With the annual 2016 Easter Jeep Safari event in Moab fast approaching, Jeep is bringing seven concept vehicles to the off road oriented event. In addition to the Hellcat powered Wrangler Trailcat Concept that we highlighted yesterday, Jeep has six other concepts that not only pay homage to the past, but could also be teasing a pickup truck filled future for the iconic brand.
Jeep Crew Chief 715:
Serving as a successor to last year’s Jeep Staff Car concept, the Super Chief 715 was designed to serve as a homage to Jeep’s iconic military history, while focusing on the Kaiser M715 military vehicle. This is especially noticeable with the front fascia which shares a strong resemblance to the iconic Kaiser. The Super Chief is also very close in size to the Ram 1500, and comes equipped as a crew cab model which helps improve passenger room. The rear fascia is decidedly more modern, and displays its Wrangler based DNA especially with the Wrangler cribbed tail lights on its five foot cargo bed. The appearance of this concept as well as the smaller Comanche further highlight the recent embrace of pickup trucks by the brand, and is another sign that Jeep is serious about adding a pickup model to its mostly SUV ranks. The Super Chief 715 further enhances this military theme with its steel front and rear bumpers, 40-inch NDT military tires, and 20-inch wheels with bead locking capability.
Performance for the Crew Chief comes from Chrysler’s familiar 3.6 liter Pentastar V6 but curiously, Jeep engineers chose to use an older five speed automatic transmission instead of a newer six or eight speed automatic. The beefy off road tires benefit from a four inch suspension lift and rugged Dana 60 axles. The interior is a no nonsense affair, and comes equipped with leather and canvas seats, aircraft inspired switches, as well as Mopar all-weather floor mats. As a bonus, The Crew Chief also comes equipped with an on-board air system, which allows it to help stranded vehicles on the trail especially those with flat tires.
The Jeep Shortcut in contrast pays homage to the iconic CJ-5 and was designed to replicate the high levels of simplicity and spirit that helped make 1950’s America great. The shortened body boasts several exclusive cues including a unique hood, grille, front and rear wheel flares and chrome front and rear bumpers. The Shortcut also maintains its excellent reputation as an icon thanks to equipment including a modified exhaust system, 17-inch red steel wheels, and 35-inch BF-Goodrich Mud Terrain T/A KM2 tires. Unlike the Hellcat tinged Trailcat which required a 12 inch increase in wheelbase, the Shortcut reduces it by 12 inches in an effort to further enhance the compact dimensions that made the CJ-5 a hit with buyers.
Performance for the Shortcut also comes from the 3.6 liter Pentastar V6, and once again an older five speed automatic transmission joins the list of standard hardware. At this point, I find myself asking why Jeep engineers couldn’t use a newer six speed automatic which would have helped give the Shortcut and the Super Chief more versatility, while the extra sixth gear would have also helped improve fuel economy. The interior of the Shortcut also embraces functionality and simplicity with leather low back bucket seats, a four point safety cage, a red shifter ball, and Mopar all-weather floormats.
Perhaps the most cobbled together looking of the bunch, the Jeep Comanche concept was designed to preview what a resurrected Comanche pickup truck could look like, while also paying subtle homage to civilian and military Jeep models. The concept started life as a Renegade Trailhawk, and looks the part from the B-Pillar forward. However, make your way to the back and you’ll see the all new pickup truck bed which required engineers to stretch the Renegade’s wheelbase by six inches to fully accommodate it. Other goodies include a Satin Black hood, musically inspired “Beige Against The Machine” paint, a lower front fascia, winch, steel rear bumper, and a spare tire that is mounted in the bed.
Performance for the Comanche comes from a 2.0 liter diesel engine which is mated to the familiar nine speed automatic transmission. The Comanche Concept also comes equipped with Jeep’s Active Drive Lock system which includes low range mode and a locking rear differential. Other goodies include a suite of Jeep Performance parts that include off road rock rails, a 2 inch suspension lift, as well as a winch to allow the tiny truck to pull itself out of trouble. Jeep engineers also equipped the concept with 32-inch BF-Goodrich All-Terrain tires which are mounted onto 16-inch painted wheels. It would be interesting to see this be put into production especially since it would appeal to younger buyers and Jeep enthusiasts that want to join the Jeep ranks but need something that can also be practical and budget friendly.
