Volkswagen have launched the Tarok concept in Sao Paulo, an all-new pick-up truck set to hit the Brazilian market sooner rather than later. Allegedly with minimal changes to be made in becoming a production vehicle.

Set to match the tech content in their current SUV-offensive, the Tarok concept possesses a predominantly digital design. The interior also features a colour-keyed crossbar across the dashboard, surrounding the glass covered infotainment set-up with a digital cockpit.

The Tarok concept runs on a 1.4-litre 148bhp four-cylinder TSI unit that can be driven in Brazil as a TotalFlex Fuel Unit – running on either pure ethanol or a gasoline-ethanol mixture, utilising permanent four-wheel drive. This differs from the unit that will be used in the series version of the Tarok – a 2.0-litre turbo diesel TDI with the same power output that would be more appropriate for other global markets.

Real interest in the Tarok, though, comes around the back, with a variable load space. The design allows the load space to be extended by both opening the tailgate and then into the cabin. A system is in place so that it is possible to fold the lower rear section of the cabin, and the three rear seats, thusly extended the load space. In its smallest, most standard form, the bed measures 1206mm from back to front. Then extend it into the cabin and you’re looking at a figure of 1861mm and with the truck bed down it rises to 2775mm.

This could be of interest to those wondering about the lineage of the next-generation Amarok, as it itself grew from a concept before Volkswagen set it into production in 2010. One thing is for sure, the Tarok has potential to become a very versatile pick-up.

Land Rover has unveiled a unique Discovery following an 18-month project involving the Austrian Red Cross.

The specially prepared Discovery is the handiwork of Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations branch, which was tasked with making sure the car is up to facing the challenges of being an Austrian emergency response vehicle.

In order to fill its duties as a mobile nerve centre for recovery operations, the 3.0-litre Td6-powered Disco has been fitted with the most cutting-edge communications equipment – and a state-of-the-art eight-rotor drone.

The drone itself is capable of pinpointing a person up to 440m away and a vehicle up to an impressive 1km away, with help from its thermal imaging technology. While the drone is flying high, Red Cross personnel can use the carbon fibre command centre where the main computer slides out from, before orchestrating the recovery on the scene.

Inside the Discovery, the usual infotainment screen has been replaced by a command panel, allowing for control of the drone and the ability to monitor the distance to selected targets.

The site of the emergency should be well lit, too, as the Discovery has been installed with full 360-degree lighting to help illuminate the intended area as much as possible.

Managing Director of SVO, Michael van der Sande, said: ‘Our partnership with the Red Cross isn’t just about our vehicles. Since we started collaborating in 1954, our aim has been to help the Red Cross improve its disaster response and ultimately to help save lives. Over the past 18 months our engineers have worked closely with the emergency response team at the Austrian Red Cross, deploying Land Rover’s technology and talent to create a unique solution to the requirements of the Red Cross in the region.’

International Federation of Red Crescent Societies’ Under Secretary General for Partnerships Dr Jemilah Mahmood added: ‘We are grateful for Land Rover’s generous support over the past six decades. The Discovery Emergency Response Vehicle is yet another result of our strong global partnership that brings together the best expertise of the Red Cross and Land Rove in one unique vehicle, which will make a difference in rescue operations in the harshest conditions.’

Since the beginning of the Land Rover and Red Cross collaboration over 64 years ago, Land Rover has donated in excess of 120 vehicles to the IFRC, with many of them helping to save lives in every corner of the globe.

Land Rover have revealed their CORTEX project will explore the future of autonomous all-terrain vehicles.

Using LIDAR technology that monitors light, acoustics, video, radar and distance sensing, CORTEX looks to develop vehicles that can handle themselves in all conditions – dirt, rain, ice, snow and fog. The result aims to be level 4 and 5 off-road autonomy.

‘It’s important that we develop our self-driving vehicles with the same capability and performance that our customers expect from all Land Rovers,’ said Chris Holmes, head of Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Research at JLR. ‘Self-driving is an inevitability for the automotive industry and ensuring that our autonomous offering is the most enjoyable, capable and safe is what drives us to explore the boundaries of innovation. CORTEX gives us the opportunity to work with some fantastic partners whose expertise will help us realise this vision in the near future.’

