Until the Ford Bronco arrives next summer, few vehicles can match the Jeep Wrangler in off-road capability. That’s why it has been such a popular product for so long. So popular, that with the latest JL generation, Jeep has expanded the Wrangler template to include the Gladiator pickup. So if Jeep can apply the Wrangler to a pickup, what else could they turn it into? If you ask designer Samir Sadikhov, a van is next on the list. Best of all, the Lamborghini, Genesis and Rezvani designer has decided to call it the Vangler. Brilliant.
Sadikhov revealed the design renderings on his @samirscustoms Instagram page, which says it’s designs are mainly for fun. The Vangler looks about like you’d expect a van-ified Jeep Wrangler to look: no hood, boxy proportions, long wheelbase and lots of glass. But being a Jeep, it’s got some chunky off-road tires and great ground clearance. It looks purposeful, but with a sense of humor, just like a Jeep should be.
There are some neat details too. There’s a winch up front, a roof basket for carrying gear, and what looks like three rows of seating inside. Some of the renderings even have tube doors, giving the passengers an open air experience no other van can offer. As a way to carry 7-9 people over virtually any terrain, the Vangler looks like a great option.
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While this is just a design rendering off a Jeep Wrangler, there could actually be a business case for such a model. Overlanding is huge right now, so a van with Jeep capability out of the factory would be exciting to many. Plus, Jeep could easily offer it as a passenger van, but also a camper van. Modified off-road van-life conversions are one of the most popular ways to jump on the overloading trend, and Jeep could capitalize on it.
Unfortunately, as impressive as Sadikhov’s portfolio is, there’s little chance Jeep would turn their Wrangler into a Vangler looking like this. It doesn’t look like there’s any room for an engine up front, so Jeep would have to wait for an eventual Wrangler EV platform to make this idea work. Plus, the blunt front end would be a nightmare to get through pedestrian crash regulations.
Still, an off-road passenger or campervan is something Jeep, or any manufacturer, should investigate. Ford is somewhat doing this with the Transit Trail, but it’s only offered in the UK. The aftermarket proves there’s a strong customer base, and offering something turn key from the factory would attract more interest.