Is This 2002 Jeep Wrangler TJ A Good Pick For the Money? Cheap Jeep Challenge [Video]

Is this base model SE still a capable machine for the money?

Can you get a good Jeep Wrangler for under $7,000?

If you’ve ever been in the market for a Jeep Wrangler, you already know two things. Jeep Wranglers hold their value particularly well, and finding a good one at a reasonable price can be a real challenge. As with other used cars, most examples are either modified to oblivion, have massively high mileage, or are ruinously expensive.

Jeep Wrangler TJ
The Jeep Wrangler TJ was made between

On one hand, if you want to get into the cheap Jeep world, we’ve recommended giving the Cherokee XJ a good look. It’s a rugged, dependable small SUV, particularly with the 4.0-liter V6 engine. What’s more, it’s possible get one well under $5,000 that’s in good shape with fairly low mileage. This time, however, Roman and Tommy are taking on a different sort of Jeep challenge. This time, it’s all about the Wrangler TJ, which follows up the first-generation Wrangler YJ and precedes the Wrangler JK.

This particular example is a 2002 Jeep Wrangler SE — the base model — with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. It’s one of two engine options available that model year, the other one being a 4.0-liter straight-six engine. The 2.5-liter unit manages 120 horsepower and 140 lb-ft of torque, and comes mated to an old-school three-speed automatic transmission.

It’s not the most powerful or most off-road capable Wrangler TJ out there. However, this is a cheap Jeep challenge, so getting a Rubicon here is out of the question. The overarching theme of this series is whether you can still get a dependable, capable Jeep for a reasonable amount of money, given the new Wrangler JL can run north of $50,000. At just $6,500, can this Wrangler YJ make the most of its namesake and prove itself a still-capable machine? Stay tuned to the upcoming video series to find out!