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ROCKCRAWLER.com
Living With Rubi

By Mike "TXJEEPER" Cohn

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Wednesday, March 19, 2003
After living with Rubi for the last few days, I remember a lot of the things that I miss so much about having my own TJs. When it's nice outside, there's just nothing better than top-down Jeepin' fun. Too bad Rubi has a hard top, though, and it's been raining ever since she arrived!

I can't help but notice the things that I don't like about Rubi first. After owning two TJs and driving numerous others, one tends to notice the differences before really concentrating on all the stuff they love about the vehicle in the first place. So don't take any of this the wrong way - I still love TJs!

The Radio
OK, nobody ever would expect a killer stereo in a Jeep. It's a Jeep!  But when Jeep touts their new 7-speaker upgraded system as being  the best Wrangler stereo ever, I have to argue the point.

Sure, the soundbar is nicer (it even has better light pods) and there's the in-dash CD player. And there's even a subwoofer in the center console. Woohoo! Too bad the subwoofer is over-balanced and is just too dang loud. If you pull the bass down to quell the boom, then there's no low end at all. Top all this off with a surprising lack of high end and some serious comb-filtering and cancellation in the 640 - 1100 Hz frequency ranges, and you have the makings of a very so-so car stereo, albeit one with enough power to actually make it quite loud inside.

I'm sure that most of the stereo tuning's faults have to do with the hard top. You take a hard, smooth surface and enclose it in a box and you have standing waves out the wazoo.  I'd like to hear it in a soft top for a more fair comparison.

The Auto
Thankfully, Jeep finally added a 4-speed automatic to their lineup. Unfortunately, I am not a fan of automatics in Jeeps - ever. On the positive side, the new auto does shift quite smoothly and is fairly quiet. On the negative side, however, it is nearly impossible to force it to kick down. When merging into traffic a few times, I mashed the pedal to the floor and it never would drop gears. I was almost rear-ended trying to merge. Scary, indeed.

OK, those are the groans for this morning. I promise I won't just focus on negative stuff throughout Rubi's 2 week visit. I just had to get those off of my chest!

- TX -