Here Are Your Easter Jeep Safari Concepts for 2018

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Jeep and Mopar have teamed up to create another round of concept vehicles for the annual Easter Jeep Safari. Now in its 52nd year, thousands of off-road enthusiasts will once again head to Moab, Utah, for a week of technical off-roading and dirt-related camaraderie. They’ll also get to see these 4x4s in the flesh. This year’s batch was a little less showy than the previous annum, but pursuing substance over style isn’t a terrible impulse when you’re planning on slamming a vehicle into boulders all day.

“Pushing the limit is something the Jeep brand is no stranger to and these seven new, exciting and capable concept vehicles are the latest example of that,” said Jeep head Mike Manley. “Every year, we look forward to introducing new concept vehicles and ideas to our enthusiasts. The Moab Easter Jeep Safari presents a unique and perfect opportunity to collect valuable insight from our most loyal customers.”

First up is the Jeep 4Speed, which sacrifices sheet metal in order to minimize weight. Jeep hacked off the less essential panels and replaced the rest with lightweight materials. Featuring a carbon fiber hood, high-clearance carbon fiber fender flares, and a carbon fiber rear tub with perforated aluminum panels, the 4Speed rides two inches higher than a stock Wrangler but is 22 inches shorter overall.

The wheelbase remains unchanged however, allowing for wicked approach and departure angles. It uses the new turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four engine, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. It also features Dana 44 front and rear axles with a 4.10 gear ratio and 18-inch lightweight monoblock wheels equipped with 35-inch BF Goodrich Mud Terrain tires.

Next up is the Jeep Sandstorm. Fixated on baja blasts (the driving type, not the carbonated beverage), the Sandstorm has an upgraded suspension intended for hauling ass in sand without ruining its road manners entirely. Extending the wheelbase for high-speed stability, Jeep moved the front axle forward four inches and optioned a beefy longarm four-link suspension with track bar. The rear axle is moved back two inches, utilizing a triangulated trailing arm four-link suspension.

Dunes pass beneath a heavy-duty front and rear Dynatrac 60 axles with a 5.68 gear ratio, and 17-inch beadlock wheels with 39.5-inch BF Goodrich Krawler tires. Powered by a 6.4-liter V8 engine from Fiat Chrysler’s Mopar performance division, the Sandstorm uses a six-speed manual transmission and has more baja-inspired visual touches than are worth counting. Our favorites are the race-style fuel filler, KC Carbon series front auxiliary lights, and on-board compressor.

The Jeep B-Ute concept is probably our least favorite of the bunch, but FCA assures us it’s still ready for “the ultimate off-road adventure.” Equipped with the 2.4-liter Tigershark engine and a nine-speed automatic transmission, the Renegade-based B-Ute gets a lot of little extras, but the biggest helpers for trail-worthiness are the BF Goodrich T/A Baja Champion tires, 1.5-inch lift kit, and rock rails.

The roof rack also looks handy.

Jeep’s Wagoneer Roadtrip (top of the page) is a festival of nostalgia. But it too has had its chassis and drivetrain upgraded for off-road duty. The wheelbase is stretched by five inches and the body is updated slightly to accommodate the additional length — as well as the wider track and custom fender flares. The Roadtrip also has redesigned wheel wells, bumpers, integrated rock rails, and grille.

Powered by a 5.7-liter V8 and mated to a classic four-speed automatic transmission, the Wagoneer doesn’t muddle its heritage too much. However, its original 230 cubic-inch Tornado six was repurposed in the form of a valve cover toolbox. Off-road capabilities were improved via a boxed and reinforced frame, Dana 44 front and rear axles (with lockers), four-link suspension with coilovers, and 17-inch steel wheels wrapped in 33-inch BF Goodrich Mud-Terrain tires.

The Nacho Jeep is essentially an opportunity to showcase the Mopar brand’s Jeep Performance Parts (JPP) buffet. Brimming with add-ons, the Nacho is what FCA hopes you’ll turn your Jeep into when you have some extra cash lying around.

If JPP has it in the catalog, odds are good it’s on this 4×4. Theres a winch kit, lighting brackets with LEDs, rock guards, two-inch round-tube doors, a spare-tire hinge, and dark black accents everywhere, the obligatory cold-air intake, and two-inch lift kit featuring 2.5-inch-diameter aluminum shocks — just to name a few items.

Jeep’s Rubicon-based Jeepster subtly merges retro charm with modern hardware. Adopting the paint scheme and styling of the 1966 Jeepster, the new incarnation also utilizes plenty of items from the Jeep Performance Parts catalog. The hardtop has been chopped by two inches and the custom windshield was raked back 2.5 degrees to create a cropped, compact appearance.

A 2-inch lift kit and 2.5-inch diameter aluminum body shocks work with oversized, 37-inch BF Goodrich KO2 tires to raise the Jeepster above off-road obstacles. Beadlock-capable 17-inch wheels are accented by body-color matching Firecracker Red beadlock trim rings. Very nice overall, without going overboard.

The same could be said of the J-Wagon concept. Intended as a premium-styled vehicle capable of handling both trails and the urban jungle, the Sahara-based J-Wagon gets copper accents, a snorkel, and five-inch LED off-road lights. There is also a black Mopar grille, matching bezel body trim, and Brass Monkey-styled 17-inch wheels.

Camel-color Katzkin leather seats occupy the interior space with brown piping. It’s probably the most sedate vehicle in the Easter Safari lineup, but Jeep understands that not everyone intends to go coo-coo bananas on customization. Let’s call the J-Wagon the “respectable one.”

[Images: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

More by Matt Posky

Comments
Join the conversation
2 of 27 comments
  • TheEndlessEnigma TheEndlessEnigma on Mar 21, 2018

    Each of those pics (except for the first) is a bad bad joke.

  • Cls12vg30 Cls12vg30 on Mar 21, 2018

    If you look closely at the B-Ute, you'll notice that you just got a free peek at the 2019 Renegade front fascia & taillight refresh.

  • VoGhost Key phrase: "The EV market has grown." Yup, EV sales are up yet again, contrary to what nearly every article on the topic has been claiming. It's almost as if the press gets 30% of ad revenues from oil companies and legacy ICE OEMs.
  • Leonard Ostrander Daniel J, you are making the assertion. It's up to you to produce the evidence.
  • VoGhost I remember all those years when the brilliant TTAC commenters told me over and over how easy it was for legacy automakers to switch to making EVs, and that Tesla was due to be crushed by them in just a few months.
  • D "smaller vehicles" - sorry, that's way too much common sense! Americans won't go along because clever marketing convinced us our egos need big@ss trucks, which give auto manufacturers the profit margin they want, and everybody feels vulnerable now unless they too have a huge vehicle. Lower speed limits could help, but no politician wants to push that losing policy. We'll just go on building more lanes and driving faster and faster behind our vehicle's tinted privacy glass. Visions of Slim Pickens riding a big black jacked up truck out of a B-52.
  • NotMyCircusNotMyMonkeys dudes off the rails on drugs and full of hate and retribution. so is musky.
Next