5.5-metre long Jeep Gladiator stretches out on Wrangler ladder chassis

5.5-metre long Jeep Gladiator stretches out on Wrangler ladder chassis

Honestly, we're debating internally which unveil from the LA Auto Show we like best and this Jeep is at or near the top!

Overall length is a hefty 5539mm, making the Gladiator 209mm longer than Toyota's top-selling dual-cab HiLux. And the vehicle with the highest towing capacity (the Sport Max Tow at 7,650 pounds) has a 1,535-pound payload capacity and the highest gross combined weight rating at 12,800 pounds (that's the one we want to test first).

Except it's more than just a four-door Wrangler with an open bed-much more. But it's more than that, blending much of the beloved SUV with some unique features for the pickup truck.

The Gladiator has been created to marry the Wrangler's off-road ability with the practicality of a pick-up, with Jeep boss Tim Kuniskis saying that it combines "combined rugged utility, versatility and functionality", and was developed due to "tremendous demand" from customers. The Wrangler's open-air capabilities also make the jump over to the Gladiator with the removable aluminum doors, soft or available hardtops and fold-down windshield.

Each of the doors can also be removed by activating a handle under the armrests. The seat bottoms also flip up to take advantage of the flat-load floor, which, of course, can be optioned with modular, lockable storage. The Gladiator doesn't offer the Wrangler's available turbo-4 engine, but in 2020 Jeep says it will offer a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V=6 rated at 220 hp and 442 pound-feet of torque paired to the 8-speed automatic. Power is then shifted either to a six-speed manual transmission or an eight-speed automatic with manual select.

It is unclear which of these specifications and powertrains will make it to Australia. Command-Trac 4×4 will be standard on the Sport and Overland, with a two-speed transfer case with a 2.72:1 low-range gear ratio, and heavy-duty third-generation Dana 44 front and rear axles with a 3.73 rear axle ratio.

2020 Jeep Gladiator
2020 Jeep Gladiator2020 Jeep Gladiator2020 Jeep Gladiator

The Rubicon levels up to the Rock-Trac 4x4 system, featuring Tru-Lok differentials and a disconnecting sway bar. The Rubicon trim with the eight-speed is good for an impressive 77.2:1 crawl ratio.

With a ground clearance of 282mm, these Gladiators are capable of fording water up to 76cm deep.

The Gladiator is basically the JL Jeep that was new for 2018 with a bed on it. The Gladiator Rubicon can be had with a forward-facing off-road camera, beaming a picture back from the Gladiator's grille, to show the road straight ahead. The last two of these can be had with optional LED headlamps and fog lamps.

The full-size spare tire and mount is located under the bed, behind the rear axle and capable of holding up to a 35-inch tire.

A 3.5-inch display in the driver's instrumentation is standard, with a 7-inch screen an option. Indeed, Jeep has a history of separate nameplates for its pickups, including Gladiator, Scrambler (which had been rumored to get the nod), and Comanche. There are tow hooks front and rear and space for a winch on the front bumper if you go for a Rubicon.

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