Automakers at this year’s New York International Auto Show (April 2-12) had plenty of engaging experiences to offer, but after testing out the Camp Jeep Outdoor Off-Roading Ride Along, it seems they’ve still got some work to do.
To simulate the experience of off-road driving, Jeep offered auto show attendees a chance to take a ride inside a 2015 Wrangler in an outdoor arena located just outside New York City’s Javits Center, where the crux of the action took place. (Who knew you could go off-roading in Manhattan?)
From afar, the activation looked like an amusement park experience. Once inside, the high-pitched mix of screaming and giggling coming from our editorial team was certainly on par with a ride on the Tower of Terror, but one thing was missing: the comfort of over-the-shoulder restraints to keep us from tumbling out of the vehicle.
Alas, our worries were unjustified. Wranglers were built for the kind of hair-raising adventures the ride-along experience invoked. With a variety of built-in safety features specifically geared towards negotiating rough landscapes, the vehicle swiftly traversed the Camp Jeep obstacle course.
The journey began with a ramp tilted at 30 degrees, then continued up a small slope bearing varying elevations to emphasize the Wrangler’s ability to keep all four wheels planted on uneven terrain.
After a very brief reprieve (and a very deep exhale) the vehicle rounded its way to the next two parts of the course. To showcase the Jeep’s maneuverability, the vehicle ran over a collection of wooden stumps, followed by a jolting pass over a series of logs that the drivers of most auto brands wouldn’t even dream about crossing.
The grand finale came in the form of a slippery, 18-foot ramp. Just before descending the slope, the driver (a brand ambassador) pushed the vehicle’s Hill Descent Control button and took her hands off the brakes and steering wheel. Before we had time to let panic set in, the Jeep automatically slowed to a crawl as it rolled down the hill, demonstrating the vehicle’s reliable traction, regardless of incline.
All screaming aside, this experience is a definite win for Jeep.