For its new Wrangler-based pickup, Jeep brought back the name Gladiator from a truck it made from the early 1960s to the late 1980s. In a super bowl commercial for the pickup, Jeep decided to crush an original 1963 Gladiator. Neat concept, but, we can't help but wonder if they could've done it in CGI.
A Fiat Chrysler spokesperson that the '63 Gladiator was purchased off a website for scrap cars and that it was "inoperable." S0, at least Jeep didn't crush a perfectly good museum piece here.
But you probably want to know a bit more about the truck. Well, it's based on the new JL-generation Wrangler, and unlike the original Gladiator, the 2020 is a mid-sizer aimed at the Toyota Tacoma, Ford Ranger, and Chevy Colorado. It should hit dealers in the coming months with a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 under its hood, which can be paired with either a six-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic. Next year, we'll get a 3.0-liter diesel as well, though it'll only be paired with the automatic.
Since it's a Jeep, the Gladiator should have real off-road chops, especially in Rubicon trim as seen in the commercial. And yes, the doors come off, the windshield folds down, and you can order it with a folding fabric roof.
Convertible, manual pickup? Hell yeah.
We haven't driven the Gladiator yet, but the 2019 Wrangler gives us a good idea of what to expect. Here's a snippet from our first drive of the new Wrangler Rubicon:
"The 2018 Wrangler Rubicon may be incrementally better off-road than the previous model—Jeep's internal metrics, based on dimensions and capabilities as well as real-world, dirty-boots-and-scraped-up-rocker-panels testing, attest to this.
But to most Wrangler buyers, it's the day-to-day livability of the new truck that will make all the difference. It's the redesigned soft top, so quiet on the highway that you'll wonder why anyone picks the hardtop. It's the spare tire, repositioned, praise the lord, to give some actual visibility out the back window. It's the doors that, finally, don't require a two-handed slam to latch closed. This is all stuff you'd want in a brand-new car that starts at $26,995 (for a two-door Sport) and runs to $40,495 (for a no-options Rubicon four-door), but they're first-time improvements in this model."
And here's the ad: