The Jeep legend was born in WWII but it came of age in the 1970s with a Golden Eagle version of the Jeep CJ7.
The Wrangler-based Jeep Gladiator looks surprisingly like the AEV conversion that led to The Brute we featured a while back. That’s not surprising given the starting point. It has a chassis stretched by 790mm, a 490mm longer wheelbase, larger axles and brakes and a unique suspension set-up. It can tow 3470kg and carry 725kg in its tray.
The ‘new’ ute is powered by the same upgraded 3.6L PentaStar petrol V6 as used in the Wrangler, offering 212kW and 352Nm torque. By 2020, a 194kW/600Nm 3L V6 diesel will also offer a more practical choice. Petrol versions will be offered with a 6-speed manual or 8-speed automatic transmission; the diesel will be offered as an 8-speed auto only.
The Gladiator will come in a range of trim levels including Sport, Sport S, Overland or Rubicon, with the latter aimed at the high-end, bling-laden market. This will see features like aluminium-bodied Fox shocks, a 4:1 low-range transfer case and 33-inch mud tyres. Add to that 282mm of ground clearance, then Gladiator Rubicon is sure to suit the weekend warrior tribes.
As you might expect, the Jeep has off-road prowess with a range of systems including Command-Trac, Rock-Trac, third generation Dana axles and, of course, diff locks.
The crew-cab layout can be specified with soft or hard tops and a novel fold-flat windscreen; and there are options of cloth or leather upholstery. Rear seat passengers will benefit from the stretched chassis with a huge improvement in rear legroom.
A host of features brings the Gladiator up to date: keyless entry, push-button start, 7 or 8.4-inch touchscreens, lots of USB points and a 115V outlet.
At the business end, a steel bed has four cross-members for reinforcement of the floor, and a dampened aluminium tailgate. Ease of use is ensured with integral tie-down points.