2020 Jeep Gladiator Review

Gladiator

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2020 Jeep Gladiator Overview

The midsize truck segment has seen explosive growth in the last few years. And now, for 2020, Jeep throws its hat into the ring with its long-awaited Gladiator pickup.

The Gladiator shares much of its construction with the current JL Wrangler. Everything up to and including the rear doors is interchangeable between the two models: the round headlights, protruding bumper, heritage 7-slot grille, prominent fenders, rectangular taillights, and flat, squared-off surfaces. That also means the Gladiator has the same functionality as the Wrangler. You can still fold the windshield down, unbolt the doors, and remove any of the three roof options, which include two hardtops and one soft top. The Gladiator’s interior is also nearly identical to that of the Wrangler, remarkable in its ability to be both upscale and durable.

Lest you think this is merely a lifestyle vehicle, the Gladiator doesn’t neglect its truck duties. It has a 5-foot steel bed that’s comparable in size to those of other trucks. The Gladiator’s intuitive tailgate folds down into any of three positions for easy loading and transport. Optional features like a spray-in bed liner, under-bed lighting, a covered external power source, a bed divider, a tonneau cover, and the Trail Rail Cargo Management system provide added utility. Finally, the Gladiator can tow up to 7,650 pounds and carry as much as 1,600 pounds when equipped with the Max Tow Package.

Gladiators get the same 3.6-liter V6 that’s in the Wrangler, with an identical 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. A 6-speed manual transmission is standard across all trims, but you can upgrade to an 8-speed automatic transmission. Later on, Jeep will introduce a 3.0-liter turbocharged diesel V6–which you might recognize from the Grand Cherokee–with 260 hp and 442 lb-ft of torque, along with a standard, uprated 8-speed automatic transmission.

Naturally, 4-wheel drive (4WD) comes on every Gladiator, in two different forms. The Command-Trac 4WD system includes a two-speed transfer case with a low-range gear ratio and Dana 44 front and rear axles. You can equip Command-Trac with a limited-slip differential for extra control when navigating tricky terrain. The more capable Rock-Trac 4WD system gets off-road-optimized gear ratios and heavier-duty Dana 44 axles. All forms receive Jeep’s Trail Rated designation, thanks to skid plates and front and rear towing hooks. The Gladiator will even ford 30 inches of water.

You’ll be able to get the Gladiator in Sport, Sport S, Overland, and Rubicon trims. Sport and Sport S models should come decently equipped, but features like leather, the nicer 8.4-inch infotainment system, and LED lighting are reserved for higher trims. The Rubicon trim is, just as in the Wrangler, the last word in rugged capability, with the nicer Rock-Trac 4WD system, heavy-duty bumpers, locking differentials, and unique accents.

Jeep says the Gladiator benefits from over 80 active and passive safety features. Among them are blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-path detection, a reversing camera, adaptive cruise control, and electronic stability control. Rubicon models benefit from a forward-facing off-road camera, accessible at any time from the infotainment system.

The Jeep Gladiator is the first pickup from the brand since the 1992 Jeep Comanche. Built on the bones of the current Wrangler, it combines all of that model’s versatility and off-road prowess with additional practicality. The Gladiator is a handsomely styled truck that’s sure to please fans and newcomers alike.

Updated

Kyree is new to the automotive journalism scene, but has voiced snarky public opinions about cars for quite some time. When he's not drooling over the latest European luxury sled, he's designing web experiences or writing backend code.

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