Cars Similar to the Jeep Wranglerby Michael G. Sanchez
For many enthusiasts, the Jeep Wrangler stands alone in the 21st century automotive landscape. Rough, rugged and boasting serious off-road capabilities, it's virtually the mirror-opposite of today's car-based crossovers and refined, luxury-focused SUVs. So, while it's true that there's nothing currently for sale in the U.S. that matches up precisely with Jeep's iconic Wrangler, there are several vehicles that evoke the same adventurous spirit and share some of its key features. Body on frame construction, part-time four-wheel-drive with low range, significant ground clearance and breakover angles suitable for trail work are characteristics of the Wrangler and other similar vehicles.
While the larger Nissan Xterra doesn't share the dimensions of the Wrangler, it has a similarly aggressive, off-road focus. The 2015 Xterra is a mid-size, rear- or four-wheel drive SUV. It features traditional, truck-style body-on-frame construction. The Nissan measures 178.7 inches long, 72.8 inches wide and 74.9 inches high, with a 106.3-inch wheelbase. These dimensions make it significantly larger than the 2015 Wrangler, which is only 152.8-inches long and sits on a 95.4-inch wheelbase. The Xterra is powered by a 4.0-liter V-6. This engine generates 261 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 281 foot-pounds of torque at 4,000 rpm. The Xterra boasts a wealth of off-road features, such as a rugged leaf-spring rear suspension, hill start assist, hill descent control, an electronic locking rear differential, a heavy-duty aluminum roof rack with available locking gear box, a cargo area that can be hosed out for easy cleaning and built-in bumper steps for easy roof access. Four-wheel-drive with low range is optional. The Xterra's breakover angle ranges from 22.9 degrees to 23.8 degrees, depending on trim level. Its ground clearance measures from 8.2 to 9.1 inches.
Toyota FJ Cruiser
In terms of appearance and overall "attitude," the FJ Cruiser is the Wrangler's closest contemporary competitor. Like the Wrangler, the dramatically styled FJ Cruiser evokes a legendary off-roader of the past -- in the Toyota's case, the iconic FJ Land Cruiser. The 2014 FJ Cruiser is quite a bit larger than the Wrangler. It measures 183.9 inches long, 75.0 inches wide and 72.0-inches high, with a 105.9-inch wheelbase. Like the Wrangler, it employs a body-on-frame design. The Toyota is powered by a 4.0-liter V-6 which produces 260 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 271 foot-pounds of torque at 4,400 rpm. Notable features include rear-hinged "suicide" rear doors, an elevated air intake for fording water up to 28 inches deep, available part-time four-wheel drive with low range and the CRAWL Control system for negotiating challenging terrain at low speeds. The FJ Cruiser's breakover angle is 27 degrees and its ground clearance is just under 10 inches.
While the Toyota 4Runner isn't a direct competitor to the Wrangler in terms of size or price, the two vehicles still have a lot in common. Like the Jeep, the 4Runner is a long-running and respected SUV nameplate with decades of enthusiast support behind it. Unlike so many contemporary sport-utility vehicles, the 4Runner hasn't abandoned its adventurous roots. It still features truck-style body-on-frame construction and traditional, part-time four-wheel drive with low range. Despite its refined interior, it has the capability to tackle real trails. The 2014 4Runner measures 190.2 inches in length, 75.8 inches in width and 71.5 inches in height. It rides on a 109.8-inch wheelbase. Like the FJ Cruiser, the mid-size 4Runner is powered by a 4.0-liter V-6. In the larger Toyota, it puts out 270 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 278 foot-pounds of torque at 4,400 rpm. While Toyota doesn't specify its breakover angle, the 4Runner's approach angle is 33 degrees and its departure angle is 26 degrees. Its ground clearance is 9.6 inches.
Land Rover LR4
Despite its upscale interior, the 2014 LR4 still has the necessary hardware for real off-roading. Like the other vehicles in this list, the classy Brit features body-on-frame construction and part-time, four-wheel-drive with low range. Its breakover angle is 27 degrees and it has a maximum ground clearance of 9.5 inches when its adjustable air suspension is set to off-road mode. The SUV is powered by a 3.0-liter, supercharged V-6. The engine generates 340 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 332 foot-pounds of torque at 3,500 rpm.
Michael G. Sanchez has been a professional writer for over 10 years. A lifelong car enthusiast and former senior mechanic, he has written on a wide range of automotive topics. He holds a bachelor's degree in English literature from Castleton State College. Sanchez started writing about cars as a part-time copywriter for a local dealership while still in high school.