THE wraps have come off a new Jeep Gladiator marking the end of 27 years' absence for the all-American off-road brand in the pick-up market.
The newcomer was unveiled at this year's Camp Jeep extravaganza where it is taking centre stage at the annual gathering.
Based on the latest Wrangler the Gladiator is a double cab pick-up with a load bed of more than 1.5 metres and capable of towing up to 2.7 tonnes with a payload capacity of 725 kilos.
It is due for release in Europe late next year where it will be powered a 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine developing 260 horsepower with 600 Nm of torque.
Mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox the Gladiator is some 79cm longer than the Wrangler with a wheelbase increased by almost 50cm to help ride when carrying cargo.
With the brand's Command-Trac and Rock-Track systems fitted Jeep is describing it as the only full open-air pick-up and the suspension has been modified for optimal on-road handling without interfering with off-road ability.
For added all-terrain performance it also features an electronically disconnectable sway bar which is a first in the pick-up sector.
Sitting on 32-inch tyres the Gladiator will be available in Sport, Overland and Rubicon trims and while pricing and exact specification are still to be announced it is expected to be similar to that of the Wrangler which is priced from around £45,000.
The Gladiator's payload capacity of under a tonne means it doesn't attract VAT-free status in the UK.
Like the Wrangler, it features an array of driver assistance features including blind spot monitors, rear cross traffic alerts and adaptive cruise control and also comes with a forward-facing camera as a further aid to off-roading and general manoeuvrability.
The interior is almost a straight lift from the Wrangler and room in the rear seats is plentiful for a truck.
Under-rail bed lighting, an optional covered 230-volt external power source and integrated tie-downs are also fitted and an optional Trail Rail Cargo Management System provides additional storage options to organise and secure loads.
It also features a damped tailgate which can be locked and stopped in three positions for added functionality.
The Gladiator inherits the Wrangler's fold-down windscreen, detachable doors and a removable roof for the full outdoor experience is one of three roof systems available.
And on the audio front an optional portable wireless speaker can be fitted behind the rear seats allowing users to take their music with them when away from the vehicle.
Off-road ability sees the Gladiator with a steep approach angle of more than 43 degrees and it has 28.2cm of ground clearance with a wading depth of 76cms.
The Gladiator name was last used by Jeep in 1988 having first appeared in 1963 and at Camp Jeep two models were on display alongside a Wrangler 1941 special edition which has been developed by Mopar.
In tribute to the year the original Willys Jeep arrived, the special can be personalised with more than 200 accessories available. It also comes with a snorkel as standard to help its ability through water.
Jeep's last pick-up was the Comanche which was in production up until 1992.
This year's Camp Jeep took place at San Martino di Castrozza in Italy's Dolomite mountains where some 1,600 Jeep enthusiasts from all over Europe took part in three days of events including off-road drives on demanding courses through the wooded landscape some 5,000 feet above sea level.