Jeep's most off-road-ready truck just got a big update in Detroit

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To the surprise of no one, Jeep has taken a lot of the new bits and pieces featured on the latest Wrangler that debuted earlier this year for the 2024 model year and grafted them to the Gladiator pickup truck. What is somewhat surprising is what's been left on the chopping block, notably the SUV's available full float rear axle or any of its powertrain options past the standard 3.6-liter V6 engine. But before we talk more about what isn't here, let's cover what is.

Perhaps most important to shoppers is the interior. While the outgoing Gladiator had a playful and purposeful look inside, the new truck gets much comfier and inviting duds for 2024. Standard across the range is a 12.3-inch touchscreen interface smack dab in the center of the dash running Jeep's latest and well-regarded Uconnect 5 software. Navigation is optional on upper-level trims, but the Android-based system supports wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on all Gladiators.

Manual seats, locks and windows are standard on the Sport, but everything from Sport S on up gets power locks and doors, while 12-way power seats that are water resistant to retain river-fording capabilities come with the Mojave X and Rubicon X. Jeep Adventure Guides featuring Trails Offroad is also offered, allowing owners access to a database of trails across the country. First- and second-row side curtain airbags are now standard along with all the other safety equipment we've come to expect on modern cars.

Those two X-badged trim levels are new for 2024 and are meant to combine all the most luxurious options in the parts bin along with the most capable off-road hardware Jeep has to offer from the factory. The rest of the line is similar to last year, from Sport to Sport S to Willys and then to the desert-spec Mojave and mountan-spec Rubicon. Keen observers will note that Jeep's trademark seven-slot grille is present but reshaped for 2024, thereby offering the most obvious visual cue to tell the old and new models apart.

All Gladiators get Dana 44 axles, but they are rated as heavy-duty on the two off-road-specific trim levels. A two-speed transfer case is also standard, starting with the well-known Command-Trac part-time system. Selec-Trac adds full-time 4x4 capability and joins the base system with a 2.72:1 4LO ratio. The Rubicon comes with the Rock-Trac part-time system with a lower 4:1 low range. As before, the Rubicon also benefits from a sway bar disconnect, Tru-Lok front- and rear-axle lockers, 33-inch tires and steel rock rails.

The Gladiator Mojave remains another off-road specialist model, but instead of mud and rocks, it's meant for dirt and high-speed trails. As before, it comes with Fox-branded 2.5-inch internal bypass shocks with remote reservoirs, front hydro jounce bumpers to help absorb big hits, a one-inch lift, a locking rear axle, an Off-Road+ mode and its own set of rock rails for the cab. It also stands out with orange accents and a hood scoop.

Maximum towing sits at 7,700 pounds — that matches the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon and is *checks notes* the same as last year to lead the segment — while maximum payload is a best-in-class 1,725 pounds, which is actually up 15 pounds over the 2023 edition. We wonder what changed. ... A six-speed manual transmission is standard and allows for an excellent 84:1 crawl ratio while the eight-speed that the majority of buyers will actually end up with reduces that slightly to 77:1.

That's all undeniably cool stuff. As Jim Morrison, senior vice president and head of Jeep brand North America, says, "Combine all of that with its folding windshield, three roof choices, two different door options or taking the doors off altogether, and Gladiator is the only truck in the business that can celebrate this kind of open-air freedom and still do real truck stuff." But there are some additional things we were hoping to see at launch, specifically the rear axle, turbo-four engine, plug-in hybrid 4xe and possibly even a V8-powered 392 — stuff that the flagship Wranger offers. Instead, the only engine at launch will be the same V6 as before with the same 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque as before. But before we put the sad trombone on full blast, Jeep says at least the 4xe platform is coming to the Gladiator soon, adding that "all Jeep brand vehicles will offer an electrified variant by 2025."

The 2024 Jeep Gladiator debuted today at the 2023 Detroit Auto Show. We expect it will hit dealerships in very short order.