Our Trakka team recently embarked on a journey to the Blue Mountains, to utilise the area’s great driving tracks and to create a new video for our hotly anticipated Jabiru AWD. Our team focused on obtaining the footage, while instructors from the multi-award winning tour and training company Getabout Training Services, drove the Jabiru AWD for our video. Getting more than we bargained for, we came away with some incredible footage, as well as an expert insider’s impression of how the Jabiru AWD handled various terrains.
You see, David Foster is a part of the team from Getabout providing 4WD Off Road Skills Courses, and he knows what it takes to ensure an adventure is both safe and fun. So when he offered his professional insight as to the inner workings of the Jabiru AWD, we were thrilled to receive his feedback.
Initial inspection the Trakka Jabiru 2S AWD is high at 2.976m (with air con), long at 7.125m and has a tare weight of 3,300 kg, one could be mistaken for thinking that the capabilities of such a vehicle would be limited however after spending just a few hours in this special vehicle I was surprised as to its overall capabilities.
Whilst the 7.1m length could be somewhat seen as a hinderance, this combined with the 195mm ground clearance provides you with substantial break over angle to navigate most trails that you would find in our amazing national parks and state forests. Gradients with a hard packed surfaces were no trouble for the vehicle to navigate in high range even when commencing from a standing start. When faced with a cobble conglomerate/Claystone surface and a higher gradient having the selectable low range availability meant that the vehicle was able to navigate the terrain ahead with ease. That said, on these steeper/looser surfaces the driver required a steady foot and patience on the throttle. If you follow the motto ‘as slow as possible, as fast as necessary’ this is where the vehicle provides glimpses of its underlying capabilities. When faced with slow tedious terrain steady throttle application combined with the vehicles 4ETS electronic traction control system (which uses brake interventions to keep individual drive wheels from spinning when starting off or accelerating) provided traction in all tested surfaces.
When faced with drainage mounds, cattle grids and crossings chassis flex is almost non-existent due to the nature of the vehicle and interior fit out. That said, whilst navigating rock shelfs and crossing draining mounds where axle articulation meant only three of the four wheel were in contact with the ground, the 4ETS system would still work out where drive was required.
At higher speeds on the freeway, the engine is responsive and was able to maintain highway speeds with ease, with noise vibration harshness being kept to a minimum, with very little rattle from interior fitments and furnishings. A notable effect of the vehicles size is that it was affected by wind in high wind zones but measures taken by Mercedes in implementing an innovative crosswind assist program can work to eliminate the effects of gusts acting on the vehicle.
On dirt roads at medium speeds (30 – 80km/h) the vehicle was agile and could be maneuvered with ease. There was little side slip noticed and steering was direct and responsive. As the speed decreased, the terrain turned to tight and twisty trail and the forest canopy closed in you were remined of the size of the vehicle. You had to be conscious to watch the vehicle height for overhanging branches, your turning radius when navigating trails and the side slope angle with direct reference to vehicle height (not to bump an obstacle with the roof). But once again, at no stage throughout the day did we encounter a section of trail or a piece of road that we could not navigate. The high level of visibility from the cabin made navigating tight trails a breeze and this combined with the many angles that the 360 degree camera system provided ensured that even the tightest spaces were navigated.
Overall, a very capable vehicle for your journey across our amazing country.
TRAKKA have a brand new Jabiru 4S AWD available at TRAKKA HQ for viewing, test drive and delivery January 2020. FOr more information, please book your appointment with our 4x4 expert, Martin 0402 098 554.