Autoweek Rubicon Article
Date 2006/10/9 20:59:46 | Topic: Wrangler
|Autoweek.com went along on the recent Chrysler Group journalist field trip to Africa (our invite must have gotten lost in the mail) to test the 2007 Wrangler Rubicon.|
The Jeep Wrangler teetered on the cliff’s edge, its nose dangling over one boulder and aiming squarely at a mountain’s worth more. A few folks had scattered around the steep, 90-degree right-hander the Wrangler had just shot through—or, rather, over—variously pointing, crouching or standing with hands on hips, apparently trying to deduce the best way to get the trucklet back on all fours. No one looked overly concerned—at least the concern was not tangible from the vantage point a couple of hundred feet below.
The radio crackled, the first signs of a solution making its way down the hill in staccato syllables, something about ropes and rigging and winches. We’d be there for a while.
The early morning trek up the Chendeni hills of Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park challenged even the most seasoned off-road drivers in the convoy, including the trail guides whose résumés boast a combined 28 years of Camel Trophy experience. Every few feet of the climb required dipping into the Wrangler’s bag of rock-climbing tricks: working the transfer case; locking the front differential, the rear or both; disconnecting the sway bars to maximize wheel travel; or simply allowing the Jeep to creep along, feet off pedals, in “tick over” mode. Most stretches called for some combination thereof.