Driven: Jeep Bob & Wrangler Rubicon 20th Anniversary Concept

The Jeep Bob concept blurs the boundaries between the Jeep Wrangler and the Gladiator, ripping off the popular trend of shortening or “bobbing” the long overhang of a truck bed. Mercedes Lilienthal

For over eight decades, Jeep has been manufacturing remarkably capable 4x4s and creating a well-known brand around them. Because of this, Jeep devotees flock annually to Moab, Utah, during the Easter Jeep Safari to celebrate the world-famous automaker and put their vehicles to the test in terrain.

Easter Jeep Safari, or EJS, was started in 1967 by the Moab Chamber of Commerce and has hosted the Red Rock 4-Wheelers Club since 1983. EJS gathers thousands of off-road jeeps from around the world for a week of fun, sun and red rocks.

Although the brand offers a wide range of petrol and diesel-powered models, PHEVs (plug-in hybrid electric vehicles) are increasingly becoming part of the company’s DNA. “Jeep’s first steps toward electrification have got off to a great start,” said Jim Morrison, Senior Vice President and Head of Jeep Brand North America. He talked specifically about the Wrangler 4xe PHEV. “We started [in Moab]; we had a vision to take Wrangler [4xe] to number one. “Since it’s been on the market all last year, Morrison claims that Wrangler is the number one selling plug-in hybrid in America. (For a look into the future, Jeep also lets us drive the Jeep Magneto 2.0 EV, an all-electric robust off-road vehicle.)

This year, Jeep presented 10 Jeep concepts at EJS (seven new models and three from the SEMA trade fair 2021). Jeep’s strategy is obvious: move on with plug-in hybrid offerings until the unveiling of an all-electric electric car in the near future. Five of the seven new Jeep concept vehicles are electrified 4xe models, suggesting that electrification is Jeep’s future.

But Jeep’s diesel and gasoline-powered power plants have not yet fallen off a metaphorical cliff. On the contrary, they have proven their worth in power, resilience and dynamic driving capabilities, and we expect them to continue to do so when the electric car initiative bears fruit.

The Jeep Bob concept is powered by the same turbocharged 3.0-liter Eco-Diesel V6 engine found in some Jeep and Ram products. Mercedes Lilienthal

The Diesel Doer: Jeep Bob Concept

The Bob concept mixes elements from the ever-popular Jeep Wrangler and the newcomer Gladiator JT truck and boasts a colorful striking presence while sitting on Moab’s famous licking red stone. Bob has a shortened or “bobbed” butt, which gives increased starting angles and inspires its name. Jeep shortened the Gladiator’s 60-inch truck flatbed overhang by 12 inches for more maneuverability. Steaky high-clearance mudguards add to Bob’s thick appearance by allowing larger tires and highlighting its oversized wheelhouse.

Although they make it a bit challenging for short drivers to jump into, Bob’s 40-inch Maxxis Razr clay terrain tires mounted on 27-inch Raceline beadlock wheels in loose dirt and on steep slopes pay off. In addition, custom front and rear steel bumpers protect Bob’s body as it tackles Moab’s red stone stairs and narrow paths where unforeseen dangers regularly appear. They also help complement the car’s stylish retro-inspired paintwork.

Mercedes Lilienthal
Mercedes Lilienthal

In addition to Bob’s body protection and exterior upgrades, its off-road capability is enhanced with Dynatrac Pro-Rock 60 axles, a three-inch lift and custom off-road King suspension components. This combo easily conquers the Jeep concept test track. Bob’s turbocharged 3.0-liter Eco-Diesel V6 engine fits in with a TorqueFlite 8HP75 eight-speed automatic transmission, which shifts smoothly as its low torque easily propels Bob through sloppy ground and stair challenges. Bob’s setup is configured for shifts with low revs per minute and is easily adapted to changing terrain that is similar to what Moab offers. Although not noticeable, the Jeep Bob concept car is also equipped with Mopar cold air intake, which increases the total torque while increasing fuel economy. Its ventilated carbon fiber cover adds a touch of adaptation while allowing additional airflow to Bob’s engine.

