In 2020, the UK’s well-stocked market of polished, versatile pickups will have to make room for a new kid coming to town, and it might just ruffle a few feathers on entry.
Known for its rugged vehicles, American firm Jeep is to launch its go-anywhere Gladiator pickup truck, which boosts some unrivalled credentials compared with current top sellers.
Starting with the engine, there looks to be just two options. A 3.6-litre Penstar V6 petrol offering 285hp and 352Nm of torque, while a 3-litre FCA V6 diesel has slightly less power at 260hp but a whopping 599Nm of torque.
The transmissions for the petrol truck can be a six-speed manual and eight-speed auto, however the diesel only gets the auto option.
Low range box
Underneath is a ladder chassis arrangement, similar to the Ssangyong Musso, with a low range box and heavy-duty Dana 44 axles having locking front and rear differentials, standard on the Rubicon models.
Skid plates protect the underbelly, which will be handy when wading through water up to the 762mm wading height.
The Gladiator is a bit larger than most trucks and means it won’t be as easy to swing into a Sainsburys’ car park.
The Mercedes X-Class sits around 5,340mm long, whereas the Jeep is 5,567mm and had the prop shaft, exhaust and fuel lines all lengthened to cope with the body-on-frame design.
The five-link rear coil suspension features two upper and two lower steel arms for longitudinal control, while a track bar is in place for lateral axle control.
The rear shocks are forward facing to offer consistent dampening for an improved ride.
Towing limits are still around the 3,500kg mark, with a widened front grill to help air intake, however the Gladiator actually has a slightly lower payload than most other trucks on market of 725kg.
However, its ability to scale banks will be music to the ears of many, with an approach angle of 43.6deg, putting VW’s Amarok to shame at only 29.5deg.
Coming in crew cab version, there’s the option to remove doors, fold down windscreens and choices of a soft top or two hard tops to suit all different weathers.
Elsewhere, the 1,520mm steel load bed, with external 115v power source and tie-down points, should swallow most farming paraphernalia.
Luxuries include forward-facing camera on Rubicon models, and cloth or leather seat options, which can be heated, while there’s a choice of 7-inch or 8.4-inch touchscreen LED displays to control all music and phone needs, including being Apple and Android friendly.
The Jeep Gladiator is available in four trim configurations: Sport, Sport S, Overland and top-spec Rubicon, with further product information available closer to the commercial launch in 2020 for the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) region.
However, if you can’t wait that long, then you’ll have to book flights to the US, where the Ohio-built trucks will arrive in showrooms during the second quarter of 2019.