The launch of the Series 2 HSV SportsCat was an endorsement of the risky decision to take the performance brand into the crowded high-end ute market.
This will mark the return of a nameplate that was first introduced in 1963.
Available in the range-topping Rubicon and refined Overland versions, the dual-cab layout features a durable, all-steel load bed that will make it of interest to rural drivers who want something a little different.
Both models feature the well-respected 3.6 litre Pentastar petrol engine that produces 209kW and 347Nm torque. It is mated to an 8-speed, ZF-sourced, automatic transmission.
Like the Jeep JL Wrangler, the three-piece hard top roof can be removed for those seeking a little fresh air, along with the doors for those looking to take things to the extreme.
Depending on the model, cloth or leather seats feature accent stitching, lumbar support and a heated seat option. A range of nine colours include two exclusive Gladiator hues called Gobi and Gator.
As part of an integral safety package, which is said to include over 70 standard or available safety features, standouts include: forward collision warning plus; blind spot monitoring; rear cross traffic detection; forward facing off-road camera; parkview rear back-up camera; adaptive cruise control; and electronic stability control with electronic roll mitigation.
The Overland features 18-inch alloys, while the Rubicon takes 17-inch items shod with 32-inch BF Goodyear off-road tyres in a 225-75 format.
Additionally, the Rubicon includes the Jeep Rock Trac Active, On-Demand 4x4 system, Tru-Lok front and rear locking diffs. It also comes with Fox 2-inch aluminium bodied shock absorbers and LED headlights, taillights and daytime running lights.
Keep an eye out in a future Rural News when it hits the ground in NZ and we get to test drive this American icon.