Beneath a rocky spire in the desert north of Moab, Jeep willingly handed over the keys of all of their concept Jeeps for 2015 to JPFreek. This job is so tough sometimes…
Full coverage to come as we get through 1000+ photos and videos and in our Easter Jeep Safari Special Issue, but here’s some photos and initial driving impressions to whet your appetite.
It’s easy to overlook what was done with this Jeep on the exterior that sets it further apart from the JKU than you’d think. While the gross overall footprint of the Jeep is the same as a JKU with the spare on the back, they extended the Jeep 12”.
The rear end of the Jeep reaches what was the back of the spare by removing the spare from the tailgate and tucking it underneath the bed. The roof is actually part of the body and it’s raised 4”, so the back of this thing is cavernous. The diesel is completely livable while providing all the grunt you’d expect.
Cherokee Canyon Trail
This Jeep surprised us and we liked it more than we expected going in. While the trail wasn’t anything incredibly difficult there were a couple ledges significant enough to cause curiosity about hearing the Cherokee’s nether regions meet rock but the Cherokee managed fine and we didn’t even manage to lose a bike.
Grand Cherokee Overlander
We admit to being suckers for rooftop tents, but we weren’t prepared to love this Jeep as much as we did from behind the wheel. The drivability with the very quiet diesel is spectacular and this Jeep just felt planted at all times.
The Cherokee and Renegade definitely had moments where you knew a tire was off the ground, but from the moment we fired the Overlander up and watched as the Jeep came up to full off-road height on it’s air shocks, the capabilities of this Grand made a distinct impression.
Renegade Desert Hawk
We were highly anticipating this concept as our first seat time in a Renegade. Based on a look at the Renegade at SEMA, we named it to our top 15 Jeeps at the show and caught some flak for doing so. We wanted to see what the baby Jeep would do on the rocks and we were pleasantly surprised. As with all of the concepts sporting a little rotary dial rather than a lever for gearing selection, we were impressed at the “Rock” mode in this Desert Hawk.
Anyone wheeling a Renegade will need to get used to the feeling of lifting tires and tipping as they move across the terrain, but get past that and just stay on the gas and you’ll be surprised what the newest Jeep will do.
What’s not to like about a military-themed Wrangler on NDTs with a grenade shifter and nearly everything painted desert tan (including the guts underneath?) Oh, and it’s got a host of J8 bits and a canvas full soft bikini top.
The combination of the open-air feel with no door structure whatsoever and low-backed seats was simply awesome and really made you feel like you were in those first flattys that served our military for decades. All we kept thinking in the Staff Car was — ‘Merica.
Wrangler Red Rock Responder
16” of extra wheelbase and 37’s on Dana 60s plus the styling cues added by the MOPAR designers simply proves — again — that Jeep would absolutely rock a pickup. From the growl of the exhaust to the stability and ride quality provided by the wheelbase, this Jeep simply screams “Build me!”
Clearly a favorite of the media, many of the FCA staff and Freeks everywhere, the Chief did not disappoint one bit and is still one of the top few concepts every produced by Jeep in our books. For good reason, the driving experience is very much like any JK, but the attention to details and the incredible overall design aesthetic are simply incredible.
The execution of the wood details were perfect from the bed to the grab handles, shift knobs and the roof are as if someone reached into a designer’s sketch and made them reality. The integration of the taillights and the homage to the razor grille are simply spot on. The colors, the roofline, the front end,the rims, the proportions — all of it.
Other Concepts and Jeeps
One of the other fun things about the media event was seeing past concepts and special Jeeps in addition to the new concepts. MOJO, Nukizer, and a T1 (TJ-based Egyptian military Jeep) were all in attendance and we even got to drive the T1. More on the T1 (and all of the concepts) in our full feature in the Easter Jeep Safari special issue!