Mopar is previewing some of its Mopar-modified cars, to be shown in November at the SEMA show for aftermarket auto parts makers. One of the vehicles shown early is this modified version of the 2014 Jeep Cherokee, which just went on sale last week.
Mark Trostle, head of SRT, Viper, Mopar, and motorsports design, pointed out the tires first — a slightly larger tire size, using an aggressive mud-tread design, which he said gave the Cherokee a different character (visually). The special Cherokee has the usual Katzkin leather and accents inside, with an unusual visual touch outside: topographical maps on the roof and hood (he said the maps showed Auburn Hills, home town of Chrysler’s headquarters).
The roof rack was developed as a concept, to fit a modern shape but still fully functional. As with many conceptual designs at SEMA, if it succeeds, it could point the way to production pieces.
The Mopar-modified Jeep Cherokee uses the Trailhawk 4x4 package powered by a 3.2-liter V-6 engine as a starting point. Its exterior is colored in Auburn Pearl paint, with low-gloss black and Granite Crystal with low-gloss clear touches.
The inside has Katzkin Amaretto leather seats, leather wrapping on the center console, storage door and armrest, and matching color stitching on the seats. The top and bottom of the steering wheel are leather, and painted trim provides highlights throughout the inside.
Other Mopar goodies include bright door-sill guards with the Jeep Cherokee logo, a wireless smartphone charger, and WiFi. The Jeep Cargo Management Receiver System (JCMRS), which uses a running bar along the left interior to which items may be mounted, is included; it should be ready for purchase in November. The Mopar roadside emergency kit, Trailhawk bag, and first-aid kit are mounted to the JCMRS. A Mopar cold-air intake and a cat-back exhaust boost power somewhat.
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Concept cars are often made so a car’s feel can be evaluated, problems can be foreseen, and reactions of the public can be judged. Some concepts test specific ideas, colors, controls, or materials — either subtle or out of proportion, to hide what’s being tested. Some are created to help designers think “out of the box.” The Challenger, Prowler, PT Cruiser, and Viper were all tested as production-based concepts dressed up to hide the production intent.
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