ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?
By Will Marshal
It has been 26 years; 26 long years. Not since the days of former Chrysler CEO Lee Iacocca has Jeep existed in the pickup truck market. Today however, that’s all in the past as Jeep officially unveiled the new Wrangler based “JT” Gladiator pickup truck. Jeep came in with their eyes on the prize as being the most off-road capable and practical oriented truck in the mid-size market… And they wiped the floor with the competition.
What’s that? A scoff I hear in the distance from a Toyota owner? Let’s drill down into the details.
The Rubicon trim is coming to the table with stock 33” 285/75R17 Falken Wildpeak AT3w tires, and optional MT01 Mud Terrains, electronic locking differentials inside tried and true Dana 44HD 4.11 gear ratio solid axles, 2.0” diameter Fox shocks and an electronic sway-bar disconnect in the front means this thing is already in a league of its own. Fully removable doors, and top and a folding windshield are all carryover advantages that the Wrangler enjoys, as well as the Gladiator now, too.
Power for Days
Power comes from the venerable 3.6L Pentastar V6 that JK and JL owners have enjoyed for years, pumping out 285 horsepower and 260lbs-ft of torque through either a six-speed manual transmission or the fancy eight-speed automatic transmission. Coming in 2020 is the 3.0L EcoDiesel V6 producing 260 horsepower and 442lbs-ft of torque through the aforementioned eight speed transmission. (The 2.0L Turbo Inline-four hybrid available in the JL Wrangler is not available at this time.)
Being stretched 31” longer than the JL Wrangler unlimited, and sporting a 137.8” wheelbase means she’s long, but coming in nearly three inches shorter than the Toyota Tacoma. A class leading 43.6-degree approach angle bests the Tacoma’s 32-degrees, and departure angles are identical at 26 degrees, besting the crowned king of the pickup realm, the RAM Power Wagon by a half-degree.
With all this wheelbase and bed means that it has to do truck things too, right? But of course! And it does it well, thanks to upgrades in the cooling system, frame strengthening and reinforcement, heavier walled tubing on the axles and larger brakes means a payload capacity of 1650lbs and a towing capacity of 7650 pounds.
Unfortunately, all this robustness and the decision to use an all steel bed means that the Gladiator is going to gain around 400 pounds over its four-door Wrangler brother. We can only assume the Gladiator’s 0-60 time will subsequently be less than the average 8.9 seconds posted by the Wrangler Unlimited.
Keep Your Options Open
Sporting a soft-top standard allows you to have just the rear portion removed and rock the bikini look, or take the whole thing off. Optional is a three-piece hardtop taken again from the Wranglers family roots, with heated rear glass and a sliding center window.
The interior remains nearly identical to the Wrangler, with the exception of rear seat bases that will fold up, revealing lockable storage containers below. The rear seat backs can also fold down showing off even more storage nooks and a built-in bluetooth speaker that you can remove and take with you.
There is an interior 115vAC outlet in the center console, and one in the bed of the truck which gives you plenty of power for work and play. And as I said before, it comes with a fully steel bed with an aluminum drop down tailgate. The stock Rubicon front bumper is winch ready, and Rubicons also get an additional feature of a front mounted “off-road” camera for helping see over the nose of the truck when maneuvering in tight spaces.
Trim packages available will be the Sport, Sport S, Overland (similar to the Sahara) and Rubicon. The Overland trim package will be your high end luxury pack, and the Rubicon (as is tradition) will embody all things off-road.
Built with Pride at the Jeep Toledo complex in Toledo, OH, this American juggernaut will be going on sale the beginning of the second quarter of 2019 as a 2020 model. Order banks should be opening at dealerships mid-march. There is no price details released yet, but that should be new information handed down by Jeep in the coming weeks.
A Jeep pickup. In 2019. What a time to be alive.