The Chrysler Group’s Jeep brand is spreading its wings to explore a new design philosophy. The exploration of the new design is aimed at making the Jeep brand more iconic than before.
In connection with the said new design philosophy, the automaker will be combining the Trailhawk concept with Jeep’s core off-road features seen on the new body-on-frame four-door Wrangler Unlimited. The Jeep Trailhawk concept is basically a refined all-new on-road open-air concept vehicle that is equipped to provide a unique and fresh expression for Jeep.
Built off the new Wrangler platform, the Trailhawk is a more refined highway cruiser without sacrificing any of Jeep’s legendary off-road capabilities. “The key to the look of the Trailhawk,” said Nick Vardis, the principal exterior designer, “is the vehicle’s distinctive proportions, due in part to its 116-inch wheelbase. The dash-to-front-axle dimension is dramatically long, giving the vehicle a sense of forward motion, while the front and rear overhangs are tight and abbreviated.”
Vardis added that the body side is muscular and broad-shouldered, with the sheet metal pulled into shape, much like a drawn arrow in the bow of a skilled archer. In addition, the pillars are pulled back to create a more dramatic effect. The forward motion of the Jeep Trailhawk concept is further emphasized by the drive of the raising beltline. The said aura is not worthy of being camouflaged by the Jeep Bestop car cover and aficionados say that it has to be flaunted.
Jeep’s fundamental design cues include the broad stance, wheels pushed to the corners and enclosed in hearty flares, and unique trapezoidal shape. “The flares are stretched and pulled taut at one end,” Vardis said. “Each presents a ‘long side’ angled toward the center of the body.”
“The main headlamp units are cropped diagonally across the top,” said Vardis. “They peer out from an angled brow, giving the vehicle its bold, sinister look. In front view, the left and right lamps evoke the hooded eyes of a bird of prey. “Like other concepts, we first viewed the math surface of the grille and headlamps together in the computer” added Vardis. “We immediately noticed the hawkish expression, hence the name ‘Trailhawk.’” The taillamps take off the look of the headlamps, including the striped turn signals, with the surface of the liftgate carved.
The concept’s long hood is fronted by the automaker’s signature seven-slot grille angled rearward to blend the lean-back surface of the forward flares, with the slots filled with a mesh texture. Bracketed between the flares and the grille, the headlamps imitate the lean-back stance. Underneath the apparent flush lenses, HID projector beam quad lamps snuggled into twin “telescopic” polished aluminum barrels light the way forward while LEDs, configured in parallel stripes supply park and turn signals.
“The Jeep Trailhawk interior emphasizes the vehicle’s open air-freedom, inviting elements of the exterior theme into the interior,” said Cliff Wilkins who is responsible for the interior design. “Tough mechanical elements which evoke exterior details are contrasted with sophisticated materials and finishes to give a modern, rugged, purposeful interior while delivering a premium off-road experience.”
“The open console’s unique utility is enhanced by the relocation of the transfer case ‘Terrain Selector’ switch to the center stack of the I/P,” said Wilkins. “Also, there is the use of an electronic gear selector/park brake lever mounted to the right side of the steering column to continue this effect.”
Extra storage is available forward of the drop-open center stack control module, and in the lower door trim panels. “One of the most remarkable things about the interior,” concluded Wilkins, “is that it was designed and surfaced entirely electronically-there were no traditional sketches or 3-D models. Even so, the interior turned out just as we had envisioned.”
Chrysler products get a lot of static but…
Chrysler gets a lot of bad raps, but they do get copied a by the other brands. the Hummer grille sure looks like the Jeep Cherokee. Chevy HHT is the front end of a P.T. Cruiser and the back end of a Jeep Liberty. Show me one mini van that does not have a trace of Chrysler in them? The tail lights of the 2002 Neon at least three other make are duplicates of them. The profile of the Pacifica can be seen on a lot SUV’s.
Maybe Chrysler aped the others? I think not. Check it out.