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Adventures in Versatility: The New Jeep Varsity

9 January 2000

Go-Anywhere, Do-Anything Urban Adventure Concept Blurs Line Between Boulevard and Boulder Performance
    DETROIT -- The unmistakable seven-slotted grille, the trademark trapezoidal 
wheel openings, radical approach and departure angles, ample ground clearance.  
And -- of course -- four-wheel drive.

    Did DaimlerChrysler introduce a new Jeep(R) sport-utility concept at the 
2000 North American International Auto Show?  No.  It's the Jeep Varsity, a 
go-anywhere, do-anything urban adventure concept.

    "We once again challenged ourselves to invent a new vehicle category,"
said Tom Gale, Executive Vice President - Product Development and Design.  "In
doing so, we melded the versatility of a five-door hatchback with a unique
roofline and the Grand Cherokee's capability.

    "As sporty and powerful as it is, the Varsity is a true Jeep vehicle.
This concept is as adventurous as the people who drive Jeep vehicles today --
whether in an urban environment or off-road."

    The Jeep Varsity is powered by a 3.5-liter, 300 horsepower, 255 lb.-ft.
V-6 engine coupled to a four-speed electronically controlled automatic
transmission and a shift-on-the-fly transfer case with full-time four-wheel
drive, rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive low-range modes.

    Custom independent front and rear suspension with coil-over-shock set-up
and massive 19-inch wheels with P235/55R tires provide the ride and handling
expected from a sports sedan.  Estimated performance figures include a sprint
to 60 mph in 7.1 seconds and a top speed of 130 mph.

    "Varsity speaks right to the heart of the serious driving enthusiast,"
said Bill Chergosky, Product Designer at DaimlerChrysler's Pacifica Advanced
Product Design Center in Carlsbad, Calif.

    "We designed this vehicle with adventurous people in mind.  With its
versatility, Varsity could very well be a family vehicle, but its performance,
capability and appearance push Varsity into a new arena.  It has this
adventurous 'no strings attached' aura."

    Added Chergosky: "With Grand Cherokee as its inspiration for capability,
Jeep Varsity was developed as a car that is perfectly suited to environments
where trucks are becoming ever more popular.

    "Sport-utility-style command-of-the-road seating positions combined with
robust bumpers, substantial wheel flares and side sill, a strong character
line and high belt make Varsity a heavy-duty car."

    Confidence-inspiring shapes continue in the wheels.  A five-spoke design
executed with faceted aluminum billets, the wheels give Varsity a sure-footed

    Head and tail lamps have a precise, crafted appearance and improved light
output to enhance the vehicle's safety and security while signaling the Jeep
heritage through round bezels.

    Creating a fresh, more vertical interpretation of the legendary and
trademarked Jeep "face," Varsity reflects design cues from both Grand Cherokee
and Wrangler.

    Wrangler's influence is also noticeable in the concept's profile, with the
A-pillar continuing to the Grand Cherokee-style trapezoidal wheel flare.

    Together with the vehicle's athletic stance, the rear design shows off
Varsity's tailored sporty personality.  Impressive center-mounted chrome
double exhaust pipes, its round lamp treatment and the oversized Jeep name on
the decklid spell performance.

    Chiseled lines in the bumper, decklid and lamp surrounds make for a
powerful design statement.  Overall, this generates an all-new rear "face" for
a Jeep vehicle.

    The interior mimics Varsity's exterior design with substantial shapes,
strong lines and a backbone-style center console running through the vehicle.

    The symmetrical instrument panel incorporates large round gauges with
tipped-out angular surfaces and yellow-green glowing backlights.  Executed in
heavy-duty materials, the interior suggests a rugged scuba-diving or
mountaineering readiness.

    Said Chergosky: "The instruments, dials and other details appear to be
more than just that.  The doorhandle could be rock climbing equipment and the
vehicle compass and attitude sensor would fit nicely in a survival kit.  The
two-wheel and four-wheel drive modes are selected by a solid metal dial.  Big
green stitches adorn the leather steering wheel and seats.  Adding
sophistication, the interior is executed in warm celery- and olive-based
colors with inviting textures."

    The center stack interlocks with the backbone console and incorporates
vertical design elements in harmony with Varsity's front and rear exterior
appearance.  Black rubber inlays in the satin aluminum surfaces and raised
aluminum strips in the cargo area add to the protective atmosphere in the

    Concluded Gale: "The Jeep Varsity urban adventure concept blurs the line
between boulevard and boulder performance."