Jeep's long-awaited new Gladiator slots nicely into the part of the Venn diagram where "Jeep fans" and "pickup fans" intersect. In fact, just about everyone who has ever loved cars is excited about the Gladiator. Folks have been patiently awaiting the day when the Gladiator would grace the lots of their local Jeep dealerships, and that day, thankfully, is rapidly approaching.
But just how useful is the Gladiator's truck bed? Jeep parts house Quadratec breaks it down for us, in a video where no stone is left unturned, no dimension is left unmeasured, and no tailgate is left unopened. Quadratec's Rob Jarrell, armed with a tape measure, attends the Philadelpia auto show to get up close and personal ahead of the Gladiator's official release.
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The published figures put the Gladiator's payload capacity at 1,600 pounds with a five-foot bed. That doesn't really tell us the whole story, though. The width at the bed opening is roughly 49 inches. That's over four feet, so plenty enough to fit a standard sheet of 4x8' plywood – at least width-wise. However, where the rear wheel wells intrude into the bed space, the width narrows down to just 44.5".
The Jeep engineers have a a couple tricks up their sleeve to account for this, though. The tops of the wheel wells are perfectly flat, and there are narrow channels behind the wheel wells to fit a 2x6" board, creating a platform and support to allow sheets of plywood to be supported.
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But what supports a piece of plywood behind that? Well, Jeep's engineers thought of this, too. The three-position tailgate is a high-minded idea that makes use of low-tech cleverness to get the job done. Just tuck the tailgate cabless underneath the support bracket, and violà – the top of the tailgate is now at the correct height to support the tail end of that sheet of plywood.
It seems like the wait for the Gladiator has been protracted and agonizing, but it seems to us like it's going to be well worth it.
Source: Quadratec on YouTube