Without a doubt, the Jeep brand has been a global success story for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. While the Wrangler is still very much the rugged, traditional standard-bearer for the brand, its singular purpose and construction limit its popularity among customers with little intention of going off-road. Many Jeep customers are simply attracted to the brand for its rugged reputation and styling. Consumer tastes and regulatory realities are at a loggerheads in much of the world, with exhaust emissions and fuel consumption goals getting tougher every year. To meet the two seemingly conflicting objectives of meeting consumer demand for SUVs while meeting ever-tighter environmental regulations, Jeep debuted the Yuntu concept at this year’s Shanghai Auto Show.
Solid details on the Yuntu are scarce, with Jeep only saying, “This new concept includes futuristic exterior design, flexible interior and a plug-in hybrid powertrain. SUVs are the fastest-growing segment in China and the Jeep Yuntu Concept showcases the potential for the Jeep brand to keep expanding in the country.”
It’s believed the Yuntu is loosely based on the Cherokee and may use some of the drivetrain components out of the Pacifica Hybrid minivan. The concept is a three-row crossover with an upright, yet modern, profile. The interior features natural-wood accent trim and contemporary, minimalist displays and controls. We don’t altogether hate the looks or the idea of the Yuntu, although the Jeep traditionalists will likely howl at the idea of a plug-in Jeep.