Over the years I have owned 7 Jeeps ranging from 2 Wranglers, 4 Cherokees, and 1 Grand Cherokee as well as wrenching on other people’s Jeeps. This red 1998 Cherokee Classic is my latest upgraded Jeep which I recently sold on eBay. So, it is safe to say that I know these vehicles inside and out. I know what models to purchase as well as what models to avoid. I also admit that I got to a point where I lost interest in America’s fun little four-wheeler because I felt that Jeep was loosing everything that made it famous. What I mean by that is that Jeeps (military terminology for General Purpose or GP) were first created for U.S. Military usage and were designed to be tough. Upon the conclusion of World War II the Jeep brand began to make it’s mark as a civilian vehicle and the Jeep brand grew to become one of America’s favorite off road vehicles. Over time though, Jeep lost it’s focus on making dependable off-roaders in order to compete in the ever growing SUV marketplace. While I could go on and on about why I lost my interest in Jeeps, let me get back on point and that point is……I just lost interest in Jeeps (even though my red one was pretty sweet!) until a month ago……..
What happened to change my mind you ask?
Well, Jeep revealed the 4Speed lightweight concept at the 2018 Easter Jeep Safari and my jaw immediately dropped. All I could think of was oh man oh man I got to get one of these like right now!
So, here are some of the reasons why I think this concept should become a reality. First of all, the windshield is raked 7 degrees which lowers the roof-line by 2 inches. It also gives this Jeep an aggressive side profile as well as improved aerodynamics. Next the roll cage was inspired by the technology used in side by side UTVs, basically, the cages connecting points are located in better locations than what is currently utilized. Now, I like big tires and this Jeep comes with 35 inch tires and (even better) 18 inch monoblock (cast from one block of material) light weight wheels. The rear tub is carbon fiber and also has a perforated aluminum floor. This serves not only to lighten the weight but also the perforated flooring permits for easy clean up and that is something any Jeep fan appreciates.
Yes, engines continue to get smaller but the power they produce continues to grow and this Jeep utilizes a mild hybrid BSG system on a 2 Liter four cylinder (122 cubic inches) that is turbo charged. All of that is mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission. While I can appreciate the new engine and transmission technologies, it is great to see that Jeep still uses not one but two DANA 44 axles to get the torque to the ground. All of these working parts can do it with ease since this Jeep also lost 950 pounds as compared to a 2 door Wrangler. Something else that I thought was a welcomed change is that the hood and fender flares are also made of carbon fiber but I do not know how carbon fiber will handle the abuse of serious off-roading. I guess time will tell.
The body on this Jeep concept was also shortened by 2 inches which is good but, that two inch loss does take away from the size of the rear area. Then again, who needs room in the back as this Jeep is meant for fun not practicality. Another item that I preferred was that the seats are covered in fabric utilized in snow boarding jackets. What does that mean? It simply means that these seats can take a beating.
What all of this comes down to is that I am glad to see that Jeep is going back to what made them famous and I hope that this concept becomes a reality, because if it does I will be going to my local Jeep dealer to get a couple of them!
Let’s keep our fingers crossed to see what happens with this AWESOME Jeep!
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