We're glad to see the American icon is back in the swing of things, making crazy off-road concepts for the yearly Easter Jeep Safari.
If there's a better job at Jeep than designing the annual concepts for Easter Jeep Safari, I don't know what it is. Every year, Jeep lovers gather in Moab, Utah, for a weeklong celebration of all things Jeep, and the concepts are always a highlight. This year, the off-road brand debuts four new concept Wranglers and Gladiators, as well as bringing along a few models that didn't get their place in the sun last year due to the pandemic.
I'm super-stoked about this Magneto BEV concept. Jeep recently debuted its plug-in hybrid Wrangler 4xe, but this takes things a few steps further, incorporating a full battery electric vehicle powertrain. This two-door Rubicon gets a single electric motor that can produce 273 horsepower and 285 pound-feet of torque. Yep, that's pretty close to what can be had from the 3.6-liter V6, except that torque is available instantly. Instant torque should make rock crawling a bit easier as there is no need to wind up an engine.
The coolest thing about Magneto is that the electric motor is mated to a six-speed manual transmission. I know, that just sounds weird, but getting to row your own with an electric motor must be an amazing feeling, and I can't wait to drive this concept. Jeep, you can deliver this Magneto to my house, please.
The bummer is that the Magneto might not get you very far. Jeep isn't commenting on the concept's range, but its four battery packs only add up to 70 kWh of power. When I drove the larger Rivian R1T with a 135-kWh battery in the Rebelle Rally, we averaged about 170 miles of range over seven days of off-road driving. Now, the Rivian's battery pack was not production ready, but I would expect the Magneto to last fewer than than 100 miles when driven in the rough stuff.
The good news is that Jeep has paid attention to where those packs are mounted. One replaces the fuel tank, another sits opposite the fuel tank for even weight distribution. One motor is on top of the electric motor under the hood -- for easy swapping, maybe -- and the last is in the rear, taking up the storage space. Their placement allows Magneto to maintain the standard Wrangler's 30-inch water-fording capabilities. Plus the cells are strongly mounted and protected with skid plates, so drivers can bash the heck out of the undercarriage, just as they would in a normal Jeep.
Magneto comes with a 2-inch lift, auxiliary lighting, a roll cage, rock rails, a Warn winch and 35-inch Falken WildPeak mud-terrain tires. There is also a hood scoop, which I find hilariously odd, but hey, it looks good and likely provides some additional cooling for that battery packs.
I'm calling the Jeep Red Bare Gladiator concept the LumberGladiator, thanks to its red plaid seats and instrument panel. This four-door pickup also sports a dope custom sport bar in the bed, the hood and cowl from a Gladiator Mojave and a bright-red paint job with matte black graphics and grille, all finished off with gold accents.
Under the hood is Jeep's 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 engine with 260 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque, mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission. Pretty traditional, right? But the Red Bare's Dana 44 axles are sporting a 4.88 axle ratio, boosting the crawl ratio to an impressive 91:1, close to the crawl ratio in the new Ford Bronco, which sits at 94.7:1. The takeaway here is that the Red Bare will make throttle control easy and should get massive amounts of torque to the rocks at very low speeds.
Not surprisingly, the Red Bare concept gets a 2-inch lift, 37-inch BFGoodrich mud-terrain tires, rock rails, steel bumpers and a Warn winch.
The Jeepster Beach is a resto-mod throwback to the second-generation Jeepster Commando. Back in the late 1960s, the Commando was pretty fancy, with an automatic transmission, a heater, roll-up side windows and a roof, all as standard equipment. This was all pretty posh stuff for a sport utility vehicle back in the day.
At any rate, the mad scientists at Jeep have taken a 1968 Commando and blended it with a modern Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, slapping in a souped up version of the company's 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 25 percent more power than the production version. We're talking 340 horsepower and 369 lb.-ft. of torque here, people. To make cruising on the soft sand a bit easier, the Jeepster Beach is outfitted with 35-inch tires, but beyond the larger shoes there aren't too many extra off-road goodies.
Instead the designers concentrated on aesthetics and painted the Jeepster Beach a lovely two-tone, Hazy IPA and Zinc Oxide. Thankfully, they've left all the original chrome intact.
Unfortunately, there is nothing original about the interior. Sure, the seats look pretty vintage but the dash and switchgear are all modern. I'm fine with keeping modern amenities, but I still want the interior of my resto-mod to look old-school. Because of that, I'm not sure this concept is a winner.
The Jeep Orange Peelz concentrates on design and customization. I love that the side and rear windows are gone entirely while the doors are cut in half and the top features a removable glass sunroof.
The Orange Peelz paint is a bit brighter than the Nacho paint color currently available on production Jeeps. The shade is highlighted by some black striping around the beltline and vintage badging. Inside, the lumberjack feel of the Red Bare concept makes an appearance, this time with orange and black plaid seats and armrests.
The powertrain here is the stock 3.6-liter V6 and like other concepts, Orange Peelz rides atop on a 2-inch lift, rock rails and sports a Warn winch. Upgraded Fox shocks are here, as are 37-inch BF Goodrich mud-terrain tires. The front gets auxiliary lights and the rear gets an upgraded spare tire carrier for the larger tire.
The Jeep Farout concept is an overlanding rig that builds on the Wayout concept from 2019. It was supposed to debut at Easter Jeep Safari last year, but the coronavirus took care of that, and we first saw pics of it last August. Regardless, the Farout takes a diesel Gladiator and slaps a really nice tent on the roof. At 16 feet long and 7.5 feet tall, the tent can conceivably sleep four people.
The Farout's exterior gets a swanky gray paint job with chartreuse trim (that's lime green for those of you not up to your Pantone color swatches). The interior again gets plaid seat inserts -- what's going on with the plaid this year? -- and plenty of wood trim. For your overlanding convenience, there is a built-in table along with places to hang storage racks and a refrigerator and stove.
Capabilities are helped along with, what else, a 2-inch lift, 37-inch mud-terrain tires, a Warn winch, rock rails and Fox shocks.
Other concepts that Jeep is trotting out at Easter Jeep is the mountain-bike themed Jeep Top Dog. This concept was originally made for last year's SEMA show, but again, the pandemic had other ideas. The coolest thing about the Top Dog? It has a built-in hot-dog griller.
Jeep will also bring its V8-powered Wrangler 392 Concept, which has since morphed into an actual production vehicle -- an expensive one, at that. The 6.4-liter V8 monster is good for 470 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque, scooting from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds. Yowza.