Forbidden brute
CAR|November 2021
Big, bold and bad to thebone – all’s well in theworld now that there’s aJeep bakkie. ThisGladiator is even “DesertRated” for maximumdune-crushing ability.Yeehaw!
Gautam Sharma

Price: n/a

Engine: 3,6-litre, V6, petrol

Transmission: 8-speed automatic

Power: 213 kW@ 6 400 r/min

Torque: 353 N.m at 3 800 r/min

0-100 km/h: 7,50 seconds*

Top speed: 158 km/h*

Fuel consumption: 12,40 L/100 km*

CO2: 296 g/km

Rivals: Ford F-150 Raptor; Ram 1500 TRX

We know and love the Jeep Wrangler in South Africa but the Gladiator pick-up derivative hasn’t made it to our shores. So, all you bakkie lovers out there may be justified in feeling short-changed.

To briefly recap, the Gladiator debuted at the 2018 Los Angeles Motor Show and went on sale in the US in spring 2019, filling the pick-up void that had existed in Jeep’s line-up since the 2001 demise of the Comanche. The Gladiator is also sold in the Middle East and we recently got our hands on the new Sand Runner model that has been tailored specifically to tame towering dunes and pretty much any other gnarly terrain it’s pointed at. The Sand Runner’s bespoke specification means it’s the first Jeep to wear Desert Rated badges on its flanks, in lieu of the familiar Trail Rated designation. “That’s so hot,” as Paris Hilton would say.

While the Gladiator is relatively new, its DNA is tried and tested as it shares its core architecture with the JL Wrangler. There’s the same 3,6-litre Pentastar V6 naturally aspirated petrol, eight-speed auto, body-on-frame chassis, and solid axles front and rear. As per the Wrangler, the V6 motor develops respectable outputs of 213 kW and 353 N.m but we’re eagerly awaiting 6,4-litre Hemi V8 power in the upcoming Wrangler 392.

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