Pickup trucks and outrageous top speeds are the automotive equivalents of oil and water – they don’t mix. Trucks are engineered to use their power for hauling, towing, or other pickup truck activities while their design is intentionally prohibitive to speed. Moving a box through the air takes a tremendous amount of power. So, it should come as no surprise that watching the 2020 Jeep Gladiator attempt to hit its top speed is underwhelming.
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In the video above (6:17-7:27), the owner attempts to take the truck up to its top speed in the Utah desert. The truck takes off fine with enough get-up-and-go to satisfy most in day-to-day driving conditions. But as the truck’s speed climbs over 70 miles per hour (112 kilometers per hour), the truck’s acceleration slows. After 80 mph (128 kph), the acceleration slows to a crawl, eventually topping out at 97 mph (156 kph). It’s a bit shocking how low the Gladiator’s top speed is when you consider the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat can hit 204 mph (328 kph). But that’s a different beast entirely.
The Jeep Gladiator in the video sports the 3.6-liter producing 285 horsepower (213 kilowatts) and 260 pound-feet (352 Newton-meters) of torque. The engine packs plenty of low-end torque and mid-range gusto; however, that means the top-end is lacking in performance, which makes sense. Trucks need a lot of low-end power for all the hauling, towing, and off-road adventuring one will likely do in the said pickup. A high top speed isn’t what a truck, or the Jeep Gladiator, is about.
Low top speeds for trucks are typical with many hovering around 100 mph (160 kph). That doesn’t mean you can’t augment the engine’s performance or replace the engine entirely. Already, some people have replaced the Gladiator’s mill with more potent powertrains. Hennessey has one called the Maximum 1000, and it creates 1,000 hp (1,609 kW). While the Jeep Gladiator may not have the highest top speed from the factory, people are working to rectify that.
Source: TheStradman via YouTube