2022 EJS Jeep Concept Drive
(Photo/Jeep)

What’s It Like Behind the Wheel of Jeep’s EJS Concepts? We Have the Answers

We just went off-roading in Jeep’s latest concept vehicles in Moab. Pinch us, as it feels like a dream to actually get behind the wheel of such iconic next-generation hand-built custom vehicles at the world’s most well-known Jeep gathering, Easter Jeep Safari.

While Jeep didn’t go as wild with its Easter Jeep Safari (EJS) concepts as it has in years past, it did focus on products and brand directions that are actually coming to market very soon. You will see an all-electric Jeep Wrangler at a dealership in the next few years, you’ll see a 20th-anniversary special-edition Wrangler next year, and you’ll see some really trick new parts available through Jeep Performance Parts (JPP) later this year.

“Easter Jeep Safari is the perfect opportunity for the Jeep brand to push the limits of four-wheel-drive development and, most importantly, to stay connected with our customers,” said Jim Morrison, Senior Vice President and Head of Jeep Brand North America.

Mark Allen, Jeep’s head of design, told us that not only are the EJS Safari Concepts great marketing tools, but also that bringing them to Moab each year allows him to teach his designers how to drive off-road properly.

This allows him to trend spot and directly hear from Jeep consumers — something he calls “live research” — and get honest reactions to concept parts and designs that might make it into future products.

2022 EJS Jeep Concepts Driven

Jeep showed off seven all-new concept builds at EJS this year, and let us climb behind the wheel of each of them on trail in Moab. Sure the terrain was pretty mild, but we assure you that every one of these concept vehicles is fully capable off road and was driven without issue by a wide range of journalists.

Huge shoutout to Jeep for continuing to keep its eyes and ears on its enthusiast customers and bringing to market the products we want.

Here are our hands-on thoughts about the 2022 EJS Jeep concept vehicles after a great experience in Moab driving every one of them.

Most Anticipated: Magneto 2 Concept

2022 EJS Jeep Concept Drive
(Photo/Bryon Dorr)
  • Powertrain: Axial Flux electric motor with 70 kW/h battery pack (4 lithium-ion packs)
  • Performance: 625 hp, 850 lb.-ft. of torque, 0-60 in 2 seconds
  • Lift/wheels/tires: 3-in. lift, 20-in. wheels, 40-in. tires
  • Key features: 6-speed manual modified Hellcat T6060 Tranzilla transmission, 12-in. extended wheelbase to 2-door Wrangler, Dynatrac 60 up front and 80 in rear, carbon fenders/hood/B-pillar

The all-electric Magneto 2 was far and away the most sought-after to drive and the concept that Jeep was most proud of. It is an open engineering testbed that shows us that Jeep can make a battery-electric vehicle (BEV) that is true to the off-road-focused DNA of the brand.

Climbing into this machine takes effort, as it’s rolling on 40-inch tires. There is plenty of room to easily get in though, as the wheelbase has been stretched 12 inches, giving it LJ Wrangler Unlimited proportions.

Behind the wheel, it just feels special, especially so because it has a third pedal and a six-speed shifter. It’s near-silent, besides some electrical noises from under the hood. And once it clicked into gear and rolling, all you really hear is the big tires rolling across the terrain.

2022 EJS Jeep Concept Drive
(Photo/Bryon Dorr)

The manual transmission works just like any other, but isn’t needed to get going and will never stall the vehicle. Last year, Magneto had 285 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque, and this year, Magneto 2 has 625 horsepower and 850 pound-feet of torque. With these massive power upgrades this year, it equates to the need for a built Tranzilla transmission and burly built axles at each end.

With that power and equipment to put it down, Magneto 2 is said to be able to do 0-60 mph in just 2 seconds. Sadly, Jeep did not let us test this claim. We can say that power was never lacking when we crawled this Jeep over ledges or gave it a bit of skinny pedal on the flats.

