Over the years, there has been plenty of talk indicating that Jeep had plans to develop and release an SUV-pickup truck combo that would take the automotive market by storm. Jeep finally unveiled its brand-new mid-size pickup truck namely Gladiator at the Los Angeles Auto Show recently. However, the 2020 Jeep Gladiator is expected to arrive at dealerships only in 2019.
The Gladiator isn’t Jeep’s first pickup truck
This incursion into the pickup truck market isn’t something unforeseen from the FCA brand. Jeep has had pickup trucks in production earlier on as well. In fact, the Gladiator model name had already been used by Jeep on a 3-series pickup truck based on the Wagoneer, during the ’60s. Gladiator, albeit, is the first Jeep van since the production of the Jeep Comanche in 1992.
Adding a pickup truck to the current Jeep lineup makes sense for both the Jeep and FCA brands. Mid-size trucks are beginning to gather momentum in terms of popularity with the likes of pickup trucks like the Chevrolet Colorado, the Toyota Tacoma and the GMC Canyon as well as the Honda Ridgeline, garnering huge interest and sales for their respective brands. The upcoming arrival of the new 2019 Ford Ranger is also expected to add to the increasing popularity for pickup trucks. A successful Gladiator could further strengthen Jeep’s strong position in the SUV market.
The unveiling of The Gladiator
The new Jeep brand manager – Timothy Kuniskis, hosted Gladiator’s unveiling ceremony which took place at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Kuniskis took over the role at Jeep in October 2018, replacing Mike Manley, presently the CEO of FCA. Three trim levels of Gladiator will be available at launch, namely the Sport, By the road, and Rubicon. Prices for all three variants are yet to be announced.
The Gladiator is a four-door pickup truck. It is similar to the JL Wrangler, but with a five-foot bed attached. The chassis of the Gladiator is almost 31 inches longer than that of the Wrangler Unlimited and its wheelbase is about 19.4 inches in length. Its angle of approach is 43.6 degrees. With a minimum ground clearance of 11.1 inches, the Gladiator is capable of fording water up to 30 inches deep.
Much like the Wrangler, a hood and two hard hoods cover its cabin. Detachable aluminum doors, a folding aluminum windshield, an aluminum hood, and a tailgate are all part of the Gladiator package. The pickup bed has standard built-in docking points and a 400-watt / 115-volt power outlet is available, along with an insert bed liner, a bed divider, and a hood cover. The full-size spare tire has its place underneath the bed, giving way to a cushioned folding tailgate that varies between three positions. The tailgate also comes equipped with an electric lock.
The interior has five different seating positions, two contoured seats with adjustable bolsters and also lumbar support at the front. There’s a 60/40 folding rear bench seat with an open storage bin concealed underneath. A lockable tray is also available but can be installed as an add-on option. Extra storage bins and mesh pockets are provided throughout the cabin.
Under the hood, the famous 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 petrol engine takes its place. It delivers 285 hp and 260 lb. ft of torque. A 3.0-liter (260 hp) EcoDiesel V6 engine will be made available as an option, but only in 2020. A six-speed manual transmission is standard on gasoline models and an eight-speed automatic transmission for diesel models. All models of the Gladiator come with the “Trail Rated” certification. As a pickup truck-SUV, both transportation and towing are critical aspects of its functioning. The Gladiator is truly powerful in that it is capable of pulling up to 1,600 lbs. and also towing up to 7,650 lbs.