Published: Sat, December 01, 2018
Electronics | By Kelly Massey

New Jeep Gladiator: heavy-duty pick-up launched

New Jeep Gladiator: heavy-duty pick-up launched

From the outside, the answer is simple: The Jeep Gladiator is a Wrangler pickup.

Apart from those, the Gladiator also features underbody protection that keeps vital components safe from harm.

Jeep has used the Los Angeles Auto Show as an opportunity to pull the covers off its all-terrain Gladiator ute, which should roll into showrooms in the second half - the United States of America at least- of 2019.

Jeep's midsize Gladiator will be a direct rival for the Toyota Tacoma, Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, and Ford Ranger when it reaches USA showrooms in the second quarter of 2019. The control arms are located under the frame rails, and the rear shocks are forward facing for more consistent damping, Jeep says.

Indeed, at the front you'd be forgiven for mistaking the Gladiator for a Jeep Wrangler. Word then surfaced that the truck would be the Gladiator, another Jeep name of yore.

The JT truck will ride on a 204-inch (5,181-mm) frame, making it 31 inches (787 mm) longer than the Wrangler Unlimited. The Gladiator can ford standing water of up to 30 inches (76.2 cm) in depth. For years, it's the full factory-built Jeep Wrangler pickup that everyone has been hoping for. It can be outfitted with an optional spray-in bed liner, a bed divider, a 115-volt power outlet, and a cargo cover. The spare tire has been moved underneath, and there's room for aftermarket 37-inch tires, if you want to replace the factory 35s.

In case you hadn't noticed, Los Angeles is a odd motor show. It surely will handle hauling extra gear on your next Moab expedition. The cabin is largely identical to the Wrangler's, including its waterproof start/stop button, UConnect infotainment systems and storage bins underneath the flip-up and foldable rear seats. Now, however, we've got a lot more to see and read. The doors are the same as the Wrangler Unlimited's. It has fully removable soft and hard tops, doors and a folding windshield. In the case of either top, the Gladiator's doors can be removed with a hand tool, and the windshield can be folded down. A fold-down windscreen is even available for those wanting convertible options.

The Jeep Gladiator in Rubicon trim
The Jeep Gladiator in Rubicon trim

There are plenty of questions about how the 2020 Jeep Gladiator will fit into the mid-size pickup truck class.

A six-speed manual comes standard with the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6, which delivers 285 horsepower and 260 lb. -ft. of torque. Buyers will be able to choose a 3.6-liter gasoline-powered V6 or a 3.0-liter diesel V6 engine. Maybe silver. Six-speed for sure. There's large navigation screen at the top of the center console; climate and audio controls are below along with four-wheel-drive switches and levers.

Jeep has described this Gladiator as its most anticipated model in decades, a remarkable truck that "puts the trails on notice" - it really was a presentation to see.

Out back the Gladiator can tow a healthy 3470kg. Jeep has shaken up the trim levels from what's available in the Wrangler models.

The Gladiator will be built in OH (production is expected to begin in the first half of 2019) in Sport, Sport S, Overland and Rubicon trim configurations. Rubicon is the top trim level here, as it is on the Wrangler.

It's the first time the firm synonymous with go-anywhere motoring has built a pick-up truck since 1992, when the Comanche went out of production.

Truck's exterior look lives up to its new/old name.

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