By on March 20, 2018

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]

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27 Comments on “Here Are Your Easter Jeep Safari Concepts for 2018...”

  • avatar

    I wonder if FCA worked with that company which restores Grand Wagoneers to bring that first one about?

    Just wow!!

    • 0 avatar

      Which one? There’s at least three that I’m aware of, including at least two here in Texas (Wagonmaster in Kerrville, and Wagoneer World in Richardson).

    • 0 avatar

      I love Wagoneers! Back in the late 70s, my granddad, a Wyoming rancher bought one as his retirement 4×4. It took on everything from miles of dirt roads, blizzards, to the spring thaw (as he said, “Pick your rut carefully as you’ll be in it for the next mile.”). I have fond memories of those days…

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    The Wagoneer is sweet, the rest just look like bro’d our Wranglers and some weirdo Bro’d out Renegade. And I usually love these concepts.

    • 0 avatar

      I seem to remember a Wagoneer-based offering at this event a few years back. Or it was something with a definite Wagoneer appearance.

      Google tells me it was in 2015, with the “Chief” concept.

      If they keep this up, Wagoneer will become Jeep’s VW Bus. Something they trot out every few years to tease the fan base.

      • 0 avatar

        I believe the upcoming wagoneer is supposed to be built on the new Ram platform, so I’d expect a legitimate concept to be shown within a year and a model in the show rooms 2 years later, around 2021.

  • avatar

    I love the Wagoneer Roadtrip. Where did they add the five-inch stretch?

  • avatar

    Five Wrangler concepts. Why? Because it’s the only offroad vehicle Jeep builds anymore, a sad situation of which the public is reminded whenever Jeep showcases what they once built.

    If they put a solid axle kit on the B-Ute and breathed new life into the Samurai concept that could have been interesting.

    • 0 avatar

      The Grand Cherokees are pretty good off road. If you definition of offroad means rock crawling solid front and rear axle SUVs, well, who else is still in the game?

      • 0 avatar

        Not many. I’m on my second WJ (2004) and it has 150k on it now. It’s still quite reliable (for a Chrysler product, right?) and when it isn’t anymore, my most realistic option to replace it will be a used Unlimited Wrangler. Letting the WJ go will be agonizing as I love it, but I’m already in the often-honked-at group of morning commuters.

        If I want four doors, live axles, some tow capability and a body I can still fit in my garage I don’t see another competitor. I would like another Grand, and I could deal with the more modern suspension and minivan-motor, but the prices on them definitely put it in the “very carefully” offroad department.

      • 0 avatar

        The market is so depleted, I will accept solid rear axle and IFS. Grand Cherokee doesn’t even deliver that much. Strange world we are living in when the Grand Cherokee isn’t comparable to a 4Runner. Two generations ago, Grand Cherokee was still vastly superior.

        Pickups are body-on-frame with a solid rear axle, but anyone who has ever driven down an infrequently maintained county road in the American West knows the uselessness of a 130″ wheelbase. 4th Generation C/K’s had a 117 inch wheelbase available. The new Colorado and Canyon are over 10″ longer.

        • 0 avatar

          Of course the Grand Cherokee isn’t comparable to the 4Runner, for one thing you can still get a V8(a Hemi at that) with the Jeep. It also has a vastly superior transmission, rides much much better on and off road, has a much better seating position, and costs much less apple to apple.

          There is nothing magical about IFS and beam axle, heck VW Jettas have them. For the off-roading that 95% of the population will ever do, the GC is fine, For the other 5%, they are not buying 45k new 4Runners anyway.

          • 0 avatar

            The “vastly superior transmission” works better with the V8 engines.

            The same transmission with the V6 hunts a lot more due to the lower twist of the V6.

            The best possible configuration for a WK2 JGC is the 5.7L with the QuadraTrac-series 4×4 system.

            The Big V8, like the SRT8, just gets too giddy with all that power underfoot in spite of the QuadraDrive 4×4 AWD.

          • 0 avatar

            “The “vastly superior transmission” works better with the V8 engines.

            The same transmission with the V6 hunts a lot more due to the lower twist of the V6”

            Not quite. The ZF 8 speed’s lower first gear makes the Pentastar vehicles much faster off the line and throughout the rev range. You are thinking about the 9 speed in the Cherokee and 200 that has hunting issues. The Pentastar develops decent torque starting at 1500 RPM and maintains it all the way up to the redline. Gear hunting with Pentstar/ZF vehicles is not a major issue, no worse than any other modern V6 with more than 6 gears.

            I should know, I have a 300 with the Pentastar and 8 speed, the 300 saved a whole second off 0-60 when the 8 speed ZF was implemented.

          • 0 avatar

            Well, we had the real life experience with the 2014, 2015 and 2016 Grand Cherokees that belonged to each one of my wife’s sisters.

            Theirs had all sorts of issues which I wrote about extensively in my comments on ttac over the years. They bought theirs based on our excellent ownership experience.

            Our 2012 Overland Summit V6 with the old transmission was truly problem-free, something that I keep mentioning every time there is bad press for Grand Cherokees on ttac.

            And the 2012 SRT8 that belonged to my oldest son also has been flawless. Also old tranny.

            We gave both of these cars to my grand daughter, (the daughter of my son with the SRT8), when she got married in 2015.

            And both of these Grand Cherokees continue to do DD duties in Surprise, AZ. Both of them with well over 120K on the odo.

            So, draw your own conclusions because my comment was rooted in first-hand experience.

            Maybe both our accounts are correct, from different perspectives.

  • avatar

    How long as they gonna keep putting those sweet 17 inch steel wheels on Jeep concepts before they put them into production?

    • 0 avatar

      I’m wondering if they were made by the Detroit Steel Wheel Co. I’ve seen their stuff before, in print, and on at least one of the shows on Velocity or Discovery Channel.

  • avatar

    That Jeepster one is interesting, even if the wheels are a little oversized. I wonder if Jeep would offer that hardtop as an accessory package, with that paint.

  • avatar

    A Jeep article, eh? So where is EcoBoostFlex telling us how bad the Bronco sucks?

  • avatar

    I bet ICON could do one helluva Wagoneer do over.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    The B Ute looks like it has a camera case on the roof!

    These are nice vehicles, except not one I would want or need.

    Now a lifted Crew Cab Wrangler pickup similar in stance to the Sandstorm would be nice. Of course with a VM 3 litre V6 diesel.

  • avatar

    That Wagoneer is sweet. The rest look like they came in a box of cereal.

  • avatar

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

  • avatar

    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.

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