The Jeep Hurricane is a concept vehicle unveiled by Daimler-Chrysler at the 2005 North American International Auto Show. It opened with and continues to receive rave reviews! So many in fact that it was rumored that Daimler-Chrysler was considering a limited production run of the vehicle. Those rumors have died down, but the Hurricane continues to draw the interest and attention of 4x4 afficianados, and hey, why not?
As Daimler-Chrysler has said: “Jeep Hurricane is simply the most maneuverable, most capable and most powerful 4x4 ever built," said Trevor Creed, Senior Vice President - Chrysler Group Design. "It pays homage to the extreme enthusiasts' Jeep vehicles in form and off-road capability, but is a unique interpretation of Jeep design. Simply stated, it is the extreme example for the Jeep brand."
Why build such a vehicle? The Hurricane broadly successfully and dramatically illustrates Daimler-Chrysler’s ingenuity, technical ability and wherewithal. Still, the Hurricane does have practical applications out in the real world. As a Daimler-Chrysler spokesman put it, "Out in the wilderness, changing direction in minimal space can mean the difference between an afternoon of adventure and a distress call back to the trailhead…..The multi-mode four-wheel steering system on Jeep Hurricane is designed to offer enthusiasts the next level of performance and unexpected maneuverability." It’s not hard to imagine that we’ll eventually see a military vehicle built off of this original design.
The Hurricane possesses an extremely powerful power system with not one but two 5.7-liter HEMI engines, one in the front and one in the back. Both engines deliver an impressive 335 horses for a total of 670 hp. The Hurricane set-up uses the Chrysler Group’s Multi-Displacement System which allows it to run on 4, 8, 12 or all 16 cylinders enabling it to adjust for speed, power and torque giving the driver ultimate power train control. The Hurricane is responsive and can go from 0 to 60 in less than five seconds!
The power is transferred through a central transfer case with split axles and has a mechanically controlled four-wheel torque distribution system. The suspensions, both front and rear, are short/long arm independent with 20 inches of travel, featuring coilover shocks with remote reservoirs.
One of the most impressive features of the Hurricane is its zero turning radius, which enables the vehicle to turn virtually in a circle in place! This is all thanks to a skid steer capability and toe steer, which is the ability to turn both front and rear tires inward. The Jeep concept vehicle has two types of 4-wheel steering: the traditional method with the rear tires turning opposite of the front wheels and an innovative one in which all four wheels turn in the same direction. This actually allows the Jeep Hurricane to move sideways without changing where it is pointing.
Topping off all of this is the Hurricane’s fantastic ground clearance of 14.3 inches and impressive approach-departure angles of 64.0 and 86.7 degrees. It really is a go anywhere do anything vehicle.
The Hurricane also features an innovative way to combine body, power-train and suspension. The suspension along with the power-train is mounted directly to the one-piece carbon fiber reinforced body, eliminating the weight and need for a frame. The vehicles belly is protected and connected by an aluminum spine, which acts as a huge skid plate mechanism. This is a lightweight and structurally strong set-up.
The general public wasn't the only ones who loved what they saw. The Jeep Hurricane won Autoweek’s “Most Fun” Concept award at the 2005 North American International Auto Show. As we noted earlier there were rumors that Daimler-Chrysler was toying with the idea of a limited production, but those rumors have died down amid the company’s statement that this was indeed a concept vehicle and that’s all (at least for now). Kids, however, will be able to enjoy the Hurricane as Fisher-Price has introduced an all-new Jeep Hurricane toy.
By Al Obern
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Al Obern is a 44-year-old native of Kentucky and has a knack for research on Jeeps. During the day he is a Marketing Manager for one of the leading suppliers for Jeep parts in the country today, https://XtremeTerrain.com.