2008 Jeep Wrangler Review

Pros & Cons

  • Superior off-road ability, surprisingly fun to drive around town, rough-and-tumble image, availability of two- and four-door versions, upscale navigation system.
  • Noisy with standard soft top, finicky soft top operation, mediocre acceleration and on-road handling, no power mirrors, too many hard plastic contact points.
List Price Range
$9,359 - $19,900

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Edmunds' Expert Review

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.

Vehicle overview

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.

2008 Jeep Wrangler models

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.

2008 Highlights

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.

Performance & mpg

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."

Driving

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.

Interior

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.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2008 Jeep Wrangler.

Trending topics in reviews

Most helpful consumer reviews

Waa waa waa!
ranchez,03/11/2014
I've had my 2008 Jeep since it was new and love it. I see a lot of complaints here about comfort, noise, ride and acceleration. All I can say is that maybe they thought they were buying an Escalade. You don't buy a Wrangler for luxury, zero-road-noise, or racing from the light. You buy it to take on any off-road terrain you throw at it and crawl through the ick that would sink an Escalade to its axles. You also buy it to pull out the idiots who buy the other "SUVs" and try to drive them like a Jeep. Maybe you should sell your Jeep to someone who knows what it is and go buy a quiet, squishy little soccer-parent wagon.
Its a Jeep
lock3056,04/08/2011
Bought a 2008 when it was new, I've had it 3 years and have no complaints yet. I think people seem to be confused about what under powered is. Its not a power thing its a gear ratio thing, I have a 6 speed Manual, its a Torque monster. While it may not run 12's in the Quarter mile it will pull a stump out of the ground. Love the Hard top, It is Quieter than our 2008 Cadillac CTS on and off the freeway. Great Family Vehicle. If acceleration is an Issue you can purchase a Bully dog tuner/gauge it makes a world of difference.
It's a Jeep!
Matt,07/31/2010
Love it, nothing like taking the top off for the evening commute, and just cruise. Smooth ride, good fuel mileage. Get 20-21 hwy, if you can keep your foot out of it. People complain that it is sluggish, it is made to get you wherever you want to go, not a 0-60 hot rod. Everyone that has taken a closer look and ride, wants one. I will be a Wrangler owner for life.
It's a Jeep thing!!
Myla,06/23/2018
Unlimited Sahara 4dr SUV 4WD (3.8L 6cyl 6M)
I bought my JK 2008 with 58K on it two years ago; I also put the same or more of that amount on it up to today. Never an issue with the engine except one of the wheel lugnut pins broke off. Needs a lot of love in gas and oil but it is expected since I drive all over the place. My mom has a Jeep Renegade Sport Trailhawk 2015 and ton of issues with the electronics; she also claims its a tougher ride then mineand her sound system sucks. She is getting a Wrangler after her lease is over. For the capability: In one of the biggest blizzards that hit the NYC area in Jan/ 2018, I plowed through it like nothing, leaving behind big SUV's stuck in the snowbanks (lol SORRY! You shoud have bought the Jeep fellas!). I am tiny 5'2" young female so the only issue is me climbing into it. Everyone who is complaining about the comfort should stop complaining. Everyone who knew anything about the Jeeps knew it was not built for the city dwellers. My Jeep goes from snow to sand terrains; hauls 4-5 ppl and a big dog; snowboards, skees, and surfboards. And biggest thing of all is the safety! On two different ocassions two mature drivers decided to rear-ended my Jeep, and both had their cars totaled; mine had minor scratches on the rear bumper. This should be anyone's priority over the comfort and speed. Did I mention its cool? You can turn it into anything you want with custom parts, and Police will smile and thumb-up at you instead of chase you down for looking street-illegal. Best present my mom could have given me! Go get one!

Features & Specs

MPG
15 city / 19 hwy
Seats 4
6-speed manual
Gas
202 hp @ 5000 rpm
MPG
15 city / 19 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed manual
Gas
202 hp @ 5000 rpm
MPG
15 city / 19 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed manual
Gas
202 hp @ 5000 rpm
MPG
15 city / 19 hwy
Seats 4
6-speed manual
Gas
202 hp @ 5000 rpm
See all Used 2008 Jeep Wrangler features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover3 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated

More about the 2008 Jeep Wrangler

Used 2008 Jeep Wrangler Overview

The Used 2008 Jeep Wrangler is offered in the following submodels: Wrangler SUV. Available styles include X 2dr SUV 4WD (3.8L 6cyl 6M), Unlimited X 4dr SUV 4WD (3.8L 6cyl 6M), Unlimited Sahara 4dr SUV 4WD (3.8L 6cyl 6M), Sahara 2dr SUV 4WD (3.8L 6cyl 6M), Unlimited X 4dr SUV (3.8L 6cyl 6M), Unlimited Rubicon 4dr SUV 4WD (3.8L 6cyl 6M), Rubicon 2dr SUV 4WD (3.8L 6cyl 6M), and Unlimited Sahara 4dr SUV (3.8L 6cyl 6M).

What's a good price on a Used 2008 Jeep Wrangler?

Price comparisons for Used 2008 Jeep Wrangler trim styles:

  • The Used 2008 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited X is priced between $9,995 and$17,995 with odometer readings between 73182 and200630 miles.
  • The Used 2008 Jeep Wrangler X is priced between $9,359 and$14,987 with odometer readings between 76794 and162400 miles.
  • The Used 2008 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara is priced between $9,999 and$16,750 with odometer readings between 113661 and194699 miles.
  • The Used 2008 Jeep Wrangler Sahara is priced between $12,995 and$19,900 with odometer readings between 51759 and104187 miles.
  • The Used 2008 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon is priced between $14,990 and$14,990 with odometer readings between 101120 and101120 miles.

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Which used 2008 Jeep Wranglers are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2008 Jeep Wrangler for sale near. There are currently 19 used and CPO 2008 Wranglers listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $9,359 and mileage as low as 51759 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2008 Jeep Wrangler.

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Find a used Jeep Wrangler for sale - 4 great deals out of 7 listings starting at $23,229.

Find a used Jeep for sale - 4 great deals out of 12 listings starting at $16,412.

Find a used certified pre-owned Jeep Wrangler for sale - 9 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $13,533.

Find a used certified pre-owned Jeep for sale - 1 great deals out of 15 listings starting at $21,377.

Should I lease or buy a 2008 Jeep Wrangler?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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