While you get three pedals in this Jeep, it offers one-pedal drive-through regenerative braking. Select an appropriate gear for the terrain and speed you want to go, and the accelerator pedal does the rest.

Magneto 2 feels super open to the world and ready for adventure. The blue-tinted sky panel in the custom bikini top projects a blue hue into the cabin when the sun is overhead, letting you know you’re in no ordinary Jeep.

Instead of a winch, there are low-profile lightweight bumpers at both ends of the vehicle, for a trim look and increased approach and departure angles. Aggressively styled carbon fender flares complement the carbon B-pillar, and hood. The hood also has a cool blue-tinted transparent window that gives you a view of the electric power unit underneath.

2022 EJS Jeep Concept Drive
(Photo/Bryon Dorr)

The real question is if the all-electric Jeep, which is sure to hit the market in the next few years, will be based on the tried-and-true super-off-road-capable Wrangler or a custom EV chassis that allows for better packaging and utilizes Wrangler off-road componentry.

After talking to a wide range of people at Jeep, my best guess is that they will have the next-generation Wrangler accommodate a wide range of ICE and EV powertrains.

Surprise Favorite: Bob Concept

2022 EJS Jeep Concept Drive
(Photo/Bryon Dorr)
  • Powertrain: 3.0L Eco-Diesel V-6
  • Lift/wheels/tires: 3-in. lift, 20-in. beadlock wheels, 40-in. tires
  • Key features: Bobbed 12 in., doors and B-pillars removed, custom hardtop/soft-top combo, carbon hood and fenders, AEV front bumper

Our surprise favorite of the 2022 EJS Jeep Concepts was Bob. The name, of course, comes from the rear overhang reduction, known as “bobbing.”

Basically, the frame rails and body/bed are cut down behind the rear axle, in order to optimize departure angle for extreme off-road adventures. Jeep took a full 12 inches off the rear of the Bob Concept.

2022 EJS Jeep Concept Drive
(Photo/Bryon Dorr)

Bob started life as a diesel Jeep Gladiator Rubicon before being trimmed and tweaked. The doors and B-pillars are permanently removed, and the hood and fenders have been replaced with lightweight carbon versions. Even the hardtop roof has been modified to let light through from the canvas top that is stretched over it.

Bob felt like it could tackle any off-road obstacle you put in its path with ease. The super-torquey Eco-Diesel powers massive 40-inch tires that roll on burly Dynatrac Pro-Rock 60 axles suspended with some of the latest and greatest shocks from King. Strong, capable, and easy are the words we’d use to describe driving off-road in the Bob Concept.

2022 EJS Jeep Concept Drive
(Photo/Bryon Dorr)

While the pumpkin orange isn’t our favorite shade of orange, the overall look of the entire vehicle is super-classy and custom. Besides the combo of gloss and matte paint on the outside, the inside has also been bed-lined for durability and the seats tweaked for a sporty look to match the exterior.

Urban Assault Winner: Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk 4xe Concept

2022 EJS Jeep Concept Drive
(Photo/Bryon Dorr)
  • Powertrain: 2.0L turbo 4-cylinder and 2 electric motors w/400-volt battery pack
  • Performance: 56 MPGe, 25 mi. of all-electric range
  • Lift/wheels/tires: Stock Quadra-Lift air suspension, 20-in. wheels, 33-in. M/T tires

Hitting dealer lots very soon, the Grand Cherokee Trailhawk 4xe (PHEV) is sure to be a big seller. It offers 25 miles of all-electric range as well as off-road goodies like a front sway-bar disconnect, rock rails, and adjustable-height air ride suspension. Jeep even tackled the Rubicon trail with the production version of this vehicle, in full electric mode.

For the Grand Cherokee Trailhawk 4xe Concept, Jeep brought us some big aesthetic upgrades and bigger tires. Besides the blue color scheme and graphics package, the roof is Rhino-lined black, and custom 3D-printed roof racks with integrated tie-downs were installed.

