One of the most popular, desirable and “Build-It-Damn-You!” vehicles the Jeep guys brought to the 2015 Easter Jeep Safari was the Jeep Africa Concept. Think of what Jeep could build if they wanted a proper safari/expedition vehicle that could go head-to-head with the best from overseas. It would need extra space internally and externally, a strong diesel, beefy undercarriage and a platform that would be easy to adapt for prolonged periods in the bush.
“The Wrangler 4-door-based vehicle sports a Desert Tan exterior paint, a high-clearance steel front bumper with winch, power step rock rails, power dome vented hood and an extended rear body and high-top roof. Powered by a 2.8-liter diesel engine mated to an automatic transmission, the Wrangler Africa also features fender-mounted auxiliary fuel cans. The Africa sports 17-inch body color steel wheels with 35-inch BF Goodrich Mud Terrain tires.
The Jeep Wrangler Africa is outfitted with a two-inch lift kit with Fox shocks, sway bar links and front and rear Dana 44 axles from Jeep Performance Parts. The spare tire is underbody-mounted and the cargo area, inner roof and floor are finished in a durable spray-in truck bed coating.” – – Jeep
Driving the Jeep Africa Concept: Seriously, I never driven a more expedition-ready vehicle in this country. You want to yell to Dr. David Livingstone, “bring Vasco Nunez de Balboa, Cabot, Cartier and Samuel de Champlain while you’re at it!” Adventure awaits!
The high roof, large cabin and comfortable seats all feel production-ready and impart a secure sensation as the 2.8-liter diesel rumbles. Torque is immediate and nearly every obstacle was topped without going over 2,000 rpm. It feels a bit heavy behind the wheel, but the Jeep Africa Concept feels no larger than many Wrangler Unlimiteds that have an excess of wheel and armor on them.
The only noticeable design issue the cool-looking rear door. Like other Wranglers, the Jeep Africa Concept’s door hinges are on the right side. This means you open it from the left side. Normally Jeep Wrangler doors are small and it’s not that big of a deal. This door is ginormous and it will block access to the curb.
Despite being a one-off concept, the Jeep Africa Concept feels buttoned-down. The whole platform feels rock solid and settled. Off camber, high articulation maneuvers were no problem. Nothing felt remotely challenging for the Jeep Africa Concept. While most of the concepts were overbuilt and capable, the Jeep Africa Concept felt like you could take it home.
It looks amazing too. Jeep Design managed to capture the feel of a Land Rover Defender (the ones we’re not allowed to buy here) while remaining true to Jeep DNA. Remarkable vehicle. It was my favorite along with a vast majority of journalists on hand.
Speaking of amazing Jeep concepts: