The 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL improves in many ways upon its successor, but the question that has truck and off-road enthusiasts buzzing is what its rumored pickup variant will be called and what it will offer. Well, we’re getting closer to answering those questions, as the good folks at the Jeep Scrambler Forum have unearthed one significant detail: The 2020 pickup, initially thought to be a 2019 model, will be called Gladiator. The name comes courtesy of an accidental leak on Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ media site, which published an empty page featuring the truck’s name and model year.
The Gladiator was also teased at a dealer meeting last week, which showed an image of the truck underneath a black sheet. Even obscured, the silhouette clearly betrays the Gladiator’s Wrangler origins, with a blocky profile, upright windshield glass, high-clearance fenders, and a Rubicon-style vented hood. The dealer presentation also touted the Gladiator’s “authentic Jeep design, Jeep off-road capability, real truck capability…and 15 class-exclusive innovations.” Furthermore, the truck is slated to get modern safety and connectivity, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It’s also possible that the Gladiator could introduce Uconnect 12, a massive, vertical touchscreen, to the Jeep lineup.
The name “Gladiator” hearkens back to 1963, when Jeep introduced a fullsize, body-on-frame pickup based on the Jeep Wagoneer. The Gladiator name was kept around until 1972, but the truck lived on as the J-Series for another 16 years. Scuttlebutt on the Jeep Scrambler Forum is that Gladiator may be a cool name, but applying it to a midsize pickup is an odd move. We tend to agree, as the CJ-based pickup was called the Scrambler, and so it would only make sense for the CJ’s successor to follow suit. One user smartly pointed out that calling the midsize truck a Gladiator also eliminates the possibility of a fullsize Jeep truck in the future, though we’re not sure corporate partner Ram would allow that in the first place.
If the Jeep pickup is indeed called Gladiator, we’d love to see some of that model’s retro design cues appear. One possible styling direction could be previewed by Jeep’s J-12 concept, revealed at the 2012 Easter Jeep Safari. Could a ’60s-inspired forward-leaning grille, paired with wide-set headlamps and turn signals, return to the Jeep lineup? We sure hope so.
That dealer presentation also betrayed the Gladiator’s official unveiling, which will happen Wednesday, November 28 at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show.
Source: Jeep Scrambler Forum