2018 Los Angeles - Jeep Gladiator, the brand's first pick-up in 26 years, makes its debut

Americans love Jeeps. And they are obsessed with pick-up trucks. Ironically though, Jeep has not had a pick-up in it's portfolio for the last 26 years. Having missed out on ever-growing sales and ever-soaring profits from pick-ups for more than two decades, Jeep has decided they have had enough. In comes the Gladiator, making it's much-awaited global debut at the ongoing 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show. 

As soon as the officials at Jeep wanted to make a pick-up, it was clear that it would be based on the Wrangler. The spy-shots that came in later was more proof that the pick-up bearing the Jeep name is an extension - quite literally - of the Wrangler. Now that the curtains are off, that's exactly what the Gladiator is. And we're glad at that, given Wrangler's iconic looks, rich legacy and crazy fan-following. 

As Jeep proudly claims, the Gladiator is a modern take on authentic Jeep design cues that we have seen and grown in love with. Those familiar seven slats that form the grille, the circular headlights, that clam-shell hood with side opening levers, the foldable windshield, the detachable doors with external hinges, those massive wheel arches that protrude from the body, you name them and the Gladiator has them. What's new though is the bed aft of the rear doors. Like the facelifted Wrangler that made its debut earlier this year, the Gladiator also gets LED lighting signatures that look super cool.

Jeeps have always had the go to match their show and the Gladiator is no different. Armed with Command-Trac and Rock-Trac 4x4 systems, third-gen Dana 44 axles, Tru-Lock front- and rear-axle lockers, Trac-Lok limited-slip differential, a segment-exclusive electronic sway-bar disconnect and 33-inch off-road tires, the Gladiator can take you to places only a Jeep can. If you think all those off-roading credentials come at the expense of practicality, you're wrong. This Jeep pick-up has best-in-class towing and payload capacities amongst all mid-size trucks. Yes, it can tow upto 7,650 pounds and carry upto 1,600 pounds, more than what a Ford Ranger or a Chevrolet Colorado could.

Jeep is well aware of the fact that Gladiator customers are likely to buy it as a lifestyle choice rather than a workhorse truck. That explains why this truck comes with open-air motoring ability - sans windshield and doors - that's unique to the Jeep and a long list of official accessories for taking along your ATV, dirt bikes, skateboards and even speed boats. Mopar, Jeep's official customizing arm, is likely to have it's own list of goodies for the Gladiator right from launch too.

The cabin features an upright design and stance that's pretty much the same as that in the Wrangler. Unique metal-plated accents abound as do bolts on the shifter, grab handles and the infotainment screen's frame. Instrument cluster features a standard 3.5-inch screen or an optional 7.0-inch TFT LED screen that allows the driver to configure information in more than 100 ways. Depending on the variant, the UConnect infotainment system gets a 5.0-, 7.0- or a 8.4-inch touchscreen seated atop the center stack. Safety is taken care of as well with features like Blind-spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Path detection, Adaptive Cruise Control and Electronic Stability Control (ESC) with Electronic Roll Mitigation being part of the kit.

Powering the Gladiator is a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 gasoline engine that churns out 285 horsepower and 352 Nm of torque and comes mated to either a 6-speed manual or an 8-speed automatic transmission. Come 2020, a 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 joins the lineup too generating 260 horsepower and 599 Nm of torque. The diesel is exclusively paired to the 8-speed automatic gearbox that's tuned to handle the massive torque rating of this engine. 

Production of the Jeep Gladiator would being in the first half of 2019 with the truck expected to go on sale shortly afterwards. With Jeep posting impressive gains on the sales charts and demand for pick-ups continuing unabated, the Gladiator is all set for a homerun in the United States of America. The mid-size pick-up truck slug fest just got a whole lot tougher!