Power Wheel Jeep Hurricane - Inside a HurricanePosted in Project Vehicles on March 4, 2007 Comment (0)
We bet you're not going to read an in-depth evaluative test of the Hurricane in Motor Trend, Four Wheeler, or even Fancy Car Buyer magazine. Only at Jp Magazine will you find this exclusive flogging of the final production version of Jeep's concept vehicle showstopper.
The Hurricane that wowed the crowds at automotive shows last year sported niceties such as dual 335hp Hemis, four-wheel steering for a zero turning radius, and a high-tech alloy aluminum undercarriage and suspension. Impressive, to be sure, but not stuff that lends itself easily to mass marketing or high-volume production. That's why the production version we got our hands on differed slightly from the concept vehicle.
Unlike the twin 5.7L Hemi engines, our Power Wheels Hurricane sported an emissions-friendly electric motor powered by a 12-volt rechargeable battery housed in the rear. That's right, we're now legal to use the carpool lanes with only one occupant in the vehicle, although the production version's 5 mph top speed will probably buy a few dirty looks while cruising the 405 freeway. There is also a "valet" lockout on the shifter that tops the Jeep out at 2.5 mph, so you can rest easy after tossing your plastic key to the pimply faced kid at the night club.
Besides being environmentally green, the Power Wheels Hurricane makes copious use of space-age plastics and lightweight materials to shave the curb weight down from the concept vehicle's 3,850 pounds to a svelte 103 pounds. Yet it's still able to carry 130 pounds of payload. Likewise, urban utility has been greatly increased in the production version. Its miniscule length snakes into tight parking spaces and parallel parks much easier than its 152-inch predecessor.
Although both Jeeps are two seaters, the Power Wheels Hurricane sports interior creature comforts like side steps, dual seatbelts, a decent-sized cupholder, an adjustable seat, and a working FM radio. We hooked our Sirius satellite radio up to it and rocked out to the sounds of Raffi and "Wheels On the Bus" during the majority of our testing. The built-in navigation system lets you know through an audible signal when you're turning left and right by saying "turning right" or "turning left." These directions are further enhanced by lighted indicators in the dash-brilliant in its simplicity. Furthermore, the digital clock let our testers time acceleration runs or know when it was time to come in for a juice box and a nap.
During the pavement portion of our testing, we found the acceleration of the rear-wheel-drive vehicle to be brisk. In fact, it was somewhat easy to break the rear tire loose with throttle on steep blacktop. The concept Hurricane rolled on 38-inch tall soft compound 305/70-20s. The Power Wheels Hurricane sports wear-friendly tires with a hard, hard durometer rating. It's so hard, in fact, you might even think they're plastic. They don't bite very well on pavement, but in wet grass and dirt, the lugs take hold.
And speaking of off-road abuse, our testers showed the Jeep no mercy, driving almost as if they were beginners behind the wheel. Rocks, tree stumps, off-camber terrain, and undulating lawn all fell prey to the Hurricane's biting rear tires. While 4WD would have been nice, the newest Jeep was able to get itself fairly well into serious terrain. When forward momentum ceased, a little nudge from behind was usually all that was needed to get going again.
Although the Power Wheels Jeep Hurricane is covered by a full bumper-to-bumper warranty and even comes in two colors, "Go Almost Anywhere Green" and "Backyard Blue," it's not available at just any Jeep dealership. To find yours, you'll have to go through Fisher Price or a toy store near you.