The Jeep Performance Parts (JPP) by Mopar range of factory accessories numbers hundreds of items, and at first glance, it seems like every single one of them has been fitted to this Wrangler Rubicon 4xe ‘Departure’ concept, which Jeep presented at this year’s edition of the Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah, alongside six other custom and concept vehicles.
Wranglers have been the main fodder for accessorised, custom and concept vehicles at the Easter Jeep Safari for 15 years, so it’s impressive that the factory’s designers and engineers always seem to find new ways to individualise the popular 4x4 each year. The Rubicon 4xe Departure was one of four Wrangler-based or Wrangler-influenced concepts shown at Moab this year, and alongside the Rubicon 4xe, it was perhaps the closest to “reality” in that it was made using mostly catalogued JPP items, with custom and bespoke parts at a minimum.
No mention is made of the running gear, but the ‘4xe’ (pronounced ‘Four by E’) in this concept’s title point to it being fitted with Jeep’s standard plug-in hybrid powertrain, which combines an electric motor and 17kwH battery pack with a turbocharged 2.0-litre DOHC four-cylinder petrol engine. Driving all four wheels all the time via a specially configured eight-speed automatic transmission, this combination delivers a claimed 279kW and 637Nm (375hp and 470lb/ft) maximum output.
Riding on 17 x 8.5-inch Vintage Bronze KMC Impact OL wheels and 37-inch BFGoodrich tyres, the Wrangler 4xe Departure concept features a JPP 5cm (2-inch) lift kit, enhanced with Bilstein remote reservoir performance shocks to improve off-road capability during long periods on the trail.
Protecting the concept’s shorter seven-slot front grille (first seen on the 2023 Wrangler Rubicon 20th Anniversary edition) is a custom-designed tubular grille guard, measuring 4 feet by 1 foot, that folds down to create a bench to. Below this is a modified Rubicon bumper with a Warn winch.
The wheelarch flares are custom units, as are the wheel liners, providing additional clearance for larger wheel and tyre combinations, like what’s fitted to this concept. These flat flares have removable DRL covers and Jeep say they’re the first US 50-state legal flares with an OEM DRL that meets US tyre coverage requirements.
Atop the Wrangler 4xe Departure concept’s windshield are three concept 28cm (11-inch) TYRI LED lights with custom brackets that allow the lights to be pivoted out of the way when the windshield is folded. Custom rock lights are also fitted, illuminating the ground at all four corners.
For enhanced body protection and easier access to the elevated cabin, custom rock rails with mounted slider tubes are fitted, while JPP tube doors add to the open-air experience.
One of the key innovations on the Wrangler 4xe Departure concept is a custom “convertible” tube tailgate that offers front- or rear-facing positions for mounting the spare wheel. When the gate is flipped outward, it acts as a bed extender to provide more cargo space. When the gate is turned toward the cabin, the rear overhang is greatly improved for off-roading while keeping the spare wheel safely secured. Regardless of position, this convertible tailgate maintains the factory backup camera and CHMSL (Centre High-Mount Stop Light).
The rear cargo compartment features Jeep Rubicon trail rails with tie downs to store accessories, along with a signature JPP all-weather cargo mat.
To further improve storage capacity, the concept features Molle-style panels to hold trail-rated accessories, like a jack or MaxTrax, that need a mounting point. These are attached to the rear section of the Wrangler’s sport bar and in the cargo space.
Paint finish on the Wrangler 4xe Departure concept is a shade called ‘Dark Harbor,’ with all the JPP bolt-on parts in matte black. This blue exterior is contrasted with Nappa leather trim inside, using a combination of ‘Acorn Squash’ and ‘Carnegie Hall,’ with the slighter darker Carnegie Hall shade on the outer section of the seats, accented with off-white Serafil stitching.
The instrument panel, in Dark Harbor, is accented with Vintage Bronze accents and also features a concept accessory rail to mount phones, GPS devices, GoPros, etc.
Other features on the Wrangler 4xe Departure concept include stainless-steel JPP pedal covers with black rubber pads, JPP grab handles on the doors for easy entry and exit, and a new JPP heavy-duty vinyl flooring system with integrated floor drains for easier interior cleaning.
For an overview of the 2023 Easter Jeep Safari concepts, click HERE.