The JL Wrangler brought many firsts for the iconic Jeep off-road SUV. It was the first model to be offered with a pickup option, the Gladiator, and will be the first to get a hybrid, the 4xe. Most exciting, however, is the recent reveal of the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392, complete with a 470 hp Hemi V8. Given the similarities between the Wrangler and Gladiator, it’s completely logical to wonder if a Gladiator 392 or Gladiator 4xe are in the works. But according to Motor Trend, Jeep won’t confirm it’s doing so just yet.
This isn’t to say Jeep won’t produce one or both of these, but neither Gladiator derivative has been green light at this point, reportedly. But it could simply be FCA trying to throw journalists off the trail.
Still, Jeep engineers acknowledge the 392 will fit under the hood of the truck, signaling the model could be a strong possibility. The mid-size pickup segment is missing a V8 at the moment, and that’s been the case since the death of the Hummer H3T Alpha. A Jeep Gladiator 392 would be the spiritual successor to fill that void. The Wrangler 392 is based on the Rubicon trim, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see Jeep offer the Hemi V8 in the Mojave trim to make it a more complete desert runner. Plus, they could beat the Ford Ranger Raptor to the segment, as a high-performance Ranger isn’t expected until the next generation. It won’t get a V8, either.
As for the 4xe plug in hybrid, the battery pack would fit under the rear bench seat, again signaling the project is a feasible. A Gladiator 4xe would too be alone in the segment as a plug in mid-size pickup.
The fact that neither are a given highlights the fact that while the Wrangler and Gladiator are very similar vehicles, they follow different development paths. The Gladiator has a Mojave model, and while it’s rumored to come to the Wrangler, it’s not here yet. It’s clear these siblings are similar, but not the same.
Still, if the FCA as a whole proves anything, it’s that they listen to customer demand. People wanted a Hellcat powered Ram pickup and Durango, so they built the TRX and Durango Hellcat. Jeep fans have been crying out for a V8 Wrangler for years, and they’ve finally done it. If enough customers show interest in a Gladiator 392, or 4xe, there’s a good chance it’ll happen. Or that it’s happening already.