2017 Moab Easter Jeep Safari Concepts: So Much Want

Jason Siu
by Jason Siu

Each year, Jeep enthusiasts look forward to what the automaker is bringing to the annual Moab Easter Jeep Safari.

And like years past, this year’s concepts offer something for everyone with seven projects making their debut today. They will then all head to the annual Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah, from April 8 to 16, where thousands of die-hard, off-road enthusiasts get to enjoy a week of serious off-roading.

“It’s truly a labor of love for the Jeep team to develop exciting, capable concept vehicles each year for Moab and the Easter Jeep Safari,” said Mike Manley, head of Jeep Brand for FCA Global. “We look forward to the reaction and feedback from enthusiasts and our most loyal customers as these new Jeep concepts are put through their paces on the trails in Moab.”

Here are the seven Easter Jeep concepts that just debuted:

SEE ALSO: 2017 Jeep Compass Review

Jeep Grand One

Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Grand Cherokee is the Jeep Grand One, featuring a modernized spin on a classic 1993 ZJ. The Grand One concept boasts custom 18-inch, lace-style wheels, high-clearance fender flares, trimmed fascias, a subtle wood grain treatment on the body and rides on an extended wheelbase. The custom wheels are paired with 33-inch BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain KM2 tires and the front and rear axles have been equipped with selectable locking differentials and a two-inch suspension lift.

The celebration of the original Grand Cherokee continues on the inside, with ’90s-inspired materials and touches, while a durable bed liner has been applied to replace the carpet. As a nice little touch, there’s an old-school car phone inside as well.

Under the hood is a 5.2-liter V8 engine paired to a four-speed automatic transmission.

Jeep Safari

For those with a family, the Jeep Safari concept speaks to you. The concept is “all about bringing the outdoors in while keeping the doors and roof on, with a special emphasis on giving the backseat passengers a great view.” Based on the Jeep Wrangler, the high-tech concept boasts a translucent hardtop roof panel, two-level aluminum cargo rack with an incorporated drone, a raked windshield, boatsided rocker panels, LED headlights and custom LED tail lights and parking/turn lamps. The unique “windoors,” as Jeep calls them, are made from lightweight aluminum and clear vinyl, hinged so that they open like a cabinet. They also feature zipper openings to let in fresh air.

Once you step inside, you’re greeted by two rear bucket seats that have been rotated outboard to make it easier for the passengers to view out the side of the Jeep Safari. Further adding to the high-tech feel of the interior is an instrument panel-mounted iPad.

Making it off-road ready are a few Jeep Performance Parts, including a front and rear Dana 44 axle equipped with selectable differential lockers and two-inch lift. The overall body length has actually been reduced to make the Safari more nimble on the trails. It rides on custom 18-inch wheels with 35-inch BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain KM2 tires and features custom full-length skid plates, steel front and rear bumpers, an integrated on-board air system, upgraded brakes and a cold air intake that feeds the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine paired to a five-speed automatic transmission.

Jeep Quicksand

For the enthusiasts that prefer sand over rock, there’s the Jeep Quicksand. The American automaker calls it a “loud, fast and fun hot rod,” and we’re inclined to agree. It’s powered by a Mopar 392 Create HEMI engine, boasting eight-stack injection and a six-speed Getrag manual transmission. Adding to the vintage hot rod feel is a “peekaboo” cutout in the hood and gasser-style downturned open headers.

Also based on the Jeep Wrangler, the Quicksand rides on a longer wheelbase but the front and rear body have been trimmed. There’s also a chopped hardtop and windshield, allowing for full enjoyment of the Quicksand’s sound and wind-in-your-face freedom.

The interior has a more minimal feel to it with red accents, a pair of low-back bucket seats, flat aluminum door panels, tilt-out windshield glass and a chrome roll bar. And although the Quicksand is really made for wheeling in sand, Jeep wanted to ensure its off-road credentials aren’t slacking. There’s a staggered tire setup, which has never been used on any Jeep concept, with 32-inch BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain KM2 tires up front and 37-inch sized tires in the rear. The rubber wraps 18-inch vintage “kidney bean” alloy wheels, while coilover shocks handle suspension duties.

There’s also a Warn winch concealed in a front-mounted Moon tank, while a recovery rope is located in the rear, making it just as helpful as it is cool.

Jeep Trailpass

Switching gears to a concept based on the all-new Jeep Compass is the Jeep Trailpass concept. It takes the Compass Trailhawk a step further thanks to a 1.5-inch lift kit and 18-inch wheels sporting a unique pocket accent while riding on Continental TerrainContact all-terrain tires. Jeep Performance Parts contributed to the project with a Jeep roof basket, cross rails and rock rails.

On the outside, the Trailpass received Gloss Black side mirror caps, a custom hood graphic, side stripes, tinted headlights and tail lights as well as the mentioned TMopar/Thule roof basket with roof bag and traction mats. Inside the cabin are Katzkin leather seats and armrest, body-matched bezel accents and Jeep Performance Parts all-weather floor mats.

Powering the Jeep Trailpass is a 2.4-liter Tigershark engine paired to a nine-speed automatic transmission.

