Every year, gearheads at Jeep make a pilgrimage to the off-road mecca that is Moab, bringing along a yaffle of concept vehicles. Some of these rigs point to a future model, others too-cool restomods, and a few are tremendously bonkers one-offs.
We’re not entirely sure into which category today’s teaser will fall but, knowing Jeep, there’s a decent chance they’ll be putting this terrifically overpowered off-roader into production.
If you’re an off-road fan looking to plunk money down on an electrified Jeep with an open pickup bed, you might be hanging onto your cash longer than anticipated. Despite the brand heavily hinting at its existence during presentations earlier this year, rumors have cropped up that the Gladiator 4xe may have been pushed to the back burner in favor of other, more pressing projects.
Like updating the Wrangler to better compete with the Bronco, for instance.
The chips are down in Ohio, with semiconductor shortage reaching the factory floor where Jeep builds its Gladiator truck. According to reports, the Stellantis plant responsible for assembly of the lantern-jawed pickup, Toledo South, will halt the models’ production next week.
Wrangler production is not affected. For now.
The Jeep Gladiator Top Dog concept vehicle is headed to Moab for the first time. First built in 2020, it sat in limbo for events to open up again, and the 55th Annual Easter Jeep Safari was the opportunity Jeep had been waiting for.
Due to COVID-19, the host group, Red Rock 4-Wheelers, had Easter Jeep Safari canceled, only to have the Grand County Commission in February approve a revision to the group’s special permit, and their event permit. Part of their compliance required cancellation of the vendor portion of the show, although the group has announced they will do a virtual live-streamed giveaway, to be held Friday, April 2nd at 6:30 p.m. Mountain time on their Facebook page.
Jeep loves to talk about its off-road heritage. And it has the goods to back the claims of boulder-bashing prowess that it makes.
That said, most utility vehicles spend most of their time on pavement. And sometimes, the tradeoffs made for off-road capability aren’t worth it.
Eighty years of anything is a lot, with life and marriage – and the occasional fruitcake – being heartily celebrated if they ever make it that far. There have been a few car brands to mark this milestone as well; Jeep is the latest to join the club.
Rather than rent the local banquet hall for a party, however, they’ve decided to do what carmakers tend to do best in times like these: Roll out a few special editions.
Jeep sent me a desert-running rig, and I took it to the grocery store.
Let’s back up a bit. Jeep introduced the Gladiator Mojave at the 2020 Chicago Auto Show, with the intent of this trim being meant for blasts across the desert, while still being as capable as any Gladiator, if not more so, on a rocky trail.
I was all set to join others in the automotive media on a junket to drive the Mojave, almost certainly in the actual desert, in Southern California this spring. Then the world shut down.
There’s plenty of things Americans can’t get their hands on these days — hand sanitizer, inexpensive front-drive coupes, and a predictable future, to name a few — but those dreaming of the chance to drive a four-door convertible pickup powered by a compression-ignition engine haven’t long to wait before seeing their wish granted.
As many assumed Jeep would, the off-road brand is adding the 3.0-liter diesel V6 to its Gladiator engine roster for 2021.
Jeep dealers are now discounting Gladiator models by as much as $9,000, indicating demand for the Wangler-based pickup has seriously cooled off. Considering the insane markups we saw at launch, that’s not much of an insult.
Now that Fiat Chrysler only reports sales on a quarterly basis — an obnoxious trend sweeping through the industry like a plague — we don’t know how many Gladiators leave dealer lots month-to-month. It looks like the pickup averaged a hair above 5,000 U.S. deliveries every thirty days in 2019. That’s a far cry from the midsize pickup segment leaders, but it was also the first year of Gladiator production.
With oodles of character, legitimate off-road capabilities and higher-than-average pricing, it’s also a bit of an odd duck. While interesting designs can occasionally be too much for a (sometimes large) subset of shoppers, pricing can make or break a car’s sales prowess. Some are of the mind that Jeep expected too much from consumers and that these lofty discounts are proof.
Jeep’s Gladiator pickup truck was one of 2019’s most anticipated vehicles. Fast-forward nearly a year, and it’s an award winner.
There’s no doubt it’s a capable off-roader, which is part of its appeal — and a part of why it’s an award-winning pickup. I’ve experienced it off-road, and so has contributor Chris Chin.
Thing is, most truck owners won’t taking it off-road that often, if at all. What’s it like to live with the Gladiator in urban and suburban settings? That is the key question.
In a word: Interesting.
It’s Fix-it Friday, apparently, and the ailing vehicle news hasn’t stopped rolling just yet. You’ll see.
Over at Fiat Chrysler, it seems the only thing capable of stopping the mighty Jeep Gladiator is its manufacturer, which just issued a stop-sale order to prevent new pickups from leaving the lot and potentially dropping their driveshafts.
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