Get ready all you Jeep Truck lovers and potential owners.
When that beautiful, shiny, new Wrangler Truck rolls up to dealer lots sometime – perhaps – towards the end of next year, it looks like you’ll see something entirely unique enter the truck market.
That’s because Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will apparently not shutter you inside a totally closed cabin when driving its new vehicle. Yep, it seems like FCA has found a way for its iconic Jeep experience to live on in the new Wrangler Truck. One that does not require soft top material or hardware.
Call it ‘removable’ permanent. Call it panel pulling. Heck, FCA may even call it by that older Liberty-branded term ‘Skyslider.’ But whatever you end up calling it, get ready to remove three panels (two on the roof and one behind the rear passengers) to get that true open-air feel while driving.
For what all this means, we bring you this illustration that Allpar was kind enough to share.
Now keep in mind this is an unofficial sketch of the Wrangler Truck’s roof by Allpar member “Ruptured Duck”, but Allpar reports that knowledgeable Jeep ‘insiders’ have viewed this drawing and say it is a fairly accurate depiction of how the new production truck roof will function.
Also giving credence to this illustration are the current spy photos of a Jeep Truck prototype in action, which seem to indicate the vehicle has some sort of non-metallic roof, which could be these types of panels.
So, you may ask, why not just skip all the panels and simply offer a removable soft top to cover the cab? Something like what generations of Jeeps have used? Like what the concept Crew Chief 715 displayed earlier this year at Moab’s Easter Jeep Safari. Well, that’s a complicated issue, but it mainly boils down to how the government may plan to proceed with its crash test regulations in the future.
Simply put, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration currently has a ‘convertible exception’ in its crash test rules, which allows for open-top cars to resist less force than other vehicles. All Jeep Wrangler vehicles are under this exception. However, most industry observers think NHTSA will look to remove this exception within the next few years, which would be quite the problem for FCA should it continue to produce fully removable soft top vehicles.
By offering removable panels, attached to a fixed roof, FCA could give its truck owners that ‘open air’ cab feel while retaining enough structural integrity to overcome any revised governmental crash test ratings. In fact, if you believe the rumor mill for the upcoming Wrangler JL, it sounds like FCA is headed down this path for that vehicle’s top as well.
Besides structural improvements, Allpar also states this type of top would mean lower total vehicle weight as less body reinforcement is needed thanks to the permanent roof bars. And we all know lower vehicle weight can help fuel economy, which is another key governmental regulation FCA needs to achieve over the next few years.
We’ve still got a while before we see any type of finished product for the Jeep Wrangler Truck, but it certainly sounds more and more like the cabin will definitely have some type of open-air Jeep feel.
Whether through panels or something else, having a full-sized truck that brings a wind-in-your-face element should give this vehicle a nice spot in the Jeep lineup.