As is tradition now, Jeep will this year again unleash some interesting concept models with a number of Mopar and Jeep Performance Parts at the annual Easter Jeep Safari in the US.
The 49th Jeep Safari at Moab, on the Colorado River in the US sate of Utah, over the Easter week (March 28-April 5) will be attended by thousands of die-hard off-roader who each year enjoy a week of serious off-roading on some of the country’s most rugged and recognisable trails.
ALL THE ACCESSORIES
Seven Jeep concepts will be featured this year but the indisputable star (as far as we are concerned) is the Wrangler Africa – the ultimate Wrangler for back-country and overland expeditions with its extended rear body and high-top roof…
The safari-ready Wrangler four-door-based vehicle has desert tan exterior paint, a high-clearance steel front bumper with winch, power step rock rails, a power-dome vented bonnet and room for extra gear and auxiliary fuel tanks.
Best, it's powered a 2.8 diesel engine mated to an automatic transmission and equipped with 17" body-colour steel wheels and 35-inch BF Goodrich Mud Terrain tyres.
GALLERY: Jeep concepts for US Safari
The Wrangler Africa’s spare tyre is underbody-mounted and the cargo area, inner roof and floor are finished in a durable spray-in truck-bed coating.
A five cm lift kit with Fox shocks ensures ample ride height while swaybar links and front and rear Dana 44 axles from Jeep Performance Parts should make flatten any obstacle.
Does the Africa concept point to the shape of Wranglers to come? Well, I sincerely hope so, since it will nicely fill the niche opened up by the imminent discontinuation of the Land Rover Defender…
Bring it on, Jeep!
The other concepts...
Mike Manley, president and CEO, says Jeep uses this legendary event each year to showcase its latest production vehicles as well as a variety of new ideas in their concept vehicles. He added: “In doing so we receive a tremendous amount of valuable feedback while interacting with our customers in the Jeep brand’s natural environment.”
The other Mopar designed and engineered concept vehicles in the 2015 collection are: Jeep Chief, Jeep Staff Car, Grand Cherokee Overlander, Renegade Desert Hawk, Cherokee Canyon Trail and Wrangler Red Rock Responder.
The Wrangler-based Chief is a tribute to the classic 1970’s full-size Cherokee with custom exterior design cues that include a vintage Ocean Blue exterior colour, a white French Bread roof, and a customised razor grille made famous by the original Wagoneer.
The Hawaiian-themed interior was developed complete with Jeep-designed “Surfer” pink, blue and white flowered cloth and leather-trimmed seats. The doors and windshield were chopped by five cm.
The Chief’s selection of Jeep Performance Parts includes a five cm lift kit with Fox shocks and front and rear Dana 44 axles with lockers, cold air intake and modified Rubicon rock rails.
It's powered by the 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 mated to a six-speed manual transmission.
Jeep Staff Car
It may look historic but the Jeep Staff Car, a salute to the legendary Jeep military service vehicles, is all-new. The open-air Wrangler four-door-based concept vehicle highlights rugged functionality with heritage.
The "sandstorm" scheme, basic steel wheels, minimalist fender flares, a “hungry horse” stretched canvas roof and bench seats all recall the original Jeep military vehicles.
It has military-style round headlights, Jeep J8 front and rear bumpers, fender-mounted blackout light with guards, a rear-mounted spare wheel and a vintage Jerry can. The minimalist interior features low-backed bench seats and a rollover cage. The gear knob - in the form of a hand grenade - is an interesting touch…
It’s also powered by a 3.6 Pentastar V6 mated to a six-speed manual ’box.
Jeep Grand Cherokee Overlander
The Grand Cherokee-based Overlander concept represents the tough side of this model. It's a rugged and dependable vehicle customised for the enthusiast interested in overland expeditions.
Custom features include a unique nose bearing a winch, tow hooks, larger wheel flares, SRT tail lights and bonnet, off-road rock rails, front and rear skid plates and 18" milled wheel rims with BF Goodrich All-terrain T/A tyres.
It's powered by a three-litre diesel V6 through an eight-speed Torqueflight transmission.
Jeep Renegade Desert Hawk
The Jeep Renegade, newest addition to the Jeep line-up, is the basis for the Desert Hawk concept. Its desert tan exterior features special decals, rock rails, a skid plate kit, trailer hitch receiver and roof rack.
The cabin has Mopar seat covers, body colour bezel accents and Mopar all-weather mats. The Renegade Desert Hawk is powered by the 2.4-litre Tigershark engine with MultiAir2 mated to a nine-speed auto transmission with Jeep Active Drive Low.
Jeep Cherokee Canyon Trail
The Canyon Trail is developed from the Jeep Cherokee, with special Mopar decals and Jeep Performance Parts specifically designed for even more off-road prowess.
Off-road capability is turned up with the addition of JPP off-road rock rails, a two-piece fuel tank skid plate, two-piece underbody skid plate, oil pan and front suspension skid plates, as well as concept 17-inch painted wheels with BF Goodrich All Terrain T/A tyres.
It’s also powered by the 2.4-litre Tigershark MultiAir2 I-4 engine with nine-speed automatic transmission and Jeep Active Drive Lock.
Jeep Wrangler Red Rock Responder
Also based on the Wrangler, the Red Rock Responder is a support vehicle purpose-built to traverse the world’s harshest terrain.
It carries off-road equipment to respond to any vehicle emergency with spare parts and tools stored in drawers and compartments of the cargo box.
With its Vibrance Responder Red exterior paint and LED head and fog lights, it will stand out on any trail. Functional capability is increased by 37" BF Goodrich tyres, 10cm of JPP lift, Fox shocks and front and rear Dana 60 axles with 5.38 gearing.
It also sports a cold-air intake, prototype off-road rock rails and a Warn winch and is powered by a 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 engine mated to an auto transmission.
The Easter Jeep Safari
The safari consists of trail rides, mostly day-long, departing from Moab throughout the nine-day event. The Jeep Safari was started in 1967 by the Moab Chamber of Commerce as a one-day trail ride.
Over the years, as participation grew, it expanded into the current nine-day event. "Big Saturday" still remains the culmination of the event on the Saturday of Easter weekend.