Jeeps have never been massively popular in the UK, the UK has always preferred to go with a Land Rover or Toyota Land Cruiser for their off road pursuits. Maybe it’s out of national pride for the UK car industry in the case of Land Rover, or maybe its because of the Land Cruisers reliable go anywhere ability but Jeeps have never really set the market on fire over here. In the US however the Jeep pride is alive and well. The Jeep is the American Land Rover, and it is completely the reverse situation of the UK the Jeep is king where the Land Rover has never really succeeded across the pond.
This is probably why Jeep goes all out for the Jeep enthusiasts who congregated at Moab for the 52nd annual Jeep safari. Jeep have unveiled no less than 7 new concepts for the fans of the classic machine which is still recognisable as the original Willys Jeep from back in WW2. “Pushing the limit is something the Jeep brand is no stranger to and these seven new, exciting and capable concept vehicles are the latest example of that,” said Mike Manley, head of Jeep brand, FCA “Every year, we look forward to introducing new concept vehicles to our enthusiasts. The Moab Easter Jeep Safari presents a unique and perfect opportunity to collect valuable insight from our most loyal customers.”
The first of the seven concepts is the Jeep 4Speed, the 4Speed is a lightened and simplified version of the standard Wrangler, featuring the first introduction of an all new 2.0 litre turbocharged 4 cylinder engine the 4Speed uses a number of carbon fibre parts to reduce weight this means the 4Speed rides two inches higher than the standard Wrangler. Despite its name the 4Speed teams it’s 4 cylinder engine with an 8-speed automatic gearbox. The 4Speed has been shortened by 55cm whilst retaining the same wheelbase, which means greatly improved approach and departure angles, essential for off road motoring.
The Jeep Sandstorm Concept is a Baja inspired truck which Jeep say is “all about blitzing long sandy straightaways whilst still being capable of handling the daily driving duties”. To do this the Sandstorm uses high tech and ‘extremely heavy duty’ suspension and a high-powered 6.4-litre V8 engine the Sandstorm uses a much longer wheelbase than the standard Wrangler to improve its high-speed capabilities and stability.
The Jeep B-Ute is a car that most Britains may recognise as it’s based on the Renegade. The standard Renegade isn’t the most off road capable of cars so Jeep have given it a buff makeover with aggressive wheels and tyres, higher ground clearance and a roof rack, transforming a previously baby Jeep into a off road machine.
The next vehicle is something that is becoming more and more common lately, it’s a remake of the original Jeep Wagoneer, called the Roadtrip. The Wagoneer Roadtrip is a hark back to the early days of Jeep where they finally strayed away from the Wrangler platform and built something that would eventually become the Grand Cherokee in the UK. To try and keep the nostalgia intact Jeep have used a 5.7 Litre V8 teamed with a comparably small 4 speed gearbox, underneath however the Wagoneer Roadtrip is an all new Jeep with modern suspension and wheels and tyres.
The Nacho Jeep is probably the least interesting of the new concepts because its basically just a Jeep Wrangler with all the options added on, Jeep have even called it a ‘rolling catalogue’ the only other major upgrade is the striking Nacho yellow paintjob making the Nacho Jeep really standout amongst the black and grey cars on the road today.
Like the Wagoneer Roadtrip the Jeep Jeepster is essentially a celebration of Jeeps past, using a clour palette from the 1966 concept the Jeepster is really trying to evoke the past with modern styling, the windscreen is raked back by 2.5 degrees to create a compact design along with the shortened roof. Very little of the Jeepster is any different from the standard Wrangler Rubicon and is just trying to reminisce about the early days of Jeeps success, like many other retro remakes.
The J-Wagon is appears to be just another Jeep with all the options selected, based on the long wheel based Wrangler Sahara the J-Wagon is a sea of black and leather, basically a premium Wrangler, Jeeps attempt at combating the incoming sea of Range Rovers whilst the J-Wagon will almost certainly be more capable off road that the little Evoque and maybe even the new Velar its unlikely to stand up in the luxury stakes.
When I first got the release on these 7 new Jeeps I was excited, finally a company going all out for the enthusiasts but on close inspection it seems that Jeep have merely gone through their catalogue and built a number of cars in interesting colours, the most interesting appears to be the Wagoneer Roadtrip as it’s a celebration of Jeeps past and is something actually new.
What do you think of Jeeps new wave of concepts, let us know in the comments.
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