Jeep Switchback

For the ultimate in off-road performance, there’s the Jeep Switchback concept featuring an assortment of Mopar and Jeep Performance Parts. Upgrades include a front and rear Dana 44 axle, a four-inch lift with Remote Reservoir Fox shocks, heavy-duty cast differential covers, 10th Anniversary steel front and rear bumpers, Rubicon winch, grille, winch guard and cold air intake. Giving it a throatier tone is an axle-back exhaust while stylish 17-inch concept wheels are paired with 37-inch BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain KM2 tires to help increase the off-road capabilities of the Jeep Switchback.

On the outside, Jeep outfitted the concept with a custom hood and half doors, topped off with a concept “Safari” hard top and roof rack system. There’s also Jeep Performance Parts high-top fender flares, Mopar black fuel door and tail light guards, as well as Jeep Performance Parts swing gate hinge reinforcement and oversized spare tire carrier.

And those that have gone off-roading know how important lighting is. The Switchback won’t let you down with a concept LED off-road windshield light bar, concept LED off-road A-pillar lamps, LED tail lights and Jeep Performance Parts LED headlights and fog lights.

The cabin of the Switchback sports Katzkin leather seats, body-color bezel accents, concept sport bar grab handles, spray-in bed liner on the floor and Mopar all-weather mats. In the cargo area sits a Mopar swing gate storage rack with first aid and roadside safety kits.

The powertrain of choice on the Switchback is a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 mated to a five-speed automatic transmission.

Jeep CJ66

The Jeep CJ66 concept actually made its debut at the 2016 SEMA Show last November. The custom project consists of a Jeep Wrangler TJ frame, a 1966 Jeep Wrangler CJ universal Tuxedo Park body, Wrangler JK elements and a Mopar 345 Crate HEMI Engine Kit (5.7-liter HEMI) powering it all. Sporting 383 horsepower and a six-speed manual transmission, further performance comes from a Mopar cold-air intake and cat-back exhaust while front and rear Mopar Dana 44 Crate axles give the custom Wrangler off-road capabilities.

There’s a unique Copper Canyon paint on the outside, while 35-inch BFGoodrich all-terrain tires with Jeep Performance Parts 17-inch beadlock wheels give it a stunning look. There’s also a two-inch lift kit and a two-way air system that lets off-roaders quickly air up or air down tires to the desired pressure. Further highlighting the Copper Canyon exterior are custom matte black CJ66 graphic stripes on both sides that run along the side of the hood. Matte black can also be seen on the concept hood, bezel and latch, as well as the iconic seven-slot Jeep grille and bezels of the Wrangler JK headlights.

Inside the CJ66 are Dodge Viper seats with concept seat risers, while the cockpit has been surrounded by a custom-built roll cage. Helping offer shade and cover from the elements is a bikini top netting.

Jeep Luminator

Designed to showcase the importance of off-road lighting performance is the Jeep Luminator. To help it live up to its name, there’s an arsenal of advanced lighting features designed to deliver superior visibility on the trail. The products were jointly developed with the Automotive Lighting division of Magneti Marelli and includes magnetic underbody rock lights, powerful seven-inch LED projector bi-function headlights, unique LED tail lights, A-pillar-mounted high-powered LED spot lights, upper bumper LED auxiliary lighting with cornering fog lights controlled by the steering angle and low-profile integrated overhead LED auxiliary spotlights protected behind the windshield.

There’s also LED versions of the standard 100 mm fog light and grille-mounted turn signals unique tot he Wrangler. On the hood, there’s a scanning LED light bar module with active spot and dynamic following technology, helping deliver spot lighting so drivers can avoid wildlife or other hazards while on the trail. Out back there’s a center high-mount spot light that can serve as a scout/trail lamp with four-color LEDs for trail rides.

Other features on the Jeep Luminator include a roof-mounted solar panel, a drone landing pad with lighted drone and removable spare tire storage case and a capacitive touch interactive display on the driver’s side rear windows linked to GPS and internet services.

Discuss this story on our Jeep Forum

Jason Siu
Jason Siu

Jason Siu began his career in automotive journalism in 2003 with Modified Magazine, a property previously held by VerticalScope. As the West Coast Editor, he played a pivotal role while also extending his expertise to Modified Luxury & Exotics and Modified Mustangs. Beyond his editorial work, Jason authored two notable Cartech books. His tenure at AutoGuide.com saw him immersed in the daily news cycle, yet his passion for hands-on evaluation led him to focus on testing and product reviews, offering well-rounded recommendations to AutoGuide readers. Currently, as the Content Director for VerticalScope, Jason spearheads the content strategy for an array of online publications, a role that has him at the helm of ensuring quality and consistency across the board.

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2 of 4 comments
  • Scott Brooks Scott Brooks on Apr 06, 2017

    The Gingerbread Doughboy needs to check his history so next time he doesn't sound like an idiot. There's no such thing as a "1966 Jeep Wrangler CJ." The Wrangler moniker originated with the YJ in 1987. That custom body is modeled after a CJ-6 -- a longer version of the CJ-5, pre-CJ-7. I love it when "experts" show they have no clue.

  • Mike fissel Mike fissel on Apr 06, 2017

    Love waiting for the concept Jeeps every year but this is the most boring lot I've ever seen. So disappointed ! Nothing anywhere near what they had last year and the year before.