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Diesel delay for Jeep Gladiator

Jeep’s all-new Gladiator dual-cab ute will stick with Wrangler petrol V6 for now

17 Dec 2019

JEEP will launch the long-awaited JT Gladiator in the second quarter of next year without a turbo-diesel option, but the all-new dual-cab utility is expected to eventually be offered with an oil-burning engine further down the track.


The first Jeep utility in Australia since the big SJ Wagoneer-based J10 was discontinued in the mid-1980s, the Gladiator is yet to be confirmed with any diesel engine availability anywhere in the world.


However, GoAuto understands it is likely that a 3.0-litre V6 diesel is in the pipeline.


Built by VM Motori, the engine in question is believed to be a development of the A630 3.0-litre ‘EcoDiesel’ DOHC V6 turbo-diesel in which a variation currently servicing the WK2 Grand Cherokee delivers 184kW of power and 570Nm of torque.


Speaking to journalists at this month’s international launch of the Gladiator in New Zealand, Jeep’s global president Christian Meunier said the company is likely to make an announcement on the future of a diesel engine in the new series soon, but cautioned there is no confirmation a right-hand-drive version be engineered.


“We just launched the diesel in the Wrangler in the US,” he said. “And you will hear potentially about the Gladiator (and diesel) as well, but is it coming to Australia? That is under study right now.”


As GoAuto has reported, all Australian-bound Gladiator models will employ the same 209kW/347Nm 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 petrol engine and eight-speed ZF torque-converter automatic transmission combination as found in the recently released JL Wrangler.


The six-speed manual available elsewhere is not anticipated in this market. Final local specification information will be revealed closer to launch, but stop/start engine tech will be standard to help keep fuel consumption down.


Described as “100 per cent Jeep and 100 per cent truck”, the Gladiator is essentially the five-door, five-seater wagon Wrangler up to the B-pillar, and from then on features bespoke dual-cab bodywork, a rear tub of 1.5-metre length to take two motorcycles, and a revamped chassis adapted from the Dodge Ram 1500 truck – including a similar coil suspension set-up.


Maximum payload is 620kg and braked towing capacity 3470kg, with the more 4x4-oriented Rubicon offering less. Somewhat below the mid-sized pick-up segment best on offer, Jeep responds by saying that its research shows most Gladiator buyers will be using theirs as recreation vehicles.


Measuring in at 5537mm long, 1875mm wide and between 1857mm and 1933mm high, the Gladiator sits on a 3487mm wheelbase, which is a 50mm or so stretch from the Wrangler.


Jeep says the ute has been trail-rated like all its models, with special attention paid to approach, rollover and departure angles to facilitate off-road capability. To that end, the spare wheel has been centralised underneath the tub for better clearance.


Along with the roof and back window, the doors can also be removed (where legal), making the Gladiator the world’s only convertible mid-sized truck. On US-market models kerb weight is rated somewhere between 2100kg and 2300kg, depending on model.


Australian pricing and model walk-up details will be released in the first quarter of 2020.

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