Jeep launches Gladiator bakkie

After a long wait the Jeep Gladiator has finally arrived in South Africa

Reuben Van Niekerk
Jeep Gladiator

Jeep has relied on their legendary 4x4 capability and authentic design to create the 2022 Gladiator bakkie and it is now available in South Africa.

The Gladiator embraces the core Jeep traits including rugged utility, authentic Jeep design, open-air freedom, functionality, versatility and superior off-road dynamics.

Iconic yet unique design

The Gladiator boasts a rugged design aesthetic that is instantly recognisable thanks to traditional Jeep design cues.

The seven-slot grille has been retained, but the grille slots have been widened to allow for additional airflow and swept back to aid with aerodynamics. LED headlamps and fog lamps project crisp white lighting, while daytime running lights form a halo around the outside perimeter of the headlights. 

At the rear, the traditional square taillights now also feature LED technology and are placed alongside a wide tailgate opening. The tailgate is damped and can be stopped in three positions, while cargo is secured by the power-locking tailgate. Under-rail bed lighting and sturdy integrated tie downs make loading and securing of cargo easier. The Gladiator features a payload of 693kg.

The removal of the roof and doors is a simple affair with a four-bolt design that allows the windshield to be folded down. The doors are secured by Torx bolts, the tools for which are provided in the standard toolkit. A premium sun rider soft top provides an easy open-air option that allows for access to partial and full open positions. A black three-piece hardtop features two freedom panels and quick-release latches that enable fast removal and installation.

Inside story

Inside the heritage inspired centre stack features a clean, sculpted form paired with the horizontal dashboard design. Leather contoured seats incorporate accent stitching an adjustable bolster and lumbar support. The front seats and steering wheel can be heated.

The instrument cluster features a 7-inch TFT information display, which allows the driver to configure information in more than 100 ways. In the centre an 8.4-inch touchscreen houses the fourth-generation Uconnect system.

The rear seats feature premium materials that ensure an athletic look that also offers comfort and support. A unique design allows them to be locked in place to provide secure storage behind the seat back and can be folded flat to access cab-back storage and provide a load floor for larger items. Bins under the rear seats also allow for the stowing of miscellaneous items.

Under the bonnet

A proven 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 engine that offers 209kW and 347Nm powers the Jeep Gladiator. The engine has been tuned to provide a broad torque band with a focus on low-end torque, which is necessary for off-road driving. This tried and trusted engine is paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission that offers a smooth efficient driving experience both off-road and on the highway.

The Gladiator features more than 80 active and passive safety and security features including blind-spot monitoring, rear cross path detection, standard parkview rear-back up camera, adaptive cruise control and ESC with electronic roll mitigation.

Real 4x4 ability

Only the Jeep Gladiator Rubicon model will be available in South Africa, featuring Command-Trac and Rock-Trac 4x4 systems, third generation Dana 44 axles, Tru-Lock electric front and rear axle lockers, Track-Lok limited-slip differential, sway-bar disconnect and off-road tyres.

The eight-speed automatic transmission offers a 77.2:1 crawl ratio while towing and 4x4 performance benefits from a 4.7:1 first gear ratio coupled with a 4.1:1 final drive.

Selec-Speed control manages speed when in low range allowing for the traversing of off-road terrain without throttle or brake inputs.

The Rock-Trac 4x4 system features heavy-duty third-generation Dana 44 front and rear axles with a four-wheel drive Low range ratio of 4:1 as well as Tru-Lok locking differentials. Improved articulation and suspension travel is made possible thanks to sway bar disconnect function.

The Gladiator Rubicon has received a Trail Rated badge thanks to specification such as approach and departure angles of 43.6 and 26 degrees respectively and 249mm of ground clearance. Protecting critical components such as the fuel tank, transmission and transfer case are four skid plates and bars while rock rails are in place to prevent body damage.

The Jeep Gladiator features a body-on-frame design and well engineered five-link suspension system that delivers on capability, composed driving dynamics and passenger safety. The frame and wheelbase is substantially longer than that of the Wrangler, which results in improved weight distribution and comfort levels, even when carrying cargo.

Pricing and availability

The Jeep Gladiator Rubicon is now available from dealerships for a retail price of R1 259 900, which includes three-year/100 000km maintenance plan and five-year/100 000km warranty.