Jeep's annual Easter Safari is a massive celebration of the automaker's history of off-roaders. Each year, Jeep brings a handful of concepts to Moab, Utah, and this year is no exception.
Some of the concepts are little more than ways to promote aftermarket Mopar parts. Others, like last year's 707-horsepower Trailcat, are monuments of excess, dedicated to seeing what sort of insanity Jeep's engineers can cook up. Let's see what's on offer this year.
Jeep Grand One
The Jeep Grand One concept started out life as a bone-standard 1993 Jeep Grand Cherokee. The automaker purchased the car off Craigslist and proceeded to turn it into a resto-mod machine.
It extended the wheelbase, trimmed the front and rear fasciae and added a wood-grain look to the body. It sports 18-inch lace-style wheels that remind me of the Grand Cherokee's standard set, wrapped in 33-inch off-road tires. It has locking axles front and rear, a 2-inch suspension lift and fender flares, as well.
Under the hood lies a 5.2-liter V8 with a four-speed automatic transmission. That's the standard motor, so nothing crazy happened there.
As for the interior, Jeep went a little crazy. Jeep turned it into a 1990s nostalgia generator, with old-school materials, a proper car phone, a Game Boy in the backseat and a David Hasselhoff sticker.
The Quicksand concept is... insane. It's built to resemble a hot rod, but instead of stunting at car shows, it's meant to tear up sand dunes and echo the song of its people off every nearby mountainside.
Under the hood lies a 392-cubic-inch Hemi V8 engine, the same monster found in the Charger Scat Pack. Jeep didn't talk about output, but in the Charger, it's rated at 485 horsepower. In this application, it sports a set of open velocity stacks and open headers that dump smog and sound just behind the front wheels.
The body has, obviously, been tweaked to hell and back. The wheelbase has been extended, the front and rear fasciae have been clipped and both the roof and windshield have been chopped like a proper hot rod. It'll tackle sand with 32-inch front tires and 37-inch rears, and if it gets stuck, there's a Warn winch up front to pull it out.
The interior is nice and simple, with two low-back bucket seats up front, flat door panels and a chrome roll bar. The windshield glass tilts outward, as well.
Looking to vacation off the beaten path? This is the concept for you.
The Safari concept blends high tech and high visibility. The roof panel is translucent, and Jeep replaced the doors with aluminum and vinyl units that can unzip to let in fresh air. The rear doors have a reverse hinge, because everybody loves a good set of suicide doors. To increase rear-seat visibility, the rear seats are rotated outward.
In terms of tech, the roof features an aluminum cargo rack with an integrated drone. There's also an iPad mounted in the instrument panel for a little extra techy flavor.
There's also plenty of off-road tech in here, too. The Safari rocks Dana 44 solid axles front and rear, with locking differentials and a 2-inch lift. The body was shortened to increase its agility, and 35-inch off-road tires help keep the shiny side up. There's also an on-board air system, steel bumpers and full-length skid plates.
Most every concept we've seen so far has been based on the Wrangler. This one does things a little differently.
The Trailpass concept is based on the new, which replaces both the Compass and Patriot of old. While the Compass Trailhawk is already pretty stout, there's always room for improvement. Here, Jeep's added a 1.5-inch lift kit and 18-inch wheels wrapped with all-terrain tires.
There are a number of aftermarket parts on here, too, including a roof basket, rock rails, cross rails and traction mats in case the concept gets stuck. The exterior's been gussied up by way of black mirror caps, side stripes, a custom hood design and tinted lights.
The interior gets fancy with Katzkin leather seats, a leather armrest and all-weather floor mats. Nobody likes a dirty car -- at least not that dirty.
Okay, back to your regularly scheduled Wrangler-based programming.
The Switchback concept is all about off-road performance, and it shows. It's rocking a set of Dana 44 solid front and rear axles, along with a 4-inch lift and Fox shocks with remote reservoirs. The differentials have heavy-duty covers, the bumpers are made of steel, and there's a winch for either saving yourself or somebody else who gets stuck.
The exterior ramps up the aggression with a unique hood, half doors, a concept hard top and fender flares. To light the road ahead, the Switchback is loaded with LED light bars, LED taillights and LED A-pillar lamps. There are also LEDs in the headlights and fog lights, because if you're going to add that many LEDs, you may as well keep going.
The interior is obviously going to get dirty, which is why Jeep added a spray-on truck bed liner to the Switchback's floor. All-weather floor mats add extra protection, while new grab handles and roadside safety kits are there just in case you need 'em. Katzkin leather seats round out the interior upgrades, because even the most hardcore off-roaders like a bit of comfort.
The Luminator, as the name suggests, is all about the light.
There are rock lights under the body, LED spotlights on the A-pillars, more LED lights on the front bumper and the fog lights move with the steering wheel. Behind the windshield, there are additional LED spotlights, and both the headlights and taillights contain light-emitting diodes, as well. Sensing a trend, here?
But wait, there's more! The LED light bar can spot and track wildlife and road hazards, and the center high-mount stop light out back can act as a scouting lamp. It can display red, amber, green or white light, depending on what the driver wants to communicate to the cars behind.
Like the Safari concept, this one packs a drone, too. But in keeping with the theme, this drone also has lights on it.
There's also an interactive touchscreen on the left rear window, which passengers can use to access GPS maps and the internet.
Finally, we have the CJ66 concept. This one actually isn't new, having debuted at the 2016 SEMA aftermarket trade show last November.
It uses the frame from a TJ-generation Jeep Wrangler, but the body has been replaced with that of a 1966 Jeep CJ5. Under the hood lies a 383-horsepower, 5.7-liter Hemi V8, mated to a six-speed manual transmission. Passengers sit in Dodge Viper seats and are surrounded by a custom roll cage and bikini-top netting.
There's plenty of off-road performance here, as well. The CJ66 sports 35-inch off-road tires with 17-inch beadlock wheels and a 2-inch lift to make it all fit under the body. There's a two-way air system that lets the driver inflate or deflate the tires to fit the terrain.