Hot on the heels of the recently-refreshed Wrangler, Jeep has turned its sights on that vehicle’s pickup sibling, the Gladiator. Revealed today at the 2024 North American Auto Show in Detroit, it now gets an updated grille with black textured slots, new wheel designs with 32 or 33 inch tires and integrated antenna, crucial for helping off-roaders (Jeep does champion the Gladiator as the world’s most capable off-road truck, after all) avoid catching their aerials on low-hanging tree branches. Of course, as was the case before, the Gladiator gets a fold-down windshield, three different roof choices and removable or half-removable doors.
In addition to the Sport, Willys, Mojave and Rubicon models there are two new offerings for ’24: the Mojave X and Rubicon X, both with steel bumpers, full-time transfer case, off-road cameras and a Nappa leather interior. There are also 12-way power adjustable front seats which have been tested for water fording.
Helping with water fording and all other manner off roading is the availability of four 4 x 4 systems: Command-Trac is a part-time system with a 2.72:1 ratio, Rock-Trac can be had in either part- or full-time configurations and Selec-Trac is a full-time system with a 2.72:1 ratio. The bigger news for ’24 is that for the first time, the Willys trim gets a standard rear locking differential and Off-Road+ drive mode.
Power is handled by a single engine choice: the 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 good for 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque, fed through either a six-speed manual or 8-speed automatic transmission with manual mode. No word yet on when we’ll see the arrival of the Wrangler’s turbo four-cylinder or that truck’s 4xe plug-in hybrid model. Indeed, with capabilities like the ability to tow up to 7,700 pounds and haul up to 1,725 lbs. – those are class leading figures – the less-powerful four-cylinder or the heavier 4xe powertrain may not be in the cards.
What the Gladiator does get, however, is the Jeep Adventure Guides feature, installed right at the factory in Toledo, OH. What Jeep has done is compile a list of 62 “Jeep Badge of Honor” trails, raging from the Rubicon in California (no surprise there) as well as Jericho Mountain in New Hampshire, Schnebly Hill in Arizona and Black Bear Pass in Colorado. Each trail is accompanied by elevation change information, difficulty ratings and real-time weather information, all displayed on the 12.4” Uconnect display that also now makes use of Uconnect 5, the latest system to come from the manufacturer.
This information will likely come especially in handy for those selecting the Rubicon trim, which adds electronic sway-bar disconnect, 84:1 and 77:1 crawl ratios, three skid plates and Dana 44 front and rear axles. In short, while all Gladiators can do the off-road thing, the Rubicon is the off-road champ.
Well, the slow-moving, rock climbing off-road champ, perhaps; if you’re more inclined to bust some dunes at speed, then the Mojave and Mojave X models will likely be more to your taste. The Mojave adds internal-bypass Fox shocks with external reservoirs as well as secondary shocks for better jounce control after jumps. For 2023, the Mojave remains the only Gladiator that’s not Trail Rated and also the only Gladiator that gets the “Desert Rated” designation as a result of its tuning.
If that’s still not enough for you, for ’24 American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) is offering three upfitting packages for the Galadiator: Upcountry, Upcountry+ and Level II, all providing adds such as larger 37″ BF Goodrich KO2 all-terrain tires, more ground clearance, better departure angles and increase dwater fording.
No pricing has yet been announced; expect that closer to the ’24 Gladiator’s arrival in dealers by the end of this year.