"We wish it had more power" has been a common request throughout the Four Wheeler of the Year competitions over the years. However, if there was a theme to this year's field, it would have to be power.
Of our field of six candidates, five had significantly upgraded engines from previous models, and the field put out an astonishing 1,809 hp and 2,140 lb-ft of torque, an average of 301.5 hp and 356.7 lb-ft of torque per vehicle, giving our field more muscle than a three-armed Chuck Norris.
As always, Four Wheeler of the Year includes only those vehicles which are all-new or substantially revised for the upcoming model year. In order to be eligible for an invite to Four Wheeler of the Year, vehicles must meet certain criteria-including, but not limited to, having a two-speed transfer case, having at least 500 production vehicles available in the U.S., being all-new from the ground up, being substantially revised or offering a significant upgrade in suspension or drivetrain, and being available to the public by January 15, 2008. This year, our six-competitor field included the Hummer H2, Hummer H3 Alpha, Jeep Grand Cherokee CRD, Nissan Pathfinder V-8, and Toyota Land Cruiser. Declining our invites for this test were Porsche with its Cayenne Turbo, and Lexus because it could not provide us with an LX 570 in time. Also not available in time for the test was the 2008 Toyota Sequoia.
We score each of the vehicles based on five weighted categories that include Trail Performance (30%), Empirical (25%),On-Pavement (20%), Interior (15%), and Exterior (10%).
The Hummer H2 gets a major revamp for 2008. Of course you'll need to be a Hummer spotter to notice the revised grille and wheels, but the real changes are under the skin in the form of the 6.2L OHV V-8 and six-speed automatic from the Escalade, bringing the H2's trail-romping output up to an impressive 393 hp and 415 lb-ft of torque. Inside, the H2 gets a beautiful new interior with high-quality, soft-touch materials, and excellent ergonomics-finally befitting a vehicle costing $60,000. H2 pilots will appreciate the rear backup camera because it negates the requirement of a copilot for parking exercises. Despite efforts to tame the beast with these refinements, the H2 still has clout when it comes to wheeling, with 35-inch BFGoodrich All-Terrain tires, excellent underbody protection, pyramid-like approach and departure angels, and a selectable electronic rear locker.
A V-8 finally makes its way under the H3's hood in the Alpha model. Taking up residence in the engine bay is the OHV 5.3L aluminum small-block with 300 hp teamed up with the General's venerable 4L60 four-speed automatic. Fitting the V-8 was not as simple as dropping it in the H3, as a number of technical challenges had to be overcome in order for the V-8 to work properly and for the H3 to crash correctly. To start, the H3's frame was modified, a new oil pan was developed, and a new steering system was added. New engine mounts were created, and unique front suspension springs and shocks were introduced to hold the weight. The Adventure Package is available on the Alpha and still offers the 4:1 transfer case, a rear locker, and 33-inch tires. Like its big brother, the H3 has extraordinary approach and departure angles, and fantastic underbody protection. The interior received a minor upgrade in the mid-2007 model year, with new door panels featuring repositioned window switches. Another welcome addition for 2008 is the availability of a rearview camera.
Jeep, the longtime stalwart in this segment, brings to the competition an upgraded Grand Cherokee Limited 4x4 packing a wonderful 3.0L turbodiesel V-6 under the hood. This all-aluminum DOHC V-6 puts out 215 hp and 376 lb-ft of torque (one more than the Hemi gas V-8), is backed by a five-speed automatic, and is coupled to the Grand's exceptional Quadra Drive II four-wheel-drive system-but it only has 29.5-inch tires and no locker. While the current version of the diesel is not available in all 50 states, word is that a future Bluetec version will be.
The other Jeep entry was an all-new-for-2008 Jeep Liberty. Featuring a platform shared with the Dodge Nitro, the 2008 Liberty gains a longer body, a longer wheelbase, and a trick Sky Slider full open-canvas roof system. Unlike the Nitro, the Liberty offers a true two-speed transfer case (an optional full-time version came on our tester) four-wheel-drive system. Sadly, the only engine available is the 3.7L SOHC V-6 with 215 hp and 235 lb-ft of torque; the 2.8L CRD turbodiesel model has been discontinued, and no 4.0L from the Nitro is offered. To make the most of the power, a six-speed manual transmission is still available. Tires were the smallest of the test, measuring 29 inches.
New from Nissan in 2008 is the Pathfinder V-8, into which Nissan has somehow managed to shoehorn a Titan DOHC 5.6L V-8. For this engine swap, Nissan engineers had to add 3 inches to the nose of the Pathfinder and modify the front clip, giving the Pathfinder a more elegant front profile that equals the quality of work expected from a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon. In this application the big V-8 makes 310 hp and 388 lb-ft of torque. Other changes include an upgraded interior with a new center stack and more refinement. The Nissan was the only vehicle in the test to have independent rear suspension, and for some reason, the usually trail-aware Nissan folks have opted not to offer an Off Road package with the Pathfinder V-8 model.
