This isn’t an early April Fool’s gag. Jeep just unveiled a mashup of a 1978 Cherokee with a 2022 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4xe, a higher-end hybrid SUV, to create a Frankenstein vehicle that is heavy both on delicious retro looks and modern performance metrics. The 1978 Jeep Cherokee 4xe Concept vehicle is an old-school two-door affair with a modern Starburst yellow paint job that could actually be mistaken for a lovingly cared-for, decades-old vehicle.
Underneath the hood is where all of the modern technology resides. For the uninitiated, 4xe vehicles are 4x4 plug-in hybrid electric SUVs, so there are “two electric motors, a high-voltage battery pack and a high-tech 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 engine,” as Jeep describes it. An eight-speed automatic transmission and custom 37-inch tires wrapped around 17-inch “slotted mag” style wheels round out the design. The interior is also a custom job, with low-back bucket seats trimmed in leather, a four-point safety cage instead of a rear bench seat and a rear cargo space complete with a full-size spare tire.
This is just one of many concept vehicles Jeep unveiled as part of its annual Easter Jeep Safari event held in Moab, UT, where the company likes to show off some wild prototypes. The other highlight is the fully-electric Magneto 3.0 Wrangler prototype, based on the two-door 2020 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon. It features a custom-built electric motor that operates up to 6,000 rpm connected to a six-speed manual transmission. That’s right, this EV is a stick shift.
Jeep has been messing with this Magneto EV concept for a few years, but this year’s version more than doubles the peak amps available in the propulsion system and offers a 20 percent increase in range. The motor delivers up to 900 pounds of torque and 650 horsepower.
These are concept/prototype vehicles, so you can’t walk into a local showroom and try one out, though you could see them in person if you are in Utah from April 1st to April 9th. Jeep has been making massive inroads lately in the hybrid and EV space, making good so far on its promise to release hybrid versions of each of its primary models by 2025.