• Dec 28, 2006
click image above to see complete high res gallery

As another embargo bites the dust prematurely, this time brought down by Autoweek the February issue of Motor Trend from what we can tell, we are introduced ahead of schedule to the Jeep Trailhawk Concept. The Trailhawk's a beefy Jeep in the Trail Rated tradition, but its extra-long 116-inch wheelbase means it should glide along the highway like a luxury car, coddling its four passengers along the way. Giant carved-out fender flares give shelter to massive 22-inch, five-spoke wheels, which in turn are rotated by a 3.0L BLUETEC diesel developing 215 hp and 376 ft-lbs. of torque. The style is chunky and chiseled, with a pair of angry-eye HID headlights flanking that traditional seven-bar grille. Hmmm... it's kind of hard to remember the Grand Cherokee even exists when staring at the Trailhawk.



We've included the complete release after the jump along with some more of our own insight. Also don't forget to check out our big gallery of 19 high-resolution images that are perfect for your PC's desktop.

[Source: Chrysler]

One interesting design detail of the Trailhawk is its roof system, which is comprised of two glass panels located over the driver and passenger seat, and larger third panel that extends from over the second row of seats down to the tailgate. When each panel is removed, you've basically got the same open-air feeling you'd have in a Wrangler.

The Trailhawk's interior, meanwhile, also straddles the fine line between production feasibility and wishful thinking. Leather that covers the seating surfaces and steering wheel contrast with the machined aluminum look that's supposed to convey toughness and durability. It's all extremely practical too, with cupholders, storage bins and AC outlets aplenty. This is why we're particularly fond of Chrysler concept vehicles, because the Trailhawk was designed with production as a possibility, even it was only in the back of the designer's mind.


PRESS RELEASE:

JEEP® TRAILHAWK CONCEPT
Chrysler Group Design Spreads its Wings for its Rugged, Iconic Jeep Brand

The Jeep® Trailhawk concept merges the spectrum of the Jeep brand by combining the core off-road features of the new body-on-frame four-door Jeep Wrangler Unlimited with the refined sophistication of an all-new on-road open-air concept vehicle, providing a unique and fresh expression for Jeep. Built off the new Wrangler platform, the Jeep 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, 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 said 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. Even the pillars are pulled back. The forward motion of the body is further accented by the drive of the raising beltline.

The stance is broad, and the wheels, pushed to the corners of the vehicle, are enclosed in robust flares dramatically offset from the body. Partly trapezoidal in shape, yet not asymmetrical, these angular, crisply-contoured wheel flares reinterpret one of Jeep's fundamental design cues.
"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 body in turn tapers toward the front in plan view to expose more of the flares and accent the wide stance. The flares enclose large 22-inch, five-spoke wheels, each with a hefty 34-inch overall diameter. The specially-crafted tires are accented by a red stripe, with the red color repeated on the exposed brake calipers.
The lower body, which kicks outward along the bottoms of the doors, intersects the flares crisply. Tucked beneath this horizontal element is a recessed running board, accented by a silver molding. A tall trapezoidal vent, located at the front fender-front door cut line, is home to the circular Trail Rated badge.

The Trailhawk's long hood is fronted by a signature seven-slot Jeep grille angled rearward to match the lean-back surface of the forward flares, with the slots filled with a mesh texture. Bracketed between the grille and the flares, the chamfered headlamps mimic the lean-back stance. Beneath their clear flush lenses, HID projector beam quad lamps nestled into twin "telescopic" polished aluminum barrels light the way forward while LEDs, configured in parallel stripes provide park and turn signals.

"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 mimic the look of the headlamps, including the striped turn signals, with the surface of the liftgate carved away.

The vehicle's upper structure is set onto the lower body, encased by a crisp, chamfered 360-degree molding that runs around the greenhouse, accenting the high, arching beltline. At the base of the windshield is a seven-slot cowl screen that reprises the grille. The body is painted in Argent Pearl high-gloss, with the flares and lower body a slightly darker low-gloss variant.

The side windows retract fully into the body, leaving no B-pillar above the belt, while the diagonal quarter windows are also fully retractable. Gray-tinted twin longitudinal glass panels over the first- and second-row seats and the glass panel over the cargo compartment are removable, as is the swing-up backlight. With all the glass lowered and removed, the Trailhawk offers occupants virtually the same open-air ambience as a typical soft top Jeep. The fixed central spine contains overhead lighting and several integrated storage bins.

"The Jeep Trailhawk interior emphasizes the vehicle's open air-freedom, inviting elements of the exterior theme into the interior,"said Cliff Wilkins, 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 four-passenger interior is dominated by two major design elements -the cross-car instrument panel (I/P) form and a full-length central spine which forms the floor console. The AC outlets, center stack compass/inclinometer, and the dimensional, double-deck "biplane" gauges are housed in circular casings having the appearance of machined aluminum, with detailing matching headlamp surrounds. The two-tone leather-wrapped aluminum steering wheel features vertical individual switches for lights and speed control.
Riding the transmission tunnel, the console's raised walls create a full-length open bin, handy for the storage of sundry items. Within the console's side rails, two front/rear combination armrest/storage bin modules, movable via concealed tracks, can be positioned fore-aft at the occupants' discretion. Using the familiar touchpad technology of laptop computers, a flip-out pad for the remote control fold-away flat screen navigation unit is housed in the forward armrest.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 31 Comments
      Kevin
      • 8 Years Ago
      Flat out JEEP needs to come out with this Jeep!!! With dealers not being able to keep the 4 Door Wranglers in stock. The Trailhawk would do the same thing.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I love the look! Great replacement for current G C.
      Now they just need some stow and go bins for the two main roof panels, get rid of quarter glass, and make the rear glass a large lift gate that can be raised by struts and drop tailgate for loading back, and also pinned for easy removal. Great job!
      • 8 Years Ago
      With a few tweaks it could be a GC/Wrangler combination. It could also be a look at the next GC. Subtract the oversize wheels, chopped roof, and sportscar cues, and you have a very good looking jeep. For production the windshield would be changed, and the driver would sit higher.
      • 8 Years Ago
      That thing is sharp; to me that is what a future SUV should be, aerodynamic and have the utility to get the job done, not carry groceries or baby seats.

      Good Work!
      • 7 Years Ago
      We have a 2006 Wrangler (our 5th Wrangler) to play in the mud with, yes top down in the messy stuff. 15 minutes with the hose to the seats, and everything but the CD player and its as good as new!! This is more in line with the new 4 door Wrangler, Good for off road, but I would not run it through the mud pit at the Jamboree!! The looks are AWSOME,
      • 8 Years Ago
      I'll have to admit, at the first glance this car looks nice and impressive but just in a few seconds looking at it and going into it a bit deeper, I realize this is absolutely not a Jeep and for sure not an off-road vehicle by any means...It looks fun for city and highway, that's about it... I believe the Cherokees , Liberties and now this are all disaster and may cost Chrysler big losses but the new Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon 4 Door with Diff Lockers & Sway bar release & 6 Speed trany etc... is THE best off road vehicle ever build by anyone and that is the only vehicle that may save Chrysler from being pushed away by Toyota or others...
      • 8 Years Ago

      I am an individual who has owned (and still does) his fair share of the Jeep legacy ranging from an 83' Cheerokee Sport to an 03'Liberty Limited. The Trailhawk is the next link in the evolution of Jeep. The only change Jeep should make to it for production is it's name for this seven bar SUV says the same thing all over it. Officially as a production vehicle call it the AMERICAN!
      • 8 Years Ago
      sure, it's fun and all, but isn't it just a cartoon version of the gc? i mean, i can see it in the context of a sport version of the gc, a la range rover, but it's not like it brings anything new to the table. plus, i have to agree that it's over-styled. they're trying so hard to look "american" now that it's turning into caricature.
      Nick
      • 7 Years Ago
      I myself drive a 1998 Cherokee, and I thought it would be my last once they changed the Wrangler and replaced the Cherokee with the Liberty. Although the design is incredibly radical, it has me thinking I may get another jeep after mine is at the point of the doors falling off because of rust. As long as it stays true to what Cherokees are, great road trip vehicles that are fun to drive and something that you can have fun with in the mud, then I would buy one without thinking twice.
      • 8 Years Ago
      How can a jeep based on the 4-door unlimited be described as "thoroughly unsuited for the task", Karesh?
      I can tell you that the last unibody jeep that shared 4-wheel drive underpinnings with the wrangler could flat out crawl. I don't know why Jeep quit making the Cherokee, but with the new unlimited and now this concept, I'm getting very excited, indeed.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Wow - A Grand Cherokee Sport (along the lines of the Range Rover Sport)

      How - um - Original.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Another overwrought disaster from chrysler. What are they doing? Has some nice features like the tail gate but it is hard to look past the chunky no window chrysler look. Take a page from Suzuki or Pontiac and smooth out the cladded look.
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