The last vehicle in our test is the all-new 2008 Toyota Land Cruiser, which was most recently redesigned for the 1998 model year. Despite niche sales, the Land Cruiser is an important product for Toyota and is the only Toyota product to be continually sold in the U.S. in the 50 years that Toyota has been here (one was sold the first year). For 2008, the Land Cruiser now boasts the same 5.7L V-8 from the Tundra pickup and a new, more modern skin. Tires are 31.5-inch Dunlops, and Toyota says the Cruiser has a tougher frame than even the Tundra. The Cruiser has grown in size and expense, sporting the latest in electronic techno-gadgetry, and Toyota has bumped up the price accordingly. You'll need an extra $7,000 to get into this year's model.
As always, we began the test with an assembly of judges, gear, and vehicles in the parking lot of our Los Angeles offices. Once the rigs were loaded up and the testers briefed on the FWOTY rules and routes, we headed off to California Speedway in Fontana, California, for track testing.
The acceleration tests this year were some of the fastest times we have ever recorded. The Pathfinder, with its 310hp Titan V-8, posted an explosive sub-seven-second 0-60 run of 6.75 seconds, beating out the second place 381hp Toyota Land Cruiser by nearly a second and even besting our '05 VW Touareg, which had been the quickest time we've recorded in the past three years. Even the massive H2 posted an 8.25-second run to sixty, besting the smaller H3 by over half a second and just edging out the Grand Cherokee by a hundredth of a second.
By the end of the quarter mile, the Pathfinder was still leading the field with a time of 15.7 seconds and a trap speed of 89.0 mph. Right behind it was the Land Cruiser at 16.0 seconds, picking up momentum with a higher trap speed of 90.0 mph, and the turbodiesel Grand besting the two Hummers. Bringing up the rear was the sorely outmatched Liberty, doing the best it could to keep up with the rest of the group, but falling almost two full seconds behind the tying pair of Hummers.
The lightweight Liberty redeemed itself by earning braking honors with a 133-foot score from 60 to 0 mph. Overachieving as always, the Land Cruiser was right behind, with an impressive 139-foot feat. The brawny H2 scored the longest braking measurement with an anchor-dragging distance of over 165 feet.
After track testing was completed, we fueled up and headed north out of town through the Tejon pass, allowing our testers to not only evaluate on-road ride, but passing power and the ability to climb the steep winding grade out of eastern Los Angeles Basin. From there, it was off to our hillclimb testing location and to points north for trail testing.
The vehicle that garnered the most praise for on-highway performance was the Jeep Grand Cherokee CRD, with its efficient turbodiesel mill unselfishly doling out smooth gobs of fat power on request. Passing was a point-and-shoot affair with Clydesdale-like torque building quickly. The ride and handling in the Grand Cherokee was also the sportiest, with the most carlike seating position, giving it a character on the highway unlike anything else in the test. If there was one complaint with the 3.0L, it would be the slingshot-like delivery of power, briefly sluggish until the turbos spooled, then releasing power like a rock leaving a previously stressed rubber band. Some testers noticed some driveline bind in low-speed maneuvers, but overall the Grand Cherokee CRD was a joy to drive. The interior benefited from driver-friendly controls and lots of storage areas, but with its fast roofline and limited knee room, we wouldn't wish the backseat on anyone over 6 feet tall for too long-at least not the ones we liked.
Also scoring highly in the highway portion of the test was the H3 Alpha with its tight, rattle-free structure, excellent insulation from road imperfections, and a well-matched V-8 providing plenty of extra oomph in reserve. The four-speed automatic, with its widely spaced transmission ratios, rarely had to downshift more than once to get into its powerband, and often held Fourth when other transmissions were downshifting once or twice. There is still something to be said for the old-style four-speed; however, we wouldn't mind having an extra cog or two for extra fuel economy and a lower First gear, like the H2. The steering on the H3 was predictable with a bit of understeer, exposing that it was no Grand Cherokee in the twisties. Areas of complaint centered on the H3's lack of storage areas and limited outward visibility.
