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Concept/DemonstrationTrailhawk Concept Officially Unveiled
Posted by mike on 2007/1/8 20:22:01 (3749) reads

From a Chrysler Group press release

The Jeep® Trailhawk concept merges the spectrum of the Jeep brand by combining the core off-road features of the new body-on-frame four-door Jeep Wrangler Unlimited with the refined sophistication of an all-new on-road open-air concept vehicle, providing a unique and fresh expression for Jeep. Built off the new Wrangler platform, the Jeep Trailhawk is a more refined highway cruiser without sacrificing any of Jeep’s legendary off-road capabilities.

“The key to the look of the Trailhawk,” said Nick Vardis, Principal Exterior Designer, “is the vehicle’s distinctive proportions, due in part to its 116-inch wheelbase. The dash-to-front-axle dimension is dramatically long, giving the vehicle a sense of forward motion, while the front and rear overhangs are tight and abbreviated.“

Vardis said the body side is muscular and broad-shouldered, with the sheet metal pulled into shape, much like a drawn arrow in the bow of a skilled archer. Even the pillars are pulled back. The forward motion of the body is further accented by the drive of the raising beltline.

The stance is broad, and the wheels, pushed to the corners of the vehicle, are enclosed in robust flares dramatically offset from the body. Partly trapezoidal in shape, yet not asymmetrical, these angular, crisply-contoured wheel flares reinterpret one of Jeep’s fundamental design cues.

“The flares are stretched and pulled taut at one end,” Vardis said. “Each presents a ‘long side’ angled toward the center of the body.”


The body in turn tapers toward the front in plan view to expose more of the flares and accent the wide stance. The flares enclose large 22-inch, five-spoke wheels, each with a hefty 34-inch overall diameter. The specially-crafted tires are accented by a red stripe, with the red color repeated on the exposed brake calipers.

The lower body, which kicks outward along the bottoms of the doors, intersects the flares crisply. Tucked beneath this horizontal element is a recessed running board, accented by a silver molding. A tall trapezoidal vent, located at the front fender-front door cut line, is home to the circular Trail Rated badge.

The Trailhawk’s long hood is fronted by a signature seven-slot Jeep grille angled rearward to match the lean-back surface of the forward flares, with the slots filled with a mesh texture. Bracketed between the grille and the flares, the chamfered headlamps mimic the lean-back stance. Beneath their clear flush lenses, HID projector beam quad lamps nestled into twin “telescopic” polished aluminum barrels light the way forward while LEDs, configured in parallel stripes provide park and turn signals.

“The main headlamp units are cropped diagonally across the top,” said Vardis. “They peer out from an angled brow, giving the vehicle its bold, sinister look. In front view, the left and right lamps evoke the hooded eyes of a bird of prey.
“Like other concepts, we first viewed the math surface of the grille and headlamps together in the computer” added Vardis. “We immediately noticed the hawkish expression, hence the name ‘Trailhawk.’”

The taillamps mimic the look of the headlamps, including the striped turn signals, with the surface of the liftgate carved away.

The vehicle’s upper structure is set onto the lower body, encased by a crisp, chamfered 360-degree molding that runs around the greenhouse, accenting the high, arching beltline. At the base of the windshield is a seven-slot cowl screen that reprises the grille. The body is painted in Argent Pearl high-gloss, with the flares and lower body a slightly darker low-gloss variant.

The side windows retract fully into the body, leaving no B-pillar above the belt, while the diagonal quarter windows are also fully retractable. Gray-tinted twin longitudinal glass panels over the first- and second-row seats and the glass panel over the cargo compartment are removable, as is the swing-up backlight. With all the glass lowered and removed, the Trailhawk offers occupants virtually the same open-air ambience as a typical soft top Jeep. The fixed central spine contains overhead lighting and several integrated storage bins.

“The Jeep Trailhawk interior emphasizes the vehicle’s open air-freedom, inviting elements of the exterior theme into the interior,“said Cliff Wilkins, responsible for the interior design. “Tough mechanical elements which evoke exterior details are contrasted with sophisticated materials and finishes to give a modern, rugged, purposeful interior while delivering a premium off-road experience.”

The four-passenger interior is dominated by two major design elements —the cross-car instrument panel (I/P) form and a full-length central spine which forms the floor console. The AC outlets, center stack compass/inclinometer, and the dimensional, double-deck “biplane” gauges are housed in circular casings having the appearance of machined aluminum, with detailing matching headlamp surrounds. The two-tone leather-wrapped aluminum steering wheel features vertical individual switches for lights and speed control.

Riding the transmission tunnel, the console’s raised walls create a full-length open bin, handy for the storage of sundry items. Within the console’s side rails, two front/rear combination armrest/storage bin modules, movable via concealed tracks, can be positioned fore-aft at the occupants’ discretion. Using the familiar touchpad technology of laptop computers, a flip-out pad for the remote control fold-away flat screen navigation unit is housed in the forward armrest.

