Ah, the Jeep Gladiator. For years, Jeep Wrangler fans had been clamoring for a truck version of the Jeep Wrangler. They got it in the Gladiator, which offers genuine pickup truck utility plus legendary off-road ability. The thing’s an adventure-poised beast that can tow as well as haul. Pretty cool, eh? If you’re in the market for one of these bad boys, here’s an overview of Jeep Gladiator for 2022.
Let’s start there. The current iteration is not Jeep’s first Gladiator. Nope. The first one was a full-size pickup truck that was unveiled in 1962 for the 1963 model year. It had the same powertrain, front-end design, and platform as the Jeep Wagoneer.
Part of the new “J” line of Jeep, the Gladiator came in either 126-inch (J-300) or 120-inch (J-200) form, and had a Dana 20 transfer case and, in the front and back, Dana 44s. The front differential used a brawny 44IFS front differential. At the time, the option of utilizing indie front suspension on four-wheel-drive Gladiators was novel. Both front-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive were available, by the way.
When they hit the market, the Gladiators were known for their rather low stance but high ground clearance, a different kind of combo that made the trucks exceedingly maneuverable.
The Gladiator had six configurations: Thriftside, Townside, Chassis or Cab, Stake Bed, Wrecker, and Chassis-mounted campers with stretched-out wheelbases. Each had a payload capacity of almost two tons. The body style one chooses depended on one’s needs and lifestyle. If you mostly wanted to get about town, for example, you picked the Townside. If you wanted something a bit more work-capable, you went with the Thriftside. Stake models were built for heavy-duty work and big-time cargo loads.
In 1965, the J-200 became the J-2000, and the J-300 was renamed the J-300. Six years later, the Gladiator name was scrapped, and, through 1987, the line of pickups was called the J-Series.
A nascent Gladiator concept ride was introduced in 2005 that hinted at the future of the Jeep brand.
After that first concept prototype, Jeep in late 2018 announced the new Gladiator, which would come in four trims: Sport, Sport S, Overland, and Rubicon. The Jeep truck hit dealerships in 2019.
When it was introduced, the four-wheel-drive mid-size truck, built off the redesigned Wrangler platform, featured a six-speed manual and eight-speed automatic transmission. With the right equipment, the Gladiator could tow 7,650 pounds and haul some 1,700 pounds of payload – all true with the 2022 iteration as well. Plus, as you may expect, because it’s a Jeep, after all, the pickup could go off-road with aplomb. And because it’s basically a Wrangler-turned-truck, the Gladiator could shed its door and top.
The bottom line is that because pickups and Jeep Wranglers were hot sellers, Chrysler decided to combine them.
The 2022 Jeep Gladiator
Again, if you love the vaunted Wrangler, chances are you’re going to love the added versatility of the pickup. Yes, the Gladiator has removable body panels and an almost organic ability to play around off-road, but it can seriously tow and haul.
While the Gladiator essentially carries over from 2021, you do have an array of trims from which to choose, including the Sport, Willys Sport, Sport S, Altitude, Willys, Texas Trail, Overland, Rubicon, Mojave, and High Altitude.
The Gladiator is propelled by a 3.6-liter V8 that makes 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, although you can opt for an eight-speed automatic. Because the Gladiator has 19.4 more inches between the front and rear wheels than does the Wrangler, the Gladiator’s ride and handling are improved. In terms of off-road equipment, the Gladiator has beaucoup skid plates plus rock-crawling axle ratios, plus it can ford up to 30 inches of water and has ample ground clearance and approach/departure angles.
As for the Gladiator’s interior, its dash resembles the Wrangler’s and accommodates intuitive controls. There’s a waterproof push-button start – Jeep does expect rough and tumble – plus options including heated front seats and a heated steering wheel (yummy!).
Connectivity-wise, the 7.0-inch, and 8.4-inch displays get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. You can level up your sounds with an optional subwoofer and behind-the-backseat portable wireless speaker. If you’re upfront, you’ve got access to two USBs and a USB-C port. If you want, you can order the optional 115-volt outlet.
The Gladiator offers nice driver-assistance technology such as the Rubicon’s front-facing camera that is particularly helpful when climbing over rocks or blasting through trails. Other safety options include adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, and rear parking sensors.
Because of the elongated wheelbase, backseat passengers get more legroom, compared with the four-door Wrangler. Want to get in the breeze? You can easily lose the truck’s body and roof panels.
As for storage capacity in addition to the five-foot cargo bed, the Gladiator has a host of creative places for your stuff including several places to stick your cellphone and a cool compartment under the back seat. Heck, there are several ways you can even stow the seats, And, when the trail gets too rollicky, said seats can be locked down. Again, Jeep fully expects you to have a Jeep experience!
Regarding fuel economy, if you have a Gladiator with the standard manual transmission, you can expect to get 16 mpg in the city and 23 on the highway. If you go with an automatic, you’ll do about 16 mpg in the city and 22, highway. The diesel, meanwhile, will get you 22 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway.
Now that you have an overview of Jeep Gladiator for 2022 – plus the marque’s history – perhaps you’re ready to pick one up. Hey, if you’re a Wrangler afficionado who needs, or would like to be able to, if you wanted to, tow or haul, the Gladiator has your name on it.
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