Right in the mix for highway was the ever-present Land Cruiser, with its monster engine, expansive greenhouse, and luxurious appointments. However, we were disappointed that our Land Cruiser was a preproduction vehicle and had some uncharacteristic squeaks and rattles, which may have hurt it in scoring here, but which may very well not be present in production vehicles. If there had to be a downside to the Toyota's 5.7L, it is that we noticed a fair amount of torque steer through the full-time four-wheel-drive system as the big rig clawed at the pavement trying to convert twist into momentum. While it won't cure all ills, major kudos went to the Toyota's tailgate, once again the only vehicle in the test with one. Another area that was frequently commented on was the Toyota's layout of switchgear for climate control, frustratingly complicated at first but easier to use with additional seat time.
Our judges filled up the Nissan Pathfinder's logbook with comments of angst over the complicated vehicle controls that, unlike the Toyota, never got easier to use as the test wore on. One tester wrote that the sound system interface is ridiculously designed, with way too much complexity and too many convoluted buttons. Another wondered why the volume and climate control knobs that looked like one another were placed so close together, while another commented about taking his eyes off the road to operate the stereo. Once the right combination of buttons was pushed, the occupants were rewarded with a superior sound system sporting an onboard hard drive; it just took a maddening amount of effort and concentration to get there. There was universal praise for the 5.6L V-8 and the amount of get-up the Pathfinder offered, but that was countered by a too-stiff suspension that was deemed jarring, and by the requirement for premium fuel. Wind noise and road noise were also ample compared to other vehicles in the test.
The Hummer H2, with its rear air suspension, has always been a comfortable highway cruiser, and with its new interior, really made a point of wowing the staff. The ergonomics were tops in this group with everything in easy reach, and all buttons clearly marked and doing what was expected. The new 6.2L engine was deemed exceptional, with a fantastic song emanating from the tailpipe, and testers praised the new six-speed automatic transmission's low First gear and great manual mode, but felt it could use a little more marinating on the electronics side, as the transmission was often caught in the wrong gear on hilly terrain, sometimes double-downshifting to pass on a hill but forgetting to upshift when the hill was crested. Another drawback mentioned by testers was the H2's sheer size, which could be intimidating for drivers not used to piloting anything this side of a dualie. While the H2 was fairly quiet, exhibiting almost no road noise, it did present a fair amount of wind noise as its upright shape pummeled the air out of the way, especially in crosswinds. While visibility is typical Hummer, big mirrors helped in spotting suicidal Civics hiding out in the blind spots.
Another vehicle affected by crosswinds was the Jeep Liberty. What is normally a great sealing canvas roof in everyday driving becomes a swooshy affair when the winds come in sideways. The Liberty also suffered from a suspension that could use a little sorting out, exhibiting the odd mix of impact harshness and wallow at the same time. The Liberty's interior was also lacking, with cheap hard plastics, although the fit was fine and there were lots of cubbies to store things. The 3.7L V-6 was only adequate for most driving, leaving us to wonder why the Nitro's 4.0L was left back at the plant. While the Liberty is certainly an improvement over the previous version, it still left us with something to be desired.
Fuel economy kudos not surprisingly went to the diesel Grand Cherokee, with an overall average of 19.29 mpg during our heavy-footed, trail-heavy test. The H2 rounded out the test at OPEC-friendly 10.64 mpg, but we did see numbers as high as 13 mph during less aggressive portions of our test.
As we headed out to the desert, the staff was starting to get an itch to hit the trails. As usual, we began our off-highway adventures at our Johnson Valley hillclimb location in the California desert before playing in and around on trails in the El Paso Mountains, as well as some sand and trail testing near the town of Olancha, California.
Running away with the off-highway portion of our testing were the Hummer entries, the H3 just barely pushing the H2 aside in points. On paper, it was a no-brainer, but on the trail, the H3's capabilities really came alive. The suspension was the only one in the group to confidently speed through the whoops without crashing through the travel; the chassis was tight and forgiving, and being a midsize with a super-tight turning radius, it was the only vehicle in the test that could reliably be piloted through obstacles without a spotter. While we'd be the first to ask for a front locker, we have to admit that the Brake Traction Control system works as advertised, allowing the H3 to walk right up the hillclimb on jagged lines. Our number-one request of the Hummer team would be to replace the more highway oriented Bridgestone Duelers with the same BFGoodrich All-Terrains on the H2. Of the four different H3s we have tested in the last three years, all four have suffered from at least one sidewall puncture (our long-term tester had two), and this test was no different as the front passenger-side tire was stabbed in the side by a murderous stick, causing precious air to flee through something other than the valve stem.
The H2 was right behind the H3 in points on the trail, but suffered from a basic case of hugeness and had to be spotted through the tightest places. Like the H3, the H2 has a well-sorted suspension and was also a blast to drive fast on desert two-tracks, and it walked up the hillclimb with little drama. Unlike the H3, the H2 has a more jiggly ride, and the structure allows much more vibration to reach the occupants on rough roads. We also found that while the H2 has the power, it's hampered by a traction control system that is never really off, intervening too much in loose sand. The H2 does offer the best tires of the group, but like the H2, we'd love to see a front locker.
