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The new Jeep Gladiator makes for a thrilling ride

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

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And who better to really come up with what webrcould have to call a hybrid truck than Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, they have abrgreat truck offering with their Ram line and for off-roading Jeep can’t be beatbrin that category, They have solidified the activity that we all call “Jeeping,”brno matter what vehicle we drive, an actual word in most everyone’s vocabulary.

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We were super excited to have the Gladiator comebrout for a week especially in the summer months when we could get some real Utahbrmountain time in. In the past it seems when a Jeep came to our house there wasbralways snow on the ground.

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

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

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

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We hit from 5 to 7 percent grades at times notbranything two serious so we had to find a place to really try out the Gladiator.br

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Rubicon also came with a forward facingbrcamera that could be engaged when ‘crawling’ through the back country to alsobrhelp with the drivers view of the trail and what obstacles needed to be takenbron.

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

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

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

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

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Base Price: $43,545

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Price as Driven: $60,380

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