A pickup truck based on the 2018 Jeep Wrangler. After years of toying with the idea of bringing back a pickup variant (who remembers the early ’80s CJ-8 Scrambler?) to the lineup, Jeep finally is moving forward with what has to be the most obvious brand extension for its most iconic model. These test mules, based on the four-door Wrangler Unlimited, are the first we’ve seen of the new truck.
Jeep is the profit locomotive of the FCA train, and so it makes all kinds of sense for the company to expand the brand’s offerings. Rather than moving in the direction of more carlike vehicles, which threaten to dilute the brand image, a Wrangler-based pickup is the most natural addition to the Jeep portfolio that we can think of. Chrysler would seem to know it, too, given the number of 2018 Jeep Wrangler pickup concepts it has shown over the years. The fact that there have been previous Jeep pickups also helps a ton. Moreover, the arrival of the new Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon has reignited the mid-size pickup-truck market.
The 2018 Jeep Wrangler is switching to a new architecture next year—which will still be body-on-frame—and that’s the platform that will underpin the pickup, as well. The new architecture uses a steel frame but makes more extensive use of aluminum and plastic body panels to save weight, which should pay dividends not only for the two-door and four-door Wranglers, but also for the pickup.
In announcing the Wrangler pickup, Jeep gave late 2017 as the estimated time of arrival, and we’ve seen nothing since then to suggest that timing has slipped. Pricing is pretty much guesswork, but we figure it’ll cost more than a 2018 Jeep Wrangler, so maybe $30,000 to start.