If you like your vehicle to constantly beep at you and bemoan your driving skills, you will be perfectly at home in the Land Cruiser, but if you are someone who enjoys the backcountry for its peace and quiet, you'll be grabbing a pair of wire cutters and looking for a speaker behind the dash, like we were. The good news is the electronic nannies can be turned off-mostly-which minimizes their berating but doesn't disable them completely. With the nannying reduced, the Land Cruiser became a lot more fun on the trail. Its very capable four-wheel-drive system got the vehicle through everything we asked, although the herky-jerky Crawl Control took a little getting used to. We also felt that the suspension, which impressed us on the road, felt loose and disconnected on fast gravel roads and was not up to the task of following the H3 through the whoops sections. The stability-control system was best left in the Off position, as dirt surfaces confused it, causing the system to engage at inopportune times. Our tester came with prototype factory rock rails, which worked great, and we wish every Land Cruiser had these as an option to replace the running boards.
Everyone loved the Grand Cherokee in the sand, and on fast dirt roads, but when it comes to technical sections, the Grand's extremely capable drivetrain and Quadra Trac II four-wheel-drive system are let down by low ground clearance and small street-biased tires. What this rig couldn't accomplish with a pair of real lockers, a mild lift, and even some off-road oriented 31-inch tires-so close, but no cigar. If only "almost" counted as much in off-pavement testing as it does in horseshoes or hand grenades.
More akin to a Nitro with low-range than a modern XJ, the new Liberty has a case of the Needs. It needs bigger tires, it needs more power, it needs more ground clearance, it needs at a minimum a limited-slip, it needs better tuning, and it needs an ESP system that can go full off, as in the Wrangler. The Liberty is a better overall vehicle than the previous generation, but at the expense of trailability. We purposely got the Liberty crossed up with diagonally opposite wheels in the air, and it was helpless until one of the judges hopped up and down on the rear bumper while another drove it through the obstacle. It also failed to negotiate our hillclimb. We did appreciate its compact dimensions and Sky Slider canvas roof, which is about the only feature that gave a Wrangler-like feel to the wheeling experience.
We really like Nissan products, as we have shown in recent years, but this Pathfinder 's chassis just doesn't live up to the heritage of the Pathfinder name. With the limited articulation of IRS, it had a difficult time at the hillclimb and never made it to the top, open diffs not contributing to the effort. It is also hurt by limited ground clearance and the lack of Nissan's excellent off-road package. Where the Pathfinder does shine is on fast graded roads, where the V-8 can be really opened up, but try to drive fast on the trail, and the Pathfinder blows through suspension travel like a tornado through a trailer park. On the sand dunes, there was plenty of power available, but once again, it was the road-biased chassis setup that limited the fun in the Pathfinder and hence, hindered its run at this year's crown.
At the end of a long week of testing and staff discussions, the scorebooks were turned in, added up, and a clear winner of Four Wheeler of the Year 2008 emerged.
What's Hot: Sky Slider roof, compact proportions, improved creature comforts
What's Not: Weak engine, cheap interior, not enough trailability for a Jeep
Our Take: For those who like the Patriot, but need a V-6 and more room.
From the Logbook:
* "Who tuned the suspension on this thing?"
* "ESP way too intrusive."
* "Big improvement over previous generation in creature comforts."
* "The Sky Slider roof, while cool, won't save this disappointment."
* "Can we have the rear limited-slip back?"
* "Where is the 4.0L option?"
What's Hot: Explosive powertrain, fun to drive on fire roads, unassuming to others
What's Not: IRS, too-stiff suspension, rattly structure, confusing controls
Our Take: A great family tow vehicle, but take a look at the Xterra if wheeling is your thing.
From the Logbook:
* "Felt like the hatch was going to defect and join the sand at the dunes."
* "Why does the volume button turn up the heat?"
* "Where is the off-road package? I can only imagine how much better it would be with a rear locker."
* "Wow! This thing is fast!!!"
* "Rear cargo area is functional, but scuffs too easily."
* "I finally figured out the radio-sounds great."
What's Hot: Turbodiesel thrills, sportscar-like driver, comfortable cockpit, great four-wheel-drive system
What's Not: Too low to the ground, not enough tire
Our Take: A great drivetrain and four-wheel-drive system let down by poor ground clearance and tires.
From the Logbook:
* "With the turbos spooled up, is like being blasted from a cannon."
* "Amazingly powerful, even at high rpm."
* "Hands down my choice for the dunes."
* "Great fuel economy."
* "No hunting for gears, no screaming revs, no clatter-just seamless, efficient power."
