For more than a decade, the Jeep® brand has been showcasing conceptual vehicles during the Moab Easter Jeep Safari in Utah. In recent years, the Jeep team has brought a handful of concept vehicles to each of the events to showcase new products, test public feedback on new ideas, and even hint at the future aspects of some of its popular products. This year was no different, with five concepts on display during the annual event.
Among those concepts, was one focused on the upcoming 20th Anniversary of the Wrangler Rubicon trim: Jeep Rubicon 20th Anniversary Concept.
The Wrangler Rubicon took the automotive off-road industry by storm in the summer of 2002. The iconic Rubicon model was equipped with options unheard of at the time and not available on any production Jeep SUV, including Dana 44 axles, front and rear lockers, disconnecting sway bar, rock rails, oversized 31-inch mud-terrain tires, and wheel flares that gave the Wrangler (TJ) a new take on off-roading.
Jeep Rubicon 20th Anniversary Concept was based on a new Unlimited Rubicon 392: the quickest, most powerful Wrangler yet. With some aftermarket goodies and a cool graphics package, the Rubicon 20th Anniversary Concept was easily overlooked at the Easter Jeep Safari. But those with keen eyes noticed that Jeep sighed away from pointing to the concepts new looking grille design.
The new grille design is quite the evolution from the current grille. Utilizing the same LED headlights as the current lineup, the seven-slot grille still continues to have the waterfall kink near the top of it. The round LED headlamps still protrude into the slots, similar to the old CJ models. The overall size is shorter height-wise and now gives the vehicle a wider look. There is a lot more detail to the design as well, with the individual slots getting rings around them and a plastic detailed bezel integrating from the headlamp into the bottom of the grille.
With the current Wrangler (JL) being in its fifth year of production, the vehicle is due for a Mid-Cycle Action (MCA) or update. Several sources on the interwebs have stated that an MCA will be performed on the Wrangler for the 2023 model, with the Gladiator getting similar updates in 2024. Among the projected updates, is the front grille, updated instrument panel (I/P), new wheel designs, updated interior materials, and updated infotainment software (which may or may not include the new 10.1-inch Uconnect 5 system).
This wouldn’t be the first time that Jeep quietly showcased its upcoming grille design on a concept vehicle at the Easter Jeep Safari. The Wrangler (JK) based Jeep Quicksand Concept “sand-rod” featured the JL grille month before its L.A. Auto Show unveiling.
We should start seeing 2023 Wrangler prototypes testing soon. We expect that the updated models should be making an appearance later this year on the auto show circuit and start production sometime around Q4 2022.
So what do you think of the all-new grille design showcased on the Rubicon 20th Anniversary Concept? Let us know in the comments below or in the MoparInsiders.com forums.