August 17, 2022

Jeep debuted the long-rumored pickup version of its Wrangler SUV at the Los Angeles Auto Show, bestowing it a name from the company’s storied past.

Carrying the “Gladiator” moniker last used on full-size pickups the company offered during the 1960s, the 2020 version is based on the four-door Wrangler, but has a five-foot-long cargo bed behind the cab. Like the Wrangler, the Gladiator will be offered in both soft- and hard-top versions, the latter having individual roof panels that can be removed. Also like the Wrangler, the doors can be removed and the windshield folded down for a full “open air” experience.

Initially, only a 3.6-liter V6 will be offered paired with a 6-speed manual transmission or 8-speed automatic and standard 4WD, but Jeep says a 3.0-liter turbodiesel will be available later in calendar 2020.

As might be expected, the Gladiator will be offered with all sorts of off-road equipment, including electric-locking front and rear axles, electric sway-bar disconnect, a forward-facing camera, and 33-inch off-road tires. Properly equipped, Jeep says it has up to 30 inches of water-fording capability and a 7650-lb towing capacity.

Gladiator is set to go on sale in the second quarter of 2019.

While compact pickups are a dime a dozen, compact pickups with removable roofs and true off-road chops are not. Jeep offered a similar vehicle in the ’80s as the Scrambler, and while that 2-door pickup was not terribly successful at the time, they’ve grown to be valuable (read, “expensive”) collectibles. Various attempts at recreating the Scrambler have been attempted over the years, but this is the first official production vehicle, and it looks like a gem.


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