2021 Jeep Gladiator Sand Runner trim launched in UAE and GCC
The latest Jeep Wrangler is very good on desert dunes, finally managing to power through our region’s unique terrain after years of being merely average in stock form. The Jeep Gladiator pickup dialled that capability back with its extra weight and wheelbase, so Jeep saw fit to introduce their own modified Gladiator model, dubbed the Sand Runner, and creating a ‘Desert Rated’ badge.
The Jeep Gladiator Sand Runner models feature new Fox 64-mm (2.5-inch) internal bypass shocks with external reservoirs, Fox front hydraulic jounce bumpers, a 25-mm (1-inch) front suspension lift, a silver front skid plate, stronger axles with cast-iron steering knuckles, aggressive front seats with integrated upper bolsters and standard 33-inch tyres. Interestingly, the rear suspension is not lifted.
A 13-mm (1/2-inch) increase in the Sand Runner’s track allows for the packaging of the larger shocks. Jeep says they also reinforced both the frame and axle.
The Gladiator’s Command-Trac 4×4 system features a two-speed transfer case with a 2.72:1 low-range gear ratio and heavy-duty third-generation Dana 44 front and rear axles with a 4.10:1 rear axle ratio and electronic-locking rear differential as standard. The Jeep Command-Trac 4×4 system is used to provide higher 4LO (low range) operating speeds for climbing sand dunes.
Vital stats include an approach angle of 44.7 degrees, breakover angle of 20.9 degrees, departure angle of 25.5 degrees and ground clearance of 295mm (11.6 inches).
An Off-Road Plus button allows adjustments to the throttle, transmission shift points and traction control for peak performance on “higher speed passes on sand terrain, as well as during low-speed soft sand and rock crawling conditions.” In addition, for the first time on a Jeep, the Off-Road Plus drive mode on the Gladiator Sand Runner enables drivers to lock their rear axle at high speeds while in high range, “4H”.
The Jeep Gladiator Sand Runner’s 285 hp 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine remains stock, with engine stop-start tech and an 8-speed automatic.
Inside the cabin, the Gladiator Sand Runner features more aggressive front seats with integrated upper bolsters to hold occupants comfortably in place during high-speed off-road driving. The upgraded seats are available in leather or cloth with orange accent stitching and embroidered Sand Runner logos.
The Gladiator Sand Runner’s bonnet is adorned with a unique decal and a centre scoop. Distinguishing Sand Runner elements include exterior badges, orange tow hooks and unique 17 x 7.5-inch wheels and the optional Jeep Performance Parts heavy duty side steps.
Given FCA’s history in the Middle East, it is unclear what level of hot-weather testing has been done on this uniquely Middle-East focused product, but it does seem to address one of the biggest reasons for the Gladiator not clicking with the offroad-enthusiast crowd, the other being a high price-point. On the latter, the Sand Runner will be no different, as we expect it to be priced somewhere between Dhs 220,000 and 250,000 on the showroom floor.
Keep track of pricing updates in the Jeep buyer guide.