Jeep® brand vehicles are known for being able to conquer terrain that competitors fear and for a heritage steeped in utility. The Jeep Gladiator concept vehicle rode over boundaries and limits in addition to the terrain and obstacles.
The Gladiator Concept was a lifestyle pickup with all of the rugged functionality of the famed Jeep Wrangler. It was a “super utility truck” that features an open-air canvas roof, removable doors and fold-down windshield so driver and passengers can get in touch with the outdoors, and an expandable pickup-truck bed and clever storage compartments to offer truly useful cargo capacity.
“Jeep Gladiator is an authentic statement of Jeep brand heritage that explores what shape and features a modern Jeep pickup might have,” said Trevor Creed, then Senior Vice President – Chrysler Group Design.
Jeep enthusiasts will likely recognize the Gladiator name from the 1962 fullsize pickup truck model. Other Jeep elements on the Gladiator Concept is the blend of style and function that included the seven-slot grille, an open-air passenger compartment, a Command Trac® part-time 4×4 system, front- and rear-locking differentials, a front winch and full skid plates.
While the heritage rings true, Gladiator was also a thoroughly modern pickup, intelligently engineered for an active lifestyle. The Jeep brand has always embodied function in a right-sized vehicle, and the Gladiator Concept continued that theme by offering more utility and storage than would be expected in a vehicle scaled for maneuverability and ease of driving.
There was a driver-side cabin-storage access panel as well as a lockable storage panel in front of the rear wheel. The 4-foot-wide bed space was expandable with storage that can extend inside the cabin when more length is needed. The bed could be transformed easily from its standard length of 5 foot, 8 inches (1,725 mm) to 6 foot, 8 inches (2,026 mm) with the midgate expanded, and ultimately to 8 foot, 11 inches (2,723 mm) with the midgate expanded and tailgate down.
Gladiator was powered by the efficient 2.8-liter, 4-cylinder common-rail turbo diesel engine that provided 295 lb-ft of torque and 163 horsepower. It delivered ample power to all four wheels through a 6-speed manual transmission and a traditional part-time transfer case.
The front and rear suspension were multi-link designs for a smooth ride over all surfaces with plenty of suspension travel for capable off roading. Coilover shocks were used at all four corners for superb control. The rear incorporated dual, concentric springs for a comfortable ride while offering a 1,500-pound payload. Key off-roading specifications included a ground clearance of 13.7 inches (348 mm), break-over angle of 23.2 degrees and an approach/departure angle of 47.6 /38.0 degrees, respectively. Tires in the front and rear were 34 inches in diameter (265/75R18) mounted on 18×8 inch wheels.
On the interior, Gladiator was thoroughly contemporary with a utility theme. The color palate included Armour Green with Dark Slate Gray accents. The seats were weatherproof and the interior was designed for hose-out ease of care. Not surprisingly, the Gladiator Concept featured all the necessary technology for finding the way there and back including GPS, which at the time wasn’t commonly found in a majority of cars.
“This vehicle blends classic cues with contemporary functionality and innovation,” said Creed. “The timeless silhouette – even the bedside-mounted spare of classic Jeep pickups– is merged with a modern chassis, a turbo diesel powertrain and a flexible, expandable truck bed.”
The concept’s main focus was to shine light into the design of the upcoming 2007 Jeep Wrangler (JK) models. Instead it created a movement in the Jeep community to build a modern day Jeep pickup, which we will see when the Jeep (JT) pickup debuts next year.
- Weight (estimated): 4,150 lbs. (1,882 kg)
- Length: 205 inches (5,207 mm)
- Wheelbase: 138.4 inches (3,515mm)
- Front Overhang: 28.3 inches (718mm)
- Rear Overhang: 38.3 inches (974 mm)
- Width: 76.6 inches (1,947 mm)
- Height: 74.8 inches (1,900 mm)
- Track, Frt/Rr: 65.6/66.2 inches (1,667/1,681 mm)
- Engine: 2.8-liter 1-4 turbo diesel
- Transfer Case: Command Trac, NVG231
- Transmission: Manual 6-speed
- Axle Gear Ratio: 3:73:1
- Front Suspension: 4-link with coilover shocks
- Rear Suspension: 5-link with coilover shocks
- Ground Clearance – 13.7 inches (348 mm)
- Break-Over Angle – 23.2 degrees
- Approach/Depart Angle – 47.6/38.0 degrees
- Tire Size: 265/75R18
- Wheel Size: 18×8 inches
2005 Jeep Gladiator Concept Gallery: