Jaco Van Der Merwe

By Jaco Van Der Merwe

Head of Motoring

WATCH: Jeep bakkie has the bite to match the bark

It may be built for the dirt, but Gladiator will put Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger to shame in a sprint.

It goes without saying that we are setting ourselves up for a backlash in the comments section by running the Jeep bakkie against the clock on the drag strip.

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We’ll be told that “drag racing a hardcore 4×4 is not relevant” and that the Jeep bakkie “was built to climb mountains and not the race track”.

These are valid points. Thank you in advance. But you also need to take into consideration that we live in bakkie-mad Mzansi, where one in every four new cars sold is a bakkie.

Some bakkies spend more time on the tarmac in Sandton, than they do on the gravel. And, here the Jeep bakkie will be judged on its performance once the traffic light turns green regardless of how many valleys it has conquered. It is for this very reason that we run bakkies against the clock.

When Stellantis introduced the Gladiator as the first Jeep bakkie to be sold locally last month, they showcased its capabilities over the type of terrain it was built for.

Needless to say, being based on the Wrangler, the Gladiator didn’t have to break a sweat over any of the obstacles.

So, when we received the Jeep bakkie on test last week, there was only one thing left to do. Have Road Test Editor Mark Jones run it against the clock on the tarmac.

ALSO READ: WATCH: New Isuzu D-Max murders Hilux and Ranger on drag strip

Powered by a 3.6-litre V6 petrol mill that produces an impressive 209 kW of power and 347 Nm of torque, we were keen to see if the Jeep bakkie has the bite to match the bark.

Despite its naturally aspirated engine losing what is estimated to be around 17% power at altitude, the Jeep bakkie still manages to give owners of traditional bakkie brands some food for thought.

By reaching 100 km/h from a standstill in 10.85 seconds, it is officially the third fastest production double cab 4×4 bakkie Mark has tested after the Volkswagen Amarok and Isuzu D-Max V-Cross.

The Jeep bakkie’s sprint time should also serve as a warning to owners of South Africa’s two best-selling bakkies, the Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger. The fastest 4×4 double cab Ranger Mark has on record took 12.34 seconds to reach 100 km/h from a standstill, while the current 4×4 double cab Hilux Legend took 12.38 seconds.

Watch this space for our complete road test results

For more information on the Jeep bakkie, that is price sale for a price of R1 259 900, visit the manufacturer’s website.

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bakkie Ford Ranger Jeep Road Tests Toyota Hilux

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