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The new Jeep Gladiator makes for a thrilling ride

Oct 03, 2019 06:12PM

What happens when you cross a Jeep with a truck? Out comes the new Gladiator, which after our test drive week we were affectionately calling our “Jeep Truck!”

And who better to really come up with what we could have to call a hybrid truck than Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, they have a great truck offering with their Ram line and for off-roading Jeep can’t be beat in that category, They have solidified the activity that we all call “Jeeping,” no matter what vehicle we drive, an actual word in most everyone’s vocabulary.

We were super excited to have the Gladiator come out for a week especially in the summer months when we could get some real Utah mountain time in. In the past it seems when a Jeep came to our house there was always snow on the ground.

Not a bad thing as we have never had any problems conquering anything Mother Nature can through at Utah in the winter with a Jeep. But getting to go places where that would be off limits in the snow, made the week so much better.

On the Sunday of our test week we took the opportunity to attend the Springville Rotary’s Sunday in the Park event up Hobble Creek Canyon where we had an awesome steak lunch! We then spent some time looking at the many cars they had in their car show which proved to be larger than ever, it did turn out that we had the only Gladiator on site that day!

After that is just seemed prudent to continue up the Right Hand Fork of Hobble Creek Canyon and take the Gladiator over the top and down into the Strawberry Reservoir area. After getting off the pavement we switched the Jeep into 4 wheel high mode and it handled the roads up over the top with no problem at all.

We hit from 5 to 7 percent grades at times not anything two serious so we had to find a place to really try out the Gladiator.

That we did up in the Rays Valley area we found a hill that hit 15 percent grade and conquered it with hardly any effort at all, even with the longer wheel base of the Gladiator. We did find that it drove differently than the shorter two door Jeep, with not quite as sharp of a turning radius.

After arriving at the reservoir, we continued to stay in the mountains to the south and found some really great back country to explore. Having a vehicle with the capabilities of a Jeep just makes it easy to get anywhere and see sights that we would not usually get to experience. 

We found that the grass to still be very green in the area even considering it was mid-August making our trek through the Utah back country as beautiful as possible. We were even able to take a quick hike on a nature trail near Strawberry and saw many fish in the crystal clear waters.

The new Gladiator Rubicon is just as much of a Jeep as a regular Rubicon with a top that comes off, doors that can be taken off and of course the front window can even be lowered just like the Jeeps of yesteryear. In fact the Rubicon came with all the tool necessary to make this happen as part of the package.

Having the short bed did allow us to pick up a couple of loads of wood at the local hardware store on Saturday also, giving the Gladiator even more talents folks will be able to use. Right now the Gladiator comes with the time honored 3.6 liter Pentastar engine the produces a nice 285 horsepower and 260 ft.-lbs. of torque.

This set up allows for a payload of up to 1600 pounds and will tow up to 7650 pounds. Not bad for the midsized truck, that would allow for most weekend adventures pulling boats, jet skis and small mobile homes along with the added payload capabilities turning every weekend into an adventure.

There is scheduled to be an Ecodiesel option coming in 2020 of a 3.0 liter V6 that will keep the horsepower the same but will increase torque to 442 ft.-lbs. Now that will be a climbing machine! With the Jeep set to 4 wheel low and crawl engaged the Gladiator can be set to go from 1 to 5 miles per hour without the driver having to use the accelerator. This is a great feature when precise control of steering is necessary.

The Rubicon also came with a forward facing camera that could be engaged when ‘crawling’ through the back country to also help with the drivers view of the trail and what obstacles needed to be taken on.

Standard transmission on the Gladiator will be a manual 6 speed, however there is an 8 speed automatic that is available and is what our test ride came with. We would prefer the automatic to the standard just for everyday driving, however the true enthusiasts will want to opt for the manual for total control of those off road exploits.

Inside the new Gladiator is all jeep with the Rubicon featuring leather clad seats that were heated for the cold winter months, along with an 8 inch Uconnect touchscreen. This controlled all of the many infotainment functions like other FCA products with pinch and swipe iPad like technology.

This new system is very high definition which we really like especially when backing onto trailers it is not as affected by the sun late in the day. It was also just a clear when looking ahead again a huge help when off-road.

The new Gladiator definitely has a look all its own should become a leader in the midsized truck category when it comes to getting out of doors and conquering all that nature has to offer. It will definitely increase the number of things to get out and do! (Submitted to Serve Daily By Craig and Deanne Conover)

Base Price: $43,545

Price as Driven: $60,380