The Jeep Gladiator is a mid-sized pick-up that combines plenty of cargo space with the fun appearance and joie de vivre of an enlarged Tonka toy truck. Sturdy and reliable yet stylish, this is one of the most exciting designs that Jeep has released in a long time. Retaining the same robust exterior that they are renowned for, Jeep has created a truck that is just as good for hitting the offroad trail as working as a pickup.
The Gladiator looks undeniably like a Jeep, with the large and chunky box on the back. It’s not cute but it is appealing and fans of the distinctive Jeep design will love the exuberance of the styling.
With its ability to tackle all types of terrain the suspension has been beefed up to five-link coil in the front and back while the doors, fenders, hood, tailgate and hinges are all made from strong but lightweight aluminum.
The Gladiator growls into action with a 3.6-litre V6 engine that is capable of 285 horsepower and 260 lb/ft of torque. There’s the choice of either the standard six-speed manual transmission or drivers can opt for an eight-speed automatic. The options will ultimately also include a 3.0-litre V6 diesel which offers 260 horsepower and 442 lb/ft torque. As expected, the Gladiator has four-wheel-drive available.
The Jeep isn’t the fastest pick-up around; with a 0-96km speed of 7.2 seconds, a bit slower than you might expect from top-performing competitors.
If you expect to need serious pulling power, opt for the Max Towing Package and the Gladiator will be capable of towing 3470kg with a further 726kg in the cargo bed.
For fuel economy, expect around 13.7/10.7 L/100km City/Hwy but exact consumption will depend on whether it’s the manual or automatic transmission, and whether four-wheel-drive is being utilized.
Jeeps are made to swallow up tough terrains and the Gladiator makes short work of any challenge. Able to easily crawl up even a steep incline or move over boulders, the Gladiator is as rugged as the name suggests.
Interior and accessories
There’s a surprising amount of room inside so you won’t be cramped for leg-space. The back seats can move into three separate positions and there’s a clever storage compartment stashed underneath, which is fully lockable for security. When the rear seats fold down, LED lights to illuminate the storage space.
Jeep clearly doesn’t want anyone to forget that this is a pick-up truck that’s designed to work, so they’ve left screw heads uncovered to provide an industrial vibe. The electric components are rubber sealed and water-resistant so even in wet weather, you won’t have a problem.
At 554cm long, this is the largest mid-range pickup in Canada and the benefits show with the five feet cargo box in the bag. Neither legroom for passengers nor space for cargo has to be sacrificed due to the generous dimensions.
If you want something completely different, the roof and body panels can be removed for an open-air cabin.
A front-facing camera is an asset for tackling trails but even when it’s on the road the Gladiator is packed full of handy safety features. These include rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control and a blind-spot monitor.
The Jeep Gladiator handles remarkably well whether it’s for the serious stuff or having fun off-road. With a good weight and responsive steering, the Jeep Gladiator is an excellent example of a mid-sized pick-up and many will wonder why they waited so long to re-enter the market.