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Jeep Announces The 2003 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon

The AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Jan. 7 -- The Rubicon name isn't just for a Class 10 off-road trail anymore -- it's also what the Jeep® brand is calling their ultimate off-road rig. Jeep owners travel from around the world to test their four-wheeling skills on the Rubicon Trail in Northern California, considered one of the most demanding 22 miles of off-highway driving in America. Jeep engineers have designed the most capable Wrangler model ever -- and true Jeep owners will realize exactly what that means.

The 2003 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon is engineered to take on the most demanding trails, even 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 - Activity Vehicle Product Team, DaimlerChrysler Corporation.

While its beefy off-road tires and diamond plate sill protectors hint at the tremendous capability of the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, it's the underpinnings that make it worthy of wearing the Rubicon name. On sale in summer 2002, the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon model features Tru-Lok(TM) locking front and rear differentials, front and rear Dana model 44 axles and the Rock-Trac(TM) 4:1 low range transfer case in response to the most demanding off-road enthusiasts.

Jeep Engineered Off-Road Package

The new Jeep Wrangler Rubicon has locking differentials that can be driver actuated when the transfer case is in low range and the vehicle speed is less than 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. A pneumatic pump runs at just five pounds per square inch for a more reliable and quieter system than is available in the aftermarket. This mechanically locks the axle shafts together to drive all four wheels at the same speed. When not locked, 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 for both 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,'' continued Love.

A transfer case with 4:1 low range slows vehicle speed down to give the driver more control and increases the amount of torque available at the wheels. This fixed-output NVG241OR transfer case was engineered specifically for the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon to meet the demanding durability requirements of an intense off-road vehicle. Also for that reason, this package includes heavy-duty drive shafts 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 pattern provides increased tread stiffness and uniform tread wear. Adding a half-inch of ground clearance over the 30-inch tires, these LT245/75R16 tires are mounted on new 16-inch, five-spoke aluminum wheels designed with a dished face to protect the wheel from off-road obstacles.

Standard on Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, four-wheel disc brakes are self-cleaning off road and provide better brake feel on road, with decreased stopping distance and reduced brake fade.

Jeep Proven System

The 2003 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon has passed extensive durability and capability testing created just for this model. Jeep engineers added features to current test regimens, as well as new tests, to ensure the durability of this model in severe off-road conditions.

The ``K4'' durability cycle is a mixture of on- and off-road driving focused on evaluating body and suspension components. New sections of track were built for Wrangler Rubicon's version of this test requiring a 4:1 low range transfer case and axle lockers. Engineers have even recreated a section of the ``Little Sluice'' from the famed Rubicon Trail for testing. Development and validation trips were taken over some of the most challenging trails across the country. In addition to overall vehicle testing, vigorous bench testing was conducted on key components such as the axles and transfer case.

Unique Exterior Appearance

The Jeep Wrangler Rubicon features unique exterior design cues and will be available in Inca Gold as well as the other nine Wrangler exterior colors. A 22-inch long ``Rubicon'' graphic is prominently placed on each side of the hood. Heavy gauge diamond plate sill guards are bolted to the body sides to protect rocker panels from damage in off-road driving.

Rugged Powertrain Choices

The Jeep Wrangler Rubicon features as standard the 4.0-liter PowerTech(TM) I-6 engine mated to a five-speed manual transmission. Also available with an automatic transmission, the 4.0-liter engine is rated at 190 horsepower at 4,600 rpm and 235 lb.-ft. of torque at 3,200 rpm.

New Interior Features Complement Rugged Rubicon Exterior

Wrangler Rubicon gets several interior refinements, while still preserving the true essence of the Jeep brand icon.

New features include: * Dark Slate Gray or Khaki interior * Optional interior electrochromatic rear view mirror with temperature/compass display and map lights * Four-spoke steering wheel * Additional power outlet on dash * New front seat offers additional 20 millimeters of rearward travel and taller seat back for more comfort * Lever on side of front passenger seat for easier access to rear * Rear seat easier to tumble forward and remove * Rear seats now equipped with the LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) system for mounting new generation of aftermarket infant child seats * Corner pods located just behind the b-pillar on both sides of vehicle house interior lamps providing theater lighting and optional speakers, replacing the sound bar * Sport bar padding with energy absorbing foam

Jeep Wrangler is built at the Chrysler Group's Toledo (Ohio) Wrangler assembly plant.

2003 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Preliminary Specifications [measurements in inches (millimeters) unless otherwise noted]

Engine 4.0-liter PowerTech(TM) I-6 Transmission Automatic Manual Transfer Case NV241OR with 4.0:1 Low Range Axle Dana M44 4.10 ratio Driver selectable electric\pneumatic locking axles front and rear Wheelbase 93.4 (2373) Overall Length (including spare tire) 156.1 (3966.3) Overall Width 68.2 (1734.6) Height 70.8 (1800.3) hard top 72.0 (1831.6) soft top Track (front/rear) 57.6 (1463) / 57.8 (1470) Running Ground Clearance 10.2 (259.0) Approach Angle 45.1 degrees Ramp Breakover Angle 25.8 degrees Departure Angle 34.4 degrees Headroom (front/rear) 41.3 (1050.4) / 39.5 (1004) hard top 42.5 (1080.1) / 39.7 (1008.6) soft top Legroom (front/rear) 40.9 (1040.3) / 35.3 (896.1)

Cargo Volume: Rear seat up 11.6 cu. ft. hard top 12.0 cu. ft. soft top Rear seat folded 46.1 cu. ft. hard top 47.7 cu. ft. soft top Rear seat removed 42.4 cu. ft. hard top 42.4 cu. ft. soft top Total Volume: Rear seat up 105.8 cu. ft. soft top / 104.0 cu. ft. hard top Rear seat folded 94.6 cu. ft. soft top / 91.6 cu. ft. hard top

Curb Weight 3745 lbs. (1699kg)

Assembly Plant Toledo (Ohio) Wrangler