The Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah is the cultural oasis of the off-road community. Each year, thousands of off-road enthusiasts descend upon Moab to tackle the trails, canvass the outdoors, and soak in the sights. To mark the 51st anniversary of the event, the Jeep and Mopar brands will showcase some of their most unique concepts.
“It’s truly a labor of love for the Jeep team to develop exciting, capable concept vehicles each year for Moab and the Easter Jeep Safari,” said Mike Manley, Head of Jeep Brand – FCA Global.
This year’s concept collection employs both production and prototype Jeep Performance Parts. Mopar develops and builds the individual parts, ensuring each one can stand up to the rigors and challenges of off-road use. Jeep owners often seek these parts and accessories out to increase the capability of their vehicle.
“These concept vehicles are a perfect example of how off-road enthusiasts can use Jeep Performance Parts to personalize and enhance the already outstanding Jeep capability, allowing them to face the toughest trails in the world,” said Pietro Gorlier, Head of Parts and Service (Mopar), FCA – Global.
The concepts this year range and vary quite nicely in terms of performance and technology. Some of them have really slick designs, others have powerful engines; a couple have stellar lighting setups. Here are the seven concepts appearing at the 2017 Easter Jeep Safari.
The Jeep Grand One celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Grand Cherokee with a modernized take on the classic 1993 ZJ. The Grand One Concept features custom 18-inch lace-style wheels and high-clearance fender flares. The wheelbase is extended while subtle wood grain decorates the body. Inside, the original Grand Cherokee is alive and well, with ’90s-inspired materials and touches, including a classic car phone.
Just in case anybody calls while you are on the trials . . .
And covering the trails should be of little concern with the Jeep Grand One’s 33-inch BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain KM2 tires and 2-inch suspension lift. The front and rear axles are equipped with selectable locking differentials too. A 5.2-liter V8 engine, mated to a four-speed automatic transmission, provides the necessary power.
When hitting the trails, its always more fun with family and friends. The Jeep Safari Concept realizes this through a unique cabin design that gives rear passengers a commanding view. This Wranger-based machine is ultra modern too, with a translucent hard-top roof panel and two-level aluminum cargo rack with incorporated drone. A raked windshield, boatsided rocker panels, LED headlamps, and custom LED tail lamps and parking/turn lamps finish off the Safari Concept.
Notice the “windoors” with zipper openings? Those are crafted from lightweight aluminum and clear vinyl, and hinge like a cabinet during entry and exit. Inside, the two rear bucket seats are rotated outboard, making it easier for rear seat occupants to see out. The modern treatments continue with an instrument panel-mounted iPad.
Getting to any off-road destination is easy with front and rear Dana 44 axles equipped with selectable differential lockers. Overall body length was reduced to make the Safari more agile with its 2-inch lift. The concept vehicle includes 35-inch BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain KM2 tires on custom 18-inch wheels, full-length skid plates, steel front and rear bumpers, on-board air system, upgraded brakes, and a cold air intake.
The Jeep Safari is powered by a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, paired to a five-speed automatic transmission.
Those who want to combine the likes of classic Mopar muscle with Jeep off-road capability will find themselves right at home with the Jeep Quicksand Concept. Perhaps the most noticeable element is the “peekaboo” cutout in the hood – underneath is a Mopar 392 Crate HEMI engine with eight-stack injection, mated to a six-speed Getrag manual transmission.
The downturned open headers add to that vintage hot rod feel.
Another Wrangler-based concept, the Jeep Quicksand features a longer wheelbase, with a trimmed front and rear body, and a chopped hard top and windshield. While flying down the trails, the top and windows provide that sense of “wind through your hair” freedom – or if not that, it’s a great way to hear the engine! What’s also unique is the staggered tire setup never done on any Jeep concept prior. The Quicksand features 32-inch BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain KM2 tires in the front and 37-inch BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain KM2 tires in the rear.
The interior is simple with red accents, two front low-back bucket seats, flat aluminum door panels, tilt-out windshield glass, and a chrome roll bar. Higher tech tools include a Warn winch in the front Moon tank and a recovery rope in the rear.
This little trail butterfly is based on the new Jeep Compass and features a 1.5-inch lift, 18-inch wheels, and Continental TerrainContact all-terrain tires. Other exterior features include Gloss Black side mirror caps, a custom hood graphic, side stripes, tinted headlamps and tail lamps, and a Mopar/Thule roof basket with roof bag and traction mats.
On the inside, Jeep Trailpass occupants are treated to custom Katzkin leather seats and armrests, body-color bezel accents, and all-weather floor mats. The powertrain consists of a 2.4-liter Tigershark engine and nine-speed automatic transmission.