Bob’s interior consists of vibrant orange bed-edged floors and lines. Specially decorated chairs also promote a playful atmosphere. All four doors have been removed and have the B-pillars, which creates a huge outdoor experience. In addition, there is a specially built perforated hardtop, while a canvas top extends over it and provides protection from the sun. An orange glow enhances Bob’s sunny disposition as the passengers enjoy a sunny day surrounded by Moab’s breathtaking scenery.

Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 20: a
Rubicon’s 20th anniversary concept is based on the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392. Mercedes Lilienthal

Lunatic Fringe: Dedicated Engineers Manifest Jeep Rubicon into reality

Willys-Overland “jeep” debuted in 1941 after securing the government contract for army vehicles. In 1945, the military rig was transformed into a civilian Jeep, or CJ, and made for the masses. It was the world’s first lightweight 4 × 4 and started a big shift in adventure off the tarmac.

Originally built for the 2003 model, the iconic Wrangler Rubicon now accounts for about 30% of Wrangler’s sales, a feat that was thought almost impossible not so long ago. Morrison explained how this off-road king came to be. “A small group of engineers came out to Moab and went to the Rubicon Trail. When they were trend-spotted, they noticed guys adding cabinets, lower gears, body protection and larger tires, says Morrison. This small but loud group wanted Jeep to build a factory version of what they saw. They “pushed and pushed,” Morrison said, “no one was paying attention.”

The small but vocal group called themselves Lunatic Fringe and assembled the first Rubicon vehicles in their own time with their credit cards to buy parts. Jeep eventually listened but noted that they thought they would sell 3,000 units in the first year, and it would fall sharply from there. “The little guys won,” Morrison said with a grin. “They tormented people enough; they got it in production. Rubicon is now a runner of 30% for us; it has been super popular. ”

Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 20th Anniversary concept a preview of things to come

2022 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 20th The anniversary concept draws attention to two decades of off-road fun while turning the hat for Wrangler’s ability and enthusiast. While the actual anniversary occurs in 2023, Morrison told us that this concept “will have an impact [2023 Rubicon models] somehow.”

Together with a vibrant 392-horsepower 6.4-liter V8 engine, the same as used in the Rubicon 392, the Rubicon 20th Anniversary concept includes 37-inch BFGoodrich KM3 clay terrain tires wrapped around 17-inch Mopar tires with lids. On the 20thth Anniversary Rubicon also includes a Jeep Performance Parts (JPP) two-inch lifting kit and cutting controls, an ideal combination when crawling up steep slopes at low distances. The chassis’ anti-slip protection keeps important components safe, while a steel and bullbar front bumper features a WARN winch, bronze-accented restoration points and factory fog lights.

The 20th anniversary concept demonstrates important qualifications for both road and terrain skills. The 392 engine carries itself from 0 to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds, which is not Wrangler-like – 40% faster than its V6-powered Wrangler sibling. Its active dual-mode performance exhaust system and quad tailpipes growl loudly at full throttle but can be switched between loud party noises and a quieter, more mature performance when needed.

Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 20: a
Mercedes Lilienthal
Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 20: a
Mercedes Lilienthal

Driving the Wrangler Rubicon 392 20th Anniversary Concept

In true Wrangler Rubicon 392 fashion, the 20thth The anniversary concept is exciting to drive. Competent and concise, it crawls up and over everything without even jerking. Although we did not drive the concept on the highway, we reminded ourselves of the gas on a Rubicon 392 trunk and launched it from a deadlock to full-bore action.

Rubicon’s 20th anniversary concept has a matt granite crystal exterior vinyl foil, which protects it from chalk trimming. Like Bob’s outdoor experience, on the 20thth The anniversary concept contains a similar philosophy by using different components: a Sky One-Touch Power Top, removable side panels and custom-made half doors. In addition, a performance hood with a center bucket allows additional airflow to the engine while a built-in air compressor inflates its off-road shoes after a day of trail fun at low tire pressure.

Finally, Jeep is celebrating two decades of Rubicon success by highlighting its exterior with a gold badge and towbars, a 20th anniversary hood sticker and an American flag decal. Keeps your fingers crossed for a 2023 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 20th anniversary supplement from the factory that boasts the 392 horsepower 6.4-liter V8 engine.

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