Gla­di­a­tor puts Jeep back in pick-up arena

Gloucestershire Echo - - MOTORING NEWS - Chris RUSSON Driv­ing Force

THE wraps have come off a new Jeep Gla­di­a­tor mark­ing the end of 27 years’ ab­sence for the all-amer­i­can off-road brand in the pick-up mar­ket.

The new­comer was un­veiled at this year’s Camp Jeep ex­trav­a­ganza in San Martino di Cas­trozza in Italy’s Dolomite moun­tains, where it is tak­ing cen­tre stage at the an­nual gath­er­ing.

Based on the lat­est Wran­gler the Gla­di­a­tor is a dou­ble cab pick-up with a load bed of more than 1.5 me­tres and ca­pa­ble of tow­ing up to 2.7 tonnes with a pay­load ca­pac­ity of 725 ki­los.

It is due for re­lease in Eu­rope late next year where it will be pow­ered a 3.0-litre V6 diesel en­gine de­vel­op­ing 260 horse­power with 600 Nm of torque.

Mated to an eight-speed automatic gear­box the Gla­di­a­tor is some 79cm longer than the Wran­gler with a wheel­base in­creased by al­most 50cm to help ride when carrying cargo.

With the brand’s Com­mand-trac and Rock-track sys­tems fit­ted Jeep is de­scrib­ing it as the only full open-air pick-up and the sus­pen­sion has been mod­i­fied for op­ti­mal on­road han­dling with­out in­ter­fer­ing with off-road abil­ity.

For added all-ter­rain per­for­mance it also fea­tures an elec­tron­i­cally dis­con­nectable sway bar which is a first in the pick-up sec­tor.

Sit­ting on 32-inch tyres the Gla­di­a­tor will be avail­able in Sport, Over­land and Ru­bi­con trims and while pric­ing and ex­act spec­i­fi­ca­tion are still to be an­nounced it is ex­pected to be sim­i­lar to that of the Wran­gler which is priced from around £45,000.

The Gla­di­a­tor’s pay­load ca­pac­ity of un­der a tonne means it doesn’t at­tract Vat-free sta­tus in the UK.

Like the Wran­gler, it fea­tures an ar­ray of driver as­sis­tance fea­tures in­clud­ing blind spot mon­i­tors, rear cross traf­fic alerts and adap­tive cruise con­trol and also comes with a

for­ward-fac­ing cam­era as a fur­ther aid to off-road­ing and gen­eral ma­noeu­vra­bil­ity.

The in­te­rior is al­most a straight lift from the Wran­gler and room in the rear seats is plen­ti­ful for a truck.

Un­der-rail bed light­ing, an op­tional cov­ered 230-volt ex­ter­nal power source and in­te­grated tiedowns are also fit­ted and an op­tional Trail Rail Cargo Man­age­ment Sys­tem pro­vides ad­di­tional storage op­tions to or­gan­ise and se­cure loads. It also fea­tures a damped tailgate which can be locked and stopped in three po­si­tions for added func­tion­al­ity.

The Gla­di­a­tor in­her­its the Wran­gler’s fold-down wind­screen, de­tach­able doors and a re­mov­able roof for the full out­door ex­pe­ri­ence is one of three roof sys­tems avail­able. And on the au­dio front an op­tional por­ta­ble wire­less speaker can be fit­ted be­hind the rear seats al­low­ing users to take their mu­sic with them when away from the ve­hi­cle.

Off-road abil­ity sees the Gla­di­a­tor with a steep approach an­gle of more than 43 de­grees and it has 28.2cm of ground clear­ance with a wad­ing depth of 76cms.

The Gla­di­a­tor name was last used by Jeep in 1988 hav­ing first ap­peared in 1963 and at Camp Jeep two mod­els were on dis­play along­side a Wran­gler 1941 spe­cial edi­tion which has been de­vel­oped by Mopar.

In trib­ute to the year the orig­i­nal Willys Jeep ar­rived, the spe­cial can be per­son­alised with more than 200 ac­ces­sories avail­able. It also comes with a snorkel as stan­dard to help its abil­ity through wa­ter.

Jeep’s last pick-up was the Co­manche which was in pro­duc­tion up un­til 1992.

Jeep un­veiled The Gla­di­a­tor at this year’s Camp Jeep, held in Italy.

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