Jeep FC 150:
Following up on last year’s FC 150 concept, 2016 also brings forth another FC 150 concept for attendees to see. This particular FC (Forward Control) concept was designed to pretty much be a restomod and was built with various parts cribbed from various elements of Chrysler’s parts bin. In this case, the concept shares its chassis with the 2005 era Jeep Wrangler and the engine is the older 4.0 liter V6 that powered the 2005 Wrangler as well as several other past models. A three speed automatic gearbox helps bring power to all four wheels while the truck also benefits from a Dana 40 front axle, and a Dana 60 rear axle. The white painted 17-inch wheels are shod in 33-inch BF-Goodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM2 tires. As a neat bonus the little hay bail in the bed also hides a small cooler which is handy if you and your friends want to have a supply of beverages handy for off-road excursions.
The interior follows the theme of simplicity that has defined the majority of this year’s field of concepts, and comes equipped with vinyl upholstered seats, a custom headliner that has been wrapped in a vintage duck hunting pattern, as well as a CB radio, and an analog compass that is mounted on the instrument cluster.
Jeep Wrangler Trailstorm:
Designed to essentially be a rolling advertisement for Jeep’s Performance Parts division, the Trailstorm concept was designed as a vehicle that can easily be built by an interested buyer. While we are not that enamored with the odd concept exclusive digital effect paint job that is supposed to allow it to blend into the Utah desert, we are fans of the suite of Jeep Performance parts that were used on the concept with many of them being currently available in the Jeep Performance catalog.
The suite of upgrades include off-road spec Fox shocks, a 2-inch lift kit, a Jeep Performance Parts Rubicon winch, and Dana 44 front and rear axles. The Trailstorm also features concept wheels that have been wrapped in 37-inch off-road tires as well as minor exterior enhancements including a winch guard, a Satin black grille, a vented power-dome hood, and LED headlights and foglights. The half doors promise to offer excellent views of obstacles ahead, while a bed lined interior helps make the task of cleaning grime, mud, and dust much easier after a long day of off roading. Performance for the Trailstorm comes from a 3.6 liter Pentastar V6 which is hooked up to a five speed automatic transmission.
Jeep Renegade Commander:
Arguably the most stock looking of the bunch, the Jeep Renegade Commander is mostly a factory spec Jeep Renegade, but has been lightly modified with several Jeep performance parts. A 2-inch lift kit helps improve ground clearance, while meaty 29.5-inch BF-Goodrich All-Terrain T/A KM2 tires enhance the Renegade’s off road prowess. The exterior styling of the Renegade Commander largely maintains its Renegade Trailhawk roots, but the concept features a model exclusive “Fluorescent Gray” paint, a custom body decal, MySky open air roof with removable panels, skid plates, Mopar branded rock rails, and a slightly modified exhaust. Meanwhile, the interior also retains its mostly stock design, but the concept features up-level Katzkin seat covers, strategically placed body color bezel accents, a pedal kit, and a special Mopar off-road kit.
Unlike the other concepts, Jeep engineers have left the Renegade Commander’s performance hardware untouched which means it comes equipped with the standard model’s 2.4 liter Tigershark four cylinder engine that is good for 184 horsepower. The engine is paired with the standard 9 speed automatic transmission, but gains an all-wheel drive system that features a special Jeep Active Drive Low mode.
Overall this group of Easter Jeep Safari concepts represents another solid showing from the Jeep brand, and is a balanced mixture of old and new while also teasing the notion of a possible production Jeep pickup model with the Comanche and Super Chief 715 concepts. Stay tuned to Autoinfoquest for more information on this group of Jeep concepts, especially if one or more of them somehow receive the green light for production.