Jeep pickup "officially" named Scrambler; images revealed and details confirmed
This will come as a surprise to almost nobody, but new reports are confirming that Jeep has decided to give the upcoming Wrangler-based pickup a nostalgic name from the company’s past: Scrambler.
Details of Jeep’s decision to use the heritage-embodying name have been leaked to JLWranglerForums, and deliver on the goods not just in nameplate but also in both engine and the future vehicle’s open-roof design. It appears that Jeep wholeheartedly plans to deliver on the idea of a bed-bearing JL Wrangler, and will introduce the model either alongside its off-road SUV counterpart or shortly after, in what will finally, after a long leave of absence, bring the Jeep brand into a market they haven’t truly occupied since the Comanche went out of production in the early ’90s. This will be a much welcomed addition to the lineup as well as to the field of small/midsize pickups available today, and is an exciting move for Jeep that fans have been clamoring for since the Scrambler concept graced our presence back in 2005.
Last December we explored what Jeep needs to get right with their soon-to-be-in-production truck and now we’re actually seeing what it will look like when it comes to fruition, not just in its appearance but in how it will stack up mechanically and in its unique roof offerings. Hit the jump to read on what new info has come out about the JL Scrambler.
I guess we can call this a “breakthrough” in the Land of JL Wrangler: Jeep has finally “confirmed,” apparently through dealer order books, that the pickup based on the next-generation of iconic off-roader will in fact pay homage to past like-purposed models and bear the name Scrambler as a tribute to that of one of its most important ancestors. This aligns with the company’s increasingly heavy history-based model-naming scheme, along with the likes of Renegade, Willys (as Wrangler trim levels), and the rumored upcoming Grand Wagoneer. JLWranglerForums and its sister site, JLScramblerForum, are also reporting that the future Wrangler-based pickup will boast a lengthened JL Wrangler chassis, a choice of open-air roof options, and an available diesel engine.
As can be deduced from the sources, a few predictions seem to have reigned true, or at least as much so as we can gather from this latest slew of leaks. First, the soft-top and removable hard-top (featuring sectioned roof panels) options that grace the Wrangler are definitely going to be available, making this the only open-air pickup on sale today, a line you’re almost guaranteed to hear in Jeep’s future marketing campaigns. It also appears that the 3.0L turbo-diesel will in fact be offered for the torque-and-MPG-thirsty prospective buyers, and if we’re lucky it’ll be available with the 6-speed manual. Other aspects coming to light (and fruition) are even heavier-duty Dana axles than those on the JK and start-stop tech for the diesel engine, if not for all available powerplants. It’s shaping to be a properly robust truck, not just for a Jeep but for a pickup as a whole.
It also appears that the only available body configuration will be the double-cab, long-bed combo, and herein lies my biggest concerns. While this style might appeal to the widest spread of consumers and draw what will turn into the biggest sales numbers (and volume) right out of the gates, it severely limits the vehicle’s off-road capabilities as compared to other configurations. Whereas the long-length, long-frame style will undoubtedly ride better than shorter-wheelbase counterparts and will feature more interior space and bed volume, the breakover angle and approach angles that result will be severely compromised due to lengthy overhangs and a chassis so long that it limits the ability to climb over the crest of a hill without high-centering the vehicle. That the competition (Tacoma, Colorado/Canyon) offers shorter cab/bed configurations only makes me more hopeful to see an extended-cab, short-bed version of the Jeep. I’m guessing it will depend heavily on the success of the Scrambler once it goes on sale, and the resulting consumer demand for a different set of available bed/body options.
It’s also worth noting how remarkably spot-on the earlier renderings have proven to, or at leas seem to, be. They’re entirely believable as production-ready designs, and are a testament to how far the world of speculation has come, leaving little to our imaginations. The whole process is becoming a bit lengthy though, and reminded me that long before the C7 Corvette was revealed we saw images that ultimately proved to be what could have been from within GM itself; with the Jeep Scrambler we have once again struck the same chord. The difference here, however, is that the length of the official/unofficial reveal of the JL and JT/Scrambler is now surpassing the length of the C7 and rivaling that of the still-yet-to-be-seen mid-engine ‘Vette.
While we still do not have outright confirmation by Jeep or FCA itself on any of the above, we’re getting to the point at which we can assume a lot of it as factual. That Jeep will be selling a Wrangler-based pickup within the next two years or so is a seriously exciting and is absolutely a piece of automotive news to look forward to, and we should know reasonably soon, perhaps at the upcoming LA Auto Show in November (or in April at the New York Auto Show if they need more time), exactly what will be for sale at your local Jeep dealer come 2018. The takeaway from today’s news is that as great as it will be to see the Scrambler name out on the roads again, it seems that the truck itself is being given the chance of being great on its own merits. Now we can only hope that it lives up to the legacy of the original.
Sources: JLWranglerForums.com and JeepScramblerForum.com