Jeep prepares six new off-road specials for Moab Safari
By C.C. Weiss
April 15, 2014
For nearly 50 years, Jeep enthusiasts have spent their Easters gathered together in one of the world's great off-roading destinations: Moab, Utah. Chrysler/Jeep eventually caught on to this marketing event in waiting, showcasing the off-road possibilities that its Mopar and Jeep Performance parts divisions can open up. Since 2002, it's introduced 40 Jeep concepts at the annual event. Jeep's six 2014 concepts are aimed squarely at serious off-road enthusiasts itching to explore the planet's diciest terrain.
"We head to Moab and the Easter Jeep Safari with six new vehicles we know Jeep enthusiasts will truly appreciate – including our first two new Jeep Cherokee models built specifically for this important event," says Mike Manley, Jeep's president and CEO. "We look forward to putting these new Jeep vehicles in their proper environment and receiving important feedback from our most loyal customers at their favorite annual off-road gathering."
Wrangler Level Red
Red is the designation for the most difficult off-road trails, so you know the Wrangler Level Red means business. It's stilted up on a Jeep Performance Parts (JPP) 2-inch (5-cm) lift kit. Its 35-inch BFGoodrich Mud Terrain tire-wrapped prototype 17-in wheels spin at the ends of Dana 44 front and rear crate axles. The 4:1 low range of the Rock-Trac transfer case and 73:1 crawl ratio deliver plenty of torque for slow, purposeful off-road navigation, while a cold air intake and low-restriction exhaust system assist the 3.6-liter V6/six-speed manual powertrain.
The Level Red shows its readiness to rough it with a very distinct exterior. The stock doors are ripped off in favor of Mopar half doors, and "Rubicon 10th Anniversary" bumpers protect the ends. Other exterior upgrades include JPP rock rails, an under-bumper skid plate, a prototype tire carrier, a locking gas cap and a hood prop kit. The Level Red is painted in Pitch Black with a TorRed striping and accents package. It also includes exterior badges for each of the five Jeep-recognized "Badge of Honor" Moab trails.
According to Jeep's description, the breezy, soft-top MOJO packs enough "mojo" to lay tracks in the most extreme trails. Its mechanical package is quite similar to the Level Red's, with the 2-in lift, 4:1 Rock-Trac transfer case, cold air intake and low-restriction exhaust system. It has 37-in BFGoodrich Mud Terrain tires around the beadlock wheels capping the ends of the locking Dana 44 front and rear axles. A set of JPP “Shorty” bumpers, prototype flat-top fenders, rock rails and an under-bumper skid plate protect the MOJO from the inevitable dings and bangs of off-roading. The MOJO's crawl ratio is 59:1 and it includes a JPP prototype winch.
Prototype LED headlamps and fog lamps in front of the Mopar "Rubicon X" hood make night trips easier, with a soft top and prototype two-tone half-door kit opening the dusty desert air to driver and passengers. The body is painted in bright orange (the "OJ" in MOJO stands for "Orange Jeep") and includes "badges of honor."
Wrangler Maximum Performance
Working right up the hierarchy of hardcore Wrangler off-roader kits, Jeep describes the Maximum Performance edition as designed for "enthusiasts who spend every spare minute on the trail and seek the ultimate in power and capability so they can go where others cannot." It gets more clearance than the previous models courtesy of a prototype 4-in (10.1-cm) lift kit, and the Dana 60 front and rear axles can be electrically locked at the push of a button. The Jeep has 4.88 gearing, the 4:1 Rock-Trac transfer case and a 70:1 crawl ratio.
What good is having a "max performance" Wrangler if your buddies on the trail don't know about it? The biggest visual add-on here is the set of prototype LED lights mounted near the upper border of the windshield. The Mopar Blue four-door stands tall on prototype beadlock wheels with matching blue accents and 37-in Mud Terrains. Other exterior upgrades include the JPP "Stinger" front bumper, front skid plate, Rubicon rock rails, a winch, and Moab landscape graphics on the hood. The Jeep also includes a prototype tire carrier and Badge of Honor markings.
Introduced at the New York International Auto Show a year ago, the all-new Cherokee isn't as trail-focused as the Wrangler, but that doesn't mean it can't be upgraded for off-road fun.
The Cherokee Dakar fills the big shoes created by its name with a package that Jeep says makes it the "most extreme Cherokee ever." That claim is underpinned by a prototype lift kit and wheel openings expanded around the 33-in Mud Terrain tires. Other updates, such as the widened fender flares with riveted bolts, improved 39-in departure angle, rock rails and skid plates, add to the Dakar's no-nonsense off-road demeanor. The Dakar's crawl ratio is 48:1. Flame Red accents add a visual spark to the Silver Steel Satin Gloss, particularly in the wheels and grille, where they're applied in a twosome configuration.
The Cherokee Adventurer kit is based on the hardcore Trailhawk trim and includes the black hood decal and prototype roof basket we've seen in the past. Helping the Adventurer survive off-road trials are a 48:1 crawl ratio, JPP rock rails, and skid plates for the underbody, front suspension, oil tank and fuel tank. The model has a tan exterior and rides on BFGoodrich All-Terrain tires wrapped around 17-in prototype wheels.
Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel Trail Warrior
A combination of large, people/gear-hauling size and diesel grit, the EcoDiesel Trail Warrior sports some upgrades for the dirt beyond. It's held up high on a Quadra-Lift air suspension system and 20-in prototype cast aluminum wheels with All-Terrain tires. It also has JPP tow hooks, rock rails and the Mopar prototype roof basket. The Mojave Sand body is offset by Satin Black wheels and accents. It has a 44:1 crawl ratio.
The six concept Jeeps have interiors trimmed to match the exterior color schemes, but Jeep has not released any photos of the cabins, outside of what you can see through the windows. You can, however, explore other exterior details of these designs in the photo gallery.