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Car reviews - Holden - Jackaroo - DL 5-dr wagon

Our Opinion

We like
Good off-road, typical 4WD appeal of rugged durability and high seating position
Room for improvement
Not so good on-road, with low levels of ride, comfort and refinement

9 May 2003

THE Holden Jackaroo was a late entry to the serious four-wheel drive market in Australia.

While Nissan, Toyota, Mitsubishi and Land Rover were well established in the 1970s, the Jackaroo hit the Australian market in 1984 when Isuzu, Asia's largest truck manufacturer, decided to enter the rapidly expanding recreational four-wheel drive market.

The first Jackaroo was plainly styled, utilitarian and underpowered with a choice of 2.2-litre petrol or turbo-diesel engines and two and four-door body styles.

In 1988 an upgraded model was introduced with a 2.6-litre fuel- injected petrol or 2.8-litre turbo-diesel, lifting performance to a competitive level. This model carried through until 1992 when a restyled body and V6 engine were released.

The Jackaroo DL (Deluxe) four-door wagon is a medium-sized four- wheel drive, more compact than the Nissan Patrol or Toyota LandCruiser, although it has excellent off-road capabilities. Standard features include power steering and a radio/cassette.

The 2.6-litre petrol engine has multi-point electronic fuel- injection and performs well. The 2.8-litre turbo-diesel is also a gutsy performer with impressive low-speed torque.

Both engines drive through an uprated five-speed manual transmission or four-speed automatic, which features lock-up clutches on the upper three gears.

Four-wheel drive is selected by manually engaging the front hubs with a syncromesh tranfer case allowing changes from high to low ratio on the move.

The Jackaroo's styling is boxy and the wide B pillar can obstruct vision. The interior is plain with exposed welds evident in some areas.

There is plenty of legroom but the vinyl trimmed seats are thin and lacking in thigh support.

There are a number of storage bins for odds and ends but no passenger grab handles.

Suspension is independent at the front by double wishbones and torsion bars while the solid rear axle is supported by leaf springs. Gas-pressure shock absorbers are fitted all round.

The steering is power-assisted with a very light feel and some vagueness in the straight-ahead position. The turning circle is an excellent 9.6 metres.

Four-wheel disc brakes are standard.

On the road, the Jackaroo's ride is fairly hard, a product of the leaf rear springs, and tends to be affected by side winds. Axle hop is evident on corrugated gravel corners.

Off-road, the Jackaroo lacks the total wheel travel of the larger four-wheel drives but maintains good traction and the comparatively light weight makes it less likely to bog in soft sand.

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