Hemi V-8 Fits in Jeep Gladiator Pickup Truck 'Like a Glove,' and That's a Problem, Exec Says

A Jeep Gladiator boasting Hemi V-8 power would surely fly off dealer lots, so what’s the holdup?

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Jeep went all-in on the Gladiator pickup truck platform when developing its concepts for the 2019 Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah. Among the overlanding adventure-mobiles and trick throwbacks unveiled as part of the event, two ideas stood out to the off-road faithful: a two-door Gladiator and a Hemi V-8-powered pickup from the historic automaker. 

While Jeep North America boss Tim Kuniskis has already downplayed the possibility of a single-cab production model, the executive did have some interesting news regarding those who hope for the latter—a V-8 does, in fact, fit under the hood of Jeep's most anticipated model in years.

In an interview with Drive, an Australian outlet, Kuniskis reportedly revealed that a bigger, more powerful engine could fit in place of the Gladiator's current 3.6-liter V-6.

"Everybody always asks me that question: it fits. You know that. It fits like a glove," he explained. "But the problem is that it fits like a glove and there is no air space around the engine and the whole external space of the vehicle so you have no crush space; you have nothing that can be used to absorb energy in a crash."

Safety, of course, must stand as a priority over curb appeal, something which Jeep learned when the 2018 Wrangler achieved just a one-star rating in Europe's NCAP crash test last year.

Kuniskis went on to add that, along with achieving fuel economy and emissions standards, it would be a mighty task to rework the Gladiator for a V-8 while delivering something Jeep would be comfortable selling to the public.

"It is not a problem to put it in—other than emissions and fuel economy—except it would never pass any crash tests, and that’s a problem," Kuniskis concluded.