Jeep showed off a bunch of concept trucks today, all of which are headed for the 2018 Easter Jeep Safari. The hands-down favorite was the Jeep Wagoneer Roadtrip, a subtly resto-modded '60s Wagoneer with a modern drivetrain and a ton of subtle little updates to bring the vintage off-roader into the 21st century.
And while you were distracted by that, Jeep parked the facelifted Renegade right under our noses and we didn't even notice.
Well, that's not necessarily true. Our colleague Daniel Golson, an editor at our sister publication Car and Driver, on the "B-Ute," the Renegade-based concept that joined the Wagoneer and Wrangler concept vehicles.
That's right. Take a closer look at the nose of that Renegade. Notice how the headlights are a little deeper set, the grille a little more prominent? See the redesigned bezel surrounding the below-the-headlight fog lights, the new skid plate and tow hooks?
Compare to the current Renegade. There's definitely something new going on here:
Fiat-Chrysler designers have made a habit of sneaking out new models like this—before they debut at auto shows or unveiling events, and before we're really even ready to spot them. Take a look back at these 2017 Easter Jeep Safari concepts, which debuted nearly half a month before the JL Wrangler was unveiled. Does that grille, with the headlights intruding into the outer radiator slots, seem familiar? It's the JL Wrangler's nose, parked right in front of us without us even knowing:
And think back to when the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon was still in the rumor-and-speculation stage, months before its debut. , wearing aftermarket-looking fender flares and festooned in tuner stickers, prowling around the streets. Only now, with the benefit of hindsight, do we know that this was an honest to goodness Demon prototype, wearing just enough decoy stickers to make us think it was just some hot-rodder's homebrew kit.
Personally, I love how Fiat-Chrysler does this. It's like getting a look in the designers' sketchbooks, catching a glimpse of their experiments and ideas as they're being mulled and refined. Of course, we never know which ones are headed for production until much later—the surprise only reveals itself in hindsight.
So maybe take one extra look at today's Easter Jeep Safari concepts. There's a good chance you'll see something that's destined for future production. Even if you won't recognize it just yet.