Since the Commanche was retired more than two decades ago, enthusiasts have been pining for a new Jeep truck. Such folk may commence rejoicing, as a truck variant is reportedly penciled in for the next generation Wrangler.
For those who just won’t get the Jeep truck kit
If the fact that there isn’t a Jeep truck depresses you, be of good cheer – because like Arnold Schwarzenegger, it was always going to be back. Multiple outlets are reporting it, but the scoop was picked up by Automotive News.
The new Jeep truck is going to be a variant of the Wrangler, which will actually be the first mid-size truck made by the Chrysler complex since Dodge/Ram dropped the Dakota.
Very little information is available about the vehicle itself, outside of the (reported) fact that Jeep will make a Wrangler-based truck, and release will be along with the next-generation Wrangler, which is (thus far) set for the 2017 model year. Part and parcel to the Wrangler truck being made is also a consolidation of the Jeep manufacturing plant in Toledo, Ohio, which will wind down Cherokee production – which is being moved elsewhere – and concentrate solely on Wrangler production.
It’s been a long time
There hasn’t been a Jeep truck in almost 20 years, which is somewhat an oddity; until the mid-1990s, Jeep always made a truck. The first was the Gladiator, a full-size pickup launched in the 1960s, which barely changed until Jeep stopped production in the 1980s. Then came the Commanche, a mid-size pickup based on the Cherokee platform, which was produced until the mid-90s.
Since then, people who love Jeep but also love trucks have had to either buy a truck elsewhere and pine, or convert their Wrangler. This could be done either with a certain amount of intrepidity (meaning jerry-rigging) or purchasing a (costly) kit.
In either case, you also have to confront the knowledge that you’ll be spending a lot of time in your friend’s Toyota, whilst being driven to the parts store. (Oh yes, he did.)
Diesel, Aluminum among rumors for next Wrangler
Along with a Jeep truck based on the Wrangler, there are a few things in store for the nation’s favorite off-roader. There was a rumor of an aluminum body, which was rubbished. However, what seems to be a lock iis a diesel drivetrain, according to Autoblog, namely the same diesel package offered in the Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500, which consists of a 3.0-liter diesel six-cylinder and eight-speed ZF transmission.
Granted, diesel Wranglers have been available for some time outside the United States, so it’s not exactly an accomplishment. That said, Fiat Chrysler filed with the SEC for a diesel Wrangler, so this appears likely. Other rumored drivetrain packages include a small turbo-four, according to Autoguide.