Five things you should know about the 2022 Jeep Gladiator
The macho Jeep Gladiator launched in SA today. Here are five things to know about it.
1: It's based on the Wrangler
Strip away that aggressive sheet metal and you'll discover that the Jeep Gladiator shares its rugged body-on-frame underpinnings with its slightly less imposing Wrangler sibling. In Gladiator specification it's 787mm longer (493mm of that is built into the wheelbase) and of course features a large rear load-bed that Jeep claims can carry up to 693kg of cargo. This is complemented by a braked towing capacity of up to 2,721kg. So if you need to lug lots of gear and or people across gnarly terrain then the Gladiator is a safe bet.
2: The doors come off
I still can't see why you'd want to but Jeep does allow one to easily remove the lightweight aluminium doors (and the windscreen for that matter) on your next adventure. Simply locate the Torx key included in the toolkit and within minutes you too can be rolling through the streets like a muscled-up extra from some Spring Break reality TV show.
3: There's only one engine on offer in SA
Local Gladiators make do with an old-school 3.6l V6 Pentastar petrol engine that makes all of 209kW and 347Nm worth of torque. This is distributed through Jeep's Command-Trac and Rock-Trac 4x4 systems via a standard eight-speed automatic transmission. Jeep hasn't given us any performance data but we expect the Gladiator to go about its business like its namesake loping around the Circus Maximus in a suit of armour. We also expect it to be thirsty. Yep, it should make the old Hummer H3 look like a Prius in comparison.
4: There are off-road credentials — lots of them
Maybe you're one of those people who's into heavy off-roading? If you are then you'll be pleased to hear that the Gladiator ships with an impressive array of terrain conquering gizmos. Some of these include heavy-duty Dana 44 front and rear axles with a “4LO” ratio of 4:1 as well as “Tru-Lok” locking differentials for particularly stubborn conditions. You also score an electronic sway-bar disconnect system and standard off-road tyres.
In terms of figures, the Gladiator sports approach, breakover and departure angles of 43.6º, 20.3º and 26.0º respectively. Ground clearance measures in at a reasonable 249mm (from terra firma to the rear diff) while max wading depth is a swamp-busting 800mm.
5: Not such a spartan interior
Just because the Gladiator looks mean doesn't mean its cabin is. Jump inside (you literally can with the doors removed) and you'll find niceties such as a seven-inch digital drivers display, an 8.4-inch touchscreen infotainment system (Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible), climate control, adaptive cruise control, rear parking camera, blind-spot monitoring and leather seats. Some available optional extras include a subwoofer and a removable wireless speaker with which you can ruin the tranquillity of the great outdoors.
The Jeep Gladiator Rubicon will set you back a cool R1,259,900. This includes a five-year/100,000km warranty and three-year/100,000km maintenance plan. TimesLIVE Motoring group editor Denis Droppa attended today's media launch so look forward to more in-depth information and full driving impressions within the next day or so.