The CORTEX project will utilise algorithms, sensor optimisation and physical testing on off-road terrain in the UK, and will be conducted in conjunction with the University of Birmingham and Myrtle AI, leading experts in machine learning.

No, you didn’t mis-read that headline.

Honda have revealed a concept this morning of a Civic Type R with a pick-up bed instead of rear seats and a boot.

Codenamed ‘Project P’, the Civic was worked on by Honda’s Product Engineering department at their factory in Swindon, with an eye on creating what is possibly the fastest pick-up in the UK.

A standard Type R from the C-pillar forwards, Project P is only front-wheel drive, which sadly rules out much off-roading. However, it drives the production 2.0-litre 4-cylinder petrol unit that gives out 316bhp and 295lbf.ft – so it still packs a punch. Behind the C-Pillar, the Civic has been cut, stripped and then lined to transform it into a pick-up.

It retains the spoiler from the road car, and the boot still opens and closes. To be honest, little description is needed – a picture speaks a thousand words. And what a picture…

There are – shockingly – no plans to take the vehicle into production, but an attempt at a Nurburgring lap record for a front-wheel drive pick-up is potentially on the cards…

It was the annual Easter Jeep Safari last week, and this year’s concepts got us thinking of all of those that have gone to Utah in the somewhat recent past.

Concept vehicles are often overtly fanciful prospects. Sleek, smooth and futuristic, with the promise of technology that, frankly, is very futuristic. And it’s all a bit distant.

But not Jeep, though. The concepts they take to the Easter Jeep Safari each year are often current models on all kinds of steroids, that take on the Utah trails and look backwards as much as they look forward. This combination results in concepts that actually move and seem as real as they do outrageous.

So, without further ado, here are some of the best and most interesting/bizarre ones from the last decade.

 

 The Grand One – ‘17

This was a 1993 Grand Cherokee. With 100,000 miles on the clock it was bought by Jeep on Craigslist, before undergoing a restomod inspired by the glorious nineties. All to celebrate the Grand Cherokee’s 25th birthday.

It retained the original 5.2-litre V8, got a new cold-air intake and exhaust, before having the wheelbase stretched by three inches, the suspension raised by two, 33-inch BFGs and heavy gauge rock-rail cladding. Exterior styling was only tweaked slightly, but it was the changes inside that won hearts.

It wasn’t just the charmingly dated sky-blue bodywork that made the Grand One retro gold.  A plaid flannel headliner took you straight back to pre-millennium, as did the wired car phone and a backseat Gameboy. Plus, a sticker of David Hasslehoff on the drivers’ side inner door panel, exclaiming the Grand One “Hoff Tested, Hoff Approved”. That’s why everyone loved this concept.

 

Quicksand – ‘17

The Quicksand is mad in a whole different way. It started life as a Wrangler Rubicon, and harks back to the Moonshine hot rods of the 1960’s.

The result, as you’ve surely noticed by now, is a very striking one. The bobtail, chopped roof and a Moon tank that smuggles a winch give it that crazy hot rod charisma. Oh, and the 6.4-litre Hemi V8 on the other end of those eight velocity stacks – which can be routed via a rear exhaust or the two trumpets behind each of the front wheels – adds to the character too.

To keep it Jeepy, it got Dana axles – 44 front and 60 rear – with a lengthened wheelbase. It also had big BFG Mud-Terrain tyres, 32-inch at the front and 37-inch at the back.

It’s hard to choose one word to describe the Quicksand concept, but we’d probably apply beautifulcrazy.

 

Safari – ‘17

This one is less desirable off the bat than some of the others here, but will definitely garner plenty of glances.

The first thing you’ll notice is the fact that the doors are transparent. The addition of ‘windoors’ – aluminium frames draped in clear vinyl – helps the Safari in its bid to be a vehicle focussed around its passengers. Obviously you can see a lot from inside the vehicle, and this is aided by tilting the seats outwards and there’s even a roof-mounted drone to scout the trails or to look over cliffs and stuff.

It’s not just about seeing things, though, with typical Jeep upgrades to the axles, decreased front and rear overhangs, a 2-inch suspension lift and 35-inch mud tyres. There’s also a stainless-steel work surface that slides out at the back, and an on-board ARB compressor to easily readjust the tyres for driving on that tarmac stuff again.

