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Jeep could return to the battlefield with the toughened-up Gladiator XMT

Jeep built its reputation on the battlefields of World War II, so it’s fitting that a modern Jeep off-roader will wear a military uniform. The vehicle in question is the 2020 Jeep Gladiator, the automaker’s recently-introduced midsize pickup truck. Because this is a military vehicle, the first thing Jeep did was add an acronym to the name. This truck is called the XMT, for Extreme Military-Grade Truck.

The Jeep Gladiator XMT was developed in concert with AM General. The company developed the Humvee, the vehicle that replaced the original Jeep in United States military service. AM General is still involved in defense projects. It decided that the Gladiator’s high tow and payload ratings made it a good basis for a military vehicle, according to a company press release.

Modifications included “both custom-built and commercially available military-grade parts,” according to AM General. Some of those modifications include a brush guard and tube doors that many civilian Gladiator owners would likely love to have on their trucks.

AM General said the Gladiator XMT could be offered with both gasoline and diesel engines, but did not offer any other details. Jeep currently sells the Gladiator with a 3.6-liter gasoline V6, making 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque, and plans to offer a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 beginning in calendar-year 2020, with 260 hp and 442 lb-ft. Tuner Hennessey shoehorned a 1,000-hp V8 into a Gladiator, but don’t expect that to be an option for military customers.

The Gladiator is the first production Jeep pickup truck since 1992, when the automaker stopped building the Cherokee-based Comanche. Just as that truck was based on an existing Jeep SUV, the Gladiator is based on the current-generation (code name JL) Wrangler. However, the Gladiator features a unique frame and rear suspension, as well as an upgraded cooling system, rear brakes, and axles to better cope with the stress of towing and hauling.

AM General and Jeep are currently gauging customer interest in the Gladiator XMT. Pending positive feedback, the military truck could go into production in 2020, AM General said. On the civilian side, Jeep is working on electrified vehicles, including a hybrid Wrangler and plug-in hybrid powertrains for its smaller models.

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