Top 10 2008 Vehicles For Off-Road Use

2008 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon

2008 Jeep Wrangler 1
2008 Jeep Wrangler

What we think
The Wrangler is the poster child of renegade, blaze-your-own-trail fun. With a convertible cloth top, this rig was built for you to play outside. There’s no wondering why this vehicle has a cult following, either. Jeep has spent decades perfecting the science of grip in even the most slippery situations. In the Rubicon trim, the Wrangler’s incredible ground clearances and nifty tricks like a front sway bar that can be disconnected electronically in low gear put it miles of hard trail ahead of the competition.

At a glance
MSRP: $28,240
Engine and Drivetrain: 3.8-liter V-6 engine, 202 horsepower, 236 lb-ft of torque; 6-speed manual transmission; 2-speed transfer case, 4:1 gear ratio; rear-wheel drive with part time four-wheel drive
MPG: 15 city/19 highway

2008 HUMMER H2

2008 HUMMER H2 2
2008 HUMMER H2

What we think
Though you’re more likely to see H2s at the mall than on the mountain side, this is one bruiser that’s got the guts to get you through almost anything you can throw at it. The truck is powered by a mammoth 6.2-liter V-8 putting out close to 400 horsepower. With the optional electronic air ride, the descendant of the legendary military machine stretches to accommodate almost 10 inches of ground clearance—more than enough to get you over any obstacle.

At a glance
MSRP: $57,590
Engine and Drivetrain: 6.2-liter V-8 engine, 393 horsepower, 415 lb-ft of torque; 6-speed automatic transmission; 2-speed electronically controlled transfer case; full-time four-wheel drive
MPG: NA city/NA highway

2008 Land Rover LR3

2008 Land Rover LR3 3
2008 Land Rover LR3

What we think
The LR3 performs as well on the trail as it looks on the streets of Manhattan. The essence of luxury, Land Rover has managed to perfect the art of exuding off-tarmac confidence without succumbing to gaudy fender flares and outrageously knobby tires over the years. While there’s no doubt that this truck’s 300 horsepower V-8 will get you through anything you throw at it, its $49,300 MSRP base price lands it farther down the hill from its competition.

At a glance
MSRP: $49,300
Engine and Drivetrain: 4.4-liter V-8 engine, 300 horsepower, 315 lb-ft of torque; 6-speed automatic transmission; 2-speed electronically controlled transfer case, 2.93:1 gear ratio; full-time four-wheel drive
MPG: 12 city/17 highway

2008 Hummer H3 Alpha: Off Road Package

2008 HUMMER H3 4
2008 HUMMER H3

What we think
All jokes about buying alpha status aside, the H2’s little brother is anything but. Hummer pushed this rig’s wheels as far forward and back as possible, giving the truck impressive angles of approach and departure. That means you can go over more while damaging less, and with a base price steeper than any mountain grade, that’s a good thing.

At a glance
MSRP: $39,905
Engine and Drivetrain: 5.3-liter V-8 engine, 300 horsepower, 320 lb-ft of torque; 4-speed automatic transmission; 2-speed electronically controlled transfer case, 4.03:1 gear ratio; full-time four-wheel drive
MPG: NA city/NA highway

2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser

2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser 5
2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser

What we think
A descendent of the legendary Toyota FJ, the Cruiser banks on the unstoppable reputation its forefathers established years ago. The newest incarnation doesn’t disappoint either, equipped with a 9.6 inch ground clearance and a climb-a-tree 3.91:1 final drive, the cruiser provides all the go you want for less cash.

At a glance
MSRP: $22,545
Engine and Drivetrain: 4.0-liter V-6 engine, 239 horsepower, 278 lb-ft of torque; 6-speed manual, 5-speed automatic transmission; 2-speed transfer case; full-time four-wheel drive, optional part-time four wheel drive
MPG: 16 city/20 highway (auto), 15 city/18 highway (manual)

2008 Nissan Xterra Off Road

2008 Nissan Xterra 6
2008 Nissan Xterra

What we think
Nissan has marketed the able Xterra to outdoorsy types for years, and though the truck has grown in proportions, it remains a tough trail warrior. Like the FJ, the Xterra’s lower initial price tag is a welcome break from the monetary heavy hitters out there—proof positive that you don’t need mountains of cash to play in the mud.

At a glance
MSRP: $26,740
Engine and Drivetrain: 4.0-liter V-6 engine, 261 horsepower, 281 lb-ft of torque; 6-speed manual, 5-speed automatic transmission; 2-speed transfer case; rear-wheel drive with part-time four-wheel drive
MPG: 14 city/20 highway (auto), 16 city/20 highway (manual)

2008 Nissan NISMO Frontier

2008 Nissan Frontier 7
2008 Nissan Frontier

What we think
There’s another billy goat in the Nissan stable that hasn’t received as much hype as the Xterra: the NISMO Frontier. A product of the company’s performance guru’s, this little pickup has the guts to go toe to toe with the larger SUVs it’s up against. In six-speed manual form, the truck comes with an unstoppable driveline, complete with a legendary Dana 44 rear axle. Awesome 9.5 inch ground clearance and impressive angles of attack round out the package.

At a glance
MSRP: $23,780
Engine and Drivetrain: 4.0-liter V-6 engine, 261 horsepower, 281 lb-ft of torque; 6-speed manual, 5 speed automatic transmission; 2-speed transfer case; rear-wheel drive with part-time four-wheel drive.
MPG: 14 city/19 highway (auto), 15 city/19 highway (manual)

2008 Land Rover LR2

2008 Land Rover LR2 8
2008 Land Rover LR2

What we think
The LR2 is like a more laid back version of its bigger brother, the LR3. While it sports a less powerful engine and more modest ground clearance, this vehicle still has the benefit of Land Rover’s years of experience off the beaten path. Hey, it looks sharp too.

At a glance
MSRP: $36,150
Engine and Drivetrain: 3.2-liter inline-six cylinder engine, 230 horsepower, 234 lb-ft of torque; 6-speed automatic transmission; full-time four-wheel drive.
MPG: 16 city/23 highway




2008 Jeep Liberty Sport

2008 Jeep Liberty 9
2008 Jeep Liberty

What we think
The Jeep Liberty was blessed in 2008 with a front fascia that looks more business and less Tonka—finally giving this SUV the looks to back up its going power. A trail-rated rig straight from the factory, the Liberty’s diminutive size compared to the other woodland warriors ensures that it can get into, and out of, tight spots without any hesitation.

At a glance
MSRP: $22,950
Engine and Drivetrain: 3.7-liter V-6 engine, 210 horsepower, 235 lb-ft of torque; 6-speed manual transmission; 6-speed manual, 4-speed automatic transmission; four-wheel drive
MPG

2008 Jeep Patriot Sport

2008 Jeep Patriot 10
2008 Jeep Patriot

What we think
The baby of the Jeep mark, the Patriot does its duty off road while being the most fuel efficient vehicle Jeep produced today. Great gas mileage may not be top priority when it comes to picking a trail truck, but keep in mind that more miles per gallon means going farther on less. That means more money for campfire marshmallows when you get where you’re going.

At a glance
MSRP: $18,125
Engine and Drivetrain: 2.4-liter inline-four cylinder engine, 173 horsepower, 166 lb-ft of torque; 5-speed manual, or continuously variable transmission; 2-speed transfer case; front-wheel drive with part-time four-wheel drive.
MPG: 23 city/28 highway


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