The presentation of concept vehicles at the Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah, has become a highlight of the annual event, showcasing what’s available - and what’s coming - from the Jeep Performance Parts and Mopar accessories range, as well as ideas driven purely by imagination. This year’s 57th edition of the Safari saw Jeep unveil seven all-new creations.
First held in 1967, the Easter Jeep Safari started as an initiative of the Moab Chamber of Commerce to formalise Jeep gatherings that were already taking place on the region’s rock trails and bring more enthusiasts and tourists to the region. Since 1982, the event has been hosted by Moab’s ‘Red Rock 4-Wheelers’ 4WD club, when more trails were opened up to meet demand, and things like regulations and permits were introduced. Today, the Easter Jeep Safari attracts more than 2,000 participating vehicles annually and ten times that number of enthusiasts.
From a single hosted trail in ’67, 125 options are now available, with names like ‘Hell’s Revenge,’ ‘Fins and Things,’ ‘Top of the World,’ ‘Chicken Corners’ and ‘Gemini Bridges’. The Red Rock 4-Wheelers still co-ordinate these trail rides, mostly day-long trips with differing challenge and complexity levels.
What was a one-day event now takes place over nine days and culminates with “Big Saturday” on Easter Saturday, where all the participating vehicles line up along Moab’s main street before departing for their various journeys.
Jeep got involved in the Easter Jeep Safari early on, and since 2008, they’ve been using the annual gathering to present concept vehicles to the Jeep faithful, who come to Moab from all over the US and even overseas.
The Magnificent Seven
Jeep described their latest crop of offerings as “eye-catching, efficient and mission-capable”. On the latter point, it’s worth noting that all seven concepts are running, driving vehicles, which Jeep used on various trails around Moab up to and during this year’s Easter Jeep Safari, which was held from 1 to 9 April.
While Jeep could use events like SEMA or the North American International Auto Show in Detroit to showcase these concepts to greater numbers of people, Moab is seen as the more appropriate place to not only show these vehicles, but show their capabilities in terrain and conditions they were designed for to an audience that will understand and appreciate them.
“Every year, more than 20,000 Jeep enthusiasts descend on Moab, Utah, for Easter Jeep Safari to drive in the most extreme off-road conditions, where our engineers continue to push the capability of our Jeep vehicles to next levels,” said Jim Morrison, senior vice president and head of Jeep brand North America.
“It’s the perfect place to showcase our 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.”
What was noteworthy in this year’s lineup was the growth of electric drivetrains. Back in 2021, only one concept featured electric power. This year, four of the seven concepts were either hybrid or fully electric. Leading the way on the latter was the Magneto 3.0, which as the name suggests, is now in its third generation.
According to Jeep, enthusiast feedback resulted in the Magneto making its third appearance in as many years, with upgrades to the BEV drivetrain and changes to the body, styling and cosmetics for 2023’s ‘3.0’ version.
Beyond the fully-electric Magneto 3.0, three of this year’s concepts featured the 4xe plug-in hybrid power system, demonstrating Jeep’s commitment to ‘Zero Emission Freedom’, a global programme announced in 2021 that will see every Jeep model available with an electric variant by 2025. This is part of a broader plan under the ‘Dare Forward 2030’ initiative to have 50 per cent of Jeep sales in the US market and 100 per cent of European sales being BEV by 2030.
This transition is already underway, with the all-new Avenger EV SUV announced last year going on sale in Europe earlier this year. The Wrangler-inspired Recon EV 4x4 is due to go to market in 2024 following its announcement last September. A hybrid version of the Wrangler is already in the market, with a Wagoneer 4xe to follow in 2024. A fully-electric Wrangler and Wagoneer are also due for release in 2024.
Prototype and Production Parts
While most of the concept Jeeps are one-offs that’ll never reach the market, the components from Jeep Performance Parts (JPP) by Mopar shown on this year’s set of vehicles can be had right now. Some prototype JPP items were in use, too, as Jeep often uses public response at Moab to influence which test products go through to production.
“Our annual trip to Moab allows us to showcase the latest selection of custom and authentic, quality-tested Jeep Performance Parts from Mopar,” said Mark Bosanac, North America senior vice president, Mopar service, parts and customer care.
“Unlike any other aftermarket offerings, our growing portfolio of factory-tested and factory-backed parts and accessories are specifically designed and engineered to face the toughest trails in the world.”
This year’s seven Easter Jeep Safari concepts include:
- Wrangler Magneto 3.0
- Scrambler 392
- 1978 Cherokee 4xe
- Wrangler Rubicon 4xe
- Grand Wagoneer Overland
- Wrangler Rubicon 4xe Departure
- Gladiator Rubicon Sideburn
For more details on each concept, refer to the separate articles online.
Following their debut at the Easter Jeep Safari, some of these concepts will feature at other automotive and overlanding events attended by Stellantis North America over the course of 2023. A few usually make an appearance at the SEMA auto aftermarket industry trade show in November, too.