Spy shots have emerged of the upcoming Jeep Wrangler pickup testing on the streets of Michigan, revealing the body shape the production version will take when it arrives in Australian showrooms in 2018 or 2019.
The disguised test mule is a dual-cab pickup thought to be based on the four-door Wrangler Unlimited, and despite being covered, it mirrors the Wrangler's iconic boxy styling, circular headlights and protruding wheelarches.
In profile, the pickup has Jeep's typically short front overhang, while the long wheelbase and extended tray suggest the pickup will comfortably be the longest model in the Wrangler range.
Jeep will market the Wrangler pickup as a multi-purpose vehicle that can act as a workhorse during the week and a true off-roader on the weekend.
The current four-door Wrangler Unlimited measures in at 4751mm long, meaning extending its length by roughly 600mm would put it squarely in the popular mid-size pickup segment, a lucrative market in Australia.
The Toyota HiLux dual-cab measures 5330mm long, while Ford's Ranger and the Holden Colorado measure 5362mm and 5361mm respectively.
When it does arrive, Jeep will market the Wrangler pickup as a multi-purpose vehicle that can act as a workhorse during the week and a true off-roader on the weekend that can out-perform any of its rivals off the beaten track.
It is unknown what suspension set-up will be used on the Wrangler pickup but given the regular Wrangler employs coil-sprung suspension, if the pickup were to use the same set-up it would give it a point of difference for the leaf sprung pickups that dominate the Australian market following the death of the Nissan GU Patrol that was popular with off-road enthusiasts for its ability to flex its suspension.
It has been rumoured that an updated Wrangler could employ the 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6 used in the larger Grand Cherokee.
The Wrangler pickup will be built exclusively in the US. Powertrain options will likely be a carry-over 3.6-litre Pentastar petrol V6 from the current model that makes 209kW/347Nm, while the diesel option in the current range is an ageing 2.8-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder unit that makes 147kW/460Nm.
It has been rumoured that an updated Wrangler could employ the 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6 used in the larger Grand Cherokee, which produces 184kW/570Nm, which if used in the pickup would take the fight to Volkswagen's recently-released V6 Amarok.
More details on the Wrangler pickup will be released as it gets closer to production.
Is there room in the Australian ute market for a Jeep pickup? Tell us what you think in the comments below.