Continually reinforcing its brand values, the Jeep name is to be further enhanced with the showing of a stunning concept vehicle at the Sydney Motor Show next month. First seen at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit earlier this year, the new Jeep Willys2 concept builds on the spirit of the award winning 2001 Willys concept vehicle which has a strong "Hummer" flavour to it. Last year's Jeep Willys concept won the Gold Award in the 2001 Industrial Design Excellence Competition in the USA. According to Chrysler, the Willys2 was developed "to exist in harmony with nature while being ready to venture into the rugged bush" and it "embodies the Jeep brand's core values of authenticity, freedom and legendary capability."
Incorporating cutting-edge plastic technology and a lightweight aluminium frame, Willys2 features ultra-modern interpretations of trademark Jeep design cues including the seven-slot grille and trapezoidal wheel arches. Shown by the Chrysler Group in prior concept vehicles, injection-moulded plastic bodies save up to 50 percent in manufacturing costs and weight and are nearly 100 percent recyclable.
While its battle-proven World War II ancestor, the Willys MB, was made of sheet metal, this concept was built in carbon fibre to simulate the weight savings that could be achieved with injection-moulded plastics.
The removable hard top comes equipped with a roof rack featuring a full-size spare tyre holder and an integrated luggage carrier, as well as bindings for multiple kinds of outdoor gear. Three auxiliary search and rescue lamps emphasise the "go-anywhere, do-anything" attitude that is core to the Jeep brand.
The Jeep Willys2 weighs approximately 1350 kg, is powered by a 1.6-litre, in-line four-cylinder engine that has been supercharged to deliver 120 kW and 210 Nm of torque. Its four-speed automatic transmission is coupled with a shift-on-the-fly transfer case with full-time four-wheel drive and low-range modes. Estimated performance figures include a sprint to 96 km/h in about 10 seconds and a top speed of nearly 140 km/h.
Willys2's chiselled design lends substance and visual weight, suggesting a low centre of gravity with a long wheelbase (2413 mm) and wide track (1496 mm front, 1509 mm rear). The vehicle features a custom independent short-and-long-arm front and multi-link solid rear axle suspension with coil springs at all four wheels.
The spacious interior blends colours of aqua and silver. Translucent plastics allow for a new approach to Jeep design while remaining true to the brand's legendary versatility. Adding further to the utilitarian approach, you can even use a water hose to clean out the interior of the vehicle.