What's Hot: Fantastic engine, supreme highway comfort, still quite capable, tailgate
What's Not: Beep, beep, beep, rattles in our tester, beep, beep, beep
Our Take: For those who want a very capable wheeler in an elegant, understated package.
From the Logbook:
* "Torque steers like crazy."
* "If you need a fullsize SUV that's very capable in the dirt but don't want to stick out from the crowd, this is the one to buy."
* "Yummy 5.7L engine is perfectly matched to this rig, and doesn't seem to compromise fuel economy."
* "Approach angle worse than previous generation."
What's Hot: Beastly engine, increased towing capacity, still one of the best factory 4x4s
What's Not: Always need to bring a friend to spot, offset steering wheel, thirsty for gas
Our Take: An outstanding wheeling choice for the fullsize set.
From the Logbook:
* "Love the H2-would be perfect with a diesel."
* "Almost worth buying just for the shifter that looks like it came off a battleship."
* "Outstanding wheelability that just about smokes everything else."
* "I love the H2-it only got better in my opinion."
Douglas McColloch, Editor
For me, it's gotta be the Grand Cherokee CRD. Yes, it gives up a lot in ground clearance and approach versus some of the other contenders, and it sure could use a better tire (then again, so could the H3), but having 360 lb-ft of torque on tap at engine speeds barely above idle really comes in handy when rockcrawling, hillclimbing, or picking your way along a slow-speed trail. And while it can't be brutally flogged in the dirt the way the Hummers can, it's nowhere near as thirsty at the gas pump, and I can actually see the trail from the driver seat without needing a spotter. Let's see more of these small-displacement diesels in the Jeep vehicle line, please.
Ken Brubaker, Senior Editor
In my one-car reality, the SUV I choose has to do it all, and do it well. The Hummer H2 is that vehicle. With an 8,200-pound tow rating, payload rating of almost a ton, seating for seven, exceptional ground clearance and approach/departure angles, a rear locker, 35s, and the inclusion of the 6.2L engine, the H2 has all the bases covered. It's also darn skippy when it comes to luxury. It is hands-down the most versatile and off-highway-capable fullsize SUV in production today. And it's easy to find in a parking lot.
Sean P. Holman, Tech Editor
The Hummer H3 Alpha is my clear favorite in this test. It is such a good vehicle and fits my lifestyle so well, that other than the Dodge Power Wagon, it is the only other vehicle I have tested in the last five years that I would buy and put in my own garage. I absolutely love the H3, and as good as other rigs are in this test, the Alpha is the only one that called my name in the middle of the night wanting to take me on a night run.
Robin Stover, Feature Editor
In this year's lineup, I would have to pick the Hummer H3 Alpha because the engineers at Hummer corrected everything I complained about in the previous generation. The new 5.3L V-8 produces acceptable power for any scenario. Other improvements like a backup camera, along with better switchgear placement, revitalize my faith in GM's ability to target a demographic and deliver sound results. My hat's off to Hummer for a well deserved win.
Greg P. Smith, Art Director
Sure, "just pick the one 4x4 SUV you would want sitting in your driveway." Yeah, right, not as easy as it sounds, considering four of this year's grouping have such a high pedigree of off-road prowess. After much soul searching, my choice comes down to the Hummer H3 Alpha, with the Land Cruiser a very close second. Adding a V-8 to an already very-capable rig was the next logical step in the H3's evolution, but if only GM would have added the more powerful 6.2L and six-speed auto the H2 received ... oh well, I guess you shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth
Steve VonSeggern, Publisher
The H2 is supremely comfortable, relatively fast, and the new interior is way ahead of the old in terms of both design and finish, but I just couldn't get over the constant 10 mpg and the container-ship sizing. The Land Cruiser has a fantastic engine, but in restyling this big SUV, Toyota went from antique to freak, and the various styling elements seem to fight each other so it just ends up looking like a Korean crossover-not to mention that somehow they've managed to ruin its off-road behavior with the new herky-jerky crawl mode, overly nannyish stability control, too-loosely valved shocks, and rattling seats. I now officially love everything about the Hummer H3, at least in this new Alpha form, except for visibility, and this is without a doubt the most capable rig we had in all dirt scenarios. My favorite, however, ended up being the Grand Cherokee CRD, which handles the dirt with way more aplomb than you'd ever expect, and outshines any other rig in its class with its Herculean-strong but smooth diesel engine. Now if you could only get one in California
Jason Gonderman, Online Editor
If I had to choose one vehicle to take home from this bunch, I would take the Hummer H3 Alpha. While there were several vehicles in the group I could see myself in or would love owning, the Hummer H3 is the best all-around choice for what I do. With its awesome trail prowess, aggressive new powerplant, comfortable interior, and modest towing abilities, it truly is one of the best all-around small SUVs on the market today. The only thing stopping me from having one in the driveway is price.
