I've driven both the 4.0 ford (03 ranger) and 4.3 chevy (99 silverado, 95 4x4 blazer, 00 Safarri, and many more). The Chevy had the most power and get up and go from my expieriences. And all had autos, so that's similiar. The ford came in second for me, the jeep's 4.0 disappoints me, it does fine once at speed, but accerleration sucks IMO. I prefer a 99 extended cab full size chevy with a 4.3 over the wrangler, but I can't beat the "fun" factor in a jeep.
On topic: The jeep gets about 16-17 mpg, mostly highway. So it's not really worth it to get MAYBE 3mpg better with a 4-banger. Get the bigger engine and if you need it, you have it. Especially if you do decide to go offroading or need to pull a trailer, you have the options.
Of the three, the 4.3 does have a little more starting power. But that also depends on what it's in. The thing about the 4.0 I-6 is it's dependability. It's hard to break one.
"Not all who wander are lost.."
I currently have both. My 4 cyl has 4.88 gears. I did that so that it would climb well off road. Even then when not in 4x4 low, it still bogs down in first on steep inclines.
My 6 cyl is a "joy" compared to my 4 squirrels.
But I guess their all slow compared to my Brabus Mercedes.
Get the 6
2014 Oscar Mike Edition 2 Dr. - 4" Lift W/ 35's, 4.88 gears, ARB Lockers Front/Rear, Olympic Front/Rear Bumber with Quadratec 9000 winch, Magellian 7" NAV and back-up camera, Poison spider tramp-stamp/rear tire delete.
I have had my 4 cylinder up to 80 mph. Not something I even realized until my wife called me on the cell phone and told me. Speedometer was reading between 65 and 70 mph. It does not accelerate all that fast but then again its not a Mustang. Its made for offroad use not flying down the freeway. Gear it properly for the tires, engine and transmission and it will handle fine. This is what they mean by building your Jeep just my two cents worth.
6 cyl all the way. As it's been said a million times already, you'll never regret buying a 6 over a 4 like you will a 4 over a 6. Not saying there's anything inherently wrong with the 4, but if you're looking for a Jeep to buy, go with the 6. You won't regret it.
Americans sleep safely in their beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do them harm...
Happiness is a Barrett M82A1 .50 caliber and a target at least a click out........
I come in peace. I didn't bring artillery. But I'm pleading with you with tears in my eyes, if you f**k with me, I'll kill you all.....
Guess it all comes down to what you can afford. If you can afford a 6, get it. I could afford a 4cyl/5spd, and I'm happy with everything except the 80mph top speed (lower that is there is a headwind, or hill, or....) and I'm running 31x10.50x15 tires. Off road it does fine except in deep sand, where I just use 4L and have no problems.
I test drove both, and really wanted a 6cyl automatic, but also didn't want payments so I went with what I could buy outright. The 4 is slower, but it has done fine for quite a few years for a lot of people.
I bought a 03 2.4l. I got a steal of a price on it so I went for it. I dont regret getting it bc of the price, but the 4cyl is very underpowered for me. If I paid book value Id be a little disappointed. Its fun for cruising around in the summer and in the snow, but for a dd I couldnt deal with it. Once winter is over I will probably sell it and get something different.
If I were you Id go with the 6, unless you already know you want to do a v8 or diesel swap then get the 4 to save money.