Jeep Gladiator confirmed for South Africa as brand reveals plans for 2022
Shown back in 2018, the Gladiator will be joined soon after its reveal by the equally long awaited new Grand Cherokee.
The open-deck Gladiator will finally come to South Africa after debuting in 2018.
Its local operations now well and truly underway, Stellantis South Africa has confirmed that the long overdue Jeep Gladiator will be coming to South Africa this year.
Unveiled at the Los Angeles International Auto Show in 2018 as the first Jeep bakkie since the XJ Cherokee-based Comanche made between 1985-1992, the Gladiator will officially become a reality in the second quarter of 2022 with price and specification to be confirmed.
Measuring 492 mm longer than the Wrangler in the wheelbase department, the double cab-only Gladiator has a claimed payload of 725 kg and like its sibling, boasts the ability to have the doors and roof removed and the windscreen folded forward.
Offered with two four-wheel-drive systems; the basic Command-Trac and the optional Rock-Trac outfitted with heavy duty front and rear axles plus the Tru-Lok differential, the Gladiator has claimed ground clearance of 282 mm with respective departure, approach and breakover angles of 26 degrees, 43.6 degrees, and 20.3 degrees.
Although available with two powerunits in the United States, Jeep’s phasing out of diesel engines in favour of electrified petrol units under the 4xe nameplate has likely ended hopes of the 3.0-litre V6 oil-burner, known as the EcoDiesel, being offered in South Africa.
As such, the only expected unit is the stalwart 3.6 Pentastar V6 petrol that produces 209kW/347Nm in the Wrangler. While available with the six-speed manual gearbox in the States, chances are that South Africa will only be privy to the eight-speed automatic.
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In confirming the Gladiator’s arrival to The Citizen, Stellantis also announced that the all-new Grand Cherokee will become available from the second half of the year.
Replacing the current WK2 that has been on sale for almost a decade, the WL Grand Cherokee that debuted in seven-seat guise L guise last year is once again set to resume its role as Jeep’s flagship model, though it remains to be seen whether the three-row or the standard five-seat model will be introduced.
Either way, only a single powertrain is due, the mentioned Pentastar that delivers 216kW/350Nm to all four corners via the eight-speed automatic box.
No-nos therefore are the 266kW/530Nm 5.7 Hemi V8 and the 4xe that combines the 2.0-litre turbocharged Hurricane petrol used in the Wrangler with an electric motor for a total system output of 280kW/637Nm.
Wholly ruled-out for now is the revived Commander that went on sale in South America last year.
Entering production in India reportedly from next month as the Meridian, the Commander provides seating for seven and slots-in between the Compass and Grand Cherokee as Jeep’s most affordable seven-seat model.
In South America, two powerunits are offered; the Brazilian made and developed turbocharged 1.3 Firefly petrol that produces 137kW/270Nm, and the Fiat-derived 2.0 Multijet turbodiesel also used in the Toro/Ram 1000 that makes 125kW/380Nm.
A six-speed automatic is the sole transmission for the petrol with the Multijet sporting a nine-speed self-shifter.
According to Autocar India though, Jeep will only make the latter engine available for the Meridian paired to either the mentioned auto or a six-speed manual with torque anticipated to drop by 30 Nm to 350 Nm.
Unlike the Commander, the Meridian, which will provide seating for six in addition to the standard seven, will be equipped with front-wheel-drive as standard and all-wheel-drive set on higher-end models only.
As mentioned, no plans are currently in place to bring either to South Africa, but seeing as the Compass is sourced from the Pune plant where production of the Meridian is set to take place, don’t be surprised if approval is given towards the end of the year in preparation for 2023.