Jeep hasn’t sold a pickup truck since 1992 when the XJ Cherokee-based Comanche went out of production. Since then, Jeep has made many concept pickups to tease us. Now, we know that a JL Wrangler-based pickup is on its way, and it’s high on our list of cars we can’t wait to drive. To say we’re excited about the Wrangler pickup would be an understatement, so let’s round up everything we think we know about it.
Jeep started the Wrangler pickup fever in 2005 with the Gladiator Concept (shown above), but it never reached production. A handful of concepts since only served to whet our collective appetite further.
Finally, the late Fiat Chrysler CEO, Sergio Marchionne, confirmed in early 2016 that Jeep would be offering a production pickup version of the JL Wrangler, the standard SUV-version of which made its debut in late 2017.
We’ll See it In November
We suspected that the Wrangler pickup would make its debut at the LA Auto Show this year, and now it’s confirmed. Via Jalopnik, the LA Auto Show put out a press release saying that “a pickup truck from Jeep” will be among the cars making their world debut at the show. The media preview for the Auto Show starts November 27th, so expect to finally see the Wrangler pickup then, if not sooner.
AutoNews reports that Jeep dealers were told at a national conference that the Wrangler Pickup would arrive in their showrooms in April 2019. That means the truck will probably begin production around the end of this year.
We Think It’ll Be Called the Gladiator
Originally, rumor had it that the Wrangler pickup would be named Scrambler, after the rare two-door pickup CJ-8 built from 1981 to 1986. But more recently, we’ve heard some new evidence to the contrary. A tipster alerted Jeep Scrambler Forum to an apparent slip-up from within FCA. Briefly, on Jeep’s media page, a header appeared that said “2020 Jeep Gladiator.” (Jeep Scrambler Forum has since renamed itself “Jeep Gladiator Forum.”)
While the page was quickly removed from FCA’s media site, the Wrangler pickup rumor forum is so convinced of its veracity, the management is undertaking to change the forum’s name to Jeep Gladiator Forum. And if the rumor is true, it’s got precedent: “Gladiator” was the name for Jeep’s Wagoneer-based pickup truck built from 1963 to 1971, and Jeep resurrected the name for a JK-generation Wrangler-based concept truck from 2005 mentioned above.
It’ll (Probably) Look Like This
2020 Jeep Gladiator Leaked Photos Gallery
Ever since the Wrangler pickup was announced, we’ve been receiving spy photos and detailed renderings giving us a pretty clear picture of what to expect. Unsurprisingly, it looks like a Wrangler with a truck bed. The next-generation Wrangler sports a trimmer profile with a vertical, kinked grille and integrated turn signals/DRLs in the front fenders.
More recently, Jeep Gladiator Forum published a small trove of official-looking photos that were apparently uploaded to Fiat Chrysler’s media site (perhaps accidentally) and swiftly removed. From what we see in these images, the Jeep pickup will be available in four-door body style with a five-foot bed, with soft top or hard top options, in multiple trims including Rubicon and what we assume is Sahara.
It’s Been Rumored for Production for a While Now
We first heard rumblings of a JL Wrangler-based pickup in September of 2015. Of course, people have been clamoring for it for a much longer time.
It’ll Be Based on the New Wrangler Platform
The new Wrangler SUV debuted in late 2017 as a 2018 model, and it represents a massive improvement over its predecessor. That’s good news for the pickup. We’ve covered all of the details of the JL Wrangler in our story about its reveal and our first drive of a Rubicon model, but here are some highlights:
- The JL’s body is made from aluminum, which helps save up to 200 lbs of weight over its predecessor, the JK.
- The interior is much nicer than before, with better materials, sharper design, and FCA’s great UConnect infotainment system.
- It still comes standard with Chrysler’s 3.6-liter 285-hp Pentastar V6, but a new six-speed manual and optional eight-speed automatic make the most of it. Optional is a 270-hp turbocharged two-liter four-cylinder; a diesel V6 is set to debut later.
- Despite all this new stuff, the Wrangler still has a ladder frame and solid axles, exactly what off-roaders want.
It Probably Won’t Have a Hellcat Engine. . .
Yes,a Wrangler with the 707-hp supercharged V8 from the Hellcat in 2016, but it’s just a one-off fever dream. Don’t fret—if you really want a Hellcat motor and a seven-slat grille, there’s always the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk.
. . . But It’ll Likely Have a Diesel
According to screenshots of Jeep’s dealer system on the Jeep Scrambler Forums, the JT Wrangler Pickup will offer an optional 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 with auto start/stop as an engine choice.
Our most recent spy shots of the Wrangler Pickup feature the truck wearing some knobby off-road tires. Not the BFGoodrich All-Terrain TA KO2s used on the Wrangler Rubicon, but something seemingly similar from Falken. That indicates to us that the Wrangler Pickup will probably be offered with a Rubicon-esque variant to up its off-roading chops. It might be a pickup, but it’s still a Wrangler.
It’ll Sell Like Crazy
Americans love pickup trucks, and Americans love Jeeps. Sergio Marchionne knew this, so building a Wrangler pickup is a complete and total no-brainer. It’ll also be wildly different from every other pickup currently on sale, which should help it further.
Marchionne said at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show that FCA expects to sell 100,000 examples of the pickup per year, and they’ll be “expensive—intentionally so.”
The Roof and Doors Will Be Removable
An image taken during a tour of Jeep’s Toledo factory posted to Jeep Scrambler Forums shows the cab frame for the Wrangler pickup without doors and roof. That means you’ll likely be able to remove the roof and doors from this truck, just like the regular Wrangler. It also looks like the pickup will get the regular Wrangler’s fold-down windshield too.
The Scrambler Forums have evidence from internal Jeep documents showing that the roof will be removable. There will likely be up to three roof configurations available—manual-folding soft top, hardtop with removable roof panels, and power-sliding soft top—just like the JL Wrangler.