In the US the Gladiator is classed as a mid-size pick-up along with the likes of the Chevrolet Colorado, Ford Ranger and Toyota Tacoma, the equivalents to the Holden Colorado, Ford Ranger and Toyota Hilux mid-size trucks here. So it’s inevitable that it will be classed alongside those popular utes when it gets to Australia, despite being a very different truck.
The attached diagram shows the size and load capacity differences between the Gladiator and its US counterparts, and you can clearly see it is bigger and heavier duty than any of them. Even the off-road specs of approach and departure angles eclipse anything the other trucks offer. The US-market Tacoma and Colorado are both slightly bigger than the Hilux and Colorado we get here.
The Gladiator, being a Jeep, is more of an off-road vehicle than any of these others. It is based on the Wrangler after all and comparing it to these utes is like comparing a Jeep Wrangler to a Ford Everest or Toyota Fortuner. They are very different vehicles, with the Jeeps more utilitarian, less family friendly, built-for-purpose off-roaders.
The Jeeps have live axles front and rear and not IFS that the others are all compromised by. They also have heavy duty Rubicon models that offer lower gearing, locking front and rear axles, bigger all terrain tyres and disconnecting front sway bars; all equipment to make them superior off-road vehicles. And there are rumours of a more hardcore Gladiator variant to take on the F150 Raptor in high-speed off-road use.
The Gladiator is bigger, heavier duty and more off-road capable than the common mid-size utes, but it’s still no Land Cruiser 79 Series. It might be closer to the Cruiser in its live axle design, but it falls short in size and capacity. The Jeep will sit somewhere in between the LC79 and the Hilux/Ranger/Colorado/Amarok/DMAX regulars.
We should know more about the Gladiator by the end of this week, but we can’t wait to get behind the wheel of one. It’s not every year a new off-road-capable truck arrives to play with.