We know about letting sleeping dogs lie, but we’d struggle to give such courtesy to the Jeep Gladiator Top Dog concept. Can you blame us? After all, this modified Jeep pickup looks ready for adventure, not naps. Besides, it’d need to sit still long enough to snooze in the first place, and parking this rig anywhere but out there seems like a crime.
Credit the truck’s numerous upgrades, the most notable of which are its K-9 Blue paint (either someone at Jeep loves Blue’s Clues or is very into hallucinogens—possibly both) and PCOR-sourced storage system that takes the place of the Gladiator’s standard pickup bed. The setup includes the likes of pull-out drawers and storage shelves on the passenger’s side and a battery-powered refrigerator and hot dog roller grill on the driver’s side. (We assume Joey Chestnut and Takeru Kobayashi consulted on this concept because we can’t think of any other individuals who might equate hot dogs with adventure.) Racks atop the truck’s storage system and cab afford the Top Dog concept extra space for carrying gear, such as a pair of Trek mountain bikes. A foldable ladder hides within the storage unit’s drawers and eases access to the concept’s roof.
Although the tail of the Top Dog is arguably the concept’s most interesting addition, it’s far from the only piece of kit that separates this Gladiator truck from its more run-of-the-mill counterpart. Additional capability comes courtesy of a two-inch suspension lift, Fox-brand shocks, 17-inch beadlock-capable wheels, and massive 37-inch BF Goodrich KM3 mud tires that reside under bespoke fender flares. A chunky front bumper with a steel grille guard inspired by the unit used on the Jeep J6 concept houses a Warn winch capable of pulling up to 8,000 pounds. For additional peace of mind, the Top Dog concept features a second winch at its rear.
Other noteworthy items include a special hood, a snorkel intake, a set of rock rails, a pair of A-pillar-mounted LED lamps, and unique door sill guards. The interior, meanwhile, sports K-9 Blue instrument panel trim, black leather with contrasting blue stitching, stainless steel pedal covers, and all-weather floor mats.
Despite its surely greater heft, the Top Dog’s 3.6-liter V-6, which mates to an eight-speed automatic, makes the same 285 hp as it does in other Gladiator models. Surely the powertrain provides enough grunt for crawling through trails and mud, but its lack of additional power makes it seem a bit disingenuous on Jeep’s part to christen this Gladiator the “Top Dog.” What, no V-8?