By Otsile Kadiege
Jeep South Africa’s latest addition to their local model tally comes in the form of a convertible bakkie. Yes, Jeep SA has finally answered the prayers of a few avid locals by introducing the new Gladiator to our local market. The box shaped and ruggedly styled newcomer boasts the automaker’s Iconic exterior design and versatile interior. At the heart of the Gladiator is a powerful V6 engine. It’s also fitted with a bunch of new tech, numerous convenience features.
Rugged exterior design
The new Jeep Gladiator’s exterior design boasts the brand’s iconic keystone-shaped grille, round headlamps and square tail lamps. The Rubicon grade features LED headlamps and fog lamps that project white lighting. Daytime running lights highlight the traditional Jeep face, with indicators positioned on the front of the trapezoidal wheel flares. A four-bolt design at the top of the windshield’s frame allows for the windscreen to fold down quickly and easily.
From behind, traditional square tail lamps feature LED lighting and give way to a wide tailgate opening for unobstructed loading of cargo into the bed. The tailgate is damped and capable of stopping in three positions, while cargo is easily secured with a power-locking tailgate.
Jeep designers focused on clever functionality and versatility when designing the Gladiator’s load bed, which is made of special scratch-resistant materials. Under-rail bed lighting and strong integrated tie-downs are said to provide durability and versatility. The Trail Rail Cargo Management System provides additional storage options to organise and secure cargo. The Gladiator has a full-size spare tyre located underneath the load bed. It’s capable of holding tyres up to 35-inchs in size.
Interior design and technology
Inside, the new Gladiator is said to be comfortable and versatile thanks to leather-contoured seats with accent stitching and adjustable bolster and lumbar support. Adding to the list of comfort features are heated front seats and steering wheel. On the practicality side of things, Jeep claims that the Gladiator has the best-in-segment rear legroom. The automaker’s local arm adds that when the Gladiator-exclusive rear seats are folded flat, LED lights on the quarter trim panels illuminate the storage space behind the seats. Two storage nets on the cab-back wall provide even more secure storage. More clever storage solutions like the mesh pockets that extend the entire length of the doors and numerous phone storage areas are found throughout the Gladiator’s cabin.
Other interior highlights include a 7-inch TFT instrument cluster, an 8.4-inch touchscreen running on the fourth-generation Uconnect infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility. I’s also equipped with two USB ports and a USB-C port up front and two in reach of occupants in the back seat. Optional audio upgrades include a subwoofer and portable wireless speaker located behind the rear seat. LED lights on quarter-trim panels illuminate the storage space and the docking station for the wireless speaker. A net on the left side of the cab wall provides additional storage when equipped with the subwoofer and wireless speaker.
Advanced safety and security features
The new Gladiator offers more than 80 available active and passive safety and security features. Available features include Blind-spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Path detection, standard ParkView rear back-up camera with dynamic grid lines, Adaptive Cruise Control and electronic stability control (ESC) with electronic roll mitigation.
At the heart of the all-new Jeep Gladiator is the automaker’s proven 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 engine delivering 209kW and 347Nm. It’s paired to an 8-speed automatic transmission. The Gladiator wouldn’t be a Jeep if it wasn’t capable off-road. The newcomer is equipped with a Rock-Trac 4×4 system which features heavy-duty third-generation Dana 44 front and rear axles with a “4LO” ratio of 4:1. A 4.10 front and rear axle ratio is standard as are Tru-Lok locking differentials.
The new Gladiator is also fitted with steel heavy-duty off-road rear bumper, front steel winch-ready bumper with removable end caps, skid plates and front and rear tow hooks. It has an approach angle of 43.6 degrees, a breakover angle of 20.3 degrees, departure angle of 26 degrees and ground clearance of 249 mm (to the rear Diff). Watter wading depth is up to 800 mm and it has a towing capacity of up to 2721 kg.
Pricing and warranty
The new Jeep Gladiator Rubicon is priced at R1,259,900. It has a 5 year/100,000 Km warranty and a 3 year/100,000 Km maintenance plan.
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