What is left to say that we haven't said about the Hummer H3 Alpha? It offers almost everything a wheeler could ask for: A husky V-8 engine, low gearing (4.10:1), superior crawl ratio (50:1), a rear locker, exterior-mounted spare, ample ground clearance, flexy suspension, monotube shocks, real recovery shackles, and plenty of underbody and rocker protection. It also has the benefit of being civilized enough to drive everyday and luxurious enough to impress your wife. If Hummer is listening, a front locker and better tires would be the last things on our list required to reach 'wheeling Zen, but until those changes are made, this outstanding SUV is one of the best factory 4x4s you can buy.
Over the past three years we asked for more power-Hummer added a V-8. We questioned the position of the door switches-Hummer repositioned them. We commented about rear visibility-Hummer added a rearview camera. Hummer is a brand that goes racing to learn about its vehicle durability, listens to its customers, and isn't afraid to make running changes, always striving to give its customer a better product.
For those who don't think Hummers are the real deal, this year's FWOTY should be proof that the H3 deserves respect. As one judge put it, "It jumps, it plows, it creeps, and it saunters. Could be one of the most perfect sport-utes." It is just a blast to drive fast in the desert, does really very well in the rocks, and finally has the power to conquer sand. Still don't believe us? All it will take is a testdrive to convince you. And if you have wanted an H3, but have been making excuses, now is the time. This is the best Hummer to date, and has earned its spot in Four Wheeler history as the 2008 Four Wheeler of the Year.
What's Hot: V-8 power, just-right size, super maneuverable, nearly perfect
What's Not: Limited storage, weak tires, where's the manual/V-8 combo?
Our Take: Our 2008 Four Wheeler of the Year
From the Logbook:
* "Hummer gets it."
* "I'm constantly amazed at how well tuned the suspension is, and how tight the structure is."
* "I didn't think one could make torsion bars and leaf springs work as well as coils, but they've done it here. "
* "This is the one everyone wanted on the trail."
* "Ditch the Duelers!"
* "I want one."
| Vehicle/model ||Hummer H2 ||Hummer H3 Alpha ||Jeep Grand Cherokee CRD ||Jeep Liberty ||Nissan Pathfinder ||Toyota Land Cruiser |
| Base price ||$55,510 ||$38,645 ||$38,555 ||$26,125 ||$32,850 ||$63,200 |
| Price as tested ||$65,815 ||$42,170 ||$43,605 ||$30,270 ||$39,860 ||$74,530 |
| Options as tested ||Luxury package ($6,410);AM/FM stereo w/MP3 compatible CD/DVD player& DVD-based navigation ($1,720);Air suspension package ($1,275);destination ($900) ||Solar Flare Metallic paint ($295);Rear Vision ($850);Trailer Tow Package ($390);Adventure Package ($1,375);destination ($615) ||Red Rock Crystal Pearl Coat exterior paint ($225);Trailer Tow Group IV ($280);Quadra-Drive II 4x4 Group ($795);3.0L V-6 turbo diesel engine ($1,655);high-intensity discharge headlamps ($500); MyGIG Multimedia Infotainment System w/navigation ($900); destination ($695) ||Red Rock Crystal Pearl Coat exterior paint ($225);Trailer Tow Class III Group ($395);Skid Plate Group ($225);Premium Group I ($995);Selec-Trac II Active Full-Time 4WD System ($445);Sky Slider full open roof ($1,200);destination ($660) ||XM Satellite Radio ($150);floor mats ($155);SE Premium Package ($1,850);Air Bag Package ($700);DVD Mobile Entertainment System ($1,600);SE Leather Package ($1,850);destination ($705) ||Touch-screen DVD navigation system ($3,400);Country Club Package ($7,245);destination ($685) |
