Not necessarily. While the 2.5L has the potential for better mpg, it seldom achieves it in reality because it has to be driven so much harder than the six does just to keep up with traffic.
Yes, but only if you are concerned with "keeping up" with traffic. I live 8miles of country rural roads from where I work. All of my family and friends are within the same 8-20 miles from where I live. Traffic speed is a non concern with me because I can and do go weeks or more at a time and never have to get on an interstate road. The 2.5 is perfect in my situation and I routinely get 17-19 mpg.
I've only had my Jeep for a couple months but I love driving my 4cy 5spd. I don't really drive it too much on the hwy but when I do it drives great. It's not a speed demon but I knew that. Like others have said you want to go fast buy a sports car.
I have a 02 2.5 4cyl lifted 2in with 31s and drive 20mi to and from work and its all 60mph speed limits. I also have no problem keeping up with traffic you just have to shift around 3 grand. A friend of mine had a 97 with a 2.5 4in lift and 33s and 4.10 gears and it would keep up with traffic. His only problem was he wanted 4.88 gears to get his highway rpms back down. However it will work no problem I doubt I will get another 4cyl tj just because I won't be willing to run bigger tires than 33s with it.
Yea, sorry I guess I kind of worded that wrong, I didn't mean to lower his rpms I meant to get them back to where needed for the stock power. I also make a 180 mi trip from the beach in SC up to the uwharries in NC every few weeks, and don't have much trouble running 60-65mph most of the way however once I leave the flat land of the beach and get into more hilly area I spend more time in 4th than 5th. Though once on the trails I have no problem keeping up with the 4.0s and 3.8s.
I love my 2.5! I put on a electric fan and snorkel and run it hard. Just pulled a trailer full of junk to the dump over 20 miles of hills. I hit a deer at 70 and smashed the grille back several inches, but drove home because of all the room between the rad and engine. I have made 23 mpg on long trips and have over 158K on the odo. The engine has seen 5K rpm and over 260 degrees and still runs strong! I do stay on 235's for now, but I would run 31's on 456s. I think the 4 banger tj is one of the best machines built. Never a JK here.
My little YJ is all stock except for the 31 tires which don't help. It stays up with LA traffic easily. 65 or 70 is no big deal. If you live where it is hilly then yes you might have to go to 4th sometimes. Going up the Grapevine here in LA you climb to 4500 ft. I kept up with all my bud's TJ Rubis. And on the trails they were surprised on how good it did.