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It‘s official: meet the Jeep Gladiator (with Rubicon), updated

by David Zatz on

The first Jeep pickup since the 1980s, named Gladiator (after a full-size-pickup of the 1960s) rather than Scrambler (the name of the CJ-based pickup of the 1980s), was unveiled today in Los Angeles. Tim Kuniskis, head of Jeep North America, launched the truck—pointing out that Jeep had made pickups from 1947 to 1992.

Buyers can take off the lightweight aluminum doors and fold the windshield down, just as with a regular Wrangler.

The new Jeep has two engine options: a 3.6-liter Pentastar gasoline V6 and the VM 3-liter diesel V6 from the Ram 1500.  The diesel comes with an eight speed; gasoline versions have the usual six-speed manual and eight-speed automatic. All Gladiators have standard four wheel drive. (The diesel will not be available in the Gladiator’s first year.)

All the Wrangler’s off-road systems (Command-Trac, Rock-Trac, Dana 44 axles, electric front and rear lockers, limited slip differential, sway-bar disconnect, and 33-inch offroad tires) are available, but because of the pickup’s extra length, it won’t be quite as agile as the Wrangler. That length also suggests that the Toledo plant has been replumbed from its pure-Wrangler days.

Like the Wrangler, it can handle up to 30 inches of water crossing. The crawl ratio in low gear, with the automatic, is 77.2:1 (in first gear). With the manual, it’s 84.2:1. Skid plates are standard on all models, with rear tow hooks. 17-inch off-road wheels are optional (Rubicon gets 33-inch tires).

Sport and Overland have a 40.8° approach angle, 18.4° breakover, and 25° departure angle, with ten inches of ground clearance.

The rear wheels are relatively close to the back of the pickup, so the frame is likely unique.

The payload is relatively small, at 1,600 pounds, though that should be more than enough for the short bed; the towing capacity is a hefty 7,650 pounds.  The steel bed is five feet long, with tie-downs and a power source. It even gets a folding windshield. Roof options are a soft top and two hardtop designs. There are dozens of different door, top, and windshield combinations. The doors, hinges, hood, fenders, windshield frame, and tailgate are aluminum for reduced weight.

gladiator rubicon

The Rubicon has a 4:1 low gear, electrically disconnecting sway bar, underbody protection for cab and bed, forward-facing trail camera, Dana 44 axles, and other standard Rubicon gear—but now you can lock the rear differential and unlock the front, for high speed traction in 4×4 mode, a design unique to the Gladiator Rubicon. The Rubicon also has a steel off-road rear bumper and optional front winch-ready bumper with removable end caps.

The Rubicon’s approach angle is 43.6°; the breakover is 20.3°; and the departure angle is 26°. The ground clearance is 11.1 inches.

2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon

The Jeep Gladiator shares interior design the Jeep Wrangler. The center screen is either 7 inches or 8.4 (just 5 on the base Sport model), and has the latest Apple CarPlay, or Android Auto.  The gauge cluster has a 3.5 inch standard LED display with an optional 7-inch customizable display (in addition to standard gauges).  Audio options include a subwoofer and portable wireless speaker.

The crew cab has a five-foot steel bed with an external power source and integrated tie-downs.  The V6 engine is rated at 285 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque, with stop-start. The diesel will be rated at 260 hp and 442 pound-feet, again with stop-start.

To demonstrate the Rubicon, Jeep drivers took it up onto a logpile, after driving a standard Gladiator up the steps.

The Jeep Gladiator will be available in 2019. Gas mileage has yet to be determined. Transfer cases are NV241 (Command-Trac) and NV241OR (Rock-Trac), as with Wrangler. The wheelbase is 138.3 inches, with 29.7 inches of front and 51 inches of rear overhang. The track is 62.9 inches (64.4 on Rubicon). Overall length is a hefty 218 inches; width is 73.8 inches. The height is 75 inches.

The box is 35.5 cubic feet in volume, 60.3 inches long with the 20-inch-tall tailgate closed. The width is 56.8 inches at the liftgate and 44.8 inches between the wheelhouses. The load floor height is 33.9 inches at the liftgate. Inside, there are two front seats and three rear seats.

Despite the use of aluminum, these are heavy vehicles: the Sport weighs in at 4,650 pounds with a manual (the automatic adds 22 pounds). The Rubicon is 5,050 pounds with the manual.

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