2016 Jeep Comanche Concept
From crossover to pickup: This Renegade goes Comanche
Jeep’s concept vehicles built for the 2016 Easter Jeep Safari keep coming. The automaker built a total of seven concepts, ranging from mild to wild. Certainly on the wilder side is this – the Comanche Concept. Built off the Jeep Renegade, the Jeep and Mopar team worked together to build this one-off rig with parts from Jeep Performance Parts, Mopar, and custom-fabbed pieces.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, the Easter Jeep Safari is an annual event held in Moab, Utah by Jeep fans. The club event has seen Jeep bring one-off concepts to the desert trails since 2002. Though Jeep’s involvement is somewhat recent, 2016 marks the 50th anniversary for the Easter Jeep Safari, as well as Jeep’s 75th anniversary. Needless to say, it’s a special year.
The Comanche Concept, along with the other six concept vehicles, will attack Moab’s tough trails during the EJS held March 19 through 27. Afterwards, the vehicles will be used for promotional and other Jeep events over the entire country.
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It’s almost hard to recognize, but this truck-let started lift as a conventional Jeep Renegade. Save for the hood, front fenders, and grille, there’s little that remains stock. The team of Jeep engineers, designers, and fabricators went to work transforming the Renegade crossover into a military-esque truck with a canvas top.
Up front, the Renegade’s front fascia was replaced with a concept version that lacks fog lights, but allows for the fitment of a winch. The winch is completely hidden except for the fairlead, cable, and hook. The Renegade Trailhawk’s red tow hooks are still in place, making a perfect spot to store the winch hook. The grille and hood are stock, but the hood features a matt black graphic with “Comanche” spelled out in the body color. Speaking of body color, Jeep calls this tan hue “Beige Against the Machine,” a comical reference to the 1990s rap metal band.
The Renegade’s roof and body past the B-pillar were scrapped, making room for the cargo bed and canvas top. The top itself is removable and mates to the windshield with a small overlap. The door windows and window frame were eliminated to further the military-style image. Below the doors are steel rock sliders that protect against off-road damage.
The five-foot cargo bed is a custom piece built specially for this project. It features six tie-down brackets for securing cargo while integrated side steps allow for easy access. Engineers had to stretch the Renegade’s wheelbase six inches in order to accommodate the bed. The Renegade’s taillights are about the only production piece found back here. Just below the bed, however, is a steel rear bumper borrowed from a Wrangler. The Comanche concept rides on 32-inch BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tires mounted on blacked-out, 16-wheels from a Wrangler.
Jeep didn’t release an image of the interior, but we can see through the window that the Renegade’s seats were ditched in favor of low-back bucket seats with a canvas covering. The dashboard and center console are likely still in place, not receiving the same level of drastic changes as the exterior. Still, the interior should be an inviting place to ride. It surely gets even better when the canvas top comes off, too.
Drivetrain & Suspension
Under the hood of this Renegade is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel known as the MultiJet2. Only currently available outside the U.S., the engine makes a respectable 168 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. It comes mated to Chrysler’s nine-speed automatic transmission. The 4WD system is the Renegade’s own Active Drive Low, which includes low range gears and a locking rear differential. Jeep also gave the Comanche Concept a two-inch suspension lift to help clear the 32-inch-tall tires while increasing overall ground clearance. It might not be the most rugged of the 2016 Concepts, but it’s more capable than a standard Renegade.
The Comanche Concept is certainly something to talk about. Its one-off cargo bed and canvas top definitely make Jeep folks give the cute ‘ute a second look. Sadly, Jeep will likely never put anything like this into production. Sure, Jeep leadership says the company is working on a pickup, but that’s going to be based on the Wrangler.
What Jeep does say about the Comanche Concept is that it serves as a nod to Jeep pickups of the past, especially the Comanche, with cues from both military and civilian Jeeps. It’s definitely easy to see that given the Comanche Concept’s shape, coloring, beefy tires, and bed. Moab had better watch out; this Renegade is back from boot camp.