What’s the best way to get everyone talking about something other than recalls and reliability issues? Throw out some vibrantly painted, limited edition variants for display at the LA Auto Show. Nothing says “we’ve got this” quite like a couple of hardcore Jeeps to get buyers excited. One is a nocturnal predator, designed for track abuse and burnouts, the other is a purple snow bunny that leaves little doubt that Jeep is still riding high after all the insanity of SEMA the other week.
“Jeep enthusiasts anticipate and truly appreciate special-edition models that deliver a customized Jeep SUV right from the factory,” said Mike Manley, head of Jeep. “The Grand Cherokee SRT Night and Wrangler Backcountry both offer a distinctive appearance, while delivering an array of prominent performance and capability features.” Jeep isn’t wasting any time either, as the 2016 Jeep Wrangler Backcountry is slated to arrive in showrooms in a couple weeks, and the Grand Cherokee SRT Night will be made available sometime during the first quarter of 2016.
Starting off with what Jeep is referring to as the Grand Cherokee SRT “Night Edition,” this already overly-potent SRT model features a two-tone paint job that’s immediately recognizable due to its darkened accents and performance alloy wheels. The roof, rear spoiler, front grille, both B and C pillars, as well as side window surrounds have all been adorned in gloss black. Jeep has given the SUV a front appliqué that has been sprayed in satin black, along with all of the badging on the hood and rear liftgate, probably because gloss and satin paint complement each other so well in small amounts.
Limited, lightweight, and seriously split, the SRT’s five-spoke rollers are a 5Ten 20-inch creation and have been finished in satin black to better contrast with those big-ass Brembo brakes. Specialty interior upgrades include “Black Laguna” leather with silver accent stitching, along with “Light Black Chrome” bezels because subtle still is sexy. Available exterior colors include Velvet Red, Billet Silver, and Granite Crystal.
On the downside, the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Night doesn’t get any major performance upgrades, so buyers will have to make do with the standard 475 horsepower 6.4-liter V8, and if 470 pound-feet of torque isn’t enough, speed freaks can always upgrade to a quality aftermarket exhaust, a computer reflash/tune, or a high-flow air intake system to free-up some extra power. Even if more grunt isn’t your thing, know that this rare SUV does still sport Jeep’s clever adaptive dampening suspension, as well as a Selec-Terrain traction control system for getting the most grip possible.
Available add-ons include a dual-pane sunroof, a 19-speaker, 825-watt Harman Kardon sound system, a trailer tow package, multi-season tires, a full-size spare, and a dual-screen rear entertainment system. So if hitting 60 in 4.8 seconds, doing a 0-100-0 mile-per hour gauntlet in just 16.3 seconds, and hitting a top speed of 160 sounds like a lot of fun, add a little visual flare and a bitching sound track to the mix, because this Jeep’s for you.
On the opposing side of the coin resides the Jeep Wrangler Backcountry, a vibrant machine that features a winter theme that is the polar opposite (heh) of the Wrangler Sahara model. With big “Backcountry” decals on both the front fender and rear quarter panel, there’s no mistaking this limited run “snow patrol machine” for anything else, especially in the color seen here.
If for some reason you didn’t notice those over-sized decals, be sure to note the front and rear bumpers that have been powder coated a special shade of subtle, those 17-inch Rubicon wheels that have been dipped in Mid-gloss Black, and the unique fuel fill door. While Rubicon rock rails may come standard on the Backcountry, it’s the Sahara side steps being available at no additional charge, along with the option of having a hard top that is paint matched to the rest of the body that got our interest.
The Wrangler Backcountry will come in five colors, with Hydro Blue, Black, Bright White, Granite Crystal, and Xtreme Purple as your options. It is worth noting that the Backcountry is also slated to be the only model in the Wrangler family that comes in the “Xtreme Purple” you see here, which looks like “Plum Crazy Purple” with a fat splash of violet tossed in for good measure to make it a little more pop-centric.
Inside the cabin, Jeep’s Backcountry offers piano black vent rings to match its door and oh-shit handles, which adds some subtle bling to the equation without being overly obnoxious. Its vinyl-wrapped console and armrests, Diesel Gray stitching, McKinley black leather seat bolsters, sport mesh inserts, nine-speaker Alpine sound system, and all-weather slush mats, make this winterized serving of ruggedness certainly has some interesting interior updates. Tech-wise, the Backcountry sports standard Bluetooth hands-free connectivity so you can focus on avoiding avalanches, and while it may not be the craziest Jeep ever, it certainly is simplistically stylish looking. The only downside we see with this Jeep is that much like the SRT Night, it doesn’t have any performance upgrades, which makes it more of a trophy wife than a hard-working sugar mama — perfectly fine for certain buyers, as both vehicles are already plenty capable.