The test machine was a Rubicon- a factory tuned performance model that's intended to make the vehicle even more adept when the going gets rough. The package adds additional hardware leaving drivers a full selection of tools at their disposal to make sure they come out at the other side of whichever treacherous trail they tackle.
|The Rubicon in its land of predilection.|
The transfer case includes a 4-LO setting with a 4:1 ratio for absolutely creeping up or down very steep inclines. There is an axle lock feature available in this mode, which electrically locks the rear axle when pressed, and the front axle when pressed again. The axles in question are made by Dana, coming from years of expertise in off-roading- and you can't break them. With the axle lock fully engaged, nothing short of a cliff will stop your progress, unless you've got a winch, and the torque is pulverizing.
The front sway bar disconnects at the touch of a button too- allowing full front suspension articulation and a more aggressive approach angle. This is handy when crossing sharp ruts or bumps, ensuring both front tires have a level grip on the turf.
All the goodies listed above are backed by a 3.8 litre V6 engine which replaces the old 4.0 litre "Powertech" mill from years gone by. The engine is well behaved and has a powercurve such that shifting at 2000 rpm's is sufficient within city driving to get along without hearing much from the engine room. Doing so averages 16L / 100km in the fuel consumption
department- not easy on gas, but there are far less capable machines that drink more.
|Power comes from a thirsty but well-behaved 3.8L V6 engine.|
The test vehicle was fitted with a six-speed manual transmission with a surprisingly light clutch and slick shifter. It's enjoyable to row through the gears, but if you're into serious off-roading you might want to consider the automatic as driving stick with ones head out a window watching for sharp rocks is a bit of a chore. It's almost impossible not to burn the clutch in certain situations too.