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New Jeep concepts celebrate Easter Safari event

The concepts won’t make it to production, but they do show what technology Jeep is playing around with

Few car manufacturers have off-road pedigree like Jeep. Every year the firm celebrates this by attending the Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah with 20,000 Jeep enthusiasts, showing off several concept cars in the process. 

This year is no different with seven new Jeep concepts taking to the rocky trails. Senior Vice President of Jeep, Jim Morrison, said of the event: “it’s the perfect place to showcase our seven new Jeep concepts, because it’s with these Jeep enthusiasts that we’ll be able to push the limits even more and get their feedback on where they want to take the Jeep brand into the future.” 

Jeep promised electrified power and commanding performance will be prominent this year and the spec list of the concept cars certainly backs this up. 

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First up is the Jeep Wrangler Magneto 3.0 Concept. Jeep fans will notice it’s based on a two-door Wrangler Rubicon but instead of a V6, there’s a battery sending power to a custom electric motor producing up to 641bhp and 1,220Nm of torque. The brutish-looking Magneto features huge 40-inch tyres and a three-inch lift for extra off-road clearance. 

The electric powertrain is mated to a six-speed manual transmission, which Jeep says was more of an easy solution rather than a possible insight into future EVs with manual gearboxes. The Magneto also has an ‘aggressive’ regenerative braking setting which allows one-pedal driving.

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Possibly the most eye-catching part of this year’s concept ensemble is the 1978 Jeep Cherokee 4xe Concept. Jeep originally found it in pretty rough condition with panels and lights missing, but this one has been heavily modified with wheel cut outs to fit larger tyres (a theme of these concepts) and a new roofline. Combined with the retro-themed 1970s paint job on the outside there are bucket seats and a roll cage on the inside, plus a full-size spare tyre in the boot. 

The engine comes from the Jeep Wrangler 4xe so it’s a hybrid with two electric motors, a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine and an eight-speed automatic transmission.

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If the bright green paintwork doesn’t help the 392 Concept stand out, there’s a 6.4-litre V8 under that bonnet with 464bhp and 637Nm of torque which should do the trick. Despite the large engine, the 392 Concept has been thoroughly gone over in the name of lightness. There are carbon fibre panels and bonnet plus restyled bumpers to allow for oversized off-road tyres. Also helping the off-road ability is air suspension which can be adjusted by four inches. 

Aside from the paint, the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4xe Concept is one of the more subtle entries. 37-inch tyres on 17-inch wheels, coupled with the same air suspension mentioned above should ensure it’s perfectly capable off-road and there’s even a winch for the rare times you’ll get stuck. 

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The Jeep Grand Wagoneer Overland concept occupies a slightly different remit than others on this list. It’s essentially a premium SUV decked out with all the features you need to go camping. It’s powered by a 3.0-litre, twin-turbocharged straight-six engine with 503bhp and 682Nm of torque plus there are knobbly tyres and 18-inch wheels to give extra ground clearance to help you find the best camping spot. 

Next up is the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4xe Departure Concept. It offers an ‘open-air cockpit’ with removable doors and windows which allows for better visibility when placing tyres in optimal positions off-road. Those boots have also been beefed up to 37-inches on 17-inch wheels. Uprated shock absorbers and a two-inch lift kit have also been added. 

Last but not least is the oddly-named Jeep Gladiator Rubicon Sideburn Concept. Here we find a comparatively normal Jeep Gladiator-based offering with a 3.6-litre V6 engine and the same chassis tweaks as the Departure Concept. 

A rather innovative feature is the grille guard which can fold down into a bench and inside there’s custom upholstery with Nappa leather trim and a map of the Moab desert on the instrument panel. 

Which is your favourite Jeep concept? Let us know in the comments section...

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Senior news reporter

A keen petrol-head, Alastair Crooks has a degree in journalism and worked as a car salesman for a variety of manufacturers before joining Auto Express in Spring 2019 as a Content Editor. Now, as our senior news reporter, his daily duties involve tracking down the latest news and writing reviews.

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