Jeep’s concept-4×4 blitz that reliably accompanies Moab, Utah’s Easter Jeep Safari off-road festival, has become one of the year’s more entertaining doses of hardcore SUV fun. That’s not only because Stellantis’ Jeep brand takes the opportunity to show off a bunch of cool custom concepts at the annual gathering, it’s because the vehicles shown aren’t static models built for the auto show turnstiles, but functional runners that the automaker lets people drive off-road.
This year’s array runs the gamut from Jeep’s ambitious all-electric rethink, theMagneto 2.0 Concept, to more predictable show vehicles that are essentially Jeep Performance Parts catalog accessory dumps.
2022 Easter Jeep Safari Concepts Are 4x4s for the Faithful
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Jeep Wrangler Magneto 2.0 Concept
This Magneto 2.0 might be our favorite of the bunch. It builds off of last year’s Magneto EV concept, fortified with a startling amount of all-electric power. It’s more than double last year’s output: 625 horses and 850 pound-feet of torque (‘s 285 hp and 274 lb-ft). That’s made possible by no fewer than four lithium-ion battery arrays scattered around the chassis for a combined 70 kW/h capacity. Jeep hasn’t mentioned total driving range for this concept, but it’s likely pretty abbreviated given that limited pack size.
In a nod to brand purists, Jeep has retained a six-speed manual gearbox for this two-door concept; most EVs do without multi-speed transmissions, and none on the market offer a stick shift. To handle all that torque, Jeep’s mad scientists have borrowed the transmission from aand then beefed it up even further. Apparently there’s so much twist available that you don’t even need to use the clutch to get going, although you do need to work the leftmost pedal to change gears once underway.
Jeep claims that this setup can hit 60 mph in a crazy-sounding 2.0 seconds, and a new footlong wheelbase stretch should help avoid unintended wheelies with all that power. In addition, Magneto also includes a 3.0-inch lift and 20-inch wheels wrapped in 40-inch tires. Newly minimalist front and rear bumpers allow for even better off-road geometry and a carbon hood finishes off the unique front-end look. The Magneto 2.0 looks like serious fun and we’d love to try the one-pedal driving function and make use of the manual for ultra-low-speed off-road crawling.
Jeep Bob Concept
The next-most-ambitious rethink in this year’s Easter Jeep Safari concept roundup is likely this unique Bob Concept. Built atop a, Jeep has given its pickup a tailectomy, lopping off (“bobbing”) the last 12 inches of the truck to give this four-door more Scrambler-like proportions and markedly better off-road geometry at the expense of load-lugging capability.
Interestingly, Jeep has removed both the doors and b-pillar for Bob, substituting a spindly vertical support for the roof. The latter looks like a stretchy fabric bimini top, but it’s actually a one-off hardtop clad in canvas. Without the doors or the rear window, Bob looks like an exceptionally airy machine that should be perfect for climbing Moab’s famed red rocks.
The truck should also have plenty of torque to make the most of climbing adventures, too, as it relies on Jeep’s excellent (but frustratingly costly). Additional functional upgrades include a custom front bumper with auxiliary lighting, a 3.0-inch suspension lift, 40-inch tires on beadlock wheels, a reworked King Coil suspension with bypass shocks, as well as Dynatrac Pro-Rock 60 axles.
Jeep ’41 Concept
On the less radical side of things, Jeep has taken aplug-in hybrid and given it the armed-services treatment, an homage to the Willys MB that kicked off the brand’s legend in World War II. The Jeep ’41 Concept is an olive-drab 4×4 wearing a relatively modest 2.0-inch Jeep Performance Parts lift, 35-inch off-road tires, half doors and a Warn winch mounted on a steel bumper.
Inside, there’s a custom retro-look shifter and canvas seat upholster with digital camouflage inserts. This package looks eminently produceable should parent company Stellantis give it the green light.
Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk 4xe Concept
Not to be left out of the mix, the4xe concept offers an alternative to buyers who want something a bit more civilized than a Wrangler-based vehicle. This show rig includes bolt-ons like Mopar rock rails, a custom roof rack mounted atop a Rhino-Liner-protected roof and 33-inch BFG mud-terrain tires mounted on 20-inch matte-gray wheels.
Inside, you’ll find saddle-colored seats with unique houndstooth inserts and blue stitching that echoes the painted tow hooks on the outside of the vehicle. This concept also seems doable from a mass-production standpoint, although those massive tires would undoubtedly cut into the 4xe PHEV’s limited all-electric range.
Jeep Rubicon 20th Anniversary Concept
Has it been two decades since Jeep launched its flagship off-road package? Indeed it has, and the automaker is keen to celebrate with the Rubicon 20th Anniversary Concept. In this case, the company is building off the positively steroidalproduction SUV, 6.4-liter V8 engine and all.
This matte granite crystal 4×4 includes a 2.0-inch JPP lift, 17-inch beadlock-capable wheels wrapped in 37-inch off-road tires and a Warn winch, among other off-road bits. A two-mode exhaust, special one-off half doors and Jeep’s great Sky One-Touch power retractable roof round out the package.
Mark Allen, Jeep’s head of design, reminded us media members at a press event that the original Rubicon started as a skunkworks project by a group of Jeep engineers who called themselves “The Lunatic Fringe.” With minimal factory support — going so far as to charge parts on their personal credit cards — this cadre of true believers cobbled together the first Rubicon after hours. When it finally got the corporate green light for production, the company expected to sell a few thousand units a year. Today, Rubicon represents about 30% of the Wrangler’s sales — and the Wrangler sold over 200,000 units in 2021.
It would be quite a shock if Jeep didn’t end up selling some sort of special-edition Rubicon in observance of the model’s 20th anniversary.
Jeep D-Coder Concept by JPP
This Jeep D-Coder Concept is essentially a rolling JPP and Mopar catalog on wheels. Cleverly, all the parts highlighted in maraschino red are from the company’s bolt-on accessories catalog, and they all have QR codes that you can walk up to and scan to learn more about the components and how to purchase them. Simple and smart.
Modifications include everything from 7.0-inch off-road LED lights to a 2.0-inch JPP lift with Fox shocks and a three-piece modular bumper and Warn winch. Aoffers additional safety from rock strikes and an accessory snorkel helps keep the Pentastar 3.6-liter V6 engine breathing clean air, even when wading in deep water.
Jeep Birdcage Concept by JPP
The Jeep Birdcage concept is another concept Wrangler that takes pains to bring the outdoors inside for the ultimate al fresco off-roading experience. Building atop a 4xe PHEV four-door model, this eagle-brown beauty has had its windshield and wipers removed. 17-inch beadlock wheels wrapped in 37-inch BFGoodrich KM3 tires are made possible by a 2.0-inch lift with a retuned suspension that includes Fox shocks designed specifically for this 4xe model.
Additional changes include a one-off rock-slider skid plate and matching bespoke flat-fender flares and wheel liners. The latter are “the first 50-state legal fender flare with OEM DRL” (Daytime Running Lamp), says Jeep.
Inside, there’s a JPP instrument-panel accessory rail that is similar to what Ford pioneered on its Bronco, plus there are unique brown leather seats with blue accent stitching and Armorlight vinyl flooring for easy cleaning after a hard day of wheeling. Plus, a super-convenient Add-A-Trunk concept decklid panel adds the sort of secure storage that can be tough to come by in a Wrangler when the roof is off. And speaking of the roof being off, there’s a Rhino-Rack cargo basket up there than can accommodate up to 600 pounds of off-road gear.
The annual Easter Jeep Safari isn’t actually a Stellantis-run event, it’s a yearly gathering for the fans, by the fans. Run by Moab’s Red Rock 4-Wheelers club, the event has welcomed Jeep’s factory participation for many years now. What started as a single-day trail ride way back in 1967 has morphed into a huge nine-day festival for gearheads. If you love off-roading, it’s an event not to be missed.