By Steve & Tamami Laser
Jeep pickups are rarely spotted in traffic these days, since the last model, called “Comanche,” went out of production in 1992. Yet it won’t be long before we see the new Jeep Gladiator everywhere – from the mountains, to the desert, to the local Cars & Coffee.
Making its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show, the 2020 Gladiator is loaded with charisma, from its seven-slot grille flanked by round headlights, to the trapezoidal wheel flares, fold-down windshield, crew cab bodystyle, and five-foot cargo bed.
Gladiator’s frame is 31 inches longer than Wrangler’s, while the wheelbase is 19.4-inches longer. The bed features integrated cargo tie-downs, plus available under-rail lighting, a covered external power source, Trail Rail Cargo Management System, spray-in bed liner, bed divider and tonneau cover.
The rear view brings to mind the Gladiator concept vehicle that Jeep displayed way back in 2005. The new production Gladiator mounts its full-size spare tire underneath the bed, behind the rear axle. The damped tailgate can be stopped in three positions and features a power-locking function.
Gladiator is powered by a 285-horse 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine with 6-speed manual or 8-speed automatic transmission. A 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 is planned for 2020. The pickup is rated to tow up to 7,650 lbs., features Command-Trac and Rock-Trac 4×4 systems, Dana 44 axles, Tru-Lock electric front- and rear-axle lockers, Trac-Lok limited slip differential, and electric sway-bar disconnect.
A tool kit with Torx bits allows owners to remove the doors and lower the windshield for open-air journeys. A Sunrider soft top is available, along with a three-piece hardtop with a sliding rear window.
The interior is filled with Jeep design cues including a heritage-style center stack and horizontal dash design. Cloth seats are standard while leather-trimmed seats are available on Overland and Rubicon. An optional Cold Weather Group includes heated front seats, heated steering wheel, and remote start.
Rear seats, designed especially for Gladiator, can be locked in the upright position or folded flat to carry gear inside the cabin. The seat cushions also fold up to provide access to a storage bin. Additional flexibility is available with a locking storage bin that has removable dividers and five compartments.
An available Infotainment Group includes an 8.4-inch touchscreen with fourth-generation Uconnect, VP4 radio with NAV, and 9-speaker premium audio with subwoofer. Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™ are included with Uconnect 7.0 and 8.4 systems.
Jeep says that Gladiator offers more than 80 safety features including Adaptive Cruise Control, Blind-spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Path detection, forward-facing off-road camera, and ParkView rear backup camera with dynamic grid lines.
Vehicle features and specifications for U.S. models are subject to change without notice.
News source and photos courtesy of Jeep and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), North America
Story (commentary) © 2018 CarNichiWa.com