We wouldn’t mind if Jeep decided to bring a production spec to America.
Here’s a Jeep you may never hear about again unless you plan on making your way to China sometime soon. That’s because, after having images leaked out to the Interned followed by official sketches released after that, Jeep has finally released the Yuntu Concept at the 2017 Shanghai Auto Show. The three-row SUV is intended to spur the imaginations of Chinese buyers with a combination of a rounded body that simultaneously pulls off a bold stance thanks to linear design elements such as the square wheel arches.
Thin headlights give way to a long seven-slat grille, which is framed by a bold bumper that gives the oddly named SUV (remember, Chinese market) a grin of confidence. Simplicity reigns supreme here because, well, this is a Jeep after all, but the Yuntu pulls off its rugged aesthetic and off-road usability with pride and plenty of style. With overhangs residing far off the ground and tow hooks peaking out from the front bumper, the Yuntu still appears to be functional when the going gets rough. Smooth lines are integral to the Yuntu, but so is passenger enjoyment whether on road or off the beaten trail, an idea that rings through clearly in the design.
A panoramic roof ensures that the entire cabin is constantly close to the elements but it also has the dual purpose of ensuring that occupants never feel cramped, even when all seven seats are filled. Suicide doors ease ingress and egress, attempting to do away with the headache of loading all seven passengers into the SUV through standard doors. The driver and copilot can hardly claim they have it rough with an advanced touchscreen infotainment system residing between the two and allowing for individual access to climate and multimedia controls. Rear occupants aren’t left without technology either thanks to screens mounted behind the headrests of the driver and passenger seat.
Jeep hasn’t mentioned specifics about the powertrain, but the letters PHEV embossed on the door tell the story we suspected was true: that the Yuntu is a plug-in hybrid vehicle. Jeep claims it will provide a never-before seen driving experience, and for the life of us we can’t imagine what the automaker is hinting at here. If it comes to production in any form, expect it to inspire the next generation Grand Cherokee as well of other Jeep derivatives if we’re lucky.