Last night, the GM-Trucks.com team were introduced to the new Jeep Gladiator at a media event in Massachusetts. We thought that the GM-Trucks.com membership might be interested in hearing and seeing a few things that we found notewothy.
To begin, the meeting was standing room only. All of these media events are popular, but this one was a packed house. Media from the six New England states were in attendance along with writers from Car and Driver, Autoweek, U.S. News & World Report, Forbes, The Boston Globe, The Boston Herald, and CarTalk. In addition to the content managers from every major online shopping site (CarGurus, iSeeCars, BestRide etc) there were also radio and TV media in attendance, including the host of Chasing Classic Cars. Josh and I could not remember a more well-attended meeting. FCA sent Jim Morrison, VP of FCA and head of Ram North America, along with a posse of four product managers to dive deep on the Gladiator. Jeep isn’t adding the Gladiator to the Wrangler line, this is a full-whammy new product line for Jeep and FCA.
The most important thing we took from the meeting is that the Gladiator, although made in the same Toledo production facility as Wrangler, is not a Wrangler with a bed. Sure, it shares its styling, that is the whole point. However, there are major differences. Look closely and you will see that the grill is different. Jeep opened up the airflow slots to enable better cooling. More importantly, the suspension is not shared with the Wrangler, though the capabilities end up similar. Jeep’s designers pointed to the similarities to the Ram 1500 that the Gladiator has. The Gladiator is more of a Ram 1500 in terms of suspension than it is a Wrangler (Their words).
Jeep is making a six-speed manual transmission the standard offering. Every trim has the six-speed manual. The automatic is optional.
Every Gladiator will come with Fox shocks standard, and electronically disconnecting front sway bars allow for greater articulation than other trucks in this class.
As every Colorado ZR2 owner likes to point out, your truck is rubbish unless it has front and rear lockers. Yup, Gladiator checks that important box.
Jeep’s Gladiator doesn’t just have rock rails to protect its cabin body area, it also has rock rails that protect the cargo bed area. Each side of the cargo bed can support 1/3 of the full weight of the truck when hung up on a rock.
Every Gladiator also has a full-size spare up under the cargo area.
The bed of the Gladiator is not full-size like in the Ram 1500 obviously. So Jeep designed a 45-degree opening for the tailgate that allows the Gladiator to haul sheet stock home from the home improvement palace.
eep will offer the new Gladiator standard with an open-air soft-top built in Acton Mass. by Haartz Corporation (Same supplier to Chevy’s Camaro, Porsche 911 Targa, and BMW Z4, among others). The specially-designed soft-top was designed for Jeep to be easy to clean but also rugged and long-lasting. The optional tonneau cover is made from the same material on the same line to give the Jeep a perfectly matching set. The two-piece hard-top is optional. All Gladiators have removable doors and a drop-down windscreen.
The drivetrains of the Gladiator mirror the Wrangler’s. Coming later this year is an all-new 3-liter turbo diesel engine option. Jeep is claiming that its long list of standard and optional off-road equipment makes its Gladiator the most capable off-road truck in America. We find it hard to argue that claim.
The new Gladiator is in its second month of sales.