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The first test drive Jeep Gladiator. Yes, we liked him

Jeep has a rich history of pickups. The company introduced the model with such a body under the name Willys-Overland Pickup back in 1947. In 1957, the Jeep Forward Control truck followed it, but only in 1963 did the brand have a full-fledged J-Series Gladiator pickup truck, designed to compete with similar products from Ford and General Motors. The last pickup Jeep – Comanche model – for eight years of production has sold only about 190,000 copies. When ardently loyal Jeep fans imagine a seven-seater pickup, most of them recall not the relatively modern Comanche with a monocoque body, but the old frame Scrambler. This is how the cult grille and round headlights of that model sunk into the soul of everyone.

Therefore, it is not surprising that when creating a new Gladiator, the Jeep brand tried to repeat the success of the CJ-8 (aka Scrambler), extending the frame of its best-selling Wrangler by 78 cm and placing a loading platform on it. In Jeep, they used the experience of a corporate relative – the Ram brand – by borrowing from the 1500 the model of the rear suspension for the Gladiator. Fortunately, the final result did not turn into a car-designer, which was created just to fill the market niche. This is an extremely honest pickup that will compete in the very harsh market of mid-size models.

And he does it, demonstrating a truly original sense of style. Of course, there is a grill from Wrangler, which made larger slots for better ventilation and cooling needed for a pickup truck. The rest of the body to the front door repeats the Wrangler. Only one configuration of the Gladiator is available to customers – a four-door version with a one-and-a-half meter cargo platform.

While all competitors, including the Toyota Tacoma and the Ford Ranger, also have practical four-door modifications, as well as extended versions with increased cargo space, only the Jeep brand offers a pick-up with a removable roof, not to mention a lowered windshield or doors. remove and leave in the garage. Behind the rear row of seats is a portable Bluetooth speaker, offered as an option, and under the rear seats there is a container, which is equipped with a lid with a lock for an extra charge. Jeep notes that in hot weather, this container can be filled with ice to cool drinks.

The seats in the Jeep Gladiator saloon are more than enough: four adults will sit comfortably. The space in the knees of the rear passengers is 97.2 cm, which is several cm more than the competitors of the Jeep. A man of eighty meter height will quietly be placed in the back seat behind a driver of the same height, freely seated behind the wheel. The space above the heads of the front and rear passengers in the Jeep Gladiator was also the best in the class.

To complete the Sport base is a five-inch touch screen, and as options are available larger displays with a diagonal of 7 and 8.4 inches. Uconnect’s older multimedia systems support Android Auto and Apple CarPlay protocols. The base car is equipped with a rearview camera, and those who plan to travel on serious off-road, for an extra charge can also get a front camera with an integrated washer, which provides a good overview of difficult areas off-road.

At the start of sales, all versions of the Jeep Gladiator are equipped with a 3.6-liter V6 engine, developing 285 hp. and 352 Nm of torque. The engine itself is not a “beast”, and besides this, the character of the Gladiator makes its curb weight of 2109 kg (in the base) phlegmatic – 307 kg more than the two-door Wrangler with the same engine. All four doors of the car, its hood, fenders, windshield frame and tailgate are made of aluminum, and the cargo platform and the rest of the cab are made of steel.

The mass version of Rubicon with an automatic transmission is even higher and amounts to 2300 kg. It is not surprising that the maximum carrying capacity of the Gladiator – 725 kg – and the maximum possible weight of the towed cargo – 3469 kg – are achieved in the basic (and easiest) configuration of the Sport. And Rubicon, in turn, can pull no more than 3175 kg. For comparison: the four-door Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro weighs 2016 kg and pulls a trailer weighing up to 2900 kg.

For unhurried driving through the city streets and highways, the V6 engine is enough. By default, the entire line of Jeep Gladiator install 6-speed manual gearbox. Switching speeds on it is not a particular joy, but I must admit that the presence of a clutch pedal in a car based on a Wrangler looks appropriate.

In fact, almost every buyer will agree to pay extra for an 8-step “automatic”, which will increase the price of any Gladiator by $ 2,000. This is a good box, which will not need to flip up and down transmissions without the need, and generally works almost unnoticed, working smoothly with the basic V6 engine.

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