The Jeep Gladiator storms into the tough dual-cab 4×4 ute segment as one of the most off-road-capable propositions we’ve ever seen. Take the flagship Rubicon, for example. It comes with 32-inch mud terrains, as standard.
This is a really interesting vehicle in our opinion. Yes, it doesn’t offer the same heavy-duty towing capacity as the popular mainstays, and the payload capacity is just 620kg. But it does come with coil springs at the back, so it’s reasonably comfortable, and it is one of the only utes in the class to feature live axle suspension at the front and rear.
It also comes with disc brakes at the rear, and proper recovery points as standard. Rear seat passenger space is also commendable for its class, with rear climate vents and four drink holders in the back. We can’t think of any rival that offers this level of accommodation.
Under the bonnet is one of the most powerful engines in the class, too. It’s a 3.6-litre petrol V6 that unleashes 209kW. Hooked up to an eight-speed automatic with part-time four-wheel drive, including a ‘4H Auto’ mode that allows you to drive in normal conditions, this is a very appealing package.
We’ll save our full verdict for the proper written review, coming soon. However, on first impressions, the sheer length of the Gladiator – and its enormous wheelbase – is pretty much the only major criticism we have for it. There’s also no option of a turbo-diesel, which could bring in some much-needed torque.
In the meantime, enjoy 36 minutes of Gladiator Rubicon in our POV-style detailed review video below. It includes some off-road testing on a giant slice of private property, and a complete rundown of the interior and features, and what it’s like to drive. A separate 0-100km/h video is coming soon.