Moab Comes to Malibu – Jeep Concepts Mingle with 2017 Models at Media Preview

By Steve & Tamami Laser

Sometimes dreams do come true. When we wrote a story earlier this year about Jeep’s latest Moab Safari Concepts, we wished for the chance to check out these cool rides in person.

17jmc2When we received an invitation from Jeep to join a media preview of its new production models for 2017, we were excited to see that some of the Moab concepts would join the fun. Your intrepid editor stands by his favorite (above), the Jeep Trailcat concept, during the press event at Calamigos Ranch in Malibu, Calif.

17jgcsm1Of course, the major attraction was a chance to learn about Jeep’s regular production models for 2017, including the updated Grand Cherokee that gains new Summit (above) and Trailhawk models.

The Summit is loaded with luxury, including a Nappa leather-wrapped dashboard, center console and door panels, Laguna leather seats, a Harmon/Kardon 19-speaker, 825 watt amp audio system with three subwoofers, and new safety features including Lane Departure Warning and Parallel and Perpendicular Park Assist.

We made this video (above) at Calamigos Ranch of the opening presentation to the media by Scott Tallon, Director – Jeep Product Marketing. He introduced the 2017 Jeep lineup to the press, including the new Grand Cherokee Summit and Trailhawk models.

The “Trailhawk” name first appeared on a Grand Cherokee concept vehicle at the 2012 Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah. The idea was to deliver a unique and more rugged appearance, with a host of functional features and an increased level of off-road capability.

17jgcth1The Trailhawk name moved to production with the introduction of the 2014 Jeep Cherokee, as the most capable of four models (Sport, Latitude, Limited and Trailhawk), and continued with the 2015 Renegade. It joins the Grand Cherokee lineup as a sixth model for 2017 (Laredo, Limited, Overland, Summit, SRT and Trailhawk).

Grand Cherokee Trailhawk models are equipped with a host of standard off-road capability features, including Jeep’s Quadra-Drive II 4×4 system with rear Electronic Limited Slip Differential (ELSD), a unique version Quadra-Lift air suspension that offers improved articulation and total suspension travel, as well as Selec-Speed Control with Hill Ascent Control. Skid plates and a Trailhawk-specific anti-glare hood decal are also standard.

17jgc13The Grand Cherokee SRT returns for 2017 with its powerful Hemi V8 engine while gaining new and unique front styling. We snapped this photo during our test drive at Calamigos and the roads beyond in Malibu Canyon. See our separate story, 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Quick Review – Hemi-powered Canyon-carving Family Hauler.

Mark Allen, Director – Jeep Brand Design, gave us a quick overview of the Moab Concepts. We captured his insights in our video (above).

Jeep brought the Hellcat-powered Trailcat, the short wheelbase Shortcut (below, right), the Crew Chief 715 pickup, and an ultra-cool 1960 Jeep FC (Forward Control) 150 to Malibu. Earlier this year, thousands of off-road enthusiasts made the trek to the 50th annual Moab Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah, where these and other Jeep concepts were displayed.

17jmc1The Wrangler-based Shortcut concept invokes the spirit of 1950s Americana with a shortened body. Power is supplied by a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission. The interior features low-back leather bucket seats with plaid inserts, a red ball shifter, and four-point safety cage.

Exterior styling cues include a unique grille, hood, tailgate, front and rear wheel flares and custom chrome front and rear bumpers. A modified exhaust, 17-inch red steel wheels and 35-inch BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM2 tires help the Shortcut maintain an iconic look.

Check out our walkaround video of the magnificent Jeep Trailcat concept in our video above.

Jeep says the Trailcat concept is the ultimate off-road machine, equally at home on Moab’s rugged trails or a high-speed section. The supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI® Hellcat V8 engine mates with a 6-speed manual transmission and features a custom shifter ball with an embossed Hellcat logo.

17jmc4To get the 707-horsepower Hellcat engine into the Trailcat, designers stretched the wheelbase an additional 12 inches while chopping the windshield two inches for a sleeker look. Mopar exterior enhancements include a power-dome vented hood, Satin Black grille, LED headlights and fog lights and rock rails.

The bold off-road look is further aided by steel front and rear bumpers, 17-inch beadlock wheels and 39.5-inch BFGoodrich Krawler T/A KX tires, plus front and rear Dana 60 axles and Fox shocks.

We made this walkaround video of the Jeep Crew Chief 715 concept during its visit to Calamigos Ranch.

Jeep says the Crew Chief 715 concept was built as a salute to legendary Jeep military service vehicles, in particular the Kaiser M715. This open-air Wrangler Unlimited-based concept utilizes modern-day construction with a rear seat and extra doors for additional passenger capacity while staying close to its classic roots.

Exterior features, such as Jeep Performance Parts off-road rock rails, a winch mounted into the front and rear bumpers, Dana 60 front and rear axles and a 4-inch lift kit with Jeep Performance Parts/Fox 2.0 Remote Reservoir shocks, give the concept increased capability. The Crew Chief 715 features a 5-foot cargo bed.

17jmc3Steel front and rear bumpers, 20-inch beadlock wheels and 40-inch NDT tires pay homage to original Jeeps. The Crew Chief 715 has an onboard air system with a hard-mounted quick-disconnect fitting for filling up tires or lending assistance to other vehicles on the trail. Other features include a master cylinder brake upgrade, cold air intake and a modified exhaust.

The Crew Chief 715 is powered by a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine teamed with a 5-speed automatic transmission. The no-nonsense interior features leather bucket seats with canvas inserts, aircraft-inspired control switches and Mopar all-weather mats. A media center sports a centrally located navigational compass.

This 1960 Jeep FC 150 is a blast-from-the-past that’s been modernized underneath.

Billed as a “true American workhorse,” this 1960 Jeep FC 150 concept is “rich with heritage and built to tackle both challenging rocky trails and the harshness of a western cattle ranch.” Originally built from 1956 to 1965, the FC 150 is based on the CJ-5 and offers a clever packaging solution by keeping overall length to a minimum for maneuverability, but maintaining a full-length cargo box for utility.

17jmc6This heritage Jeep vehicle continues to utilize its original steel body that bears battle scars while components underneath have been revamped. The FC 150’s off-road prowess is enhanced with a 2005 Jeep Wrangler chassis modified to accept a Dana 44 front axle, Dana 60 rear axle and 17-inch white steel wheels wrapped in 33-inch BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM2 tires.

Inside, the FC 150 features vinyl seat covers, a custom headliner, CB radio, analog compass and Mopar all-weather mats. The Jeep FC 150 heritage is powered by a 4.0-liter PowerTech inline-6 engine coupled to a 3-speed automatic transmission.

For more information on the lineup of 2017 Jeep vehicles visit

Features and specifications for U.S. market production models are subject to change without notice by the automaker. thanks Jeep and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) US LLC for inviting us to this press event.

Story, photos and videos © 2016