It seems like some of our spy shooters are getting more creative with drone cameras, so manufacturers beware. From the looks of these photos of the new Jeep pickup, there's plenty going on in the bed and rear-cab areas. In fact, the prototype short bed on the extended Wrangler platform looks much like a Ram 1500 short-bed box with some kind of slide-out floor feature.
We think this might be an intentional camouflage setup given that Mike Manley, head of Jeep and Ram, has said repeatedly that a Jeep pickup will have to be very different from Ram offerings. However, that would be a difficult position to hold if you’re going to share the piece that makes both vehicles a pickup.
Here's what our colleagues in the field had to say:
"After years of anguished deliberation, Jeep is now moving forward with a Wrangler-based pickup truck, and we've finally spied Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' engineers testing just that.
"Jeep hasn't a pickup since the Comanche ended its run in 1992. Since then, Chrysler and FCA have floated the idea of a Wrangler pickup with the Gladiator concept in 2005 and the J-12 Concept at the 2012 Moab Easter Jeep Safari.
"The prototype in our photos uses the four-door Unlimited body style with a fairly sizable pickup bed. That said, looking at the placement of the rear wheels in the wheel well, we're pretty sure this probably isn’t the final bed design.
"We can also see some seriously aggressively treaded off-road-ready tires on this test car.
"Code named 'JL,' the regular 2018 Wrangler will start production in the fourth quarter of 2017. The Wrangler pickup, code named 'JT,' will go into production in the third or fourth quarter of 2018, making the pickup a 2019 model-year vehicle. Both will be built at the Toledo, Ohio, plant.
"The entire Wrangler lineup will be riding on a new chassis and feature more weight-saving materials — it's been reported there will be only limited use of aluminum.
"The new Wrangler will be offered with a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder, a 3.6-liter gas V-6 and a yet-unnamed turbo-diesel. We've also heard rumors of a plug-in hybrid variant."
Chris Doane Automotive images