TheCarConnection.com recently posted their review of the 2003 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon - a Wrangler specifically outfitted for those of us who actually take our Jeeps off-road. The Rubicon (named after the famed Rubicon Trail in the Sierra Nevadas) is your standard Wrangler with front and rear locking differentials, low-range transfer case, and front and rear Dana axles.
While the review is favorable, one thing is missing - a review of the Rubicon's off-roading capabilities! It seems that DaimlerChrysler didn't want anyone writing about how the Rubicon handles off-road just yet. This "review" is more of a description of the vehicle than anything else, but it is still informative. Anyway, here's a snippet:
The outer layer of this rock climber is much the same as its more road-ready Wrangler sibling. A few additions to the exterior distinguish this model, however. A 22-inch long "Rubicon" graphic is prominently emblazoned on either side of the hood, and heavy-gauge diamond plate sill guards are bolted to the body sides to protect rocker panels. Exterior paint color choices include all Wrangler exterior colors along with Inca Gold.
Like its sibling, the Rubicon has distinctive round headlamps and front-end mounted fog lamps, as well as contrast-color bumpers and wheel wells. Goodyear Wrangler 31-inch tires give over ten inches of ground clearance and are mounted on new 16-inch, five-spoke aluminum wheels with a dished face to protect them from debris and obstacles. Standard are four-wheel disc brakes.
This wrapping is just a formality, however, for the off-road drivetrain package it contains. The driver can actuate the locking differentials when the transfer case is in low range and the vehicle is traveling under 10 miles per hour. When not locked, the rear axle has a torque-sensing limited slip feature for better traction on the road. Dana model 44 axles are built to be strong enough to handle all manner of off-road conditions.
The transfer case on the new Rubicon is designed with a 4:1 low range, which slows the vehicle's speed to increase torque at the wheels while giving the driver more control and power. A 4.0-liter in-line six-cylinder motor is matched to a five-speed manual transmission and produces 190 horses at 4600 rpm and 235 lb-ft of torque at 3200 rpm.
Be sure to check out the entire "review".