Guess what's now arriving at your local Jeep dealer.
It's been a long time coming and it's finally happening. A Jeep Wrangler-based pickup truck, very appropriately called Gladiator, is here. Perhaps you've heard of it? Sarcasm aside, Jeep has officially announced that the first batch of new 2020 Gladiators are now making their way to dealerships from their hometown factory in Toledo, Ohio. The Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited are also both built there.
Jeep knew well in advance Gladiator demand is going to be high, hence the decision to invest some $273 million to retool and modernize the plant specifically for the truck's production. Over 300 full-time jobs were also added and we wouldn't be surprised if that were to increase as demand goes even higher. We'll see.
Only last week, for example, we learned that all 4,190 Launch Edition Gladiators sold out in only one day, each priced at over $60,000. Prices for the base Gladiator start at $35,040 while the Sport S trim begins at $38,240, Overland models from $41,890, and Rubicon from $45,040. Not exactly cheap, but Jeep will have absolutely no problem selling them.
For now, the only engine will be the familiar 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 that's good for 285 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. Starting next year, Jeep is widely expected to begin offering a 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 with 260 hp and 442 lb-ft of twist.
What won't be happening now or anytime soon (if ever) is an optional Hellcat V8, which we learned last week easily fits in the Gladiator and Wrangler's engine bay. Jeep is probably wise not to offer this engine option for a number of reasons, among them safety.
Over 700 hp in an SUV with removable doors and a fold-down hood? Chances are someone will do something stupid. However, the Hellcat V8 crate engine can also be ordered from Mopar, just saying.