It's Of the Year time at Motor Trend for 2008, and first up in our annual search for the best of the best is the 2008 Motor Trend Sport Utility of the Year award. We tested, poked, prodded, and otherwise evaluated each vehicle keeping in mind its superiority, significance and value where it plays in the overall marketplace.

Due to the vagaries of launch cycles and on-sale dates, this year's crop of 11 contenders was half the size of last year's record field, but what it lacked in quantity, it more than made up for in terms of quality and significance. The lineup included the best Buick in decades (not the best Buick SUV, but the best Buick, period), two new Jeeps, an all-new Land Rover, and a Hyundai that makes you think twice about spending money on a Lexus.

The 11 Contenders in this year testing:

1. Buick Enclave
2. Hyundai Veracruz
3. Jeep Liberty
4. Jeep Patriot
5. Land Rover LR2
6. Mazda CX9
7. Nissan Rogue
8. Saturn Vue
9. Subaru Tribeca
10. Toyota Highlander
11. Toyota Land Cruiser

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ABOUT OUR 11 CONTENDERS

Don't forget to come back as we unveil more about this years Contenders all week!