Motoring: Impressive Jeep Gladiator Rubicon a show-stopper

Impressive Jeep Gladiator Rubicon a show-stopper

Unleash your inner off-road genius in the Jeep Gladiator Rubicon with its 3,6-litre V6 Pentastar engine. Whether it’s on or off the road, the Gladiator’s noticeable left-of-centre design will turn heads.

As the Jeep Gladiator swoops imperiously past, everyone turns their heads. Even brand loyalists who secretly support other companies, nod their heads in agreement before looking around to make sure they are not being caught violating their favourite brand.

I adore the Gladiator, and I think it will draw heads wherever it goes since it is just off-centre enough to make a statement.

The fact that it outperforms all other recreational off-roaders in terms of speed, capability and quality is not why I like it. I adore it because it defies expectations. I wish I could meet the designer who conceptualised the Wrangler as a truck and shake their hand.

Striking looks

No one in the automotive industry should be confined to using their imaginations just when designing high-end sports vehicles. A breath of pine-scented fresh air, the left-field approach is a welcome change from the dull conservatism that frequently pervades our era.

Reflect on the past and consider the Citroën 2CV, the DS and, more recently, the Cactus. Since we are discussing creativity, the quality of the automobiles is irrelevant. Both the googly-eyed Fiat Multipla and the really terrible Chrysler PT Cruiser had entertaining designs.

It’s not the first pickup in Jeep’s history; the adult Lego automobile has detachable doors and tops. The original Willys Overland had a load bed in 1947, and the Gladiator moniker was created in 1963. Prior to being re-introduced for this edition, it was discontinued in 1972 in favour of Scrambler and, subsequently, Comanche.

The distinctive seven-slot grille takes centre stage at the front end, which screams Jeep. A halo of LED headlights, fog lamps and daytime running lights surround the outer edge of the headlights and the Gladiator’s slots are widened to enhance airflow.

Authentic Jeep grille style

In the rear, you will find classic square tail lights illuminated by LEDs; they give way to a large tailgate aperture, making it easy to fill the bed with light items. You may find the full-size spare tire and its mounting beneath the bed, just behind the back axle. They might be able to support a 35-inch tire.

The windshield can be simply and swiftly compressed thanks to a four-bolt arrangement located at the top of the frame.

The size of the Torx bit that is required to remove these lightweight, high-strength aluminium doors is stamped right into the hinge, so there is no need to guess. Assembled with the tool set is a set of Torx bits that are essential for operation.

It took me almost an hour to remove all the parts, so it’s probably not the best thing to do while thunder is rumbling above. However, practice makes perfect. Having said that, the infotainment screen boasts water resistance.

Jeep spared no expense on the inside of its range-topping model, including contoured seats for the front passengers and driver and a hand-wrapped instrument panel with soft-touch surfaces and accent stitching.


In the front, passengers have easy access to all the controls, including those for the temperature and volume, as well as the connections for charging and connecting electronic devices and the Engine Stop Start (ESS).

The two-gear levers that facilitate shifting from rear-wheel to four-wheel drive are a relic of the “old school” design. Selecting gears, the transfer case, and the parking brake are all located on the centre console.

I had one little gripe, though: the centre storage box was too big for me and my elbows as I was making left turns, particularly fast ones in the mud and muck.

Locking the back seats into position creates a safe cargo compartment behind the backseat, and they fold flat to provide more room for goods; the back cushions also rise to expose an open storage bin.

More than a hundred different configuration options are available on the seven-inch thin-film transistor (TFT) information LED display, such as digital speed readout, tire-fill warning, current media and tyre pressure. The driver may maintain complete control over the vehicle’s music, voice and speed via the integrated controls on the steering wheel.

The pinnacle of 4x4 capability

In keeping with modern trends in connection, the Gladiator has an 8.4-inch touchscreen that holds the fourth-generation Uconnect system, two USB ports up front, and two within reach of rear-seat passengers that link to the media centre.

No one is trying to hide or deny the truth about what this vehicle is. With no soundproofing material to muffle engine noise, the 3,6-litre Pentastar V6 gasoline engine rumbles with a thrilling low-end rumble that only gets better when unleashed to its full potential of 209kW and 347Nm of torque.

It moves with the help of an eight-speed automatic gearbox with a crawl ratio of 77,2:1. A first gear ratio of 4,7:1 and a final drive ratio of 4,1:1 improve the 4x4 performance and towing capabilities.

With the eight-speed automatic transmission’s included Selec-Speed Control, the driver may concentrate on driving while the car maintains a constant speed in “4LO” mode when navigating off-road terrain, all without touching the throttle or brakes. The dashboard button activates Selec-Speed Control, which may be adjusted from 1 to 8km/h with the use of the AutoStick shifter.

Despite the test car’s bulbous tarmac-ripper off-road tires, the 255/70 R17 wheels and tires provide a ride quality that exceeds expectations. Even more so while traveling off-road. It doesn’t need the driver to constantly guide it to maintain a straight course; it will gladly hurtle down undulating dirt tracks.

Monster truck on the job

Its specific off-road specs include a ground clearance of 249mm (to the rear diff), an approach angle of 43,6 degrees, a break-over angle of 20,3 degrees, and a departure angle of 26 degrees.

The car remains composed while navigating difficult terrain because of its body-on-frame architecture and five-link suspension system.

Two sets of forged steel control arms — one higher and one lower — and a track bar provide for longitudinal and lateral axle control in the rear five-link coil suspension arrangement. For a comfortable ride and efficient load management, the control arms are positioned beneath the frame rails, and the rear shocks face forward to provide constant damping.

My decision

I like its wild good looks, off-road prowess, engine sound, extensive feature set and overall awesomeness. With an average fuel usage of 12,7 litres/100 km and exorbitant import charges and levies, it is rather costly, in my opinion.

  • Nonetheless, I’m still considering it for my ideal vehicle. Without hesitation, I would purchase it. — [email protected]

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