While the roof rack mounts look super cool, we weren’t a big fan of the Rhino lining. Instead of looking tough, it cheapened the otherwise upscale look of the concept.

Inside the Grand Cherokee Trailhawk 4xe concept is super sharp-looking saddle leather upholstery with ‘Rodney’ houndstooth cloth inserts. Combined with blue contrast stitching and the signature 4xe Trailhawk badging, the inside of this concept vehicle is just a really nice and luxurious place to be.

2022 EJS Jeep Concept Drive
(Photo/Bryon Dorr)

Wedged under this concept are 33-inch mud-terrain tires without any suspension modifications, which took some considerable fender trimming and widened fender flares. Those meaty tires are wrapped on 20-inch wheels.

While big wheels and tiny tire sidewalls are not optimal for off-road adventures, they do look really good! The setup also worked better than we would have expected off-road.

Coming Soon: Rubicon 20th Concept

2022 EJS Jeep Concept Drive
(Photo/Bryon Dorr)
  • Powertrain: 6.4L V-8
  • Lift/wheels/tires: JPP 2-in. lift, 17-in. wheels, 37-in. M/T tires
  • Key features: Sky One-Touch powertop, custom half doors, winch, swing gate air compressor

Take a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 and add some nice 20th-anniversary touches and you get the 20th Concept. The Rubicon was born in 2003 as a two-door Wrangler, so we’ll see its 20th anniversary next year.

After talking with the good people at Jeep, we’re pretty positive we’ll see a special-edition 20th-anniversary Rubicon on the market next year — and it will likely have many of the touches seen on this concept.

2022 EJS Jeep Concept Drive
(Photo/Jeep)

The Rubicon 20th Concept has a Granite Crystal exterior wrap and gold accents, with an anniversary hood decal, and American flag fender decals. It also features custom half doors and a Sky One-Touch powertop with removable side panels.

Off-road goodies include 17-inch wheels wrapped in 37-inch mud-terrain tires, steel bumpers, a Warn winch, steel skid plates, and a soon-to-be-released Mopar swing gate air compressor.

The Wrangler Rubicon 392 just puts a massive smile across your face, on and off road. Add in some refined looks, an open-air top, and big tires, and you’ve got a winning package.

Heritage: ’41 Concept

2022 EJS Jeep Concept Drive
(Photo/Bryon Dorr)
  • Powertrain: 4xe PHEV w/2.0L turbocharged I-4
  • Performance: 49 MPGe and up to 21 mi. all-electric range
  • Lift/wheels/tires: 2-in. JPP lift, 17-in. Fifteen52 wheels, 35-in. M/T tires
  • Key features: Army color scheme, half doors, soft top, winch, retro shifter
2022 EJS Jeep Concept Drive
(Photo/Bryon Dorr)

Jeep always brings out at least one concept to EJS that harkens back to its past. Usually, that’s an old Jeep with modern components and custom touches. But this year, they went the route of taking a new Wrangler Willys 4xe and giving it some throwback touches.

“Since 1941” is displayed somewhere on all modern Jeep vehicles, and recognizes Jeep’s military heritage. The idea behind the ’41 Concept is to honor the original Willys MB that served the U.S. Army for many years.

2022 EJS Jeep Concept Drive
(Photo/Bryon Dorr)

The entire ’41 Concept is done up in matte olive D.R.A.B. with sand and digital camo canvas interior. Even the Rhino-lined floor, instrument panel inserts, and gauge cluster are finished in olive D.R.A.B. Willys retro graphics and stenciled graphics help connect the Jeep with its heritage. The ’41 Concept also gets half doors, a tan soft top, and a winch.

2022 EJS Jeep Concept Drive
(Photo/Bryon Dorr)

We particularly loved the retro shifter and customized 3D-printed shifter caps, versions of which are found on many of this year’s concepts. The ’41 Concept drove like a well-sorted Wrangler 4xe, but with some no-frills, get-the-job-done Army attitude.

