2008 Jeep Wrangler SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Jeep Wrangler SUV

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Jeep Wrangler Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.8 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Rear Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 202 hp @ 5000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 16/21 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2008 Jeep Wrangler

  • The 2008 Jeep Wrangler firmly maintains its heritage, image and off-road ability while also being more refined, versatile and feature-laden than previous models.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Superior off-road ability, surprisingly fun to drive around town, rough-and-tumble image, availability of two- and four-door versions, upscale navigation system.

  • Cons

    Noisy with standard soft top, finicky soft top operation, mediocre acceleration and on-road handling, no power mirrors, too many hard plastic contact points.

  • What's New for 2008

    After setting a new trail with a complete redesign last year, the Jeep Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited travel into 2008 with only minor equipment changes. These include a standard Sunrider soft top on Wrangler Sahara and Rubicon models, optional remote ignition and a new Sahara appearance package for both two- and four-door versions.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (6 total reviews)  |  Write a Review


I won't miss it

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Vehicle: 2008 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara 4dr SUV (3.8L 6cyl 6M)

I bought my Jeep Saraha Unlimited in August of '08. I traded my Honda Ridgeline because I wanted to drive American. Big mistake! The Jeep is very underpowered. If I even tow an empty 5x8 enclosed trailer, I know it is there. When I tow a single Waverunner the Jeep struggles and revs excessively. It is a good off road vehicle, if that is what you are looking for. I have had Jeeps before and this one was an improvement in areas like ride and interior comfort. Keep in mind that even with the longer wheelbase, the ride is still that of a Jeep. It is a lot of work to take it on a trip of 300 miles of more. It is affected by small amounts of wind and the interior is noisy. Not recommended by me.




Real sport utility

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Vehicle: 2008 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara 4dr SUV (3.8L 6cyl 6M)

Have owned lots of suvs including 3 Jeeps. The Unlimited is the most capable. It can haul more inside than a Grand Cherokee. It tows my trailer with tractor easily. Lot of leg room front and rear. JK's are 4" wider so there is shoulder room. AC is powerful as is heater. The 6 speed is smooth shifting even when it is -11 outside. Nice stereo system. 1st birthday with 18,000 miles. Not a single problem. What else can you ask for? Bottom line: Where else can you get a 4door 4wd, convertible with a great ride and unlimited options for under 20 large? No wood, no leather, no separate climate control, no fleeting styling cues. Just solid performance.




My 2nd jeep

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Vehicle: 2008 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara 4dr SUV (3.8L 6cyl 6M)

I am pretty content with this 4 door box. I also have a 2 door 99 Cherokee se that has the in line six. That Cherokee has 150k on it and still runs like a champ! It also influenced my decision on purchasing this new one i got. It's just awesome off the road.




No question! underpowered! but fun!

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Vehicle: 2008 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara 4dr SUV (3.8L 6cyl 6M)

It really is a fun vehicle. Wife and kids love it. I put aftermarket muffler, cold air intake, throttle body spacer and I get 18.5 city, 25 highway, slight HP increase. Needs seat pockets, storage compartments lacks. Hit a deer, minor bumper damage, rest of vehicle was undamaged, can't say same about deer. Aftermarket supercharger is now available adding 125 HP...very expensive though. Chrysler, make the 4.7 L or a HEMI option avail! The hard top/soft top combo is very nice feature. passenger rear windows are engineered very well, the Velcro isn't very stable, at highway speeds they separate from the frame. mygig option is dynamite feature. Uconnect is disabled though.




Unlimited sahara

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Vehicle: 2008 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara 4dr SUV (3.8L 6cyl 6M)

I love my 08 UNLIMITED SAHARA it surprised me when I found out how quiet the ride is and how it has completely beaten the older models. I have owned 4x4's before both trucks and full size suvs and I will admit that they all had a good ride and handled well BUT this jeep beats them all. I showed my 08 unlimited Sahara to my cousin who still has an original CJ5 and he told me straight up that it completely beats his CJ in every way. He agrees with me that the removable hard top comes in handy in sunny worm weather.




Hinges rust

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Vehicle: 2008 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara 4dr SUV (3.8L 6cyl 6M)

My hinges and black bolts/washers have rusted after 4500 miles. My Jeep is 100% garage kept. My local dealership cannot figure out how to fix and is not willing to. I am very disappointed and frustrated. This should not happen on any new vehicle. I have contacted my local dealer 9 times now without any luck. I have just filed a complaint with Chrysler which I hope will bring results. The workmanship is poor as well as their service apparently.



Full 2008 Jeep Wrangler Review

What's New for 2008

After setting a new trail with a complete redesign last year, the Jeep Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited travel into 2008 with only minor equipment changes. These include a standard Sunrider soft top on Wrangler Sahara and Rubicon models, optional remote ignition and a new Sahara appearance package for both two- and four-door versions.

Introduction

The 2008 Jeep Wrangler is not so much an SUV as an experience. It's slow and loud, handles poorly, gets bad gas mileage, has crummy interior materials and features doors that provide virtually no crash protection. Oh, and breaking into the trunk requires nothing more than undoing a zipper.

Under normal methods of evaluation, all these borderline-absurd negatives would seem to add up to a vehicle barely worthy of cab duty in Bangladesh. And yet the Wrangler is strangely attractive -- so much so that it's one of the 10-best-selling SUVs on the market. It exists for people who want something decidedly different -- particularly a macho image and serious rock-crawling capability that few SUVs still offer in this crossover age.

