The future of Jeep involves more plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles but fewer V8s, with the Gladiator ute next to get the 4xe PHEV treatment at some point before 2025.
The company has previously pledged to have a 4xe variant of all its models by 2025, so it seems the plan remains on track.
The addition of a plug-in hybrid to the Gladiator range will give Jeep a rival for the upcoming plug-in hybrid Ford Ranger, which Ford Europe says will be introduced by 2024.
In the Wrangler 4xe, which remains off the table for Australia, the powertrain consists of a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine with two electric motors and a 17kWh battery pack mounted beneath the second-row seat.
Jeep claims total system outputs of 280kW of power and 637Nm of torque and an electric-only range of 40km.
Morrison, however, poured cold water on the idea of the Gladiator receiving the Wrangler Rubicon 392’s 6.4-litre V8 engine.
“I don’t know that we’ll ever see a 392 in the Gladiator, to be honest,” Morrison said, noting it’s a tougher business case and the Gladiator sits at only about a third of the Wrangler’s volume.
In Australia, the Gladiator is more popular relative to the Wrangler. Last year, Jeep sold 1273 Gladiators against 1734 Wranglers.
The only engine offered here is a naturally-aspirated 3.6-litre petrol V6, which produces 209kW of power and 347Nm of torque.
In markets like the US, the Gladiator is also available with a 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6 developed by VM Motori that produces 194kW and 599Nm.
The third-generation EcoDiesel engine – also found under the bonnet of the Ram 1500 over there – incorporates stop/start technology.
“So, we’d love to have a diesel on the Gladiator in Australia. [But] we didn’t have a business case that worked,” said Jeep’s global president Christian Meunier early last year.
Likewise, we miss out on the Wrangler Rubicon 392 and 4xe here despite Jeep Australia expressing interest in offering them.