Wrangler Changes For 2003

Date 2002/9/11 0:00:00 | Topic: Wrangler

Find out what's new with the 2003 Wrangler

The Rubicon name isn't just for a Class 10 off-road trail anymore - it's also what the Jeep brand is calling their limited production, ultimate off-road rig. The new 2003 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon is engineered to take on the most demanding trails, including those previously reserved for only highly modified vehicles.

"The 2003 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon features an off-road performance package, as only Jeep can engineer, allowing serious off-road enthusiasts the opportunity to drive over some of the most extreme trails in the country, and then drive it home," said Craig Love, Vice President - Jeep Product Team, DaimlerChrysler Corporation.

While beefy off-road tires and diamond plate sill protectors hint at the tremendous capability of Wrangler Rubicon, the underpinnings make it worthy of the Rubicon name. In response to the demands of hardcore off-road enthusiasts, the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon model features locking front and rear differentials, front and rear Dana model 44 axles and a 4:1 low-range transfer case.

Jeep Engineered Off-Road Model

The new Wrangler Rubicon features Tru-LokTM locking differentials that can be driver-actuated when the transfer case is in low range with vehicle speed below 10 miles per hour. A dash-mounted rocker switch allows the driver to lock the rear axle and toggle the front axle locker on and off for improved maneuvering. When engaged, this feature mechanically locks the axle shafts together to drive all four wheels at the same speed. When unlocked, the rear axle has a torque-sensing limited-slip feature to provide better traction and handling on-road. Dana model 44 axles with 4.10:1 ratios front and rear provide the durability and strength needed for extreme off-road driving.

"This combination of what would typically be aftermarket hardware provides tremendous off-road capability to give our enthusiast owners a rig that is ready for their favorite trails, right out of the box," added Love.

The Rock-Trac

TM transfer case with 4:1 low range slows vehicle speed to give the driver more control and increases the amount of torque available at the wheels. This fixed-output NV241 Off-Road transfer case was engineered specifically for the Wrangler Rubicon to meet the demanding durability requirements of an intense off-road vehicle. For the same reason, this model also includes heavy-duty driveshafts with 1330 universal joints.

Goodyear Wrangler "Maximum Traction/Reinforced" 31-inch tall tires feature a beefy tread pattern that wraps around the sidewall to help grab ledges along the trail. This state-of-the-art off-road tire includes a three-ply sidewall and advanced silica compound for excellent durability and puncture resistance. The new tread pattern provides increased tread stiffness and uniform tread wear. The largest tires offered from the factory on Wrangler, these LT245/75R16 tires add an extra half-inch of ground clearance over the 30-inch tires.

Unique Exterior Appearance

The Jeep Wrangler Rubicon features unique exterior design cues and will be available in all 10 Wrangler exterior colors. Reminiscent of legendary Jeep vehicles, a "Rubicon" graphic is prominently placed on each side of the hood. Heavy gauge diamond plate sill guards are bolted to the bodyside to protect rocker panels from damage in off-road situations. And new 16-inch, five-spoke aluminum wheels are designed with a dished face to protect the wheel from off-road obstacles.

2003 Wranglers Feature New Powertrain Choices

For 2003, an all-new 42RLE four-speed automatic transmission debuts on Jeep Wrangler. Offered on all models, this smoother-shifting transmission provides better highway fuel efficiency and quieter engine operation at highway speeds compared to the previous three-speed automatic transmission. In addition to the standard fuel tank and transfer case skid plates, a new automatic transmission skid plate provides additional off-road protection.

New for Jeep Wrangler SE is an NV1500 five-speed heavy-duty transmission. Also used on Jeep Liberty, this transmission gives Wrangler a synchronized reverse gear and improved shift quality in cold weather.

Offering significantly more horsepower and torque, Jeep Liberty's 2.4-liter Power TechTM I-4 replaces the 2.5-liter I-4 as the standard engine on 2003 Jeep Wrangler SE models. This 2.4-liter engine provides an estimated 150 horsepower (112 kW) at 5,200 rpm and 165 lb.-ft. (224 Nm) of torque at 4,000 rpm, representing a 25-percent increase in horsepower and an 18-percent increase in torque. This increased power and torque is achieved through the use of aluminum cross-flow cylinder heads, dual overhead cams and a four-valve-per-cylinder design. The new 2.4-liter engine is quieter, more fuel-efficient and engineered for longer life and ease of maintenance. It also meets NLEV (National Low Emission Vehicle) standards.

The Jeep Wrangler X, Sport, Sahara and Rubicon models feature as standard the 4.0-liter Power Tech I-6 mated to a five-speed manual transmission. Also available with the new 42RLE four-speed automatic transmission, the 4.0-liter engine is rated at 190 horsepower (142 kW) at 4,600 rpm and 235 lb.-ft. (319 Nm) of torque at 3,200 rpm.

Enhanced, Comprehensive Safety System

New for 2003, available four-wheel disc brakes give Jeep Wrangler better brake feel on-road, with decreased stopping distance and reduced brake fade. Off-road, four-wheel disc brakes are self-cleaning.

A new fold-and-tumble rear seat can be more easily removed. Jeep Wrangler's rear seats are equipped with the LATCH (Lower Anchors and upper Tethers for CHildren) system in 2003 for mounting the new generation of aftermarket infant child seats. With the LATCH system, child seats attach directly to the structure of the rear seat, so they are easier to install.

Safety features standard on all Jeep Wranglers include next-generation air bags, a driver's side constant force retractor, self-adjusting low-tension three-point belts, height-adjustable shoulder belts, and new for 2003, energy-absorbing foam is added to the sport bar and new trim is added around the windshield and on the back of the hard top.

All-New Interior Offers a New Level of Refinement

An all-new interior gives Jeep Wrangler several interior refinements, while still preserving the true essence of the Jeep brand icon.

New front seats on Jeep Wrangler offer an additional 20 millimeters of rearward travel, allowing taller drivers to sit a more comfortable distance from the steering wheel. Taller seat backs provide a more comfortable ride, with a lever on the side of the front passenger seat for easier access to the rear.

In addition to new front and rear seats, the 2003 Jeep Wrangler features:

New interior electrochromic rearview mirror with map lights, temperature and compass display standard on Sahara, optional on Sport and Rubicon models

New four-spoke steering wheel

Additional power outlet on the dash

Replacing the optional sound bar, new standard corner pods located just behind the b-pillar on both sides of the vehicle house interior lamps, providing theater lighting and optional speakers

Dark Slate or Khaki interior

For 2003, Jeep Wrangler is offered in four new exterior colors - Bright Silver Metallic, Inca Gold Pearl Coat, Intense Blue Pearl Coat and Light Khaki Metallic. Dark Khaki replaces Tan on the new three-ply soft-top, that retains the quiet features of the previous four-ply top, while being easier to operate. Sport and Sahara models feature new badging. A new exterior mirror design reduces vibration, while increasing stability and durability.

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