The Jeep Gladiator is one of the hottest trucks on the market right now. The JL Wrangler-based pickup offers the off-road capability to the midsize truck segment that the brand is synonymous with, while delivering major style points at the same time. It appears to be pretty durable as well.
The folks over at TFL were treated to a look around the the FCA test facility in Windsor, Canada. This is the facility where the automaker stress tests its new vehicles before launch, as well as test equipment like headlamps, and even making sure that car seats are comfortable for various body types.
The eleven minute video gives viewers a peek at some of the equipment that FCA uses to test its cars, like the massive robotic jig that simulates 10 years’ worth of wear and tear, which FCA says is equivalent to approximately 160,000 miles. This is where we see a Jeep Gladiator undergoing what looks like torture, as the jig simulates various on and off-road conditions the Jeep truck might face during a decade off the dealer lot. Thanks to the use of 24-hour cycles, the entire testing process takes just four to six weeks. In order to achieve the equivalent test results, a human driver would have to spend four to six months behind the wheel, according to Dan Pereria, project manager for the FCA road test simulator.
The team working the road test simulator inspect the vehicle multiple times a day to study the wear and tear, while the vehicle is fully torn down and studied by design engineers after its two month stint on the jig. This is when the automaker ensures that the vehicle’s parts are engineered to their expectations. While the process is effective, it doesn’t always catch everything, like the Wrangler’s infamous “death wobble”.
While this is not an uncommon practice in the industry, it is always interesting to be able to look behind the curtain and see how our cars are made. While we can’t definitively say that the Jeep Gladiator is going to give you a decade worth of problem free driving, you can at least walk away from the video knowing what the engineers put it through before it reaches your driveway.