Jeep’s Gladiator is Ready to Battle SA’s Bakkie Market
The Jeep Gladiator has finally hit South African soil and it’s the priciest bakkie out there.
Stellantis South Africa has finally welcomed the highly anticipated Jeep Gladiator to their local Jeep dealerships, and given South African’s love for the Wrangler and bakkies, its looks like Jeep has a winner on their hands.
So, what is a Jeep Gladiator? Well, the Gladiator is essentially a Jeep Wrangler but instead of a rear boot/cargo section, Jeep has gone and added a load bed or the bak part of a bakkie. With the load bed added the Gladiator now measures 1531mm, that’s an extra 787mm over its 4-door Wrangler sibling.
What sets the Gladiator apart from other bakkies on the market though is that it has removal doors, a folding windscreen and the option of either a removal hard-top or a folding soft top. Yes, you read correctly, this is a convertible bakkie, how cool is that?!
Apart from the cool factor of being like SA’s only convertible bakkie, the Gladiator also looks cool. The Wrangler has always been a chunky retro icon and the Gladiator takes all of, that and combines it with the utilitarian appeal of a bakkie. The fact that it's all square and boxy also gives it like military vibes and adding to that are the 17-inch Granite Crystal alloy wheels wrapped in 255/75R17 BFGoodrich off-road tyres.
On the inside, everything is pure Wrangler which isn’t a bad thing when you consider that Jeep updated the look and feel of the latest model's interior. I love the colour-coded top section of the dash and the contrast it creates with the darker bottom section that is peppered with silver highlights and strong chunky feeling switchgear. The dash also plays host to the infotainment screen and I like how it has been flushed into the dash as opposed to the oversized units we see in most modern cars.
That infotainment screen is where you can control Jeep’s Uconnect system and guess what? It’s all waterproof. In fact, the interior is designed to be hosed out and there are drain plugs on the floor to ensure that a little bit of rain won’t stop you from having fun if you leave the roof at home. Further ensuring that the fun never stops is the Gladiator's full Alpine sound system, and that's one thing I have always loved about American cars, they tend to always go for good sound systems.
Powering the Gladiator is the same 3.6L Pentastar V6 that can be found in the Wrangler which produces a meaty 209kW and 347Nm of torque, and it comes equipped with Stop-Start technology as an attempt to save fuel. That power goes to the wheels courtesy of an automatic gearbox, and the Gladiator comes equipped with Jeep’s Rock-Trac active on-demand 4x4 system and front and rear locking differentials. Those are serious off-road bits.
The most serious part of the Gladiator though is not its 4x4 capabilities, it’s the price! Jeep South Africa is only offering the Gladiator in their Rubicon trim level which means that you get all the bells and whistles you could ever want but you must fork out a whopping R1,259,900 to have them!
That price tag makes the Gladiator the most expensive bakkie on the market, but you do get tons of rugged style and exclusivity when compared to the Hilux or Ranger, and that’s PRICELESS.
Getting ready for adventure in a Jeep from the ClickaCar Virtual Showroom.