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Jeep Trailhawk news - Detroit show: Jeep Trailhawk - 2007

For all its rugged off-road ability, the Jeep Wrangler has never really pushed the innovation envelope.

In fact, as far as communications-related metaphors go, the Wrangler is still making smoke signals and beating a goatskin drum.

So the Jeep Trailhawk concept represents a much-needed venture into the land of at least moderate comfort and technological prowess.

The evolution of the current Wrangler, the Trailhawk is a four-wheel-drive 4x4 powered by a 3.0-litre common-rail diesel.

The oil-burner will see the Jeep to 60mph in nine seconds - hardly blistering performance, but Chrysler promises that the Trailhawk will retain the dogged off-road performance of the Wrangler.

Inside the cabin, things are worryingly civilised - two-tone leather, aluminium trim and a touch-pad console. There’s still the familiar centre stack compass and inclinometer though, for those times when you’re not quite sure which way is down.

Chrysler reckons the Trailhawk could see production by 2009 - by which time, no doubt, the old ‘innovation envelope’ metaphor shall be rendered obsolete.

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