Jeep Wrangler-based Brute makes other monsters cry

Jeep Wrangler-based Brute makes other monsters cry

Ridiculous can be both a compliment and an insult. With the Jeep Wrangler-based ‘Brute’ pickup, it is definitely the former.
 
Fiat Chrysler New Zealand has dipped into the American after-market to launch the 5.5-metre long double cab – that’s 150mm longer than Ford’s Ranger – into the New Zealand market.
 
This monstrous ute starts life on Jeep production lines as a four-door Wrangler Unlimited model – and then things go a bit mad.

The mild-mannered Jeep goes to American Expedition Vehicles in Montana, where it has its chassis modified and stretched. 

AMV delicately chop off the rear off the cabin and replace it with a new back wall before adding a hugBrutee 153cm by 155cm tray  made of composite materials claimed to be far stronger and lighter, than steel.

The Brute is an ‘overland’ vehicle, designed for long off-tarmac journeys, and gets cool touches – like a water tank built into the rear bumper – plus more serious off-road hardware.

There are two models, Sport and the top one, Rubicon, which gets Jeep’s hardcore Rock-Trac 4WD system with a 4.0:1 low range ratio, a Dana 44 heavy-duty front axle, an extra low range gearbox ratio, front and rear electric locking diffs, body-protecting rails and an electronically disconnectable front anti-roll bar for extra axle articulation.

It keeps the same 209kW Pentastar V6 engine used by other Jeeps, but matched to a five-speed automatic.

Yup, its big

The goal of pickups/utes seems to be who makes the biggest – but the Brute takes that to new levels – outside at least.

Running on huge offroad tyres and raised suspension, you climb, rather than step into the it. Remember playing with a ‘Big Foot’ toy as a kid? This is the chance to drive it.
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This is not a city vehicle, in a parking building it took 16 turns to get the massively long Brute, with its tight turning circle and no parking sensors or camera, up just three levels.

(Subhead) Huge fun, steep price

Ok, so the Brute drives like a raised off-road vehicle with a lengthened chassis on aggressive tyres. It’s noisy, the steering is a little slow and the driving position and ergonomics are more functional than comfortable.

On the plus side the Pentastar is a willing performer, and the extra-long wheel base means it rides surprisingly well.

Of course, this is a specialist vehicle with a price tag a steep as the hills the big mad thing can climb – $114,990 for the Sport and $124,990 for the Rubicon.

Yes, that is a lot – but it seems Kiwis will pay for serious toys. The first shipment sold out fast, there’s a second batch on the way.

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