Jeep makes Wrangler a bed: new pick-up Wrangler spotted

Published: 03 August 2016

► Latest Wrangler pick-up spy shots
► Expected to arrive in late 2018
► Range of engines, including a diesel

If the likes of the Toyota Hilux and Mitsubishi L200 don’t float your boat, then you may be in luck – because Jeep is working on a pick-up version of its fabled Wrangler.

Our spy photographers caught the new Wrangler-based pick-up being tested both on and off the road, in a heavily camouflaged form. This prototype is a four-door version, with a sizeable bed on the back, although other versions may well be in the works.

The concept of a Jeep pick-up isn’t a new one. The company has several in its back catalogue, including the Gladiator of the ’60s and the Cherokee-based Comanche – which was launched in 1985 and ran until 1992. When the Comanche production finally lines shut down, the era of the Jeep pick-up ended.

Why did Jeep stop making pick-ups?

They were never hugely popular and Dodge – another of parent company Chrysler’s brands – was enjoying great success with its range of pick-ups.  Because Chrysler was, at the time, trying to coordinate its efforts a little better, the decision was made to have Dodge retain and focus on pick-ups – while Jeep would stick to SUVs.

2018 Jeep Wrangler pick-up spy shots

So why bring it back now?

Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne is likely keen to cash in on the current success of the booming ‘compact’ pick-up market in the US, hence the sudden appearance of the Jeep Wrangler pick-up.

Jeep clearly likes the idea itself, mind, as it’s been touting various pick-up concepts since 2005 – and it has the history, market appeal and the know-how to field stout contender in the sector.

Tell me more about the new one.

It’s believed to be codenamed ‘JT’, set to go into production in late 2018, and will be based on the upcoming 2018 ‘JL’ Wrangler. Sources suggest that the entire line-up will feature new underpinnings, as well as an extensive engine range – including a 3.6-litre petrol V6, a diesel, and potentially even a turbocharged four-cylinder petrol and a hybrid version.

Production will take place at Chryler’s Toledo Complex, in Toledo, Ohio. There’s no word on pricing or if a right-hand-drive version will be offered, yet, but expect more news closer to the next-gen Wrangler’s launch in 2017.

Read CAR magazine’s Jeep reviews here

2018 Jeep Wrangler pick-up spy shots

By Lewis Kingston

CAR's online editor. Inveterate car buyer and seller; currently owner of a '68 Charger project car