The 2003 Jeep Wrangler marks the most traditional offering from Jeep. It provides an updated version of the styling seen on old military vehicles.
Although many changes get introduced for 2003, this model starts to show its age. Opt for the new Jeep Liberty if you have the cash.
Body Styles: SUV
Engines: 2.4-liter four-cylinder, 3.7-liter V-6
Transmissions: four-speed automatic
Models: Jeep Wrangler SE, Jeep Wrangler X, Jeep Wrangler Sport, Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, Jeep Wrangler Sahara
The 2003 Jeep Wrangler gets a new trim level called the Rubicon. All the trim lines benefit from the introduction of a new four-speed automatic transmission system that has better shifting ability, better fuel efficiency, and a supposedly quieter engine–although those riding in the vehicle may beg to differ. The SE also gets a new five-speed transmission that has better shifting ability in cold weather conditions. It also receives a new 2.4-liter engine. The interior of all the vehicles receive new bucket seats, a new rear-view mirror, map lights, temperature and compass displays, and a new steering wheel with four spokes.
The exterior of the Jeep Wrangler marks one of its main draws. It shows off the classic Jeep look. Up front sits the iconic Jeep grille with its seven upright spokes. This harkens all the way back to the military days of the Jeep. However, some of the features seem like they come from that same period. The soft top proves incredibly hard to stow away. It uses a four-ply design. A metal hardtop also provides an option. This makes a much better option for those drivers who want less noise and a more civilized ride.
The 2003 Jeep Wrangler measures 155.4 inches long and rides on a 93.4-inch wheelbase. Standard exterior features include skid plates, 15-inch steel wheels, all-terrain tires, a removable soft top, variable intermittent wipers, a rear side-hinged door, and cargo tie downs.
The interior of the 2003 Jeep Wrangler comes equipped with two bucket seats in the front. The back area has a two-person folding rear bench standard on all the models except the SE. These seats feel pretty uncomfortable in comparison to the competition. The Wrangler offers plenty of cargo room though, measuring 47.2 cubic feet. Jeep offers the option of an A-trunk in the cargo area where you can lock away valuable items. This cuts down on the cargo space a bit though.
Standard features on the SE include vinyl upholstery, bucket front seats, a front console with storage, front door pockets, manual rear seat easy entry, 12V power outlets, and a tachometer. Items improve as you go up the trim lines, with the top-of-the-line Sahara providing cloth upholstery, folding rear seatbacks, a tilt-adjustable steering wheel, cruise control on the steering wheel, air-conditioning, front and rear reading lights, an electrochromatic rear-view mirror, and a single CD player.
Performance & Handling
The Wrangler offers a choice of several engine types. The SE base model receives a 2.5-liter, inline four-cylinder engine that produces 120 horsepower. The upper trim lines utilize a four-liter, inline six-cylinder engine that produces 190 horsepower. Both engines pair with a five-speed manual transmission or a three-speed automatic transmission as an option. Jeep offers part-time four-wheel drive for the vehicle that only seems advisable on slippery surfaces. Anti-lock brakes remain available on all models except the SE.
The current Wrangler model handles itself a lot better than the previous version, but don’t expect modernity. The 2003 Jeep Wrangler is an aging model. It offers a great ride, if not all the creature comforts of your standard SUV. The Wrangler gets you where you need to go, whether on or off the road. The engine sounds as loud as a motorcycle, but that might not bother you with the top down.
The 2003 Jeep Wrangler comes equipped with child seat anchors, front ventilated disc brakes, rear drum brakes, two front headrests, a passenger airbag deactivation switch, electronic brake force distribution, and front integrated headrests. The NHTSA gives the Jeep Wrangler four out of five stars for driver and passenger safety. It only receives three out of five stars for rollover protection. Side impacts have not been tested. The IIHS gives the Jeep Wrangler an ?Acceptable? rating, its second best, for frontal-offset crash tests. It earns a score of ?Poor,? the worst, for rear crash protection and head restraint protection.
EPA Fuel Economy
Jeep Wrangler SE: 16/18 mpg city/highway
Jeep Wrangler X: 15/17 mpg city/highway
Jeep Wrangler Sport: 15/17 mpg city/highway
Jeep Wrangler Rubicon: 15/17 mpg city/highway
Jeep Wrangler Sahara: 15/17 mpg city/highway
- Great fun to drive
- Off-road capability
You Won't Like
- Soft top a pain to handle
- Slow steering
Loud and impractical, but fun.
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