| ENGINE |
| Type ||OHV VVT V-8 ||OHV V-8 ||DOHC V-6 ||SOHC V-6 ||DOHC V-8 ||DOHC V-8 |
| Displacement (ci/liter) ||376/6.2 ||325/5.3 ||182/3.0 ||225.8/3.7 ||341/5.6 ||349/5.7 |
| Bore x stroke (in) ||4.06 x 3.62 ||3.78 x 3.62 ||3.27 x 3.62 ||3.66 x 3.57 ||3.86 x 3.62 ||3.70 x 4.02 |
| Compression ratio ||10.5:1 ||9.9:1 ||18:1 ||9.7:1 ||9.8:1 ||10.2:1 |
| Intake ||EFI ||EFI ||High-pressure direct common-rail injection, turbocharger ||EFI ||EFI ||EFI |
| Mfg.'s power rating @ rpm (hp) ||393 @ 5,700 ||300 @ 5,200 ||215 @ 3,800 ||210 @ 5,200 ||310 @ 5,200 ||381 @ 5,600 |
| Mfg.'s torque rating @ rpm (lb-ft) ||415 @ 4,300 ||320 @ 4,000 ||376 @ 1,600-2,800 ||235 @ 4,000 ||388 @ 3,400 ||401 @ 3,600 |
| Mfg.'s suggested fuel type ||Regular unleaded ||Regular unleaded ||Ultra low-sulfur diesel ||Regular unleaded ||Regular unleaded ||Regular unleaded |
| DRIVETRAIN |
| Transmission ||6L80-E 6-spd automatic ||4L60-E 4-spd automatic ||W5J400 5-spd automatic ||42RLE 4-spd automatic ||Jatco RE5R05A 5-spd automatic ||AB60F 6-spd automatic |
| Ratios: |
| First ||4.02:1 ||3.06:1 ||3.59:1 ||2.84:1 ||3.83:1 ||3.33:1 |
| Second ||2.36:1 ||1.63:1 ||2.19:1 ||1.57:1 ||2.37:1 ||1.96:1 |
| Third ||1.52:1 ||1.00:1 ||1.41:1 ||1.00:1 ||1.52:1 ||1.35:1 |
| Fourth ||1.15:1 ||0.70:1 ||1.00:1 ||0.69:1 ||1.00:1 ||1.00:1 |
| Fifth ||0.85:1 ||n/a ||0.83:1 ||n/a ||0.83:1 ||0.73:1 |
| Sixth ||0.66:1 ||n/a ||n/a ||n/a ||n/a ||0.59:1 |
| Reverse ||3.064:1 ||2.29:1 ||3.16:1 ||2.21:1 ||2.61:1 ||2.29:1 |
| Axle ratio ||3.73:1 ||4.10:1 ||3.73:1 ||3.73:1 ||2.94:1 ||3.91:1 |
| Transfer case ||Borg-Warner 44-84 full-time 2-spd ||Borg-Warner 44-94 full-time 2-spd ||NVG245 full-time 2-spd ||MP3022 full-time 2-spd ||Univance XN-k part-time 2-spd ||JF2A full-time 2-spd |
| Low-range ratio ||2.64:1 ||4.03:1 ||2.72:1 ||2.72:1 ||2.63:1 ||2.62:1 |
| Crawl ratio ||39.6:1 ||50.6:1 ||36.4:1 ||28.8:1 ||29.6:1 ||34.1:1 |
| FRAME/BODY |
| Frame ||Ladder-type ||Ladder-type ||Uniframe ||Uniframe ||Ladder-type ||Ladder-type |
| Body ||Steel ||Steel ||Steel ||Steel ||Steel ||Steel |
| SUSPENSION/AXLES |
| Front ||Independent, torsion bars,46mm monotube gas shocks,36mm front stabilizer bar/AAM 9.25-in ||Independent, SLA torsion bar,46mm monotube gas-charged shocks,36mm tubular stabilizer bar/AAM 7.25-in ||Independent, coil springs,twin-tube coilover gas shocks,stabilizer bar /Chrysler 7.9-in,electronic limited-slip ||Independent, coil springs,low-pressure gas shocks,stabilizer bar/Dana 30 ||Independent, double-wishbone,coilover shocks,stabilizer bar/Dana M205 ||Independent, double-wishbone,coil springs stabilizer bar/SD 22A 8.7-in |
| Rear ||5-link, variable-rate coil springs,46mm monotube gas shocks, 32mm stabilizer bar/AAM 9.5-in,Eaton E-Locker ||Hotchkiss semi-elliptic dual-stage leaf springs,46mm monotube gas shocks,25mm stabilizer bar/AAM 8.6-in,Eaton E-Locker ||Link/coil with track bar,twin-tube gas shocks,stabilizer bar/Chrysler 8.3-in,electronic limited-slip ||Upper and lower trailing arms,track bar, coil springs, stabilizer bar,low-pressure gas shocks,/Chrysler 8.25-in ||Independent, double-wishbone,coil on toe-control link,stabilizer bar/Nissan R230-K ||Four-link with coil springs,control arms, shocks,stabilizer bar/BD 24A 9.5-in |
