2004 Jeep Wrangler Sport (496)

This week I tested the 2004 Jeep Wrangler Sport 4WD. I guess we just get spoiled with all the comforts of most cars and trucks these days, with lots of room, power and amenities. Perhaps this is more for the super-active lifestyle guys and gals where the image of “Rugged or Macho” needs to be communicated. And it isn’t even subtle. This is ‘In-your-face’ basic, tough it out transportation.

There is no armrest, rides like my tractor in high gear. For the old folks this is an ‘E’ Ticket ride at Disneyland. It is after all an ‘Off Road’ vehicle and in its environment it is an exceptional choice. But in the city it is a ‘Fish out of water’. Surely a more capable Land Rover at $70,000 would add comfort and convenience to the experience, but the feeling and the message is very different.

With that “wide open” feeling of the Wrangler series comes IN-convenience, especially in the city. It is totally unprotected so you can’t leave anything in the vehicle because it invites petty and not so petty theft. In the outback it really doesn’t matter, but 99% of the time you will be driving in the “Intercity Jungle” where life is really dangerous.

General Info:

Parts – US/ Canadian 81%

Assembly – Toledo, Ohio USA

Class: – Special Purpose

Cars: -. Grand Cherokee, Liberty and Wrangler.

Handling & Performance:

Like 40 miles of bad road. It wiggles around like the lug nuts are lose. The Sport has more than enough horsepower at 190 at 4.0 liters but five on the floor and that rough ride gets old, quickly.

Jeep promotion people call Jeep, “Open-air fun” with award winning off-road capability. Well dah!


Classic Jeep with a history that is rich and touches so many people. Model range is the X, SE, Sport, Rubicon and Sahara. A hardtop with full steel doors, roll-up windows and tinted glass is available on all models. Also optional is a combo hard and soft top in matching colors.

Fit and Finish:

Rough and rugged permeates every inch. I can’t help but see my friends Army Jeep, painted original green, and 1942 vintage. Not much has changed.


Few and only by necessity. But they did make the tilt steering wheel standard this year.


More than I think is appropriate. They are trading more on the name and image than on cost to produce. I have a suggestion; reduce the price and sell quantity. Get them out there in high demand. Manufacturers need a lesson in Job Costing.

Consumer Recommendation:

If you have a passion for being outside and off road and travel light this is a fun vehicle. If you have a hissy fit when the wind messes up your hair, forget it.

The Competition:

Jeep Wrangler $17-25,000, Chevrolet Tracker $20-23,000, Suzuki Vitara V6 $17-18,000, Honda CR-V $19-23,000, Toyota RAV-4 $18-20,000.

Good News:

Wonderful off road choice.

Bad News:

No improvement in gas performance, pricey for what you get.

Standard Equipment:

4.0 liter 190 Horsepower Inline 6 cylinder engine, 5-speed manual trans, dual air bags, front disc and rear drum brakes, 4-wheel drive transfer case with skid plate, two front and one rear tow hooks, front and rear stabilizer bars, 19 gallon fuel tank, tilt column, console, stereo with in dash CD player with four speakers, reclining front seats, rear folding seat, roll bar with padding, roll up widows, soft top, fog lights and full size spare.

Gas Stats:

16 City and 20 Highway MPG.


MSRP $21,320.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@autolove.com
Copyright © 2014 – An Automotive Love Affair.

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