Over the weekend, we broke the news that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is starting to test mules for the all-new 2021 Jeep Wagoneer (WS). A lot of people wrote to us, saying that the pictures couldn’t be a Jeep because the body of the vehicle was that of a Ram 1500. So we figured we would break it down a bit more for the naysayers.
Rumors of the long-awaited Wagoneer/Grand Wagoneer started back in 2013. Websites were calling for the Wagoneer to make it to market in 2015, however, it was delayed. Since that time on, the Wagoneer and its long-wheelbase variant the Grand Wagoneer, have been pushed back several times. However, it wasn’t until last year during the Capital Market’s Day presentation that new Wagoneer was finally announced with an estimated timeline given.
The all-new modern Wagoneer will be the largest vehicle in the Jeep lineup and is based on the all-new 2019 Ram 1500 (DT) architecture. If you look closely at the spy photos from this past weekend, you will notice that the box and the cab are formed together to create one piece. The “roll bars” coming from the back of the cab go towards the back of the “box” where they go into the body to help add structural rigidity to the test mule body.
For those who don’t understand what a test mule is, a test “mule” is a prototype vehicle that is very early in the testing stages. The mule is compiled of random parts from existing and prototype parts, which are cobbled together to create a basis for the engineering team to start their testing work. We have seen this several times in recent years with vehicles like the early Chrysler Pacifica minivans being made from Durango body panels and the Chinese-market Jeep Grand Commander mules being made of chopped up Cherokee vehicles.
Since the Wagoneer will be based on the Ram 1500 architecture it makes sense that Ram 1500s would be the donor vehicles to such mules. The shorter wheelbase of the Wagoneer gives us a reason why we see a Quad Cab cabin welded together with part of a cut-down short box. The Wagoneer prototypes that were spotted this past week, also carry camouflage underneath the rear concealing the new independent rear suspension, replacing the Ram’s solid rear axle.
While many people have asked what might such a vehicle look like, our very own Ryan Dodd (DarkSky Designs) has created what we feel will be close to the direction that the Jeep team is looking to take their premium full-size SUV. Using similar design to the Grand Commander and Compass, the Wagoneer won’t so much be as retro as some had hoped. However, using Jeep’s current design methods, expect a more boxy look that will allow standard three-row seating even for the short-wheelbase variant.
Stay tuned, as we will continue to bring you more news and information about Jeep’s upcoming full-size SUV lineup as it becomes available.