Jeep brings a Gladiator to the arena in LA
The Jeep Gladiator is part Wrangler, part pickup truck, in a package capable of towing 7,650 lb and hauling 1,600 lb in its five-foot bed – all while still doing Jeep things like fording 30-inch rivers and climbing mountains. The Gladiator debuted at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
With the debut of the Jeep Gladiator, we see the basic design elements of a Wrangler combined with the nostalgic look of the previous Jeep pickups offered decades ago. Utilizing a body taken from the Wrangler Unlimited four-door model, the Gladiator adds a five-foot (152.4-cm) pickup truck bed and several amenities aimed towards the Jeep buyer who might want a truck.
Key changes to the Gladiator over a standard Wrangler, besides the addition of the cargo bed, are wider grille slots for better air intake to facilitate towing, and a slight sweep to the grille's upper portion for improved airflow over the truck bed behind. The full-sized spare tire, normally mounted on the Wrangler's rear tailgate, is mounted underneath the cargo bed of the Gladiator to improve access to the bed.
The bed of the Jeep Gladiator has a three-position, locking tailgate with damped opening to soften its drop. The three-position stops for the tailgate make loading various cargo types easier, including kayaks, boats, and other long objects. Lighting mounted under the rails illuminates the bed while being protected from scuffs. Integrated tie-downs are also standard.
Options include Jeeps' Trail Rail Cargo Management System for storage options and cargo stowage, as well as a covered external 115-volt three-prong power outlet. Spray-in bed liner, a bed divider, and tonneau cover are also available for the Gladiator. Bed rock rails are standard in the Rubicon model.
The Jeep Gladiator will be available in four trim points, including the Rubicon hardcore off-road option. Jeep lightened the load on the Gladiator by using high-strength aluminum on the doors, hinges, hood, fenders, windshield frame, and tailgate to keep capability and retain the well-vetted Pentastar V6 engine the Wrangler has used for years.
The 3.6-liter V6 can be mated to either a six-speed manual transmission or an eight-speed automatic in the Gladiator. Starting in 2020, Jeep will offer a 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 and eight-speed automatic transmission combination. Fuel economy estimates will be forthcoming before market launch.
As with the standard Wrangler Jeep models, the doors and roof of the Gladiator are removable, and the windscreen folds down to the hood. Many aftermarket Jeep accessories, such as fender flares, bumpers, and other items will also readily attach to the Jeep Gladiator.
Inside, the vehicle takes its cue from the Wrangler Unlimited models with a plush five-seat interior, large and updated infotainment, and grab handles and bars for easier entry and egress. Weatherproofing inside the Gladiator is also a priority, as it was in the new Wrangler model introduced last year. The rear seat bench folds flat to allow extended in-cab cargo storage, with storage nets included. The rear seat cushions fold upwards as well, revealing a storage bin underneath for out-of-sight storage. A lockable bin option is also available.
The instrument cluster in the Jeep Gladiator has a 3.5- or 7-inch information display for the driver. This display features thin-film transistor (TFT) output for high visibility. Full configuration of the display is possible through the larger TFT using the steering wheel-mounted menu controls.
The Jeep Gladiator will be as off-road capable as any Jeep, the company says, and will offer best-in-class towing and cargo hauling as well. The Sport and Overland models feature a 2.72:1 low-range gear ratio for crawling and heavy-duty Dana 44 front and rear 3.73 axle ratios. The Rubicon upgrades to a 4:1 low ratio and Dana 4.10 front and rear axle ratios with Tru-Lock differentials. The electronic sway bar disconnect system found in Jeep Wrangler Rubicon models is also available on the Gladiator Rubicon.
Towing in the Jeep Gladiator is rated at up to 7,650 lb (3,470 kg) and payload is rated at 1,600 lb (726 kg). The Gladiator's approach angle is 43.6 degrees, its breakover angle is 20.3 degrees, and its departure angle is 26 degrees. Compared to a Wrangler Unlimited, the Gladiator is 31 inches longer overall and 19.4 inches longer in wheelbase (78.7 cm, 49.3 cm). Ground clearance is measured at 11.1 inches (28.2 cm) at its lowest point. The Rubicon model increases that with 33-inch tires and 17-inch off-road wheels. The Gladiator can ford standing water of up to 30 inches (76.2 cm) in depth.
Jeep has included several advanced safety and security features in the Gladiator pickup, including active advanced features such as blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, and roll mitigation.
Built in Toledo, Ohio, the Jeep Gladiator will enter the North American market in 2019. The Toledo plant has built Jeep vehicles since 1941 and has been the home of the Wrangler and several previous models of Jeep trucks as well. That heritage of Jeep trucks started with the 1947 Jeep Pickup and the original 1963 Jeep Gladiator. The last Jeep pickup to be made was the Jeep Comanche, which ended production in 1992.