Every so often, I like to just peruse photos of old concepts to see which cars, if any, they ultimately became. Some of them may have simply telegraphed styling cues that were later featured on full-production cars or trucks. Since Thanksgiving is a time spent with family, I thought it might be fun to talk about family resemblances in the automotive world. With yesterday's release of the Jeep Trailhawk concept sketch (top right), the first thing that popped into my mind was that the front end appeared highly reminiscent of the 1999 Jeep Commander concept (bottom right).
For those of you who don't remember, the Commander concept (no relation to the production SUV at dealers today) was a good-looking fuel cell concept Jeep trotted out around the same time it released the WJ series Grand Cherokee. I pulled up the photos of the Commander to compare to the Trailhawk sketch, and realized that was a bit off-base. While they're both silver Jeep concepts, the Trailhawk is chunkier-looking than Commander, featuring a well-defined protruding front bumper. I think the fact that both concepts feature multi-element headlamp assemblies is what got me going. I was going to forgo doing this post when I realized that the Commander clearly telegraphed a Jeep that was still six years away: the current WK series Grand Cherokee.

Let's pick up the discussion after the jump.

Looking at the Commander concept today, it's obvious that it was a very early preview of the next-generation Grand Cherokee. This, at the time that the last-generation (WJ) vehicle was just coming to market. Just goes to show you how far in advance development of new products begins. Any way you cut it, it's fun to look at with the full benefit of hindsight. The side vents would've looked good on the Grand Cherokee, and the trick fuel cell powertrain is as relevant as ever today.

Compare the Commander concept to the current Grand Cherokee yourselves below.

Jeep Commander Concept (1999) vs. Jeep WK Grand Cherokee (2005 - present)





The comparison that spawned this topic - Trailhawk vs. Commander Concept:


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