2013 Jeep Wrangler Flattop concept first drive

Shubhabrata Marmar  /
02 Aug 2013 11:45:05 IST

I drove four Jeep concepts over 30 trails in a week at the 2013 Easter Safari in the Moab desert, Utah, USA. Here is what the Flattop concept drives like.

The Flattop concept is visually arresting and is perhaps the simplest of the four Jeep concept cars I drove at the Jeep event. It uses 37" Mickey Thompson off-road tyres on the same rims as the Wrangler Rubicon to create a dramatic sense of proportion when matched to the roof line. The roof line is lowered, including lopping off two inches each from the front and rear windshields.

That sense of a low slung body on giant wheels is further bolstered by the removal of the B-pillar from the bodyworkThat sense of a low slung body on giant wheels is further bolstered by the removal of the B-pillar from the bodywork

That sense of a low slung body on giant wheels is further bolstered by the removal of the B-pillar from the bodywork. When you look close, you can see a roll cage pillar clad in black fabric, right where the B-pillar would normally go.

 Structurally, the detail Jeep is quite proud of is the spare wheel carrier that is a part of the structure of the car which makes it remarkably easy to operate despite the gigantic tyre mounted on it.Structurally, the detail Jeep is quite proud of is the spare wheel carrier that is a part of the structure of the car which makes it remarkably easy to operate despite the gigantic tyre mounted on it

The idea is a vehicle with hardcore off-roading equipment but with a distinctly premium appearance both inside and outside.

In keeping with the butch custom theme, the interior layout is done in a fetching upmarket brown and black colour scheme. The premium theme is further echoed on the exterior with the LED head and tail lamps, cleaner-looking bumpers and so forth. Structurally, the detail Jeep is quite proud of is the spare wheel carrier that is a part of the structure of the car which makes it remarkably easy to operate despite the gigantic tyre mounted on it.

In keeping with the butch custom theme, the interior layout is done in a fetching upmarket brown and black colour schemeIn keeping with the butch custom theme, the interior layout is done in a fetching upmarket brown and black colour scheme

Again, the Flattop has a slew of aftermarket bits but the engine is stock, the 3.6-litre V6, mated this time to a 6-speed manual. This was the sole manual I drove. I noticed that while this gearbox was very positive, the throws were long and the way the gear lever comes back towards you looks delightfully old school.

However, the drive feel isn't dissimilar to the stock Wrangler and I wondered why this concept was created. Jeep says a majority of its owners tend to modify and personalise their cars and concepts like the Flattop are extremely useful in being able to give them ideas about what directions the customs could take.

 The drive feel isn't dissimilar to the stock WranglerThe drive feel isn't dissimilar to the stock Wrangler

Obviously, the chance of a concept or some part of it making it into production is a genuine consideration as well. For example, this Jeep has contrast-coloured inserts in the seven slot grille, while most production Jeeps have simpler painted metal finishes.

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