December 04, 2018 Volume 14 Issue 45
 

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Wheels:
Jeep rolls out Gladiator -- first pickup in 25 years

Jeep rolled out something really big at the LA Auto Show last week, and it came in the hulking form of the Gladiator -- the brand's first new pickup in just over 25 years. The very versatile midsize truck line promises open-air freedom, impressive on- and off-road dynamics, best-in-class towing (up to 7,650 lb) and 4x4 payload (up to 1,600 lb), fuel-efficient powertrains, innovative safety and advanced technology features, and more.

Signature Jeep off-road capability comes courtesy of the Command-Trac and Rock-Trac 4x4 systems, third-generation Dana 44 axles, Tru-Lock electric front- and rear-axle lockers, Trac-Lok limited-slip differential, segment-exclusive sway-bar disconnect, and 33-in. off-road tires. The truck can also handle 30 inches of water fording.

The brand's last pickup line was the Jeep Comanche (MJ), which was produced from 1986 to 1992. The Gladiator moniker was used once before in the Jeep Gladiator/J-Series Pickup: 1963 to 1987.

The 2020 Jeep Gladiator is available in four different trim configurations: Sport, Sport S, Overland, and Rubicon (premium).

All new 2020 Jeep Gladiator models are equipped with the standard six-speed manual transmission. This transmission features a unique design that employs optimized gear ratios for bolstered crawl ratio performance and is cable-operated, eliminating shifter vibration and bolstering sound isolation.

The shift pattern features a comfortable shifting position and bolsters shift accuracy. A 4.41 ratio spread offers better fuel efficiency at faster speeds and delivers quick acceleration with smooth, precise shift quality.

More than 80 active and passive safety and security features are available, including Blind-spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Path detection, forward-facing off-road camera, standard ParkView rear backup camera with dynamic grid lines, Adaptive Cruise Control and electronic stability control (ESC) with electronic roll mitigation.

2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon.

 

 

The Gladiator boasts a rugged, distinguished design aesthetic that is immediately recognizable with traditional Jeep design cues.

The Jeep design team kept the traditional seven-slot grille seen on Wrangler, but widened the grille slots for additional air intake to assist with the increased towing capacity. The top of the keystone-shaped grille is gently swept back to enhance aerodynamics.

Gladiator Overland and Rubicon models offer available LED headlamps and fog lamps that project crisp white lighting, adding to the truck's modern look. Gladiator models equipped with LEDs feature daytime running lights, which form a halo around the outside perimeter of the headlights. Forward turn signals are positioned on the front of the trapezoidal wheel flares.

From behind, traditional square tail lamps feature available LED lighting and give way to a wide tailgate opening for unobstructed loading of cargo into the durable 5-ft steel bed. The tailgate is damped and capable of stopping in three positions, while cargo is easily secured with a power-locking tailgate.

Clever functionality and versatility were the focus while designing the Gladiator's durable bed to streamline usability. Under-rail bed lighting, an available covered external power source (400-W 115-V, three-prong), and strong integrated tie-downs provide durability and versatility. The available Trail Rail Cargo Management System provides additional storage options to organize and secure cargo.

The full-size spare tire and mount is located under the bed, behind the rear axle, and is capable of holding up to a 35-in. tire. An available spray-in bed liner, bed divider, and tonneau cover provide even more options to keep cargo secure while helping with durability. Gladiator Rubicon models are equipped with protective cab and cargo bed rock rails. A four-bolt design at the top of the windshield's frame allows for the windshield to fold down quickly and easily. A header bar connects the A-pillars and stays in place even when the windshield is folded down. This allows the rearview mirror to remain in place even with the windshield folded.

Lightweight, high-strength aluminum doors feature the Torx bit size stamped directly onto the hinge to eliminate guessing which size bit is needed to remove the doors. A tool kit with the necessary Torx bits to remove the doors and lower the windshield is provided as standard equipment.

All Gladiators feature body-color sport bars, which are welded to the body and feature integrated grab handles for front occupants. A premium Sunrider soft top provides a segment-exclusive easy open-air option.

Gladiator Overland and Rubicon models share an available three-piece body-color hardtop option, offering a unique, premium appearance, while a black three-piece hardtop, available on all models, offers even more options for open-air driving. The two Freedom panels and quick-release latches enable fast removal and installation of the hardtop. All hardtops feature a manual rear-sliding window.

Dozens of different door, top, and windshield combinations allow for endless configuration possibilities.

The heritage-inspired center stack features a clean, sculpted form that complements the horizontal dashboard design and sports a finish dictated by the model choice. A hand-wrapped instrument panel features a soft-touch surface with accent stitching on Gladiator Overland and available on Rubicon models.

Functional features, including climate and volume control knobs, media charging and connectivity ports, and Engine Stop Start (ESS) control are all sculpted for quick recognition and are easily within reach of the front-seat occupants. Inboard and outboard circular HVAC vents are surrounded by a platinum chrome bezel for a precise and premium yet rugged appearance with full functionality.

Jeep functionality and versatility are celebrated in the center console and distinguished with metal-plated accents. The center console houses gear shift selection, transfer case, and parking brake. Real bolts featured on the shifter, grab handles, and the infotainment screen's frame highlight genuine construction methods.

A 7-in. or an available 8.4-in. touchscreen houses the fourth-generation Uconnect system and sits prominently atop the center stack. The fourth-generation Uconnect system enhances the user interface and system performance with quicker startup times and improved screen resolution. A 5-in. touchscreen is standard on Gladiator Sport. Directly below the touchscreen are functional features, such as climate and volume control knobs and media connectivity ports.