| STEERING |
| Type ||Variable ratio, integral power; recirculating ball-type ||Power assisted rack-and-pinion w/tri-bushing mount design ||Power rack-and-pinion ||Power rack-and-pinion ||Engine speed-sensitive power rack-and-pinion ||Power-assisted variable gear rack-and-pinion |
| Turns (lock-to-lock) ||3.0 ||3.25 ||2.85 ||3.42 ||3.54 ||3.1 |
| Ratio ||Variable, 13.6 to 11.8:1 ||17.1:1 ||15.8:1 on center, 13.9:1 full lock ||17.36:1 ||17:1 ||16.7:1 |
| BRAKES |
| Front ||12.9 x1.5-in vented disc, dual-piston calipers ||12.4 x 1.10-in vented disc, four-piston calipers ||12.9 x 1.2-in vented disc, twin-piston pin-slider calipers ||11.9 x 1.1-in vented rotor, single-piston calipers ||11.65 x 1.1-in vented disc, dual-piston calipers ||13.4 x 1.3-in vented disc, four-piston calipers |
| Rear ||13.0 x 1.1-in vented disc, dual-piston calipers ||13.5 x 0.79-in vented disc, single-piston sliding calipers ||12.6 x 0.55-in disc, single-piston pin-slider calipers ||12.44 x 0.47-in solid rotor, single-piston calipers ||12.12 x 0.70-in vented disc, single-piston calipers ||13.6 x 0.71-in vented disc, single-piston calipers |
| ABS ||Four-wheel ||Four-wheel ||Four-wheel ||Four-wheel ||Four-wheel ||Four-wheel |
| WHEELS/TIRES |
| Wheels (in) ||17x8 cast aluminum ||16x7.5 cast aluminum ||17x7.5 cast aluminum ||17x7 pained cast aluminum ||18x8 cast aluminum ||18x8 cast aluminum |
| Tires ||LT315/70R17 BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A ||LT285/75R16 Bridgestone Dueler ||P245/65R17 Goodyear Fortera ||235/65R17 Goodyear Wrangler HP ||P265/60R18 BFGoodrich Long Trail T/A ||P285/60R18 Dunlop Grandtrek AT23 |
| FUEL ECONOMY |
| EPA city/highway ||n/a ||13/16 ||17/22 ||15/21 ||12/18 ||13/18 |
| Observed city/highway/trail ||10.64 ||13.68 ||18.56 ||15.72 ||14.15 ||14.49 |
| DIMENSIONS/CAPACITIES |
| Weight (lb) ||6,614 ||4,854 ||4,724 ||4,222 ||5,030 ||5,690 |
| Wheelbase (in) ||122.8 ||111.9 ||109.5 ||106.1 ||112.2 ||112.2 |
| Overall length (in) ||203.5 ||186.7 ||188.0 ||176.9 ||192.5 ||194.9 |
| Overall width (in) ||81.2 ||85.5 ||84.3 ||72.4 ||72.6 ||77.6 |
| Height (in) ||78.5 ||74.5 ||68.9 ||70.1 ||72.8 ||74.0 |
| Track f/r (in) ||69.4/69.4 ||65/65.5 ||62/62 ||61/61 ||61.8./61.8 ||64.6/64.4 |
| Minimum ground clearance (in) ||10.1 ||9.1 ||8.2 ||7.75 ||8.8 ||8.9 |
| Turning diameter, curb-to-curb (ft) ||43.5 ||37 ||37.1 ||35.5 ||39.2 ||38.7 |
| Approach/departure angles (deg) ||39.8/37.1 ||39.4/36.5 ||35/27.5 ||29/32.1 ||28.7/22.9 ||30/20 |
| Breakover angle (deg.) ||23.5 ||25.0 ||21.3 ||20.4 ||22.9 ||21 |
| GVWR (lb) ||8,600 ||6,001 ||6,150 ||5,372 ||6,500 ||7,275 |
| Payload (lb) ||1,986 ||1,150 ||1,190 ||1,150 ||1,464 ||1,585 |
| Maximum towing capacity (lb) ||8,200 ||6,000 ||7,200 ||5,000 ||7,000 ||8,500 |
| Seating ||7 (with 3rd row seat) ||5 ||5 ||5 ||7 ||8 |
| Fuel capacity (gal) ||32 ||23 ||21.1 ||19.5 ||21.1 ||24.6 |
| PERFORMANCE |
| 0-60 mph (sec) ||8.25 ||8.86 ||8.26 ||11.35 ||6.75 ||7.72 |
| Quarter-mile (sec @ mph) ||16.54 @ 83.73 ||16.54 @ 81.86 ||16.37 @ 82.61 ||18.43 @ 76.45 ||15.70 @ 89.04 ||16.02 @ 90.02 |
| Braking 60-0 mph (ft) ||165.42 ||143.9 ||148.7 ||133.21 ||151.0 ||139.11 |
| RTI ||472 ||526 ||422 ||398 ||355 ||540 |