 

Crew Chief 715 – ‘16

If there’s one particular model fans have been urging Jeep to make for ages, it’s a modern-day pickup. And that’s why the Crew Chief 715 was such a hit.

Taking inspiration from a ‘60s Kaiser M715 military truck, which was based on a Jeep Gladiator pick-up, this concept started as a four-door Wrangler, was retrofied with styling changes predominantly at the front and then given a five-foot pick-up bed. This was huge. Literally. Many of those who drove it questioned whether it was too big.

Its tyres were military spec and measured forty inches, with a four-inch lift to the body. The axles were both upgraded to Dana 60s, and an on-board air compressor allowed tyre pressure to be changed with ease.

The Wrangler’s 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 was retained in the Crew Chief with the addition of an intake and a freer exhaust in conjunction with a five-speed automatic transmission.

 

Shortcut – ‘16

There’s not too much to say about the Shortcut. The headline is that despite retaining the two-door Wrangler’s wheelbase, the Shortcut is 26-inches shorter than the stock vehicle. It’s lost its back seats and roof, gained 35-inch tyres and is very red. It looks like a kid’s toy but bigger, and it’s completely awesome.

 

FC 150 – ’16, Mighty FC – ‘12

Another small Jeep, the FC 150 is built up on top of a 2005 Wrangler and again, looks like a toy. It wasn’t perfect, but it oozed charm. The sixties styling just makes you smile, so it doesn’t matter that the concept is no more than a retro body tacked onto a Wrangler frame.

But this isn’t the first forward controlled concept Jeep have taken to Utah. The Mighty FC came four years before the FC 150 and was also inspired by the original vehicles produced for nine years from 1956.

This was a bit bigger though with the Wrangler Rubicon starting point being extended. The pick-up bed had drop-sides and due to the relocation of the cab measured eight-feet. Mopar portal axles were installed, along with coil-over assemblies and uprated track arms and track bars. A Warn winch was added, too, meaning the Mighty was definitely the more rugged of the forward control concepts to grace Moab.

 

JK2A Staff Car– ‘15

Another concept referencing the military history of the Jeep brand, the JK2A Staff Car looks incredible. Even more so when you read that it isn’t a restoration, or even a restomod.

Let’s call it a retromod. The Jeep engineers wanted to see how close they could get to a World War II military Jeep – starting with a JK Rubicon.

As you’d expect, a lot of things had to be changed to get it ready. And the Staff Car is genuinely jaw-dropping. The doors are gone, the sills have been raised and the B-pillar moved backwards. Throughout everything that doesn’t look period appropriate has been made to look so or pulled off. Immense effort has been poured into fitting out the concept with accurate details such as the 20-foot antenna and the bumpers from an Egyptian military Jeep.

Whilst this is very much a tremendous and historically accurate concept, there are a few Easter eggs thrown in. For instance, the gear knob is a hand grenade, and the four-wheel drive lever is a shell casing. But best of all, is a bottle opener mounted by the instrument panel, labelled for ‘Official Use Only’ and the cooler that looks like a box of ammo.

 

Max Performance – ‘14

Every year there are some concepts adapted for extreme off-roading, so there’s a long list to choose from here. But, due in part to both its name and how extreme it is, we’ve chosen to feature the Max Performance.

The black and blue concept – surely a metaphor for how it wants to be driven – featured a non-production four-inch lift, with Fox remote-reservoir shocks with locking Dana 60 axles and Warn locking front hubs. Fortified concept wheels were necessary, and installed along with a Rock-Trac transfer case with a 70:1 crawl ratio. It kept the JK Wrangler’s V6, but got a cold-air intake and a cat-back exhaust system.

A Warn winch was added, as was a Stinger front bumper to avoid somersaulting – yes somersaulting. It was kitted out with just about everything from the Jeep Performance Parts arsenal, including a swathe of LED lighting, rock rails and skid plates and a Mopar hood.

Concept touches like the tyre carrier and the easy open fuel-cap cover add practicality, as do the hardwearing Katzkin leather interior. The blue steering wheel rings at ten and two are a nice touch, as are the five trail badges signifying the Moab courses it has conquered.