Cool Parts: Birdcage Concept

2022 EJS Jeep Concept Drive
(Photo/Bryon Dorr)
  • Powertrain: 4xe PHEV w/2.0L turbocharged I-4
  • Performance: 49 MPGe and up to 21 mi. all-electric range
  • Lift/wheels/tires: 2-in. JPP lift, 17-in. JPP beadlock wheels, 37-in. M/T tires
  • Key features: Custom lighting, DRL fenders, Fox shocks, custom sliders, custom front bumper, Add-A-Trunk, swing gate air compressor
2022 EJS Jeep Concept Drive
(Photo/Bryon Dorr)

You might not think that brown and blue are colors that would go together well (we didn’t), but they really work well on the Jeep Performance Parts (JPP) Birdcage concept. Based on a Wrangler Rubicon 4xe, this concept is all about showing off some cool new accessories, and a few prototype parts, from JPP. It is also all about open-air off-road adventures, having no windshield or roof.

2022 EJS Jeep Concept Drive
(Photo/Bryon Dorr)

Big 37-inch tires fit under new custom flat-fender flares and wheel liners. The fender flares feature the first 50-state-legal — for both daytime running lights (DRL) and tire coverage requirements — integral removable DRL covers.

The idea is that they provide more tire clearance when removed for extreme off road, but are safer and road-legal on the highway. Even the taillights have been custom-fitted to meet federal lighting requirements for a 37-inch tire fitment, while still being trail-worthy with aluminum taillamp guards.

Fox shocks provided a smooth ride, while a custom rock-slider skid plate integrated into the front end and custom side rock sliders protected the Jeep on the trail. For carrying big gear, a heavy-duty (600-pound capacity) Rhino-Rack cargo basket is mounted atop the roll cage.

2022 EJS Jeep Concept Drive
(Photo/Bryon Dorr)

We also really dug the out-now JPP swing-gate flip-down table, the soon-to-market integrated swing-gate air compressor system, and the Jeep tool roll. Both of the future accessories looked like high-quality, well-thought-out products that any Jeep user would value when out on the trail.

The concept “Add-A-Trunk” decklid panel was an interesting possible future JPP part as well. It flips up on gas struts, provides secure storage on top, and covers up gear in the rear cargo area.

Buy Now: D-Coder Concept

2022 EJS Jeep Concept Drive
(Photo/Bryon Dorr)
  • Powertrain: V-6
  • Lift/wheels/tires: 2-in. JPP lift, 17-in. JPP beadlock wheels, 37-in. M/T tires
  • Key features: All the JPP & Mopar parts and QR codes to buy them now

Jeep Performance Parts (JPP) took a Jeep Gladiator Rubicon and threw more than 35 JPP and Mopar accessories at it. The gloss black Jeep has every accessory in a contrasting Maraschino Red color, which are each labeled with a QR code.

Basically, the D-Coder Concept is a rolling catalog, where customers can buy parts online directly from their phones by scanning the QR codes on the vehicle.

2022 EJS Jeep Concept Drive
(Photo/Bryon Dorr)

You could pretty easily buy and have built at the dealership this Jeep pickup yourself today, minus having all the red accessories, without some extra effort.

We particularly liked the Thule basket rack over the truck bed, as it would allow for more outdoor adventure toys on your off-road adventures. The tube doors are also tons of good fun on the trail, but sadly not all that practical for daily Jeep adventures.

Bryon Dorr
By

Bryon Dorr caught the outdoor adventure addiction through whitewater kayaking, and worldwide adventures to remote places ensued. He crafted his own professional path as a photographer, journalist, and marketing consultant in the automotive and outdoor industries, while full-time overland traveling for nearly 8 years. You’ll usually find him out exploring by 4x4, adventure motorcycle, or sports car while seeking out opportunities to ski, mountain bike, and kayak. Bryon now has a home base in Portland, OR with his wife and young daughter.