“The open console’s unique utility is enhanced by the relocation of the transfer case ‘Terrain Selector’ switch to the center stack of the I/P,” said Wilkins. “Also, there is the use of an electronic gear selector/park brake lever mounted to the right side of the steering column to continue this effect.”

Additional storage is available forward of the drop-open center stack control module, and in the lower door trim panels.
The driver and three passengers can relax in individual premium leather seating in Bark Black and Firewood Orange. The vehicle’s floor is a durable spray-finish with integrated non-slip heel pads, practical for all-weather use.

In the cargo area, each quarter panel houses a removable, portable “audio pod” sound system. Handsome in their rectangular dark gray cases accented with silver circular speaker bezels, each “pod” is fitted with a dock for an MP3 player. For carrying of first aid or road hazard gear, jerry-can style boxes in easy-to-find Firewood Orange are mounted forward of the speaker “pods.”

The utility of the cargo area is enhanced by a drop-down tailgate featuring integral concealed storage, four cup holders, and a sliding Load ‘N Go cargo tray with movable partitions that roll rearward for easy retrieval of stored items.

“One of the most remarkable things about the interior,” concludes Wilkins, “is that it was designed and surfaced entirely electronically — there were no traditional sketches or 3-D models. Even so, the interior turned out just as we had envisioned.”

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Poster Thread
myhotwheels22981
Posted: 2007/1/17 9:53  Updated: 2007/1/17 9:53
Home away from home
Joined: 2002/3/22
From:
Posts: 247
 Re: Trailhawk Concept Officially Unveiled
The dealers in our area can't give away the GC...Mabye it's a local thing, but the Commander is the sales leader here in Chicago...The GC has been overshadowed by the Commander, and In terms of function, it is a much more usable vehicle, with more cargo room, and more comfortable seating...in terms of performance, the Commander ride is as sweet as a Caddy...

Poster Thread
myhotwheels22981
Posted: 2007/1/15 11:33  Updated: 2007/1/15 11:33
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Joined: 2002/3/22
From:
Posts: 247
 Re: Trailhawk Concept Officially Unveiled
With the Commander beating the flagship Grand Cherokee in sales, production, and overall functionality (we own one and we love it) the GC needs a new direction to maintain the nameplate, and the Trailhawk concept is an interesting exercise in the future GC...nobody wants a GC as-is, because the Commanderis an expansion of what hte GC should be.

Poster Thread
neilwester13697
Posted: 2007/1/16 5:16  Updated: 2007/1/16 5:16
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Joined: 2000/9/14
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Posts: 1
 Re: Trailhawk Concept Officially Unveiled
In reply to: myhotwheels22981 comment on sales.
GC is out selling Commander nearly 2:1, they are languishing on the lots, especially in the Southeast where they are similarly priced if not cheaper than a comparably equipped GC.

Most people I know are very disappointed with the Commander (myself included). The size (it's just not really that much bigger), handling (far worse than GC), and exterior design aesthetic just fail in every comparison. Personally, I love the interior design, but it just failed on every other level.

I hope they finish a 5 year vehicle cycle and drop it in favor a truly larger and better styled FJ replacement.

As far as design cues for the GC from the Trailhawk: I do like the aggressive headlights, body rake, and stance but ht interior is far to unrefined and Computer Mod looking for a GC buyer.

Poster Thread
Renegade
Posted: 2007/1/13 14:01  Updated: 2007/1/13 14:01
Just can't stay away
Joined: 2005/8/11
From: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 80
 Re: Trailhawk Concept Officially Unveiled
"Is this what happens when you leave a Grand Cherokee and a Wrangler park next to each other..." blahblahblah...

No.

This is what happens when you let a Dodge Nitro and a Dodge Magnum drink too much diesel and have a love-child.


At any rate, I like it. This should've been the Compass...

Poster Thread
carter
Posted: 2007/1/11 12:22  Updated: 2007/1/11 12:22
Not too shy to talk
Joined: 2005/7/27
From: Houston
Posts: 29
 Re: Trailhawk Concept Officially Unveiled
I like it. Maybe the greenhouse could be a little taller, but overall I think it's a pretty good interpretation of a modern xj.

Poster Thread
AlxRocks
Posted: 2007/1/9 23:35  Updated: 2007/1/9 23:37
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Posts: 5
 Visions of Pontiac Aztek
It's okay, somebody, somewhere, thought the Pontiac Aztek was a good idea as well. But crossing an Aztek with a Studebaker Wagonaire and badging as a Jeep ???
How about the Chrysler Aspen will not take sales away from the Dodge Durango.
The person okaying production on the Jeep Gladiator is the first winner.
Then we all win.

