJ featured coil-sprung solid axles that deliver serious off-road chops while maintaining a tolerable ride on pavement. Its round-headlight style is, of course iconic, and its interior features modern-style controls as well as dual airbags. We won’t go as far as calling a Wrangler TJ a perfect daily driver, but its small dimensions that work so well for off-road use make it a hoot to drive around town, too.

Of course, if you want a Wrangler, one with the 4.0-liter straight-6 is the one to have. It works best with a manual transmission, and all Wranglers rolled out of Toledo, Ohio, with 4-wheel drive and a 2-speed transfer case.

Jeep reworked the Wrangler a little for the 2003 model year with some dashboard revisions and, perhaps most importantly, more rearward travel for the driver’s seat. For the most part, though, the Wrangler didn’t change much between 1997 and 2006.

Jeep sold a lot of Wranglers, but given their low price and rugged intentions, many have been driven hard and heavily modified — and not all aftermarket tweaks are desirable. It’s becoming increasingly rare to find an unmodified one, especially one without too many miles on its odometer.

That’s part of what makes this 2003 Wrangler Sport at a used car dealer near Pittsburgh so appealing. Its odometer shows around 8,500 miles, working out to fewer than 500 miles a year. It’s safe to guess that this was used as someone’s seasonal driver. Underhood, you’ll find Jeep’s venerable, torquey 4.0-liter inline-6 paired with a 5-speed manual gearbox. Perfect.

What’s also so cool about it is that it’s painted Inca Gold, a single-year hue that wasn’t popular then but has held up really well over the last 18 years. This one is also a Sport, meaning it has a decent array of features including cloth high-back seats, a CD player with seven speakers (for that true 2003 experience), fog lights, and tow hooks. It’s not equipped with air conditioning, but what’s that matter when you’ve got a top that folds back? Find a Jeep Wrangler for sale


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