The Jeep Switchback Concept hits the ground running with front and rear Dana 44 axles, a 4-inch lift with Remote Reservoir Fox shocks, heavy-duty cast differential covers, 10th Anniversary steel front and rear bumpers, Rubicon winch, and a cold air intake. The Switchback grips the trails with 17-inch concept wheels and 37-inch BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain KM2 tires.
The axle-back exhaust is a nice touch.
The exterior features are nicely crafted from the hood and half doors to the hard top and roof racks. Jeep Performance Parts on the exterior include high-top fender flares, Mopar black fuel door and tail lamp guards, swing gate hinge reinforcement, and oversized spare tire carrier. Those who hit the trails in the evening or during bad weather will appreciate the Switchback’s incredible lighting system. This Jeep is complete with a concept LED off-road windshield light bar, concept LED off-road A-pillar lamps, LED tail lamps, and LED headlamps and fog lamps.
The inside is trimmed with Katzkin leather seats, body-color bezel accents, concept sport bar grab handles, and Mopar all-weather mats. The floor is actually made from a spray-in bed liner material. The cargo area also has a storage rack stocked with first aid and roadside safety supplies.
The Jeep Switchback Concept is powered by the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, mated to a five-speed automatic transmission.
This Wrangler-based Jeep concept has it all: off-road capability, high-tech features, and lots of lights. Hence the name, Jeep Luminator. The vehicle’s sophisticated lighting system was jointly developed with the Automotive Lighting division of Magneti Marelli. And they thought of everything needed to light up the trails in proper fashion: magnetic underbody rock lights, 7-inch LED projector bi-function headlamps, unique LED tail lamps, A-pillar-mounted LED spot lights, and upper bumper LED auxiliary lighting.
The fog lamps actually “corner” and are dictated by the steering angle.
The Jeep Luminator’s hood houses a scanning LED light bar module with active spot and dynamic following technology. This tool works as a spotlight to warn drivers of potential hazards while navigating the trials. The rear lighting setup is equally advanced. The center high-mount stop light, for example, acts as a scouting/trail lamp with four-color LEDs for trail rides: complete stop (red), 1-3 miles per hour (amber), 3-25 mph (green), or white when rear flood lighting is needed.
High-tech features include the roof-mounted solar panel, a drone landing pad with a lighted drone, and an interactive touchscreen display on the driver’s side rear window with GPS and internet capability.
Think of this fireball as the Frankenstein of Jeeps. The Jeep CJ66 recipe calls for a Jeep Wrangler TJ frame and a 1966 Jeep Wrangler CJ universal Tuxedo Park body. Sprinkle in Wrangler JK elements and serve vigorously with a Mopar 345 Crate HEMI Engine Kit.
Like its Quicksand brethren, the CJ66 has plenty of muscle with its 383 horsepower 5.7-liter HEMI and six-speed manual transmission. A Mopar 345 Crate HEMI engine cover shelters the powerplant while a Mopar cold-air intake and cat-back exhaust increase overall performance.
Front and rear Mopar Dana 44 Crate axles, 35-inch BFGoodrich all-terrain tires, 17-inch beadlock wheels, and a 2-inch lift will make short work of any off-road obstacles. An advanced two-way air system lets drivers air tires up or down, depending on the desired pressure.
The color is called “Copper Canyon” and is accented by a matte black “CJ sixty six” stripe on the hood. Other exterior treatments include oversized fender flares, Mopar 10th Anniversary Wrangler JK Rubicon Bumper Kits, skid/front bumper plates, and rock rails. The CJ66 is also equipped with Mopar LED amber fog lamps and a Mopar Warn winch.
While it will attend the 2017 Easter Jeep Safari, this is not the first time the CJ66 has been in public. The concept Jeep actually made its debut at the 2016 SEMA Show in Las Vegas last November.
Do you have a favorite on this list? It’s hard to pick one, but we are kinda partial to the Luminator and CJ66. Maybe something on this list will make it into production after the 2017 Easter Jeep Safari? It’s hard to say, but Jeep is using the occasion to gain insight from the many off-road fans in attendance.
“We look forward to the reaction and feedback from enthusiasts and our most loyal customers as these new Jeep concepts are put through their paces on the trails in Moab,” Manley said.
If you are heading to the Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, make sure you take lots of pictures and tag us on Twitter – we definitely want to hear about your adventure. The 2017 Easter Jeep Safari begins on April 8th and runs through the 16th.
Carl Anthony is Managing Editor of Automoblog and resides in Detroit, Michigan.