 

Stitch – ’13, Pork Chop – ‘11

Much like the ‘4SPEED’ debuted this year, the Pork Chop and Stitch concepts championed lightness as a means to improve off-road capability.

Both are Wrangler offshoots that do without doors, back seats or solid roofs. They’re also stripped of their carpets, with body panels made lighter and things like spare wheels omitted and even the fuel tank was downsized in the quest to lose weight.

Coming two years later, the Stitch is a little more civilised, gaining a mesh tailgate, bed cover and cockpit canopy. Plus, the Sabelt bucket seats appear a little more substantial than the red Recaros in the Pork Chop.

They might not be equipped with the extensive options list that most of the other concepts are, they couldn’t winch themselves out of bother for example, but given that the Pork Chop weighed almost 400kg less than a stock Wrangler, wouldn’t they just glide over obstacles?

 

J-12 – ‘12

Another nod to the Gladiator pick-up series, the J-12 concept was a heightened rendition of the JK-8 conversion offered by Mopar for the now-outgoing Wrangler. Starting with a Wrangler Unlimited, 18-inches were added to the back of the frame which allowed for the spare wheel to be rehoused under the bed floor. The pick-up bed ended up being a full six-feet in length, and the hood and front wings took styling inspiration from the Gladiator trucks of old.

Jeep being Jeep, a Mopar suspension lift of three-inches was fitted along with uprated axles, sway bars and 36-inch tyres wrapped on 16-inch steelies.

 

Blue Crush – ‘11

The Blue Crush was inspired by the King of the Hammers desert racing series, and as such is a hard-hitting off-road machine.

It was powered by an all-aluminium seven-litre V8, laying down 540bhp through a performance transmission. The suspension was beefed up too, with internal bypass shocks and front stabiliser bar and massive 39-inch tyres that required custom driveshafts.

The roll cage was inspired by Baja racers and racing seats were added, whilst smaller, lightweight aluminium bumpers replaced the stocks.

 

Nukizer 715 – ‘10

Another pickup truck and another homage to the Kaiser M715.

The Nukizer 715 was smaller than the Crew Chief, and combined a two-door Wrangler and an aftermarket pick-up bed. The front end was crafted from carbon fibre over a stretched frame. The total length ended up at 124-inches, with a Dana 44 axle at the front, a Dana 60 at the back and a 2.8-litre turbodiesel running through a manual four-speed. It looked awesome and only heightened the call for a production Jeep pick-up truck.

 

Wrangler Overland -’09

Like the Nacho debuted this year, the Wrangler Overland was really just a blueprint for what you can make with the aftermarket Mopar accessories.

Tailored to be a self-contained campsite, the rear seats have been removed and the floor covered in utilitarian rubberised matting. It got a two-person roof tent and awning, water resistant seat covers and a dash bin that powered a host of accessories.

The suspension was lifted three-inches and a rear traction sway bar installed, plus 35-inch tyres around 17-inch off-road steel wheels. Expected to be off the beaten track, the Overland concept was embellished with extra underbody protection and steel bumpers, plus a snorkel and windscreen and bumper mounted LED lights.

This may not be an extreme concept, but it is a very cool template.

 

Wrangler JKL – ‘08

This was awesome.

Again, it doesn’t have a very long story to tell aside from the fact that it was a JK Wrangler which was extended to have a 110” wheelbase. Other than a lengthened and strengthened chassis, the JKL received 37-inch tyres and a 6.1 litre Hemi V8.

 

So which is your favourite? Let us know in the comments below.

Many manufacturers have their traditions, most of which are waiting a decade or so and sticking a birthday badge on an otherwise unchanged model. But, being a brand that oozes off-road smarts, Jeep do things a bit differently.

They host an annual Moab Easter Jeep Safari, where off-road nuts congregate for a week of technical driving, breath-taking views and endless ‘my Jeep is bigger than yours’ banter.

