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Jeep Treo concept car: Dang, that's light!

The 2004 Jeep Treo concept was "an extrapolation of technology and styling trends into the distant future," assuming that cars in 2022 would be fuel-cell / electric powered.

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The car may not look good on the outside, but the inside takes light and airy to new extremes, running directly counter to later production cars' choices of black or dark gray.

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The Treo has an expansive interior, feeling large and open due to the massive window space and light materials. You can see through the grille, which can be helpful not just in parking (you can see the white line or concrete stop) but also in avoiding accidents with children. The Treo was practical and roomy up front, while the rear had generous space... for one person.

The instrument panel was quite effective; and wheel slides back and forth so it can be positioned directly in front of the driver or, more to the point, can be used in both right and left hand drive nations. The overall feeling of spaciousness was wondrous, and the ride was nicely cushioned. The rear had ample room for one person.

The actual concept car didn't sound electric, based on the noise; but as a design concept, any kind of movement was a bonus.

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The futuristic design is not without its problems; we kept seeing the tail in our peripheral vision and thinking it was another car. Rear visibility is limited, and you can't see the rear quarters at all.

Some of the extra space up front is taken up by a first aid kit and tool kit, shown in the interior photos. Seats are large buckets, not unlike 1970s chairs, very rounded and covered in a rough yellowish fabric.

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The press release (okay, we did some editing)

The Treo is the next-generation, urban-active Jeep - one that will allow it to thrive in a city or campus environment, yet one that will easily take its owner to the trailhead using dual electric motors that power all four wheels. Treo - a name meaning "three" in various languages - comes from the concept's unique 2 + 1 seating.

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The classic Jeep design elements - the seven slot grille, large "eye" headlamps, and the prominent windshield presence - are enhanced by a bumper with rugged, oversized tow hooks, slightly exposed front suspension componentry, and bolt-on fenders.

The Treo's shape culminates in a dramatically tapered tail, augmented by high-mounted spar wings that serve as running, brake, and tail lamps, cooling air intakes, and mounting points for bikes.

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The car had full drive-by-wire, including steering, so it was easy to adapt for either left- or right-hand drive. The steering column, pedals, and instrumentation were all in one module that could be easily slid to either side of the car, mounting to a one-piece structural beam. A second. removable module contained the radio, GPS, HVAC controls, and touch screen.

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The see-through grille slots contributed to the Treo's roomy, airy interior. Future-tech materials provided tactile textures and surfaces. The Treo's rear seat can be folded to store more gear, although the front wheels from the exterior-mounted bikes can be stored in the back without disturbing the rear passanger.

Other concept cars at allparOther Jeep concept car ride-and-drives

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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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