Cheap Jeep Challenge Ep. 8: Which Of These Off-Roaders Is Best In Moab?

The Cheap Jeep heads to Moab - is it the best off-roader of them all?

The first series of our Cheap Jeep Challenge heads to Moab.

When Roman and Tommy first purchased the 2002 Jeep Wrangler TJ, they took it to Moab on their 1,100-mile cannonball trip back to Colorado. Now that we’ve fitted BFGoodrich tires and a Teraflex lift, it’s time for a rematch. Is this cheap Jeep as a capable as a more expensive vehicle in one of the ultimate off-road playgrounds?

To find out, we return to Moab in our cheap Jeep. This time, however, it’s not going alone. We threw down a gauntlet for the Jeep to see whether it was even more capable than our long-term Land Rover Discovery II and our scrappy little Suzuki Samurai. Along the way, we stage a drag race up into the mountains out of Denver, Colorado and we also see which of these three cars is the most fuel efficient. If you think it’s a foregone conclusion, you may be surprised! Then again, the results may not be shocking for you at all.

But where in Moab are we going to test these three off-road machines? Well Fins and Things offers a light to moderate challenge, we went for something a bit more daring. The guys throw these machines at the landscape on Hell’s Revenge.

Happy holidays from TFLcar - drag race
TFL’s long-term Land Rover Discovery. [Photo: TFLcar]

The contestants

The 2004 Land Rover Discovery II Roman drives is the most off-road capable right out of the box. It has locking differentials, a traction control system, and a 4.6-liter V8 engine. When it was new, the V8 produced around 217 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque. It came mated to a four-speed automatic transmission.

The Jeep’s first adventure in Moab.

Then there’s the our cheap Jeep. While many were bought with the indomitable 4.0-liter straight-six engine, this one has the smaller option. That’s a 2.5-liter naturally aspirated inline-four with closer to 120 horsepower and 140 lb-ft of torque. Some models came yoked to an archaic three-speed automatic, while others had a four-speed unit instead.

Suzuki Samurai
[Photo: TFLcar]

The 1987 Suzuki Samurai is the underdog in terms of power. It has a tiny 1.3-liter four-cylinder engine — less than one-third the displacement of the Land Rover’s V8. Brand new, it produced 60 horsepower and around 72 lb-ft of torque, and that’s at sea level. Up above 5,000 feet? It’s not going to be fast, by any stretch of the imagination. However, it should be efficient, and its lightweight construction makes it more of a scamper on the off-road trails of Moab.

Find out how our Cheap Jeep challenge wraps up in the video above! Stay tuned to for more with the Suzuki Samurai and a whole new series of the Cheap Jeep challenge.