Exclusive to Gladiator Rubicon models, a forward-facing off-road camera allows obstructions ahead on the trail to be easily seen. The front camera sits behind the middle slot of Gladiator's seven-slot grille and can be accessed through the available Off-road Pages.

A push-button starter, featuring a weather-proof surround, is standard on the 2020 Gladiator and is easily located within the driver's reach. Cloth or leather-contoured seats feature accent stitching and adjustable bolster and lumbar support. Available comfort features include heated front seats and steering wheel.

All-new rear seats feature high-quality premium materials giving the seats an athletic look that also delivers comfort and support. The rear seats, exclusive to Gladiator, feature segment-leading rear legroom and utilize a unique design that can be locked in place to provide secure storage behind the seat back. The rear seats can be folded flat to access cab-back storage and provide a load floor for larger items.

With the rear seats folded flat, LED lights on the quarter trim panels illuminate the storage space behind the seats. Two storage nets on the cab-back wall provide even more secure storage. Clever storage solutions are found throughout the 2020 Gladiator, including durable mesh pockets that extend the entire length of the doors and numerous phone storage areas.

The rear seat cushions can fold up into "stadium" position to reveal a standard open storage bin, which utilizes the space under the seat for stowing miscellaneous items. An optional lockable bin provides secure storage space when the top or doors are removed.

Gladiator's body-on-frame design uses advanced materials and engineering to be lightweight, yet stiff and durable, and features an all-new lightweight, high-strength steel frame. When compared to Jeep Wrangler 4-door, Gladiator's frame is an additional 31 in. longer, while the wheelbase is 19.4 in. longer. The longer wheelbase and the bed's positioning center aft of the rear axle centerline enables for better weight distribution and a more comfortable and composed ride when carrying cargo. The prop shaft, brake, fuel lines, and exhaust system were lengthened to accommodate the changes needed to make the proven body-on-frame design work.

A traditional steel bed utilizes four steel cross-members to reinforce the load floor while the aluminum tailgate is damped. Utility and versatility are maximized with strong integrated tie-downs, under-rail bed lighting, and an optional covered external power source.

To protect critical vehicle components while on the trail, including the fuel tank, transfer case, and automatic transmission oil pan, Gladiator employs four skid plates and bars. Rubicon models benefit from the use of heavy-gauge tubular steel rock rails to curtail potential body damage inflicted while out on the trail. Rubicon models also feature segment-exclusive rock rails for the bed corners.

The use of lightweight, high-strength aluminum closures, including the doors, door hinges, hood, fender flares, windshield frame, and tailgate, help curtail weight and boost fuel economy. Other ways the Jeep engineering team looked to manage weight included using hollow track and stabilizer bars, aluminum engine mounts and steering gear.

Gladiator uses the proven five-link coil suspension configuration, with the front suspension using a lateral control arm and four longitudinal control arms. Full-width track bars made of forged steel control lateral movement of the axle with minimal angle change during suspension travel.

The all-new Jeep Gladiator offers the proven 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine at launch, with a 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 engine being offered in 2020.

The FCA US 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine delivers 285 hp and 260 lb.-ft. of torque and features ESS as standard equipment. It is engineered to provide a broad torque band with a focus on low-end torque, an essential trait needed for extreme off-roading.

A six-speed manual transmission is standard on all Gladiator models equipped with the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6, and an eight-speed automatic transmission is optional.

2020 Jeep Gladiator Overland.

 

 

The 3.0-liter EcoDiesel engine will be available starting in 2020. Gladiator models will offer the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 engine, rated at 260 hp and 442 lb.-ft. of torque, with ESS standard. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard and is designed to handle the increased torque output.

The EcoDiesel V-6 engine implements refined turbocharger technology with a low-friction bearing designed for low-end and transient performance. The EcoDiesel V-6 engine also features low-friction pistons to improve fuel economy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and provide an enhanced combustion system -- injector nozzle, piston bowl, and glow plug with integrated combustion pressure sensor to optimize combustion. Low Pressure Cooled Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) assists to combine with the high-pressure system to expand the range of EGR usage and to improve fuel economy.

The Jeep Gladiator gets its impressive off-road capability courtesy of two advanced 4x4 systems. The Command-Trac 4x4 system, standard on Sport and Overland, features 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. On Gladiator Rubicon, a Rock-Trac 4x4 system features heavy-duty third-generation Dana 44 front and rear axles with a "4LO" ratio of 4:1. A 4.10 front and rear axle ratio is standard as are Tru-Lok locking differentials. Gladiator Rubicon models offer improved articulation and total suspension travel with help from a segment-exclusive electronic sway-bar disconnect. With the standard six-speed manual transmission, Gladiator Rubicon has an impressive crawl ratio of 84.2:1, and 77.2:1 on Rubicon models equipped with the optional eight-speed automatic transmission -- both of which make scaling any obstacle on the trail easy. Both Command-Trac and Rock-Trac systems offer full-time torque management, enabling optimal grip in low-traction conditions.

Built in Toledo, OH, the all-new 2020 Jeep Gladiator arrives in showrooms in the second quarter of 2019.

Pricing and fuel-economy ratings have not been released.

Learn more at www.jeep.com/gladiator.html.

Sources: Jeep, FCA US

Published December 2018

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