1 Mar 1992
By CHRIS HARRIS
The second-generation Jackaroo was a far-better on-road as well as off-roader vehicle, with huge strides in comfort, space efficiency, refinement and driveability.
But sales were disappointing despite the L2 Jackaroo being significantly better in every respect to its boxy predecessor – a corollary of the fact that Holden was forced to move the model significantly upmarket to justify the advances.
V6 power and refinement came in the form of the new 3.2-litre SOHC 24-valve unit delivering 130kW and 260Nm. It was mated to a four-speed automatic or five-speed manual gearbox.
A new 3.1-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine also debuted, this time offering 84kW and 260Nm. But a lack of an automatic gearbox stifled this gutsy model’s sales potential.
The 2760mm wheelbase of the L2 (L1: 2650mm) also enabled Isuzu to develop seven-seater versions.
The top-line Monterey was one such vehicle, challenging upper-range LandCruiser models with its long equipment lists that included anti-lock brakes and cruise control.
From September ’96 it also gained standard air-conditioning, dual front airbags, leather upholstery, a CD player and sunroof.
A significant upgrade arrived in February ’98 with the U8 Jackaroo series.
Greater on-road driveability was the focus of a revised four-wheel drive system, while a range of specification and equipment upgrades aimed at improving overall refinement.
Three U8 Jackaroo models were available (base Jackaroo, SE and the top-of-the-line V6-only Monterey) as well as two engines: a 3.5-litre V6 and a new 118kW/333Nm 3.0-litre turbo-diesel four.
The 158kW, 3.5-litre, twin cam V6 produced 310Nm of torque yet remained quite fuel efficient.
The lower-end Jackaroo models used a selectable 4WD system with manual locking front hubs while the Monterey switched to a dash-mounted "shift-on-the-fly" switch, which enabled 2WD, and 4WD High selectability at speeds up to 100km/h. A conventional floor-mounted shift selected 4WD High and 4WD Low.
An electro-magnetic clutch apportioned torque from 100 per cent rear-wheel drive to 50/50 front/rear, according to conditions.
This brought the Monterey into line with other genuine off-roaders offering on-tarmac four-wheel drive capability.
The Australian-adapted four-link, coil spring live rear axle and independent front suspension remained, providing a supple ride and good off-road capability.
From March ’01 the U8 Jackaroo also gained a wider track for greater overall stability, as well as a long-overdue four-speed automatic option to the standard a five-speed manual gearbox for the fine 3.0-litre turbo-diesel.