(first posted 9/17/2014) The thing about cars that were considered very ugly when new is that they often tend to mellow with age, like the perpetually-maligned Pontiac Aztek; it doesn’t really look so bad anymore. It was just a bit too far ahead of its time, and had a few unfortunate details, like its beak. But it hardly stands out anymore, and has actually become hip, especially since Breaking Bad. But the Vehicross? After some fifteen years is it looking a bit less out there?
The Vehicross is one of those rare concept vehicles that actually got built with very few changes. How odd is that? Well, maybe a bit too odd. We’re all used to seeing the fantasies of designers at car shows, but if a concept really does make it to production, it’s usually pretty heavily watered down. It was shown at the 1993 Tokyo Motor Show.
It’s the kind of concept that was pretty common at the time, a futuristic update on the Jeep, essentially, with its 2+2 seating, high ground clearance, and very short overhangs. How many futuristic CJ concepts did Jeep show us over the decades? Well, it turns out Jeep buyers are a pretty conservative bunch, and like their changes very incrementally.
AGuyinVancouver posted this one at the Cohort. It’s hard to say which angle when looking at the Vehicross is the worst, but its rear end is clearly a contender. This spare tire cover looks more like some very strange butt cancer.
The front looks almost good in comparison. The best side is the underside, though, which featured a shortened frame and running gear from the Trooper, including its V6 engine. Its on-road AWD system was computer-controlled (“TOD”) with 12 sensors to determine which wheel had the best grip; pretty standard stuff nowadays. And its off-street creds were considerable, with locking-differential and low-ratio making the most of its considerable ground clearance and very good approach angles.
Some 5,958 were ever built, of which 4,153 were sold in the US between 1999 and 2001. Will they become collectible classics someday?
Related reading: CC 2001 Pontiac Aztek: A Face Only A Mother Could Love