And to celebrate this, Jeep produces a batch of concepts each year that, with the help of Mopar, usually include badass, retro, or hard-core versions of the current line-up. This year is no different. And without further ado, here is a run through of the offering for 2018:

 

Jeep 4SPEED

  • Light – bonnet, fender flares and rear tub all made of lightweight carbon fibre, whilst other bodywork is light and minimal.
  • Higher ride height – the 4SPEED sits two inches higher than a stock Wrangler.
  • Better angles – overall length has been shortened by 22-inches(!), without changing the wheelbase, which means vastly improved approach and departure angles!
  • New engine – the 4SPEED showcases the latest 2.0-litre turbocharged straight-four unit from the Wrangler range, alongside an eight-speed auto ‘box.
  • Custom interior – the instrument panel has been revamped for the concept, rear seats removed and the floor bedlined and floor is aluminium plated.

 

Jeep Sandstorm

  • Baja inspired – vented carbon fibre hood, high clearance arches all round, chopped rear doors, plus the lay-down spare among the roll cage gives the Sandstorm that Baja image. It also has a race-style fuel filler, race lights and an on-board air compressor. There’s also low bucket seats, a 7-inch GPS system and switches for an air-compressor and axle lockers.
  • Baja ready – an extreme-duty suspension system is prepared for dune bashing and highway cruising; custom coilovers and bypass shocks means 14-inches of front travel and 18-inches at the back. High clearance front and rear tube bumpers and modified rock rails mean it’s tough.
  • Longer wheelbase – the front axle has been moved forward four-inches with a heavy-duty long arm four-link suspension and track bar, whilst the rear has been moved back half as much and utilises a triangulated trailing arm four-link setup.
  • Keep on rolling – heavy duty Dynatrac 60 axles with a 5.68 gear ratio, plus 17-inch beadlock wheels and 39.5-inch BFG Krawler tyres mean the Sandstorm should be unstoppable.
  • Powerful engine – the concept gets a Mopar tuned 6.4-litre V8, with a six-speed manual transmission.

Jeep B-Ute

  • Customised for adventure – bonnet has heat extractors, wider flares are in place alongside a custom grille and individual front and rear fascias.
  • Jeep Performance Parts – a 1.5-inch lift kit, roof rack and rock rails are added from the JPP catalogue. 17-inch wheels are offset by 30mm and wrapped in BFG Baja Champions.
  • Cool interior – customised seats, with ‘mineral’ inserts, join a carbonite finished shifter and dash trimmings, plus a Molle system on the back of the front seats and Mopar all-weather floor mats.
  • B-rUte of an engine – the 2.4-litre Tigershark engine from the Jeep line-up joins a nine-speed automatic gearbox.

Jeep Wagoneer Roadtrip

  • Nostalgic – the Wagoneer Roadtrip concept is inspired by the 1965 Jeep Wagoneer
  • Mechanically modern –A five-inch increase in the wheelbase comes alongside wider track. The boxed frame has been strengthened, and Dana 44 front and rear axles with lockers, four-link suspension with coilover springs means the Wagoneer can go further than its looks would suggest. It’s 17-inch wheels are graced with BFG Mud-Terrains.
  • Original interiors – the front and rear bench seats, door panels, kick and rear panels are all original and trimmed in oxblood leather. A wicker headline keeps the interior light, and a custom cooler styled on period luggage and a tool box created from the original engine add practicality that oozes cool.
  • Obviously, a V8 – 5.7-litres worth, too. And being the first 4×4 fitted with an auto box, this concept gets a four-speed.

Nacho Jeep

The Nacho Jeep is a ‘rolling catalogue’. It shows people what they could get if they pillaged the JPP range from Mopar and stuck it all to a Wrangler Rubicon. So, despite any tortilla-themed jokes, it could be yours. Here’s what’s on it:

  • Hood with standard JPP graphic, that accommodates cold-air intake.
  • Satin black Mopar grille.
  • Rubicon bumpers with Warn winch kit.
  • Magnetti Marelli LEDs situated on A-pillar and brush guard, plus Automotive Lighting LED header lights on wind shield.
  • Rear LED off-road scouting lights (red -stop; amber – 1-3mph; green -3-25mph) and floodlight.
  • 2-inch lift kit.
  • 5-inch diameter aluminium body shocks.
  • 37-inch tyres wrapped around 17-inch beadlock rims.
  • Fortified rock rails.
  • Jeep embossed grab handles.
  • Spare tyre tailgate reinforced hinge.
  • Black fuel door.
  • Black Katzkin leather seats, with embossed Jeep grille.
  • Satin finish on the wheel is the ONLY feature of the Nacho that isn’t available on production Wrangler.

