Spied: Jeep Scrambler Pickup, Still a Year Away

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
spied jeep scrambler pickup still a year away

There’s never been a vehicle more difficult to camouflage than the upcoming Jeep Scrambler, the pickup version of the new-for-2018 JL Wrangler. Unlike the anonymous rolling blobs we call crossovers, Jeep’s insistence on a traditional, square-rigged design makes for easy spotting.

As we can see in these spy photos, the didn’t stop Fiat Chrysler engineers from wheeling around in a prototype JT Scrambler. Production begins in 10 months, meaning off-road fans will have to warm themselves with photos of the conventional Wrangler until the wraps comes off later this year.

We’ve shown you Scrambler shots before, but these ones were too clear to pass up. JL Wrangler cues abound, such as the horizontal, fender-mounted turn signals and what looks to be a carryover grille. Beneath the vehicle, we see a modified Wrangler Unlimited frame and solid front and rear axles. The front bumper looks a little narrower than the one found on the Scrambler’s bedless brethren, but this is a pre-production model. Camo-clad side-view mirrors appear larger (and as square as the vehicle itself).

We don’t know for sure what powertrains will be on offer in this model, but the conventional Wrangler see three engines — a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, 3.6-liter V6, and diesel 3.0-liter V6 (coming for the 2019 model year) — coupled with a six-speed manual and eight-speed automatic transmission. It’s highly doubtful Jeep plans to sell a four-cylinder Wrangler pickup with a 48-volt mild hybrid system. That particular powertrain seems like oil to the pickup’s vinegar.

In the JL Wrangler, the 3.0-liter diesel makes 260 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque — plenty of grunt to challenge rivals in the midsize pickup segment. Granted, with a vehicle this unique (and no doubt carrying a premium), there probably won’t be all that many would-be buyers cross-shopping a Colorado and a Scrambler. Design and need-to-have plays an outsized role here.

Increasing the pickup’s appeal is an optional soft top that allows for al fresco driving. If you’ve got the cash, surely a convertible four-door pickup with serious off-road prowess would be difficult to pass up.

FCA kicks off Scrambler production at Toledo Assembly in November 2018, once the remaining JK Wranglers vacate the assembly line this spring and the automaker spends the summer retooling. Availability begins in 2019.

If you’re expecting to see a sneak peak at next week’s North American International Auto Show, don’t hold your breath. After the 2018 Wrangler’s recent debut in L.A., the Detroit show looks to be reserved for the refreshed 2019 Cherokee and little else.

[Images: Brian Williams/SpiedBilde]

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  • Loser Loser on Jan 11, 2018

    Was hoping there would be a 2 door version but I’d be one of the few to actually buy it. The 4 door just looks too long and kind of odd to me. Back when the original Scrambler (CJ-8) was new I wanted one bad but couldn’t afford it. Nice used ones go for crazy money now.

  • Whynotaztec Whynotaztec on Jan 11, 2018

    Seeing this just reinforces the point that GM really really blew it with Hummer. I have to wonder why that brand has not been resurrected. Got a good look at the new Wrangler at the Boston auto show today. Suddenly my 2015 seems so old. I have been a 2 door loyalist all along, but something about the new one makes me want a 4 door now. And the new roofs are amazing, seems like they will be much easier to deal with.

    • Bd2 Bd2 on Jan 12, 2018

      GM could easily do something along these lines (as well as something along the lines of the Wrangler) with GMC. So the Scrambler is already undergoing late-stage testing and the Santa Cruz is where?

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