As spring kicks in each year, Jeep and Mopar are gearing up for the annual Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah, by creating some of the greatest off-roaders which, unfortunately, we can’t buy.
Last year, for instance, the Chrysler -owned brands have come up with the extreme Wrangler Sand Trooper II perched on 40-inch bead-lock wheels, the lightweight Wrangler Stitch , and the production-friendly Grand Cherokee Trailhawk II Concept .
For 2014, Jeep and Mopar are storming Utah highly-anticipated event with another half-dozen of unique climbing-capable machines. Among them, visitors will be able to get up close and personal with a more extreme take on the redesigned 2014 Jeep Cherokee.
Dubbed Cherokee Dakar, the crossover concept pays tribute to the grueling African (err, South American) safari rally with its off-road-spec suspension, massive sand-digging tires and flared wheel arches. From the teaser, it appears that the dark-grey body is complemented by a red window trim, while the two-tone rims benefit from the same contrasting hues. Additionally, the concept will get to keep the Cherokee’s standard red tow hooks.
There are no clues as to what might be hiding under the hood, but we’re not hoping for more than a 3.2-liter Pentastar V-6. Not that we wouldn’t love to see a Hemi V-8 in there, but the Cherokee’s bay is not roomy enough for a 6.4-liter mill
Updated 04/10/2014: Jeep unveiled the official details on the new Cherokee Dakar concept set to be unveiled on April 12 at the Jeep Easter Safari.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Jeep Cherokee Dakar.
2014 Jeep Cherokee Dakar in detail
Dubbed as the most extreme Jeep Cherokee ever, the Cherokee Dakar is wrapped in a Silver Steel Satin Gloss exterior with Flame Red accents on the part black hood and seven-slat front grille. The flared wheel are arches are large enough to house 33-inch BF Goodrich Mud Terrain tires, which are backed by a Jeep Performance Parts lift kit and an off-road suspension.
Other crawl-enhancing features include rocks rails and skid plates for the oil pan, the front suspension and the two-piece fuel tank. With a crawl ratio of 48:1, the Cherokee Dakar concept can take on approach and departure angles of 32 and 39 degrees, respectively.
The cabin received black Katzkin leather seats with Gunmetal inserts and Header Red stitching, while the console gained Flame Red inlays. Mopar accessories fitted inside include all-weather floor mats, bright Cherokee-branded door-sill guards, a cargo tray and a newly-designed Moab off-road bag.
Revived after a nearly 13-year hiatus, the Cherokee nameplate came back in 2013 to replace the aging Liberty . The crossover’s first appearance was rather shocking, as the 2014 Cherokee has little in common with the familiar Jeep design save for the seven-slot grille.
The first Jeep vehicle to be built on Chrysler’s new Compact US Wide platform of Fiat origins, the 2014 Cherokee was launched with only two engine choices. There’s the familiar 2.4-liter Tigershark generating 184 hp and 171 pound-feet of torque, and the optional 3.2-liter Pentastar V-6 that’s rated at 271 ho and 239 lb-ft of torque.
Both units are connected to a brand new nine-speed automatic transmission designed by ZF and can be had with either front-wheel or four-wheel-drive. The 2014 Cherokee is sold in four trim levels, including an off-road capable Trailhawk model.
Gallery Jeep Cherokee
The Jeep Cherokee Dakar is the most extreme Cherokee ever. The Silver Steel Satin Gloss exterior skin is strikingly set off with prototype Flame Red graphics that encircle the window and wrap around the black hood graphic. The Trailhawk 17-inch polished Satin clear coat wheels feature two large Flame Red pockets, with the Cherokee nameplate also changed to a Flame Red hue.
Front-end features are enhanced by two prototype Flame Red inserts on the traditional Jeep seven-slot grille, as well as through a prototype lower fascia trim. Cherokee Dakar is fortified for off-road action, equipped with Jeep Performance Parts rock rails, an oil pan skid plate, front suspension skid plate, two-piece fuel tank and underbody skid plates.
Cherokee Dakar’s wheel openings have been modified in order to accommodate larger 33-inch BFGoodrich Mud Terrain tires. The rough-and-ready look rises with a prototype Jeep Performance Parts lift kit, and additional suspension modifications help make it the most extreme Cherokee yet. Prototype wider fender flares with riveted bolts give a tougher appearance and also accommodate the wider track and larger tires. A prototype rear fascia allows for an even more aggressive departure angle and enhances the higher ride height. Cherokee Dakar’s crawl ratio is 48:1, and estimated approach and departure angles are 32 and 39 degrees, respectively.
Inside, prototype Katzkin leather black seats with “Machined Gunmetal” inserts are heightened with Header Red stitching, which is also found on the steering wheel, armrest and shift boot. A Flame Red insert accents the entertainment center. Accessories showcased from the Mopar catalog include all-weather floor mats, bright door-sill guards with the Cherokee logo, a cargo tray for storage, and the JCMS with the Trailhawk bag, as well as the prototype Moab off-road bag.