When the battlefield is a sandbox. The Gladiator is a purebred Jeep and a hard worker with a body


Just as we call vacuum cleaners lux, Czechs often talk about off-roads as jeeps. The brand of off-road cars, which helped the Allies win World War II, does not break sales records, but cars with a characteristic ribbed nose will also recognize a small child. And now Jeep has arrived in Europe, adding something extra to all the features typical of the brand - a body. Meet the Gladiator.

Do you love America? And if you are also a car fan, you most likely must also like proper pick-ups. In a country where space does not play a role and, after all, even big engines are not synonymous with all the evils of today's world, they are the most popular car category.

Gigantic Fords and body RAM play the role of a versatile car. They take people, a lot of things and they can still be towed by a 3.5-ton trailer. Pick-ups are sold in various sizes, and for Americans, a five-meter car is more of a pocket variant.

But when you put it on European roads, such a car suddenly is a Pantagruel. Which is the case with Gladiator. Two years ago, Jeep came to the American market with a brand new pickup truck based on the Wrangler. The honest off-road got a truck so he could do even more work.

And from this year, Europeans can also buy it. The local Ford Ranger, Toyota Hilux, Volkswagen Amarok, or Mitsubishi L200 have a very talented opponent.

The base price is not one of the lowest. It is offered in three, resp. four equipment versions, the basic one costs less than 1.5 million, higher, the tested Overland then CZK 1,638,900, the annual version for the 80th anniversary of the brand will be almost 1.8 million and the so-called Launch edition is available, ie a 200-piece launch series in full equipment for almost 1.9 million.

Under the hood with the old locks, you can have a single-engine, a diesel six-cylinder with an output of 191 kW and 600 Nm. The Wrangler has only four cylinders. But it's good that the Gladiator has this engine (we've known it for years, for example from the Grand Cherokee), it sounds like a tractor, and when you add gas, the cab is full of sound, but it provides the car with the necessary power that is not redeemed by greed.

We drove without difficulty with a consumption of about 9 l of diesel per 100 km, and our roads led more often along the highway. It would not make sense to drive in Europe with a six-cylinder petrol engine that has a car in the USA.

The whole front of the car simply looks like a Wrangler, with a typical mask with vertical slats, round headlights, and square fenders. Strange that such a rough car can evoke so much sympathy on the road. Behind the cabin, a body was grafted, which can carry over 600 kg, there is also an electrical socket (unfortunately only American) and with higher equipment, the metal cargo space has a protective layer against damage.

The body looks like a structurally simple shell-like a Wrangler, you can also dismantle the car. The basic version is easy, the roof is made of fabric. The sheet metal roof panels in the Overland version only unlock the locks, but you have to use tools for everything else and you won't take off the Gladiator in one person except for the body. That it is not easy is proved by many abrasions on the body panels of the test car.

The sidestep sills help to climb into the car, which the basic variant of the Gladiator also does not have. However, the cabin definitely does not look like a work car, it is durable, but honestly assembled, taking into account its equipment, the price of the car is suddenly more justifiable.

It has leather upholstery, a heated steering wheel, powerful audio with a portable speaker, multimedia with navigation, digital instrument sewing, which also shows inclines when driving off-road. And all the little details that you may not notice at first glance, but will please for example, that after starting, a miniature Jeep will pass in the car display.

Gladiator has a very long wheelbase, so it is not completely suitable for sharp off-road crossings, yet it is one of the great cars with off-road capabilities, during normal driving it has rear-wheel drive if necessary thanks to the Selec-Trac system reduction and also the differential lock on the rear axle.

We also decided to test his work potential, Gladiator took several hundred kilograms of sand. The rear rigid axle was significantly heavier under his weight, but the car behaved predictably and confidently, and the powerful turbodiesel playfully handled the charge. It's not just a scent to the city.

The gladiator is very easy to drive, effortless, relatively and comfortable, because it is a car on a frame. But the eight-speed automatic sometimes keeps the engine running at higher speeds for an unnecessarily long time, and the sound is not even a little nice. And sometimes the problem will be finding a parking space in the center of Prague because it measures 5.6 meters.

But why should you buy it, you ask? For 1.5 million, premium station wagons and a richly equipped universal SUV can be purchased, if you need a pick-up for work, the Ford Ranger starts at a million, and the same goes for the Toyota Hilux.

However, with a rich list of surcharges, the price difference between them is blurred. The Gladiator is a versatile car for someone who needs to haul cargo, tow a trailer, and has equipment requirements. But the Jeep has a slightly different charm, which weighs much more than just the items on the list. It's an icon. A car symbolizing the off-road capabilities of all the cars in the world, America on wheels, a car with the genes of war veterans. And that is what gives him an aura of uniqueness. Many current cars are losing it.

Jeep Gladiator 3.0 V6 CRD Overland

  • Engine: 6-cylinder, 2987 cm3, turbodiesel

  • Power: 194 kW / 264 hp at 3600 rpm.

  • Torque: 600 Nm at 1400-2800 rpm.

  • Top speed: 177 km / h

  • Acceleration 0-100 km / h: 8.6 s

  • Comb. consumption: 9.5 l / 100 km

  • Transmission: 8st. automatic

  • Basic model price: from CZK

  • 1,448,900 Overland version price: from CZK 1,638,900

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