That’s a pretty butch badge, and infinitely more aggressive than the ‘Scrambler’ moniker the Wrangler ute was previously expected to wear. And while the Scrambler name traces its history back to the early CJ-series Wrangler, Gladiator also has significant Jeep provenance: it was last used by Jeep on a range of large pick-up trucks based on the 1960s-era Wagoneer.
Jeep’s plan to resurrect the Gladiator name was uncovered by a Jeep enthusiast who noticed an entry for “2020 Jeep Gladiator” on Fiat-Chrysler’s (Jeep’s parent company) media website – a link which was quickly deleted. The discovery of the Gladiator name also suggests legal issues surrounding the Scrambler moniker, which is currently worn by a range of Ducati motorcycles, may have forced Jeep’s hand.
Built on a stretched version of the new JL-generation Wrangler that’s due to arrive here in the first quarter of 2019, the Gladiator promises even more gear-toting ability along with the same ultra-rugged live-axle suspension as its regular-bodied sibling. It’ll only be offered as a dual-cab as well, making it well positioned to recreational off-roaders who need to carry more people and equipment.
And it’s coming our way. WhichCar understands that a right-hand drive version of the Gladiator will be available for Jeep’s local operation to take, however it’s unclear whether it will receive the same range of powertrains as the Wrangler that it’s based on. Official confirmation is expected soon after its unveiling.
Due to make its first public appearance at the Los Angeles Motor Show on November 27 (November 28 in Australia), the Gladiator with be the first Jeep utility in almost 30 years. It’s not the only major product derivative for the JL Wrangler family either, with an electrified Wrangler set to follow it in 2020.