Here in the UK, Jeep is best-known for its upmarket American-style SUVs. But in the USA, the company has a devout following of off-road enthsuiasts.
Many of these loyal fans come together in Moab, Utah each spring for the Jeep Safari event. This year is the 50th annual Jeep Safari and will coincide with the company’s 75% anniversary. So it’s a big deal.
To market the occasion, Jeep has come up with an extra-special range of rugged concept vehicles, all of which will be in action at the Easter Jeep Safari. Top of the list for a vehicle which might actually be a viable production model is the muscular Comanche pick-up, which is based on the current Jeep Renegade:
The Comanche’s “Beige Against the Machine” concept exterior paint is accented with a Satin Black hood, a concept lower front fascia, winch, steel rear bumper, soft top, and spare tire in the bed. The wheelbase has been stretched an additional six inches versus a production Renegade to accommodate Comanche’s 5-foot bed.
Inside, the Comanche features custom seat covers, pedal covers, door sill guards, and Mopar all-weather mats. Jeep Performance Parts like off-road rock rails, a 2-inch lift kit and a winch bolster the Comanche’s off-road capability. The Comanche rolls on 16-inch painted wheels and 32-inch BF-Goodrich All Terrain T/A tyres.
However, what’s most interesting (remembering that this is the USA, home of big engines and cheap petrol) is that the Jeep Comanche is powered by a 2.0-liter diesel I-4 engine, mated Jeep’s smooth 9-speed automatic transmission.
Is Jeep using this year’s event to try and persuade their most loyal customers that small, modern diesels are man enough to power these big off roaders?
One of the other models due to be in action at the Jeep Safari is the Jeep Trailcat. Based on the Jeep Wrangler, the Trailcat is being billed as the ultimate off-road machine. Shoe-horned under the bonnet is a 6.2-liter HEMI Hellcat V-8 engine, mated to a 6-speed manual transmission.
This result is a 707-horsepower beast that rides on 39.5-inch BF-Goodrich Krawler tyres, front and rear Dana 60 axles and Fox shocks. Subtle isn’t the word, but Jeep reckons that the interior is “simple yet functional”.