Poster Thread
snakesausa
Posted: 2007/1/10 0:59  Updated: 2007/1/10 0:59
Not too shy to talk
Joined: 2006/8/21
From: Tejas (formerly Texas)
Posts: 26
 Re: Visions of Pontiac Aztek
At least this is built on the Unlimited platform with solid axles and has a decent front fascia... but It ant' no Gladiator.

The Gladiator is still being lusted for after 2 years (me included).
For those interested there is a Gladiator forum that has had lots of action in the last few days. We are trying to get as many people to call DCX and ask for the Gladiator during the NAIAS as we can. We are hoping that they will get the message when they receive more calls about a 2 year old concept when the Trailhawk one was just announced.

You guys should check it out:
www.jeepgladiator.org

P.S. It is a free forum and there are no advertisements or pitches, only people that love the Gladiator and want to see it produced in its unadulterated form.

Poster Thread
AlxRocks
Posted: 2007/1/10 17:26  Updated: 2007/1/10 17:26
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Posts: 5
 Re: Visions of Pontiac Aztek
Accepted, www.jeepgladiator.org is a forum for the Gladiator, but is DCX listening.

Just being built on the JK Unlimited Platform is not going to guarantee sales.

Maybe, just maybe, DCX should build a Jeep Jeep, like the Gladiator and leave the p r e t t y t h i n g s, that will never leave the pavement, like the Trailhawk for Chrysler badging,

Poster Thread
RUBICON
Posted: 2007/1/9 16:59  Updated: 2007/1/9 16:59
Home away from home
Joined: 2005/7/13
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Posts: 377
 Re: Trailhawk Concept Officially Unveiled
Folks, calm down... it is a design concept... not aimed at production.

Some of the design cues might head into future Jeep vehicles (like the front end of the Gladiator nearly directly translated to the new Wrangler).

For example a tamed down version of the front end might influence the slight design refresh for the 2008 Grand Cherokee.

Also, if this was powered by the 3.0LCRD it may be a test of a factory setup on the Wrangler lineup.

So in short, there is no need to shoot it down when it wasn't designed to be a production vehicle.

Poster Thread
bmcollier
Posted: 2007/1/11 12:17  Updated: 2007/1/11 12:19
Just popping in
Joined: 2006/1/28
From: Houston
Posts: 20
 Re: Trailhawk Concept Officially Unveiled
I think we all get that it isn't headed for production in it's current state. But I don't necessarily agree that we shouldn't comment on it just because it is a design concept; that is exactly why these things are built; public reaction. I received a sporty leather "Jeep" branded briefcase following a Liberty focus group a couple of years ago that proves that no matter how ugly you tell someone their product is, they still appreciate the feedback.

Poster Thread
indian
Posted: 2007/1/9 15:47  Updated: 2007/1/9 15:47
Just popping in
Joined: 2006/10/12
From: Southern Indiana
Posts: 8
 Re: Trailhawk Concept Officially Unveiled
I consider myself a "Jeep guy" and appreciate this vehicle's body-on-frame construction and (presumed)off-road capabilities but, I'm sorry - this thing is genuinely stupid-looking!

Poster Thread
bmcollier
Posted: 2007/1/9 15:09  Updated: 2007/1/9 15:09
Just popping in
Joined: 2006/1/28
From: Houston
Posts: 20
 Re: Trailhawk Concept Officially Unveiled
Designer 1: "It's one week to NAIAS and we don't have a concept!"

Designer 2: "There's a Magnum parked outside. Maybe we could do something with that?"

Designer 1: "Hmmm; jack it up, slap on some Jeep badges?"

Designer 2: "We can use the fender flares off my sister's Daihatsu Rocky!"

Designer 1: "Yeah! And something retro...Ooh, ooh! T-tops! This just may work..."

Poster Thread
ORBruce
Posted: 2007/1/9 10:51  Updated: 2007/1/9 10:51
Just popping in
Joined: 2005/7/19
From: Portland, OR
Posts: 17
 Re: Trailhawk Concept Officially Unveiled
I love the idea of a Wrangler-based vehicle, but I hate the gun slit windows that are all the rage in Detroit these days. I go off-road to see things. I even like to see things when I'm driving around town. I'm glad that the 2008 Liberty has taller windows than the Bad Boy Nitro. I hope the 50's chopped and channeled look is growing old.

If the production version has a taller greenhouse, I might be interested.

Poster Thread
CJtoTJ
Posted: 2007/1/9 8:10  Updated: 2007/1/9 8:10
Just popping in
Joined: 2006/7/10
From:
Posts: 17
 Re: Trailhawk Concept Officially Unveiled
Its a nice body on frame solid axle offroader, unfortunately they did not state, powered by the 3.0 CRD. Id buy it, remove the body, slap a JKL to it and go.
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