There is only one engine choice available. That is the 3.6-litre, normally-aspirated Pentastar V6. It won’t win awards for aural character or expedient delivery by 2022 standards, but it is a proven mill, with more than 8.6-millionm units produced since 2010 for various products from the Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge stables.
Output is 209kW and 347Nm, transmitted via an eight-speed automatic gearbox. Foot flat, the petrol engine emits an industrial din, while 110km/h seems like the natural settling speed for the vehicle. Chasing beyond 120km/h on the open road could prove fatiguing over long distances, giving the concentration required to keep the Jeep tracking straight and true. No diesel options are available locally – chalk that down to fuel quality, partly, as well as the company’s ongoing drift from diesel technologies. The V6 provides sufficient grunt for low-speed, obstacle-crushing crawling activities. But if towing is on the agenda, one speculates the torque output of the engine could fall short of requirements.
Making casual morning chat ahead of our launch drive, the company’s representatives claimed a little over 100 units of the Gladiator were brought in so far. Obviously, they won’t be chasing the volumes of traditional double-cab rivals. Instead, it’s easy to image the Gladiator as a wild card alternative to a Land Rover Defender or Mercedes-Benz G-Class.