Part of the Wrangler's image comes from features and attributes that no other vehicle on the market can boast. Some are fanciful -- with considerable effort, the windshield can be folded forward onto the hood (to aid the occasional water buffalo hunt, perhaps), and the doors can also be removed. Why? Because it looks cool that way. But others, such as the 10.2 inches of ground clearance, the steep approach and departure angles, and the two-door's short wheelbase make the Wrangler the go-to vehicle for serious off-roading and canyon tours. Quite simply, if the Wrangler can't get you there, you're going to need a Sherpa or a helicopter.

Finally, the Unlimited model is the only four-door convertible on the market. Of course, that convertible soft top takes two people, several pages of manual reading, some muscle and practically an engineering degree to raise and lower, but hey, nothing else can do it. With the optional hard top, the Unlimited's four doors, impressive cargo capacity and relatively spacious backseat make it the first Wrangler that can be considered practical. If you love the prototypical Jeep image and capability but need something that can journey to Costco or pick folks up from the airport, the Unlimited answers the call.

Just don't expect anything nearly as comfortable or quiet as other Jeeps and SUVs. To its benefit, the 2008 Jeep Wrangler's character and heritage haven't been watered down by new creature comforts like power windows, four doors or a hard-drive-based navigation system. But the Wrangler remains a niche vehicle with major drawbacks that potential buyers should be aware of. And given that, you might want to also consider the Toyota FJ Cruiser and Nissan Xterra, as they offer much of the same off-road capability and macho image without as many compromises.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2008 Jeep Wrangler is a small (in two-door form) SUV with a convertible top. It's offered in three trim levels (X, Sahara and Rubicon) and two body styles (regular two-door and the extended-wheelbase, four-door Unlimited). The X comes standard with removable half doors with plastic windows, while the Sahara and Rubicon come with full doors and glass windows. Customers can opt for the half doors if they wish on either body style's Rubicon trim and the two-door Sahara.

The basic Wrangler X is very spartan, though a CD player with an auxiliary audio jack is standard. An optional "C" Package adds air-conditioning, upgraded cloth seats and a full-length center console. The "S" Package has those features, plus 16-inch alloy wheels, tow hooks, cruise control and a compass/temperature display. Also optional is a modular three-piece hardtop (Freedom top), a sunroof-equipped soft top (Sunrider top), a limited-slip rear differential, power windows and locks, keyless entry, remote engine start, an Infinity audio system, a six-CD/MP3 changer and satellite radio.

In addition to having many of the Wrangler X's optional features as standard (including the Sunrider top), the Wrangler Sahara also features 17-inch alloy wheels, body-color fenders, a heavy-duty suspension and upgraded seat fabric. Options for the Sahara include 18-inch alloy wheels and a navigation system featuring "bread crumb" off-highway tracking. A 20GB hard drive can also be added to the system to store music and pictures. Lastly, there's the trail-busting Wrangler Rubicon. This model's equipment level falls in between the X and Sahara, but features special drivetrain upgrades, an electronically disconnecting stabilizer bar and special BFGoodrich off-road tires.

Powertrains and Performance

All 2008 Jeep Wranglers are powered by a 3.8-liter V6 attached to a six-speed manual transmission or an optional four-speed automatic. The engine produces 202 horsepower and 237 pound-feet of torque. Most Wranglers come with four-wheel-drive, complete with high and low gears, although the Unlimited can be had with rear-drive only. The Rubicon trim has heavy-duty axles, a Rock-trac transfer case with extra-low gearing, and electronically locking front and rear differentials. In testing, we've found that a Wrangler Unlimited takes a longish 9.7 seconds to reach 60 mph -- and that was the good time. Another Wrangler Unlimited we tested did it in a glacial 10.4 seconds.

Safety

All Wranglers feature antilock brakes and stability control with a rollover sensor. Front seat side airbags are optional. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the Wrangler a perfect five stars in frontal-impact protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the Wrangler its highest rating of "Good" for frontal impacts; however, without the optional side airbags, the Wrangler's side-impact crashworthiness was deemed only "Marginal."

Interior Design and Special Features

Much like the rest of the Wrangler, its interior is of the rough-and-tumble variety. Although niceties like power windows and a navigation system can be added, this is still a vehicle meant to withstand dust, dirt and muck, and then be easily cleaned. We're not sure if there is a cause and effect relationship at work here, but plastics are subsequently hard and unwelcoming -- particularly those that make up the armrests. It's best to throw out any normal interior expectations when buying a Wrangler, otherwise you may find yourself regretting purchasing something so spartan.

While the two-door Wrangler's backseat can fit only two, the Unlimited has room for three. The four-door also offers 86 cubic feet of cargo space when the second seats are folded. With its soft top, however, storing cargo inside the Wrangler can be a risky situation. With exterior-mounted zippers keeping the plastic rear windows in place, car thieves can access the cargo area with ease. The only lockable areas in the Wrangler are the glovebox and decently sized center console.

Driving Impressions

The 2008 Jeep Wrangler, especially in Rubicon guise, is pretty much unstoppable in off-road situations. This is also true for the Unlimited, although its size and weight prevent it from being as maneuverable on tight trails as the two-door model. Although the Wrangler was bred for mountain trails, it is surprisingly fun to drive around the city. Its steering is light, but provides plenty of feedback through its excellent thin-rimmed wheel. The V6 engine provides plenty of torque around town, but it's completely gutless on the highway and when trying to accelerate quickly. The Wrangler's brakes also leave much to be desired, with long stopping distances.

Read our Jeep Wrangler Long-Term 20,000-Mile Test

Talk About The 2008 Wrangler

Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 16
  • cty
/
  • 21
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs