But for our roving editor Brandon Turkus, this year was a chance to cruise in some concept Jeeps that most people will never see, let alone drive. As Turkus aptly points out from the start, Woodward isn't exactly Moab. But wheeling the off-roaders is nevertheless an eye-opening experience; they may not be upcoming products, but these Jeeps tease out a lot we'd like to see from the brand in the future.
You can find these mini Short Cut reviews above, and below, but here's a recap of what Turkus got to drive.
Jeep Wrangler Staff Car Concept
This one's a proper salute to the Jeep military service vehicles of yore. It's an open-air concept based on the four-door Wrangler, with tons of heritage design cues.
It looks old, but we promise, it's totally new. It's got basic steel wheels, a stretched canvas roof, bench seats, a painted steel floor, a built-in cooler that accommodates up to 85 cans, and is painted in an iconic Sandstorm color.
When the going gets tough, the Staff Car can handle it with aplomb, thanks to the Jeep Performance Parts two-inch lift kit, Fox shocks, Dana 44 axles, and the Wrangler's 3.6-liter V6.
Jeep Chief Concept
This Wrangler-based concept is an excellent tribute to the classic, fullsize Jeep Cherokee from the 1970s. It's painted in a vintage Ocean Blue color, with a white, "French Bread" roof. There's also a custom razor grille (something made famous on the original Wagoneer), removable sides, chrome bumpers, and classic-looking, 17-inch wheels.
Inside, there's surfer-inspired pink, blue, and white cloth mixed with leather trim, with more fun details like a Rosewood front passenger grab handle and tiki-look shift handle. Of course, this thing looks to be truly capable off-road, too, with a two-inch lift kit, Fox shocks, Dana 44 axles at the front and rear, and a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 underhood.
Jeep Wrangler Africa
A take on the Wrangler Unlimited, painted in Desert Tan, and powered by a 2.8-liter diesel engine. It looks killer, with 17-inch, body-colored steel wheels wrapped in 35-inch BF Goodrich Mud Terrain tires. There's a two-inch lift kit, Dana 44 axles, and Fox shocks. But this one also adds things like a front winch, power step rock rails, power dome vented hood and an extended rear body and high-top roof.