Jeep is expected to launch the Grand Wagoneer full-size SUV as a 2021 model, and we have already seen spy shots of a test mule during developmental testing in the US. This week, for the first time, we have spotted the mule here on Dubai roads.

Photo: Gulf News

Presumably here to do extensive hot weather testing as well as some dune bashing to assess and fine tune the suspension setup, the mule is the same one we have seen early last year in the US, which is based on the Ram 1500 body. FCA Middle East has declined to comment on this being a Wagoneer chassis test vehicle.

Although wearing Ram sheet metal, the two structural members connecting the cab to the back of the shortened bed suggest they are testing an SUV platform underneath. Spotted testing on gravel and sand in Nad Al Sheba area, the test mule was later spotted driving along Shaikh Zayed Road.

Photo: Gulf News

Previous spy shots had indicated an independent suspension setup at the back. This also points to this not being a Ram but a mule used as a test bed for the Grand Wagoneer, which is going to be a larger version of the Grand Cherokee.

The use of a Ram body for the mule makes sense because apart from the different rear suspension setup, the Grand Wagoneer’s chassis will be closely related to that of the Ram 1500. It is also set to be built in the same factory as the Ram 1500, with a 5.7-litre V8 expected to power the top spec variant.

Photo: Gulf News

The Wagoneer project has reportedly been hit with delays due to retooling works at the Warren Truck Assembly plant where the Ram 1500 is currently being built. However, the model is still expected to get a 2021 release as a 2022 model.