New Jeep Gladiator Ready for Battle

  Colin Windell


 24 Jun, 2022

The latest Jeep Gladiator Rubicon boasts distinct features such as a fold-down windscreen, removable doors, Command-Trac and Rock-Trac 4x4 systems, and third-generation Dana 44 axles.

South Africans are all too familiar with crossing the Rubicon - but the Jeep Gladiator double cab pickup is named for the famous off-road trail in the USA, with this all-new variant launching as a single model filled to the brim with features available to the marque.

“Unquestionably a double cab and instantly recognisable as a Jeep, the all-new Gladiator is the ultimate vehicle for any outdoor adventure,” says Leslie Ramsoomar, Managing Director of Stellantis South Africa. “There has been tremendous demand for this unique vehicle from our loyal Jeep customers and double cab buyers globally. South Africans’ affinity to pickups or bakkies is well established and we believe Gladiator offers them a true lifestyle alternative in this popular segment.”

Distinct features abound

Distinct off-road double cab

Immediately setting the Gladiator apart from any other double cab pickup on the market is the fold-down windscreen and removable doors along with Command-Trac and Rock-Trac 4x4 systems, third-generation Dana 44 axles, Tru-Lock electric front and rear-axle lockers, Trac-Lok limited-slip differential, sway-bar disconnect and off-road tyres.

Pentastar powered performance

The bonnet covers a 3,6-litre Pentastar V6 engine delivering 209 kW and 347 Nm of torque and features ESS as standard equipment.

It navigates terrains through an eight-speed automatic transmission, enabling the vehicle to optimise engine output while on the trails or utilising a set of two overdrive ratios to improve open road fuel economy and reduce overall noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) levels.

The eight-speed automatic transmission delivers a 77.2:1 crawl ratio. Selec-Speed Control is standard and manages vehicle speed in ‘4LO’ while traversing off-road terrain without requiring throttle or brake input, allowing the driver to focus on steering. Selec-Speed Control is activated using a button on the dashboard and adjustable from 1 km/h-8 km/h through the AutoStick shift control. 

Wrangler inspired design

The frontal design keeps the seven-slot grille seen on Wrangler but widened for additional air intake to assist with the increased towing capacity.

Gladiator Rubicon features LED headlamps and fog lamps along with Daytime running lights, which form a halo around the outside perimeter of the headlights.

From behind, traditional square tail lamps feature LED lighting and give way to a wide tailgate opening that is damped and capable of stopping in three positions.

The full-size spare wheel and mount are located under the load bed behind the rear axle and can hold up to a 35-inch tyre, while a scratch-resistant layer and a roll-up rigid loading cover provide extra protection. 

Leather interior, modern tech, and digital infotainment

Inside are leather seats featuring accent stitching with adjustable bolster and lumbar support. Available comfort features include heated front seats and a steering wheel.

The rear seats use a design that can be locked to provide secure storage behind the backseat. The rear seats can be folded flat to access cab-back storage and provide a load floor for large items.

Mordern tech features 

The 7-inch LED instrument cluster display allows the driver to configure information in more than 100 ways, including active media, tyre pressure, tyre-fill alert or digital speed readout. Integrated buttons on the steering wheel control audio, voice and speed functions, allowing the driver to keep his hands on the wheel at all times.

An 8,4-inch touchscreen houses the fourth-generation Uconnect system and sits prominently atop the centre stack, while two USB ports and a USB-C port up front and two in reach of occupants in the back seat connect to the media centre.

Design dimensions and drivetrain

The Gladiator's body-on-frame design uses advanced materials and engineering to be lightweight, yet stiff and durable and features a lightweight, high-strength steel frame. Compared to the Jeep Wrangler 4-door, Gladiator’s frame is an additional 787 mm longer while the wheelbase is 493 mm longer.

Foldable rear seats for more space 

Gladiator uses a five-link coil suspension configuration with the front suspension using a lateral control arm and four longitudinal control arms. Full-width track bars made of forged steel control lateral movement of the axle with minimal angle change during suspension travel.

 The rear five-link coil suspension design features two upper and two lower forged steel control arms for longitudinal control, and a track bar for lateral axle control.

An approach angle of 43,6 degrees, breakover angle of 20,3 degrees, departure angle of 26 degrees and a ground clearance of 249 mm allows Gladiator to go just about anywhere.

Safety and security measures

Safety and security measures offer more than 80 active and passive safety and security features, including Blind-spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Path detection, standard ParkView rear backup camera with dynamic grid lines, Adaptive Cruise Control and electronic stability control (ESC) with electronic roll mitigation.

Retail price, maintenance, and warranty

In the middle of the Gladiator J-Series pickup lifecycle, the name "Gladiator" was dropped in favour of Scrambler and Comanche, returning now at a retail price of R1 259 900.

Wrapping it up

This Gladiator is the latest in a long line of Jeep brand trucks that began in 1947 when Willys Overland introduced a one-ton truck with four-wheel drive based on the CJ-2A.

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