Compact SUV; Built in Canada
  • 2-door convertible
  • longitudinal front-engine/rear- or all-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $1,600 – $4,300*


1991 Jeep Wrangler S


1990 Jeep Wrangler Laredo


1994 Jeep Wrangler Sahara


1991 Jeep Wrangler Sport interior


1995 Jeep Wrangler Rio Grande interior

Pros:
  • Acceleration (6-cylinder)
  • Antilock brakes (optional with 6-cylinder)
  • Wet-weather traction
  • Maneuverability
Cons:
  • Cargo room
  • Engine noise
  • Entry/exit
  • Fuel economy
  • Instruments/controls
  • Ride/handling
  • Road noise
  • Wind noise

Seriously consider how you would use the vehicle, and if the compromises in on-road ride, handling, and fuel economy are worth it in the end. Also look at an Isuzu Amigo, which lacks the Jeep’s classic image but feels just about as tough, as well as the Geo Tracker/Suzuki Sidekick, with their friendlier ergonomics. But none of those rivals have a muscular 6-cylinder engine like Wrangler’s. We don’t recommend any mini 4×4 as a daily driver, but plenty of people love them.

Overview

The popular Wrangler sport utility debuted in May 1986 to replace the ancient military-style CJ. A fuel-injected, 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine was standard on base and low-budget S Wranglers, as well as those with the Islander and Sahara option groups. A carbureted 4.2-liter inline six was optional on all but the S version and standard on the top-of-the-line Laredo. All 6-cylinder Wranglers could get a 3-speed automatic transmission to replace the usual 5-speed manual gearbox. Part-time 4-wheel drive was standard and both soft and hard tops were available. For 1990, soft-top Wranglers got locks for their half-steel doors. Hardtop versions gained a rear wiper/washer.

Yearly Updates

1991 Wrangler
Wranglers got a big performance boost in 1991, via a newly available 6-cylinder engine, using fuel injection and making 180 horsepower instead of the prior 112. The 4-cylinder engine added six horsepower.
1992 Wrangler
Rear shoulder belts went into 1992 Wranglers, attached to a newly extended rollbar, but the 4x4s changed little otherwise.
1993 Wrangler
Wrangler became the first mini 4×4 to offer antilock braking, available only on 6-cylinder models.
1994 Wrangler
An automatic transmission became available with 4-cylinder engines late this year. A center high-mounted stoplamp was installed.
1995 Wrangler
S and SE Wranglers returned for a final outing. No 1996 Wranglers went on sale, but a redesigned model arrived during that year, as an early ’97.

Engines

longitudinal front-engine/rear- or all-wheel drive

Two engines went into 1990 Wranglers: a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder or an optional carbureted 4.0-liter inline six. The six was standard in the Laredo edition, and available in all except the Wrangler S. Either a 5-speed manual gearbox or 3-speed automatic might be installed (except on the Wrangler S, which was stick shift only). All Wranglers had on-demand 4-wheel drive. A 180-horsepower 6-cylinder engine with fuel injection replaced the prior carbureted six for 1991, when the 4-cylinder gained six horsepower by switching from single-point to multipoint fuel injection. For 1994, an automatic transmission could be installed in 4-cylinder Wranglers.

ohv I6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.2/256
Engine HP 112
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 210
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
3-speed automatic
16/20
15/16
12.9

ohv I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.5/150
Engine HP 117-123
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 138-139
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
3-speed automatic
19/20
17/18
18.1

ohv I6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.0/242
Engine HP 180
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 200
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
3-speed automatic
15/18
15/17
14.6

Road Test

Acceleration and drivability are only adequate from the initial 6-cylinder engine; gas mileage mediocre. Meager is the word for acceleration from the 4-cylinder engine. Performance got a welcome boost from the fuel-injected six of 1991. Jeep claimed a 0-60-mph acceleration time of 9.7 seconds, versus 14.3 seconds for the old carbureted 6-cylinder engine.

A stiff suspension makes for jarring travel over most surfaces. The Wrangler’s narrow stance and short wheelbase promise good maneuverability, but demand conservative cornering speeds.

Climbing aboard isn’t so easy, as it’s a tall step over the doorsills. Once inside, you get a cramped rear seat and tiny cargo area (unless the rear seat is tilted out of the way). Tall people have ample head room all around to sit comfortably upright. Once aboard, you can expect to be assaulted by road noise and wind buffeting–whether the top is up or down. Gauges and controls are strung across the dashboard in a haphazard manner.

Ratings

Model Tested: 1994 Jeep Wrangler 6-cylinder

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 5
50%
Fuel Economy - 2
20%
Ride Quality - 2
20%
Steering/Handling - 2
20%
Quietness - 1
10%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 3
30%
Room/Comfort Front - 4
40%
Room/Comfort Rear - 2
20%
Cargo Room - 3
30%

Other

Value - 3
30%

Total: 27

Specifications

2-door convertible
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
93.4 153.0 66.0 69.6
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
43.2 15.0-20.0 4
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
40.2 40.5 39.4 35.0
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1995 Wrangler 2-door convertible

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 2
40%
Front Passenger Injury - 4
80%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision 71
Injury 76
Theft 174

Trouble Spots

Automatic transmission
Description: If the transmission will not engage when first started, chances are the torque converter is draining down. A check valve in the fluid line leading to the transmission cooler should remedy the problem. (1993) If the transmission won’t upshift for about the first quarter mile in cool weather, it is probably due to defective cast-iron seal rings in the governor drive. (1992-94)
Oil leak
Description: The rear main seals on 2.5- and 4.0-liter engines are prone to leakage if the vehicle is operated in dirty conditions. (1991-95)
Transmission leak
Description: Automatic-transmission fluid leaks from the speed sensor in the transmission. (1992-94)

Recall History

1990-91 in 15 states and Washington, D.C.
Description: Front-disc brake rotors can experience severe corrosion if operated for extensive period in “salt belt”; can eventually compromise structural integrity, allowing wear surface to separate from hub.
1990-92
Description: Front brake hoses can wear due to contact with splash shields.
1990-94
Description: Plastic fuel tank’s sending-unit gasket can crack, resulting in fuel and vapor leaks.
1990-95
Description: With some rear shell roof racks made for use with aftermarket Bestop hardtop, cockpit cover may not stay latched and could separate from the roof rack.
1991-93 w/manual shift
Description: Salt corrosion between starter solenoid wire and battery feed may short these connections.
1994-95 w/manual transmission
Description: Parking brake can release without warning.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.