The long-awaited Jeep Gladiator pick-up will cost in excess of $80,000 drive-away when it finally arrives in Australian showrooms in May – significantly more than what was forecast and amid price cuts in the US – and will initially not be available with diesel power.
Touting the new model as “the one and only convertible lifestyle truck in the world” (a claim the Chevrolet SSR and Dodge Dakota might refute), the all-new Jeep Gladiator aims to put a more recreational spin on a market traditionally dominated by work-ready double-cab utes.
Two Jeep Gladiator models will arrive in Australia from launch, starting with the well-equipped Gladiator Overland ($75,450 before on-road costs) and topping out with the enhanced off-road abilities of the Gladiator Rubicon ($76,450 before on-roads), though both models wear Jeep’s ‘Trail Rated’ insignia.
Diesel engines may be the driving force for most double-cab utes sold in Australia, but Jeep has decided to forge a different path, with both Gladiator models available only with a petrol-powered 3.6-litre V6 (209kW and 347Nm) paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Despite styling themes shared with the Wrangler range, the Gladiator rolls on a ladder frame chassis that is 462mm longer between the wheels and 787mm longer overall. A steel bed is fitted aft of the rear axle line for claimed ride comfort benefits.
Four steel cross-members reinforce the tub floor, integrated tie downs are included as is under-rail tray lighting, while the aluminium tailgate is damped for ease of operation.
Overland models send that grunt to the turf through Selec-Trac Active On-Demand 4x4 with a two-speed part-time transfer case, 2.72:1 low range ratio and Dana 44 axles with a 3.73 rear axle ratio.
The Rubicon beefs up with Rock-Trac Active On-Demand 4x4 which adds 4:1 low range ratio, 4.10 rear axle ratio and Tru-Lok locking differentials.
Other Rubicon features include improved suspension articulation and travel via electronic sway-bar disconnect, an Off-Road+ drive mode control to adjust throttle sensitivity, Selec-Speed control, traction control, and transmission shift points. The Gladiator Rubicon also boasts a 77.2:1 crawl ratio.
Protection under the Gladiator includes three skid plates to keep the fuel tank, transmission oil pan and transfer case safe, while heavy-gauge tubular steel rock rails aim to minimise impact damage under the cabin and load bed corners.
A rear five-link coil suspension and front suspension with a lateral control arm and four longitudinal control arms aims to deliver balanced off-road ability and on-road handling. Rubicon versions step up again with the addition of Fox Racing 2-inch diameter shocks and provide 40.7 degree approach, 18.4 degree break-over, and 25.1 degree departure angles, with 283mm of ground clearance.
Local specification will see the Gladiator loaded with LED headlights, fog lights and tail lights, a foldable front windscreen, removable aluminium doors (including the required Torx bit removal kit), and remote keyless entry and start.
Overland models score a body-coloured removable three-piece hard top and wheel arch flares, while the Rubicon subs in black versions. Body coloured sports bars are welded to the body and provide integrated grab handles for front occupants.
The Gladiator Overland features McKinley leather seat trim, heated front seats and steering wheel, and 18-inch alloy wheels. The Overland runs with cloth seat trim and 17-inch wheels shod with 225/75 R17 BF Goodrich 32” off-road tyres.
Infotainment is provided by Jeep’s Uconnect 8.4-inch touchscreen infotainment system incorporating Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality and a nine-speaker Alpine sound system. Two USB-A and three USB-C ports are positioned through the cabin ensure connectivity and charging option aplenty.
A forward-facing off-road camera on Rubicon models is also standard.
Safety is handled by forward collision warning plus (Jeep's name for AEB), blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-path detection rear camera with dynamic guidelines, adaptive cruise control and electronic stability control with roll mitigation.
In addition to the mainstay models, Jeep will also offer 100 Launch Edition packages ($86,450 before on-road costs) based on the Rubicon and equipped with otherwise optional equipment including the Lifestyle Adventure Pack which adds cargo management with trail rail system, lockable rear underseat storage bin, roll-up tonneau cover, spray-in bedliner, 4 programmable auxiliary switches, 240-amp alternator, 700-amp maintenance free battery and a removable wireless Bluetooth speaker.
Other Launch Edition touches include colour-matched wheel arch flares and hard top, black 17-inch alloy wheels, and otherwise optional equipment including a Rubicon steel front bumper, black leather trim seats with heated front seats and steering.
2020 Jeep Gladiator Pricing
- Gladiator Overland – $75,450
- Gladiator Rubicon – $76,450
- Gladiator Launch Edition – $86,450
Lifestyle Adventure Package: $3835
- Cargo management group with trail rail system
- Lockable rear underseat storage bin
- Roll-up tonneau cover
- Spray-in bedliner
- Auxiliary switch bank (4 programmable switches)
- 240-amp alternator
- 700-amp maintenance free battery
- Wireless speaker - Bluetooth
Rubicon Luxury Package: $2535
- Black leather trim seats
- Body colour fender flares
- Heated front seats & steering wheel
Individual optional items
- Premium paint: $1035
- 17” black wheels with polished lip: $975
- Rubicon steel front bumper: $1650
- Body-colour three-piece hard top: $1950
- Premium black Sunrider soft top: $3575
Manufacturer’s list price, before on-road costs.
Overseas model shown, from Jeep's New Zealand preview drive – read more here.