The Jeep Gladiator midsize pickup is designed to deliver the best aspects of a pickup plus the capability of the Jeep Wrangler SUV, according to brand boss Tim Kuniskis.
- 7,650-pound towing capacity
- The Gladiator can negotiate every foot of the brutal Rubicon Trail that has tested Jeeps for decades.
The Gladiator debuts Wednesday at the Los Angeles Auto Show, which opens to the public Nov. 30. Sales begin early in 2019.
The Gladiator will be available only as a four-door crew cab. Jeep re-engineered the Wrangler’s frame, lengthening the wheelbase 19.4 inches, to make room for a five-foot bed. At 281 inches, the Gladiator is the longest vehicle in Jeep’s lineup, but it can still crawl through forests and rock fields that would stymie a longer, wider full-size pickup. It can also ford 30 inches of water.
The rear suspension is new, developed to combine cargo and towing capacity with a comfortable ride when the truck is not fully laden.
The Gladiator also aims to be more useful day to day. Jeep eagerly points out that an average-size person can stand next to a Gladiator and reach into the bottom of its bed, something that’s become impossible as full-size pickups get ever taller.
Jeep will build the Gladiator alongside the Wrangler in Toledo, Ohio.
Standard features will include a 285-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 and six-speed manual transmission. An eight-speed automatic transmission is optional. All Gladiators will initially have four-wheel drive, though it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a rear-drive model, and perhaps a four-cylinder engine in the future.
A 3.0L V6 diesel will be available in 2020. It will produce 260 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque, figures that should make it a monster off-road and towing.
Features will include a forward-facing video camera that allows the driver to “see through” the hood to detect and avoid obstacles less than 2 feet from the Gladiator. The four-wheel drive system will offer an 84:1 crawl ratio for the toughest terrain and electronically controlled modes tailored for rock crawling and deep soft sand.
Like the Wrangler, the Gladiator has a removable roof and doors, and a folding windshield for open-air driving. Jeep’s Mopar parts division will have more than 200 accessories available from the day the new Jeep goes on sale.
Jeep used the Gladiator name before, on a purpose-built pickup in the 1960s, and on an auto show model of a small pickup in 2005.
- Adaptive cruise control
- Automatic emergency braking
- Lockable storage bins under the rear seat
- Standard touch screen and smartphone compatibility
- Electronically disconnecting sway bar
- A removable wireless speaker for tailgate parties and picnics
- Push button start
- Removable hard and soft tops
- Apple CarPlay and Android Auto