Born from the US Army's need for a light, four-wheel-drive reconnaissance vehicle during the Second World War, Jeep has built a solid reputation for building vehicles with serious off-road abilities. An early demonstration in 1941 involved a Jeep being driven up the steps of the United States Capitol. Jeeps have only gotten better since then. We give you a look at some of the innovations that have made Jeep the vehicle-of-choice for adventure.
The Jeep Wrangler: Solid axles and Rock-Trac four-wheel drive
The Wrangler is one of the few 4WD vehicles that have solid front and rear axles. With a Dana 44 rear differential and a Dana 30 front differential, the axles are extremely tough and geared for intense applications. Because of its use of solid axles, the Wrangler is easier to upgrade with aftermarket lifting suspension kits that will increase ground clearance. The higher clearance allows it to be driven over difficult obstacles like large rocks while the improved suspension gives it superior handling by keeping all four wheels in contact with the ground. The underside of the vehicle is also protected by 3-mm. thick steel skid plates.
The Wrangler's Rubicon model also uses Rock-Trac 4WD, which has a 4:1 low gear ratio, Brake Lock differential, electronically-activated locking differentials and electronic front sway bar disconnect. What all that translates to is a powerful 4WD application that can be activated electronically from inside the vehicle.
Jeep's Selec-Terrain system fine-tunes the vehicle's off-roading ability by adjusting to specific road conditions. The driver simply turns a control dial to indicate the right surface setting. With the Off-Road Group II package, the terrain settings are:
- Auto - the default setting
- Sport - for optimized vehicle response on dry roads
- Snow - for any loose surface
- Sand/Mud - maximized traction
- Rock -for slow and steady progress over treacherous terrain
This groundbreaking innovation also includes electronic limited slip differential for better control and air suspension for better ride comfort.
Whether it's on the battlefield, the streets, or on the adventure trail, the world's oldest off-road vehicle brand shows no signs of slowing down.