In the automotive world, trends come and go, but Jeep Wrangler remains the same. Modern and archaic at the same time, this legendary model is a direct descendant of World War II hero, Jeep Willys, and the legendary CJ-5. For decades, the Wrangler was the symbol of an immensely capable and confident off-road vehicle with the signature shape recognizable well beyond the industry’s limits.
In 2007, Jeep expanded the lineup with a well-received, four-door model called Unlimited. Still, in 2018, it started a new chapter in the company’s history with the introduction of the Jeep Gladiator – a four-door pickup truck version.
The Gladiator isn’t the first Jeep-based truck in the company’s history. Still, it is a unique vehicle on today’s market since it is the only open-top off-road truck that combines all Wrangler qualities with the usability of the light-duty pickup.
Yes, there are some dedicated off-road trucks like F-150 Raptor, the upcoming Ram TRX, or Chevrolet Colorado ZR2, but Jeep Gladiator is significantly cheaper and easier to maintain than all of the competitors. Not to mention its cool looks, rugged appearance, a legendary name, and reputation. That is why we will showcase the 2020 Gladiator and tell you why you need one if you are serious about going off-road.
2020 Jeep Gladiator Drivetrain
Even though the Gladiator shares so much with the Wrangler, the 2020 model has only one engine choice – venerable 3.6-liter V6 unit delivering 285 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. Jeep announced a diesel option, but it will be available from the 2021 model year. However, the Pentastar V6 engine is more than enough for most customers with decent power and, more importantly, the torque delivered at reasonably low, 4400 rpm.
Although the Gladiator was never meant for performance, the 2020 model will zip to 60 mph in just over 8 seconds and reach 97 mph, but you really don’t want to go that fast in this truck. The fuel economy is rated at 19 MPG, which is acceptable. The figures that prospective Gladiator owners really want to know are tow capacity and payload, and we are happy to report that this Jeep will tow up to 7,650 pounds and carry up to 1,700 pounds.
The standard transmission is a six-speed manual, but you can get modern 8-speed automatic as well. For off-road purists and people looking for total control on the trail, manual will be the preferred choice, but for regular users who are looking for comfort, automatic is the one to get. Regardless of the transmission choice, all Gladiators are four-wheel-drive with a 4:1 standard gear ratio. The most exciting detail is Jeep’s Rock-Track system, which uses super low gear (84:1), and it is designed to deliver all of the torque to the wheels while rock crawling or towing the trailer uphill.
Available Gladiator Trim Levels
Jeep is offering the 2020 Gladiator in seven trim levels starting with Sport and Sport S, which gets basic colors, steel wheels, and a soft canvas top. Overland, Altitude, and North Edition are mid-range equipment levels with more features, but the most interesting are the two top trims – Rubicon and Mojave. Rubicon is a well-known trim package, and it is available on Wrangler.
It is designed for advanced users who plan to take their vehicles on challenging trails and includes aggressive tires, heavy-duty components like locking front and rear differentials, and an electronic sway bar disconnect system. While Rubicon is engineered more towards the rock crawling, Mojave is more of a desert runner. With special FOX double shocks, off-road driving mode, and 11.6-inches of ground clearance, it is evident that this model is designed for high-speed sand dune jumping.
2020 Jeep Gladiator Features
Even though the Gladiator’s construction, drivetrain, and off-road usability are impressive and well-known, what really sells vehicles these days are features, equipment, and creature comforts. Jeep knows that most of the Gladiator users will use it as a weekend and overland vehicle, so it offers an endless list of factory and dealer-installed options. The Gladiator’s standard feature is removable doors, but you can get removable roof panels as well, additional storage boxes, a removable Bluetooth speaker that mounts in your truck bed, leather interior, special tires and wheels, a big 8.4-inch display and infotainment system, Apple Car Play and Android Auto, rear cameras and so on.
In terms of safety, along with standard stability controls, Gladiator is offered with a blind spot monitoring system, park assist system designed to help you parallel park perfectly every time, and a tire pressure monitoring system. A very important addition to the list is TSC (Trailer Sway Control System), which is designed to reduce dangerous trailer sway.
Of course, since the Gladiator has “body on frame” construction, it is very rugged, and Jeep is proud of its torsion rigidity and body stiffness. Since this truck’s primary purpose is to be a dependable off-road device, high-strength steel is the only material good enough for this task.
How Much Does One Cost?
One of the critical features of the 2020 Gladiator is its affordable price. Starting at $33,545 MSRP, it is significantly cheaper than its closest competitor, the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2. At the moment, Jeep is offering various initiatives and cash-back deals, so it is not unusual seeing dealers offering base Gladiators for just over $30k. Of course, if you are looking for higher trim models and off-road specials like Rubicon or Mojave, be prepared to pay more since those models starting at $43,875 MSRP. However, you will be getting a great deal whichever Gladiator you will choose since the amount of usability and tech is enormous. Not to forget the rugged charm and cool-factor of this Jeep.