Jeep Jeepster

  • Two-tone – a JPP enhanced concept that evokes the image of the 1966 Jeepster through a Wrangler Rubicon. It’s also got two-tone paint like the classic.
  • New meets old – styling may mirror a past hero, but the bonnet, snorkel, bumpers, LED lights and fog lamps are all a mix of JPP stock and production options.
  • Modern capability – a 2-inch lift kit and 2.5-inch diameter coil body shocks, plus the 37-inch BFG KO2 tyres ensure contemporary off-road ability.
  • Concept roll cage – non-production tubular roll cage replaces the sports bar, and has an integrated spare tyre carrier on board, too. The interior isn’t all utilitarian, with Katzin leather seating adorned in matching red trim.
  • Storage packs – with the spare tyre inside, Jeep saw the opportunity for concept exterior storage. The split design allows for a rear-view camera, and rear mounted storage racks, and the rock step is a combination of rock rails and side steps.

 

Jeep J-Wagon

  • ‘Premium-styled’ – again utilising the extensive JPP range, the J-Wagon is a luxurious take on a customised Wrangler Sahara.
  • Urban vibe – the non-production paint is called ‘Warm Neutral Grey’ (…), tinted windows and Brass Monkey touches across the exterior add to the street appeal, as do the black accents from the JPP vault.
  • Still capable – 5-inch LED lights will illuminate any trail, plus black concept rock rails and roof racks add to practicality and the image. The tailgate mounted spare tyre hinge is reinforced and is equipped with a high mounted stop light.
  • Luxury interior – camel-coloured Katzkin seats feature dark brown piping, whilst the interior trimmings are given the Brass Monkey treatment to match the exterior.

Peugeot have shown an adventure concept version of their Rifter. The Rifter 4×4 Concept is kitted out for overland adventures and unadulterated exploration.

The grey exterior with yellow accents adds a sporty feel to the seven seater, and there’s an interior to match. Seating has black alcantara inserts and contrasting bold yellow stitching throughout.

Working with Dangel, Peugeot have given the concept the four-wheel drive referenced in its name. It has selectable 4WD and the rear axle is lockable. The concept gets the 1.5-litre BlueHDi 130 engine and a six-speed manual transmission.

To make the little adventure wagon more, well, adventurey, the concept has an Autohome designed Overland roof tent, complete with simple assembly and a ready-to-go mattress.

For routes where the Rifter cannot fit, or when you want to feel the wind in your hair, the concept is accompanied by a Peugeot eM02 FS Powertube MTB. The electric mountain bike is a preview of the next generation of Lion eBikes, and has a double suspension and a battery concealed within the frame.

The concept poses a fresh and active approach to overland and off-road travel.

 

Do you like the idea? Let us know in the comments.

Subaru have revealed their Viziv Tourer concept for the first time at the Geneva Motor Show – an AWD touring concept akin to the active lifestyle and ready for autonomous tech.

The Viziv Tourer uses a symmetrical four-wheel drive system and a boxer engine, in a frame not much bigger than a current XV. Slightly shorter than the production vehicle, the Viziv isn’t as rough and ready, but has been equipped ‘a crossover mix of values to enhance active lifestyles’. Other than the four-wheel drive system, there’s not too much of an indication as to what these are, but given the brand’s form in practical, robust tourers, you’d be in the minority to doubt its practicality.

 

SsangYong have shown their e-SIV concept in Switzerland. The SUV is the fifth electric concept SsangYong have produced, and aims to combine efficiency, driving capability and an advanced approach to connectivity.

e-SIV stands for ‘electronic smart interface vehicle’, and the interior is aimed at ‘busy people’ and works with modern technology to become a ‘mobile communication space’. This will be achieved via a learning voice recognition system, internet connectivity and autonomous driving ability.

 

Aspects ranging from charging, infotainment and in emergency conditions even driving the vehicle could be controlled via a smartphone app.

The e-SIV would have a cruising range of up to 450km, and charging will take the battery from flat to 80% in fifty minutes.