What is the benefit of an auto show? Like any other trade show the purpose is to showcase new and upcoming models for the public to enjoy and show excitement for. Over the years some of these shows have started to include several test runs and simulations in order for car manufacturers to give those attending these shows the chance to see what the new vehicles are capable of on the road. This typically includes the chance for auto makers to show the difference between their new vehicles and either their old ones or the competition.
For Jeep this showcase at an auto show may be filled with “oohs” and “ahhs” from the crowd, but the best way for an off road vehicle to showcase what it can truly do is to go off road. For the past forty-nine years Jeep has done just that during the annual Moab, Utah trek that occurs around Easter. This gives the company an awesome forum to show what their new vehicles can do and lets others see what they might be driving in the near future. By showing off their own new concepts, which they have been doing since 2002, Jeep gets its own private show with little competition entering the fray, making it a win for fun and a huge win for marketing.
One thing is for sure, regardless of the maker, the cycle of style is showing itself in many ways across vehicle offerings with so many makers using a throwback style with advanced modern equipment. Jeep is no exception to this trend and with a history that spans over seven decades, Jeep has plenty to pull from its arsenal to bring back and wow us with. That was the overall theme for the new concept vehicles that showed up at Moab this year for the annual trek. Seven new vehicles showed their might at this amazing event that lasted nine days and all seven were specially equipped to handle the rough terrain and challenging trails offered.
The four Wrangler-based vehicles at Moab this Easter were:
Wrangler Red Rock Responder
This model is a much larger version of the Wrangler Unlimited which is over four feet longer and offers a longer wheelbase as well. This created a full-size pickup model with a raised bed. The bed features a large storage tray underneath and the walls of the truck bed are used for additional storage for off road rescue equipment. For this trail run the Responder was riding on 37-inch tires and a set of 17-inch beadlock wheels while showing off a full four inches of additional lift.
The Chief is a nod to the original Cherokee with Wrangler Unlimited features and surfer style equipment and style inside and out. The Chief is a bit of different look for Jeep with a 20-slot razor gill but still carrying the classic Jeep headlights and taillights. Some interesting features are the door handles for the rear which have been hidden inside the vehicle and the open-air sides form the B-pillar back that gives the vehicle a great feeling of enjoying the surf. Rosewood was used throughout the interior to give the driftwood look and tiki style that ensures the Chief is fully related to the surfer lifestyle.
Built to withstand the Armageddon, or so it appears, the Wrangler Africa is a diesel-powered monster that puts on an additional foot of rear storage and roof that is four inches higher than the base Wrangler models. The roof also shows off a steel cargo rack to give much more storage for the heavy duty gear needed to survive the end of the world, or the treacherous trails in Moab. Add in a front bumper with a winch and two side-mounted fuel cans and the Wrangler Africa is meant to take on the Land Rover Defender and possibly win.
This is what happens when the Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon is mixed with the original military model Jeep and its one awesome vehicle. The Staff Car was painted from front to back to match a piece of cardboard and the doors and B-pillars were taken out. The seats were changed out with this modification in order to allow the open-air feeling of the vehicle giving it the feeling of the original military machine which was meant to take on the roads of a war-stricken country. In order to feel like a recreational vehicle and not one that should be mounted with Tommy Guns, the Staff Car has a fully present roll cage and a cooler hiding inside the ammunition box of the rear storage compartment.
The other three models at Moab, which are not built off the Wrangler platform, were:
Grand Cherokee Overlander
When you need style, capability, luxury and the a trail riding monster, the Grand Cherokee Overlander is the vehicle to turn to, at least that is what the concept is built for. This flagship vehicle has a two-person pop-up tent in the roof, is powered by a 3.0-liter EcoDiesel engine. Access to the tent can be done with extendable aluminum ladder and having this beauty by your side allows you to head deep into the desert, jungle, or mountains with very little worry.
Cherokee Canyon Trail
The Cherokee Canyon Trail is simply a modified Cherokee Trailhawk that adds additional armor, a leather interior (a very nice upgrade) and a bicycle rack on the roof.
Renegade Desert Hawk
Another simply modified model, the Renegade Desert Hawk adds additional body armor to the already high performing Renegade Trailhawk in order to make it a rock crawling machine.
These seven concepts from Jeep have created quite a buzz among Jeep lovers who simply can’t wait to see these models make it to production and then into their driveways. Until then, the annual Moab trip might make a great next vacation spot around Easter in order to enjoy some great comradery with many off roaders and enjoy the view of the next batch of new Jeep concept vehicles.