American's love trucks, they also love Jeeps, and rumors have been swirling about the rebirth of a Jeep truck for a long time. At first, rumors pegged the truck as the Scrambler, an iconic Jeep truck name from the past. Word then surfaced that the truck would be the Gladiator, another Jeep name of yore. The Jeep Gladiator truck is now official with the unveiling of the ride at the LA Auto Show.
There are bits we don't know about the Gladiator right now, specifically pricing and when we can buy it are unknown. In addition, some of the details on specs are also vague. Those vague details include this tidbit from the PR: "Unique frame, bigger axles, brakes, wheels, and suspension." Bigger axles are a big deal in the Jeep community as they allow you to run larger tires for more ground clearance without as much fear of breaking things.
The Gladiator is basically the JL Jeep that was new for 2018 with a bed on it. That means it retains the available hard top or soft top options, fold-down windshield, and removable doors. It rolls on various tires depending on the version you get, and versions include Sport, Sport S, Overland, and Rubicon. Rubicon buyers get 33-inch Falken M/T mud tires, Sport and Sport S buyers get 245/75R17 Bridgestone Dueler HT 685 or A/T RH-S tires, and the Overland gets 255/70R18 Bridgestone Dueler HT 685 or A/T RH-S tires.
Rubicon Gladiators get Fox aluminum-bodied 2-inch diameter shocks, full-length sidebars and an additional bar for the bed area, optional steel bumpers, and the locking diffs, electronic disconnect sway bar, and other Rubicon goodies. All versions of the Gladiator can tow 7,650 pounds and have an optional Class 4 receiver; payload capacity is 1,600 pounds. The real details that off-roaders are wanting to know to determine if the Gladiator deserves the Jeep name and JL looks is length and approach/breakover/departure angles.
The press release touts the Gladiator as having a frame 204-inches long, making it 31-inches longer than the Wrangler JL Unlimited. That is much longer and could certainly cause issues on trails that are tight. The wheelbase is 137-inches, or 19.4-inches longer than the JL Unlimited; the bed is 5-feet long. As for those critical angles: approach angle is 43.6-degrees, breakover angle is 20.3-degrees, and departure angle is 26-degrees; the only ground clearance number in the PR is 11.1-inches. With each version on different tires, ground clearance could vary. The Gladiator will launch with the V6 Pentastar engine with Stop-Start tech making 285hp and 260 lb-ft of torque mated to either a 6-speed manual or 8-speed auto. Starting in 2020 the 3.0L diesel will be offered with an automatic only. Jeep and truck fans, what do you think of this new Jeep Gladiator?