JEEP GLADIATORPrice range: To be announced, but acceptable added big-ticket than Wrangler four-door ($72,990-$92,990).Powertrain: 3.6-litre petrol V6, eight-speed automatic, part-time 4WD with low-range transfer.Body style: Four-door auto barter (or ute if you like).On sale: Mid-2020.
It’s been a continued time amid genuine Jeep auto trucks: the aftermost branch accomplishment was the Cherokee-based Comanche that angled out in 1992, or if you capital article agnate to a Wrangler the CJ-8 Scrambler of 1981-85. Neither were awash new in New Zealand.
But Jeep still has barter heritage. It fabricated them right from the aboriginal canicule of Willys-Overland, from the simple 4×4 Barter (as the 1947 aboriginal was called) to the FC (Forward Control) workhorse to the archetypal J-series Gladiator (1963-87).
Yet addition American day-tripper in Central: Jeep Gladiator (note it’s left-hand drive) in Queenstown.
Speaking of which: Jeep is acrimonious up the ute crimson already afresh with the new Gladiator, which takes its name from the brand’s longest-running auto and abundant of its architectonics and beheld appearance from the Wrangler.
READ MORE:* The day we got the world’s best off-roader stuck* Over alley in the Jeep Wrangler Overland* Rubicon meets Mount Aspiring
The Gladiator is branch to New Zealand mid-year, but we’ve already bashed it about on Kiwi roads… and over some absolutely big rocks.
Accomplish me an burning expert: what do I charge to know?
Gladiator is about a Wrangler from the B-pillar forward, but bespoke at the back.
The Gladiator will be of huge absorption to Kiwis because it fits into the “one tonne” ute chic we apperceive and love.
We’re talking added Ford Ranger Raptor than Toyota Hilux Workmate: Gladiator is aboveboard a “lifestyle” pickup. It’s for towing your baiter or carriage your carbon abundance bike, not thumping about a acreage or architecture site.
Jeep would like to admonish you it’s not alone a Wrangler with a tray. From the B-pillar advanced Gladiator absolutely owes its actuality to Wrangler, but from there aback it’s a different proposition.
No charge to anguish about the tray: there are ‘rock rails’ all about the base to assure it.
Compared with the Wrangler four-door, the Gladiator has a 479mm-longer wheelbase and it’s a massive 691mm best all-embracing (or still 175mm best than a Raptor).
The best wheelbase and a added adult five-link rear abeyance (adapted from the Ram 1500) accomplish the Gladiator added tarmac-friendly than Wrangler. The off-road accouterments and technology is shared, but there’s befalling amount in off-road achievement for the ute. The abandonment bend drops from 29.2 degrees to 26 for the Gladiator, for example. That’s still impressive… just beneath than the Wrangler.
As a ute it has a continued tray (1.5m) but the burden isn’t up to the accepted of the one-tonne crow, because Gladiator can alone backpack 620kg. Ditto for the towing ability: while best Kiwi-market utes can booty 3500kg, the Jeep is bound to 2721kg.
You can accept Gladiator in soft-top or hard-top configuration, and you can still abolish the doors and bend the windscreen down. As a soft-top it’s also the world’s alone convertible ute…
Where did you drive it?
Launch accident went absolute to appearance off archetypal Kiwi burghal environments to all-embracing guests.
On a Jeep media accident based out of Queenstown in late-2019: two abounding canicule of active both on and off-road around the Rob Roy Valley.
The timing explains why you adeptness accept apparent online pictures of Gladiators wading forth Kiwi anchorage already; this was all activity on when Wanaka was near-underwater in aboriginal December (but with an official embargo on our words until now).
The area would be pretty special beneath any circumstances, but this wasn’t an accustomed New Zealand barrage event. It was an all-embracing programme run by the Jeep factory, with all stops clearly pulled out and media participants from about the world.
Watch: Jeep Gladiator artist Taylor Langhals can’t stop working.
Production of the right-hand drive Gladiator hadn’t started aback the Central Otago drive kicked off, so for the barrage accident Jeep alien out a agile of 20 left-hand drive models and alike brought forth a abstraction car: the Wayout camper, which Gladiator artist Taylor Langhals slept in during an overnight affected at the bottom of the Avalanche Glacier.
Staying on the actual ancillary of the alley is still added difficult in the Gladiator than your boilerplate ute: it remains a determined off-roader, so the council and directional adherence are both a bit on the almost ancillary for attenuated Kiwi roads.
But we got into the Gladiator appropriate afterwards test-time in both the Wrangler Overland and Rubicon models and it’s bright that the ute is a lot added able on-road than its sibling. Now that the Pentastar V6 agent has an eight-speed gearbox, the powertrain is appealing bland as well.
Still not the sharpest ute on-road, but that’s not the point.
Off-road? Still phenomenal. The barrage took us to a narrow, rock-strewn gully we’ve visited afore with Jeep.
It’s a ambiguous and apathetic drive over huge boulders that requires apprenticeship from outside the agent to abstain damage. A challenge, then; not so abundant for the drivers because of all the on-ground assistance, but absolutely for the vehicles.
Jeep is determined that you can bang the Gladiator into as abundant adamantine being as the Wrangler and still drive away.
Gladiator rocks: not absolutely as able off-road as Wrangler, still tougher than annihilation abroad in the class.
Example: there are “rock rails” not aloof beneath the sills, but additionally around the tray. Several times we rolled off huge boulders with the aback wheel, slamming the tray overhang bottomward assimilate the adamantine stuff. No problem. You cannot advice but be afflicted by the Gladiator’s off-road abilities.
What’s the aces of the range?
Rear administration is polarising. We adulation it.
Model specifics are still not absitively for NZ, but apprehend at atomic Overland and Rubicon versions as activated on the launch. And it’s got to be the Rubicon, right?
There’s no agnosticism that the Overland is a bit added road-friendly, but unless you absolutely accessorise it up it appears a little undernourished. The Rubicon looks the business and has the off-road smarts: so aloof go absolute and be done with it.
Why would I buy it?
Overland (left) makes added faculty for accustomed use, but you appetite the Rubicon, right? Possibly with tube doors.
It’s a badly altered booty on the accomplished ute thing, it’s bags of fun and that acute off-road adeptness brings a lot of enthusiast credibility.
If you appetite to go silly, you can. Included in the barrage agile was a Gladiator absolutely kitted up with Mopar accessories, including “tube” doors (pretty abutting to no doors really) and an abandoned achievement bankrupt that brought a blow of Maserati to the mountains.
Why wouldn’t I buy it?
It’s not as glossy on-road as top-line Ford Ranger or Volkswagen Amarok models. The abeyant price. The payload/towing adeptness isn’t up the akin of the utes we apperceive so able-bodied in NZ.
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