We take a second look at the collection of concept vehicles Jeep brought out for the Moab Easter Safari 2016. They’re red meat to the crowd. And this year at the 50th Anniversary event, they brought seven, count them, seven creations out that were just mind blowing.
Some Jeep concepts suggest production intent, some are just for fun. The Jeep Crew Chief 715 based on the Wrangler gets a familiar front end from the 1960’s, the second time they’ve done this which suggests product guys might be toying with the the look.
It’s all military in theme though with steel bumpers, and 20-inch beadlock wheels with 40-inch NDT military tires. Dana 60 front and rear axles and a 4-inch lift kit give the Crew Chief 715 increased off-road capability as well. A 5-foot cargo bed continues the tease that Jeep wants to give us a Wrangler-based pickup.
On the other end of the scale, the Jeep Shortcut takes the Wrangler back to is roots, simplified and shortened 12-inches for a more agile tact out on the tight trails. It gets a modified hood and grille, a new tailgate and tail light design, as well as custom bumpers.
I love the 17-inch steelies with 35-inch tires, they really need to offer this in production. It has a host of mods in plain sight like a 2-inch lift with Fox shocks. Engine and drivetrain is essentially stock 3.6 V6 and 5-speed automatic.
The interior is as retro as the exterior is. The key takeaway with the Shortcut is that perhaps we could see shades here of the next generation Wrangler. Time will tell.
Perhaps the most alluring concept is the Jeep Comanche, that takes the compact Renegade often made fun of by Jeep purists and makes it a pickup truck that actually has some nuts. Add in a military theme, a tough stance, and a soft top and this thing looks like a winner.
With a five-foot bed, the crossover pickup also gets a 2-inch lift and 32-inch tires to go along with its Mopar accessories like rock rails and dress up items. A 2.0 liter diesel engine is under the hood too. All they need to do is build this thing, and the diesel too.
The wayback machine also brought out an old classic, the 1960 Jeep FC 150. While it is the genuine article, its billed as a concept vehicle because they’ve updated the chassis to make it drivable in today’s world.
Under its rusted survivor body is a 2005 Jeep Wrangler chassis set including a Dana 44 front axle, Dana 60 rear axle and 17-inch white steel wheels mounted with 33-inch tires. Powering the FC 150 is a 4.0 liter inline six.
The crowd pleaser at Moab this year is most likely the delightfully evil Jeep Trailcat concept. If you heard cat and thought Hellcat, you were right. Under that hood is a 707 horsepower 6.2-liter HEMI Hellcat V-8 and a 6-speed manual transmission.
It’s loud and its fast, so they stretched the wheelbase 12-inches to give it high-speed stability. A lower windshield and revamped front end give it a new look too. It can still crawl though with 17-inch beadlock wheels and beefy Dana 60 axles front and rear.
On the milder but more attainable side is the Jeep Trailstorm that showcases catalog accessories from Mopar you can actually get at your local dealer. These include a 2-inch lift kit with Jeep Performance Parts/Fox shocks, Rubicon winch, and Dana 44 front and rear axles.
Visuals include half doors, LED headlights and fog lights, and high top fenders. They added Mopar off-road rock rails, a Big Brake Kit, a concept fast-back soft top, to go along with a nice graphic wrap among many other things.
A catalog build was done for the the Jeep Renegade as well in the Commander concept. It looks much better with its 2-inch lift kit and 17-inch Rubicon wheels most would agree. While the Renegade was a downer for many Jeep purists at first, they are slowly becoming part of the club.
And the availability of things like Mopar off-road rock rails, beefier skid plates and auxiliary lights gives the Renegade some off-road cred. And it does have some as the compact utility remains the only in class with a true low-range four-wheel drive system available.