HomeTechnologyIs the Gladiator heading to Zim?

Is the Gladiator heading to Zim?

Andrew Muzamhindo
The Jeep Gladiator Rubicon has just gone on sale in South Africa for a cool R1,2 million. It will be the most expensive bakkie in Zimbabwe. At the time of submitting this analysis, the local jeep dealership was still to confirm if it will be available locally. I suspect it will be in the showroom soon for plus or minus US$100 000. Even if the official distributor does not bring it in, we will see a number Zimbabweans importing it from South Africa

Only one variant is available currently in South Africa, the top-spec Jeep Gladiator Rubicon model. Until now the priciest double cabs on the market were the Volkswagen Amarok 3.0 TDI Extreme and Ford Ranger Raptor SE. What they get in South Africa we usually will get in Zimbabwe.

Although it is based on the Jeep Wrangler, the Gladiator is a cool 787mm longer than its 4-door SUV sibling, with 493mm of that going into the wheelbase. The bakkie retains the Wrangler’s impressive adaptability, including its fold-down windscreen and removable soft-top and hard-top roof options.

Although the Jeep Gladiator is available with a 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine in some markets, the only option locally is the familiar 3.6-litre normally aspirated Pentastar V6, which produces 209kW and 347Nm.

The engine pairs up with an eight-speed automatic transmission and a highly capable Rock-Trac four-wheel drive system, which features heavy-duty Dana 44 front and rear axles and Tru-Lok locking differentials. The Rubicon also boasts a segment-exclusive electronic sway-bar disconnect.

Furthermore, the vehicle boasts a braked towing capacity of up to 2721kg, as well as a 693kg 4×4 payload capacity.

Cabin electronics include the fourth-generation Uconnect touchscreen infotainment system with CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity as well as pinch-and-zoom functionality.

The Gladiator takes on the appearance of the well-known Wrangler four-door measuring 787mm longer with a sizeable load-box that can accommodate almost 700kg.

Boasting a rugged design, a generous level of equipment, and “Trail Rated” capabilities, the new Gladiator is a double cab you’d want to keep an eye on in 2022.

Features
The new Jeep Gladiator Rubicon is “filled with every available feature the pickup has to offer to meet the demands of local customers,” said Jeep.

Standard fitment includes keyless entry and start, leather upholstery, adjustable bolster and lumbar support on the front seats, climate control, all-round LED lights with daytime running lights, a 7-inch digital driver’s display, and an 8.4-inch infotainment system with support for Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and navigation.

The Gladiator is also given stylistic additions such as contrast stitching, vinyl-wrapped doors, and metal-plated accents to reinforce its robust character.

As it’s a Jeep it wouldn’t be right if the roof, doors, and windows can’t come off, and you’d be happy to know they are all still removable in only a few minutes, with the tools for the job being stashed in the large under-seat storage area at the back of the cabin.

Additional equipment aimed at making the bakkie easy to use comprises a tailgate with three stopping positions and an electronic lock, under-rail load bed lighting, strengthened tie-down spots, and a roll-up loading cover for the rear box.

The Gladiator also comes with a full-size spare wheel located below the load bed, with the space being capable of accommodating 4×4 tyres up to 35 inches in diameter.

“The Trail Rail Cargo Management System provides additional storage options to organize and secure cargo,” said the American manufacturer.

As far as safety and driver-assistance systems are concerned, the new Jeep offers blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-path detection, standard ParkView, a rear-view camera with dynamic grid lines, adaptive cruise control, and electronic stability control with roll mitigation.

Optional equipment available to buyers of the new Gladiator continues with a heated steering wheel and seats, additional LED lighting, an improved sound system with a removable speaker, and soft-top or three-piece hard-top roofs.

Performance
Powering Jeep’s new double cab is a 3.6-litre, V6 Pentastar petrol engine generating 209kW and 347Nm – the same one as in the Wrangler.

The manufacturer has not revealed the fuel consumption of the bakkie, but that of the SUV is rated at 9.7-10.3l/100km and it’s likely that the heavier double cab will exceed this.

The SUVs are also capable of accelerating to 100km/h in under 8 seconds while reaching top speeds of 180km/h, and the Gladiator should not be that far off.

The Jeep Gladiator benefits from the popular V6 engine’s low-range torque, which is needed when out on the trails or during demanding conditions, such as hauling cargo or towing a trailer.

Handling drive in the bakkie is then an eight-speed automatic gearbox with SelecSpeed control which manages vehicle speed between 1-8km/h in low range while traversing off-road terrains without requiring throttle or brake input, allowing the driver to focus on steering.

This, along with the permanent all-wheel-drive system, lets the Gladiator boast “Trail Rated” capabilities.

Here are some of the feature and its capabilities:

Approach angle of 43.6 degrees

Breakover angle of 20.3 degrees

Departure angle of 26 degrees

Ground clearance of 249mm to the rear diff

800mm water wading depth

693kg load bed capacity

2,721kg towing capacity (with optional Max Towing Pack installed)

Skid plates

Front and rear tow hooks

Heavy-duty steel rear bumper

Steel winch-ready front bumper with removable end caps

Command-Trac and Rock-Trac 4×4 systems with locking differentials and low range

Completing the package are third-generation “Dana 44” axles, segment-exclusive sway-bar disconnect features that increase suspension travel, off-road tyres, and body-coloured sports bars.

Specs:

  • Engine Size: 3604cc, 3.6L
  • Power @ RPM: 209kW @ 6400rpm
  • Torque @ RPM: 347Nm @ 4100rpm
  • Cylinders: six-cylinder
  • Euro Rating: EURO 5
  • Transmission: Eight-speed Automatic
  • Fuel type: UNLEADED PETROL
  • Fuel tank capacity: 83L
  • Fuel consumption (combined average):                   12.4L / 100km
  • Vehicle range:   669.4km
  • Emission standard: EURO 5
  • Ground clearance: 249mm (9.8 inches)
  • Braked towing capacity: 2721kg (5998.8 lbs)
  • Unbraked towing capacity: 750kg (1653.5 lbs)

Verdict
It is one of those bakkies that offer individualism and differentiates owner from me too products. After all this a Jeep. There is only one Jeep. This is a head turner that will appeal those who are moneyed and want to show that they can afford the best in life. It will give owners a rugged, stylish and sexy appeal. It is a lifestyle vehicle that offers terrific off-road ability, roomy seating space, and a user-friendly infotainment system. Its stout towing and hauling ability is unmatched.

  • Follow andrew@muzamhindo.com.

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