Jeep will make its first pickup in 26 years
By Peter Valdes-Dapena, CNN Business
November 29, 2018
Los Angeles (CNN) The Jeep Gladiator rolled onto a stage at the Los Angeles Auto Show Wednesday. Essentially a Wrangler with a pickup truck bed, it's a product Jeep fans have long been waiting for.
Jeep's last pickup, the Comanche, went out of production in 1992. Now, the Gladiator will face off against a lot of fresh competition in the mid-sized pickup market. Trucks like the Ford Ranger, Chevrolet Colorado and long-time market favorite, the Toyota Tacoma, are designed to appeal to buyers looking for something more fun and efficient than a massive full-size pickup.
But the Gladiator will also appeal to those who simply want a Jeep Wrangler with a bed. Executives at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Jeep's parent company, say it's one of the questions they are most commonly asked.
"When are we going to get a Wrangler pickup?"
The Wrangler, designed for serious off-road driving, is already engineered like a truck rather than like a tall car, as most SUVs are these days. That made adding a bed to the back a relatively natural idea.
The Wrangler is also the only four-door convertible on the market. That means the Gladiator will be a convertible pickup, a truly unique selling point. It will be available with a cloth top or removable hard top. The windshield also folds down, as it does on the Wrangler, for a complete open-air feel.
For difficult off-road terrain, the Gladiator will have an optional forward-facing camera enabling the driver to see obstructions just ahead on the trail. The truck will also be able to drive through two and a half feet of water.
With its four doors, and a five-foot bed, the Gladiator is 31 inches longer than a four-door Wrangler. It can carry up to 1,600 pounds or tow 7,650 pounds. Buyers will be able to choose a 3.6-liter gasoline-powered V6 or a 3.0-liter diesel V6 engine.
Besides the bed, there are some subtle design changes to meet the special demands of a truck...
more, including photos, video [1:01 min]