Los Angeles Auto Show: Jeep Gladiator

Sheri Evans
December 2, 2018

Jeep won't offer the Gladiator with the turbo-4 that's optional in the Wrangler. We've already seen the first official photos of the Gladiator two weeks ago when the first specs also got leaked. Built in Toledo, Ohio, it will arrive in the USA showrooms in the second quarter of 2019. The wheelbase is 137-inches, or 19.4-inches longer than the JL Unlimited; the bed is 5-feet long. For its part, Jeep says the Gladiator's frame is unique to the model.

For starters, the Gladiator features a new frame not shared with Wrangler that's a whopping 31 inches longer than the one under the Wrangler Unlimited.

If you enjoy traversing river crossings, you'll be comforted to know that the Jeep Gladiator can ford up to 30 inches of water.

Jeep is back in the pickup game.

Under-rail bed lighting and integrated tie-downs are also to be found in the bed, and there's an optional power system that adds a 400W, 115 volt three-prong outlet.

A full-sized spare wheel is stowed under the cargo tray where a wheel up to 35 inches can be stored.

Most of the interior layout is the same, at least from the front seats forward. 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, the Gladiator will face off against a lot of fresh competition in the mid-sized pickup market. Like the Wrangler, the Gladiator can be turned into an open-air vehicle thanks to the easy-to-remove doors and roof. This allows the rearview mirror to remain in place even with the windshield folded.

Although these are the same five-lug axles used on the lighter-duty Wrangler SUV, Jeep engineers have upgraded the shafts and splines to give them more strength for the extra payload and towing capabilities needed for a pickup.

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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.

Naturally, all Gladiators feature permanent four-wheel drive, split between two drivetrain systems. This allows higher vehicle speeds with the rear locker engaged, Allen says, and you can bet this feature will migrate to the Wrangler lineup, likely by the '20 model year.

The highly anticipated reveal of the new Jeep Gladiator is, let's face it, not that significant in a world struggling with climate change and emissions.

A tow capacity of up to 7,650 pounds makes the Gladiator a respectable puller.

"We think it's time for Jeep to have a pick up again because every time we aired a new model introduces new buyers to the brand", he added after the intro ceremony in Los Angeles.

The Jeep Gladiator in Rubicon trim. Rubicon is the top trim level here, as it is on the Wrangler.

Gladiator is the first Jeep pickup since the Comanche, which Chrysler discontinued in 1992.

Gladiator debuted in 1963, however, was dropped in 1972.

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