5 Breakout Off-Road Trends From 2022 Easter Jeep Safari
In the Jeep world, there is no off-road event bigger than the annual Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah. Hosted by the Red Rock 4-Wheelers, the event not only gives Jeepers from all over the Nation a place to converge, but try their hand at some of the most scenic and challenging trails on the planet. While the Jeep concept vehicles always get the internet buzzing, EJS has also become a hot bed for new products and emerging trends. Here are five of the most exciting new off-road trends we noticed at the event.
It’s the tire size we’ve all been waiting for: the 38x12.50R17 Nitto Ridge Grappler! Given that there is less than a one-pound difference between the 38-inch-tall load-range C Ridge Grappler and the more common 37x12.50R17 Ridge, there won’t be a major hit the Jeep’s performance. While this is the absolute biggest tire we would recommend running on the stock JL Wrangler and JT Gladiator Rubicon axles, it’s an ideal option for those looking to get the biggest footprint off-road. In Moab, it become very clear that the 38 is quickly becoming the go-to tire size, especially for the Gladiator platform.
The 392 V8 remains the most exciting and powerful engine ever offered in the Wrangler. However, it was the amount of EcoDiesel Wranglers and Gladiators in Moab that completely surprised us. While the gassers still outnumbered the diesels considerably, the fact that each trail ride we were on had at least one or two mixed in the group means the take-rate is increasing. Each EcoDiesel owner raved about two things- the power and fuel economy. Though it seems like electric is still the future (more on that in a second), the diesel trend is clearly gaining momentum once again.
Not The Bronco Safari
Last year, Ford did a big push to get its new Ford Bronco in front of a diehard Jeep enthusiast base. This year, that presence was dialed way back. Maybe it’s due to production shortages or they simply decided to focus on their own events. One thing was certain, there were not a lot of Bronco’s in attendance. We hit the trail with a few over the week and learned that the major weak point on these new platforms can be found at the steering. It appears that the first point of failure is due to the smaller factory tie rods. Thankfully, there is already an assortment of aftermarket upgrades to handle the stock shortcomings. Unfortunately, beefing up these can lead to a steering rack failure. Something we witnessed firsthand. Like many new vehicles, there is always real-world growing pains. It’s safe to say that for now, the Jeep Safari isn’t going to be Bronco Safari anytime soon.
For years, there were few tires over 40 inches tall that were good at balancing on- and off-road performance. This is definitely no longer the case as the 42x13.50R20 Nitto Trail Grappler has now made it possible to have a massive set of treads that can easily handle long jaunts on the tarmac and extreme terrain. While the 20-inch-wheel has been a mainstay in full-size world, it’s slow becoming a normal in the Jeep community. Again, the Gladiator platform is the one that benefits the most from the larger treads and it’s what we saw these tires most frequently used on at EJS.
The Future Is Electric
Jeep has been rolling out concept vehicles to Easter Jeep Safari for as long as we can remember. Some extreme, some subtle, but all of them are hiding clues to what will be in future vehicles. Go back a few years and you’ll find JL grilles before the JL was even released and items like the high-line Rubicon fenders, which are now standard on the package. The most incredible concept that was shown this year was the Magento 2.0. It’s all electric and pushes out over 600 horsepower and 850 lb.-ft of torque. It’s said to reach zero to 60 in just 2 seconds- on 40-inch-tall tires mind you. That’s incredible. Oh, and did we mention it’s a manual transmission? Remember this Jeep. It’s important. Just how important? Nobody but the folks at Jeep know. But, we may very well be witnessing the next stage in the Jeep evolution.
More From Driving Line
- Want more Moab action? Check out our latest On The Trail video!