What is it?
Off-road accessorization experts American Expedition Vehicles are now offering the AEV Gladiator JT370, a package build for the Jeep Gladiator Rubicon pickup. AEV keeps the stock powertrain intact, but adds a 2.5-inch lift and upgrades the suspension, body armor and other components to create an even-more-hardcore off-roader.
The “370,” for the record, stands for 37-inch mud-terrain tires. AEV also has a JT350 package with 35-inch ones.
Is it new?
Yes. AEV introduced the JT370 package for the 2020 model year.
Why is it special?
AEV means business in the off-roading game. (It's no accident they're the company Chevy partnered with on the Colorado ZR2 Bison.) Their goal with the Gladiator was to enhance it and create the uncompromised off-roader Jeep could have built, but wouldn't have been able to sell to a wide audience.
For the buyer, the JT370 package offers a fully-loaded, plug-and-play off-road beast, saving the trouble of building it out yourself á la carte.
How does it drive?
The Gladiator is the right size for this sort of treatment; augmenting an already-mammoth full-size truck can make it feel cartoonish and scary to drive in traffic. The most significant differences from the stock Gladiator are the height, the fact that it's rolling on 37-inch tires, and the beefed-up and notably stiffer suspension. Despite those factors, the JT370 Gladiator felt surprisingly civil on-road.
The tire noise wasn’t too loud, at least by Jeep standards. Riding around for a couple of hours did not destroy my lower back, as can happen in cruder off-roaders. And it didn’t feel particularly tippy or rolly, as long as I didn’t ask too much of it.
It’s hard to test off-roading capability in a short time frame in Southeastern Michigan. So what I can say is that the JT370 Gladiator felt supremely over-qualified while moving briskly over dirt roads, like enlisting Max Verstappen to drive you to the airport. AEV also says the JT370 makes for a more stable towing rig than the stock Gladiator, which I could not verify.
You do lose some acceleration with the 37-inch mud-terrain tires; the 3.6-liter V6 is still adequate, but the truck takes a while to get moving. When (or if, but probably when) the Gladiator receives the Wrangler 392’s Hemi V8, it'll likelt be a popular option for the off-roading builds, adding about 200 lb-ft of torque.
Another conundrum is the full-size 37-inch spare. AEV gives you two storage options: horizontal or vertical. If it’s flat, you lose the truck bed; if it’s upright, you gain functionality but lose visibility through entire rear window, leaving you with side mirrors only.
What’s it like inside?
If you like the standard Gladiator Rubicon interior, well, lucky you, because that’s what you get here. Most of AEV’s effort goes to the exterior, with features like the hot-stamped boron steel front bumper and skid plate and the optional snorkel.
There are some tweaks: the headrests have AEV logos; there’s a build plaque; and my tester had a premium leather interior option. But that’s about it inside.
What does it cost?
The JT370 package from AEV costs $12,000; add that to $55,000 for a Gladiator Rubicon. My tester had about $7,000 worth of add-ons, for a total price of about $74,000.