November 20, 2004 Chrysler has shown the first design for a rugged, midsize 'lifestyle pickup' called the 'Gladiator' based on the popular Jeep Wrangler sport-utility. The name 'Gladiator' has been used by Jeep in the past for pickup models built from 1963 to 1969 and this design continues to honour the Jeep brand heritage with its rugged functionality and instantly recognisable styling.
Gladiator features the historic box side-mounted spare of past models, an open-air canvass top, an expandable truck bed and a stow-away rear-seat cushion for extra comfort. It also has an upright grille, round headlights, a squared-off body and exposed door hinges, an extended cab and a rear-hinged back door on the driver's side that are reminiscent of previous key Jeep design elements.
The rear seat can be accessed from a small hatch on the driver's side for storage. A four-door design was made unfeasible because of the large side-mounted spare tire that dominates the rear driver's side. The rear seats are designed to extend to the back of the front seats and increase the bed's length from 5.5 feet to a roomy 8 feet.
The Gladiator has a 2.8-litre, 4-cylinder VM Motori diesel engine.
Its wheels are punched almost to the edges of the truck's body, giving it a very short front and rear overhang and making it especially useful for scaling steep inclines.
Gladiator will debut alongside another concept vehicle, the V8 'Firepower' at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January, 2005.