Jeep Gladiator Hercules in the Works?
Move over Ford Raptor, rumor has it there’s going to be a new off-road pickup champ soon if Jeep has anything to say about it. Word on the street is that a powerful Gladiator variant might be in the works according to some insiders over at the Jeep Gladiator Forum. Based on what we already know about the 2020 Jeep Gladiator, it’s hard to imagine that whatever Jeep is cooking up will be anything less than awesome.
Jeep didn’t take the easy way out when designing the Gladiator. Of course, prior to its official unveiling everyone wondered if the Wrangler-inspired truck would be revealed as an underwhelming mess that simply tacked on a bed to the back of a Wrangler, but this wasn’t the case. Jeep designed and developed the Gladiator to be a true pickup truck, with the Rubicon trim designed to handle some serious off-roading. When the Gladiator was officially unveiled at the 2018 LA Auto Show, Jeep boss Tim Kuniskis was interviewed and he mentioned that the Gladiator would have a new off-road setting specifically designed for high-speed desert running, giving Jeepers a source for their enthusiasm.
So, let’s get down to the nitty gritty – according to a few industry insiders over at Jeep Gladiator Forum there’s an uber-capable variant of the Gladiator named “Hercules” and it is currently undergoing market evaluation. What does it all mean? Well, apparently a few one-off prototypes have been built so far as the brand tests if an off-roader this powerful can survive on the streets, off the beaten path, and in such a particular segment. The Hercules will presumably become the trim above the Rubicon if it ever makes it into production.
Enthusiasts have already come up with various must-haves for the Hercules including beadlock wheels, larger off-road tires, a front skid plate, a blackout grille, a steel front bumper, rock rails, ram air hood, large fender vents, and vented high fenders. Professionals, on the other hand, don’t seem to have a wishlist as of yet, but they sure are wondering if the Hercules will stick with the Gladiator’s current engine lineup. If Jeep really wants the Gladiator Hercules to take on the Raptor they’re going to need more than the Gladiator’s naturally-aspirated V6 engine that generates 285 horsepower and up to 260 lb-ft of torque. Sure, the diesel engine option on the Gladiator makes a more impressive 442 lb-ft of torque, but only 260 horsepower – and both engines are no match for the Raptor’s 3.5L twin turbo V6 engine that makes 450 horsepower and 510 lb-ft of torque.
All of this is speculation, but if the Hercules is greenlit for production, experts claim they would not be surprised if Jeep were to use the 6.4L V8 engine that’s found under the hood of other Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) products such as the Durango SRT. A heftier engine capable of 475 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque would help the Gladiator Hercules position itself as a more direct competitor for the Raptor, including competing in a segment with a similar $50,000-plus price tag. If Jeep manages to slip an engine this powerful under the hood of a Gladiator and turn it into a Gladiator Hercules, then who’s to say that a heftier engine won’t make its way under the hood of a Wrangler someday?
This could all be wishful thinking for the time being as a Gladiator Hercules trim may never even make it to production, but the reality is that Jeep is set to finally roll out their all-new Gladiator to dealer lots during the Spring of 2019. Follow The Jeep Experts at Hollywood Chrysler Jeep on social media to keep up with the latest Jeep news and be among the first to take the Gladiator for a spin once it arrives!