Jeep is the profit locomotive of the FCA train, and so it makes all kinds of sense for the company to expand its 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 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.
A New Architecture Next Year
The 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 aluminium and plastic body panels to save weight, which should pay dividends for the two-door and four-door Wranglers and the pickup.
Look for Chrysler’s 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6, which powers the current Wrangler, to return with a manual and an automatic transmission. The automatic should be a ZF-sourced eight-speed, rather than the five-speed in today’s Wrangler. A 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder also is expected for the Wrangler (it could be called Hurricane) and could appear in the pickup version, as well. So, too, could a turbo-diesel. Four-wheel drive, of course, will be available, but Jeep could offer rear-wheel drive since that’s natural for pickups.
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