The new Jeep Gladiator is due to arrive in August, introducing the only “convertible truck” in the world to the New Zealand market. 

Jeep’s new lifestyle truck marks the return of the Gladiator the nameplate, debuting originally in 1963 on Jeep’s J-series pickup. The Gladiator is offered in both the Overland and the Rubicon model specs, with the range-topping Rubicon being the more focused off-road vehicle.   

The new Gladiator showcases the design of the iconic Jeep Wrangler, retaining the body-on-frame design while incorporating a longer-wheelbase. Compared to Jeep Wrangler 4-door, the Jeep Gladiator’s frame is an additional 787mms longer, while the wheelbase is 492mms longer. 

Both models are powered by Jeep’s 3.6-litre V6 Pentastar petrol engine, producing 206kW and 327Nm.  The engine is paired with an eight-speed ZF-automatic transmission, and is capable of a max braked towing capacity of 2721kg. According to Jeep, the V6 has been optimised for low-end torque, which is essential for off-road use. Combined fuel economy is 11.2L/100kms for the Overland model and 12.4L/100kms for the Rubicon.

The Gladiator’s off-road capability is delivered courtesy of two different 4×4 systems.   The Overland model receives Jeep’s Selec-Trac Active On-Demand 4×4 system, offering a two-speed transfer case with a 2.72:1 low range gear ratio and Dana 44 axles with a 3.73 rear axle ratio.

The Rubicon receives Jeep’s Rock-Trac Active On-Demand 4×4 system, with Dana 44 front and rear axles with a “4LO” ratio of 4:1.  A 4.10 rear axle ratio comes standard, along with Tru-Lok locking differentials.

The Rubicon is further adorned with front and rear FOX Aluminium bodied 2-inch diameter shocks, has electronic sway-bar disconnect and low crawl ratio of 77.2:1.   Brand new to the Rubicon is also an “Off-Road+” button, allowing the driver to set the drive-mode for terrain the truck is operating on, adjusting inputs to suit to terrain.

The Gladiator offers an approach angle of 40.7 degrees, a break angle of 18.4 degrees and a departure angle of 225.1 degrees.  Ground clearance is 283mm.  

Under both vehicles, three skid plates and bars protect critical components, including the fuel tank, transfer case and automatic transmission oil pan.   Both models receive heavy gauge steel tubular rock rails to protect against potential body damage.

The Gladiator’s body uses high-strength aluminium on the door hinges, hood, fender flares, windshield frame and tailgate, to help lower weight and lift fuel economy.  

Similar to the Wrangler, the “freedom” hardtop roof features quick release latches allowing for fast hardtop removal.   The Gladiator can be configured with several different door, roof and windshield combinations, using the supplied tool kit.

The Overland features a body colour hard-top and fender flares, whereas the Rubicon is differentiated with a black hard-top and black fender flares.  

The Gladiator utilises a comprehensive five-link suspension system to improve the on-road driving dynamics of the longer wheelbase and to support the new load-tray.  Tray payload is 620kg and features under-rail bed lighting and integrated tiedowns suitable for “adventure equipment such bicycles, dirt bikes, surfboards and ATVs,” according to Jeep.

Inside, Jeep offers their fourth-gen Uconnect 8.4-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard.    The instrument cluster features a 7-inch thin-film transistor (TFT) information LED display, offering unique information such as tyre pressure and tyre-fill alerts.   Both Gladiator models feature over 70 standard and available safety features including full speed collision warning plus, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic detection, electronic roll mitigation, and adaptive cruise control.

The Rubicon also offers a forward-facing TrailCam, allowing the driver to detect off-road obstacles. 

Other noteworthy options include the Trail Rail Cargo Management System, providing additional lockable storage options, and also the addition of a waterproof portable Bluetooth wireless speaker. 

The Gladiator is available in Black, Bright White, Billet Silver Metallic, Firecracker Red, Sting Grey, Hydro Blue, Granite Crystal Metallic, plus two new exclusive colours to the Gladiator; Gobi and Gator.

The Jeep Gladiator is available for order now, with MOPAR accessories available from launch.   Prices start at $89,990 MSRP. For more information, head to Jeep New Zealand’s website:

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Alistair Weekes
A millennial who prefers driving cars to having avocado on toast.


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