2020 Jeep Gladiator Preview

Christian Wardlaw | Nov 28, 2018
FAST FACTS
  • New midsize, crew cab pickup truck based on the Wrangler
  • Sport, Sport S, Overland, and Rubicon trim levels
  • Seating for five people with removable soft- and hard-top choices
  • Doors can be removed, windshield can be folded down
  • Five-foot cargo bed provides 1,600 pounds of payload capacity
  • Gladiator tows up to 7,650 pounds
  • Standard 3.6-liter V6 with manual or automatic transmission
  • Available 3.0-liter turbo-diesel V6 with automatic transmission
  • Standard Command-Trac 4-wheel-drive
  • Available Rock-Trac 4WD (Rubicon)
  • Built in Toledo, Ohio
  • On sale in spring of 2019

Introduction

Jeep is calling the new 2020 Gladiator, a Wrangler-based pickup, “the most capable midsize truck ever.”

Compared to a Wrangler Unlimited, the Gladiator’s frame is stretched 31 inches and the wheelbase is 19.4 inches longer in order to accommodate a 5-foot cargo bed and a 5-passenger cab. Sport, Sport S, Overland, and Rubicon trim levels are available, each equipped with standard 4-wheel drive.

Exterior Features

The new Jeep Gladiator retains all of its Wrangler goodness, from a folding windshield and removable doors to a soft convertible or removable hard top. Look closely, and you’ll see that the classic grille slots are wider for improved cooling to support the Gladiator’s 7,650-pound towing capacity.

2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon
2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon

The 5-foot steel cargo bed features under-rail lighting, square taillights (available LED), a power locking and damped tailgate that stops in three different positions, and integrated tie-down hooks. Jeep says it holds up to 1,600 pounds of payload, which the company says is a best-in-class figure among trucks with 4WD.

Upgrades include a spray-in bed liner, a covered 400-watt and 115-volt 3-prong power outlet, a Trail Rail Cargo Management system, bed dividers, and a tonneau cover.

Interior Features

The Gladiator’s cabin also mirrors the Wrangler, displaying an appealing blend of function and form. Highlights include metal-plated and platinum chrome accents, exposed bolts, vinyl door panel covers, and weatherproof details. Overland trim adds soft touch, upscale, hand-wrapped dashboard material.

Seats are wrapped in cloth or leather, and heated front seats and a heated steering wheel are available. The Gladiator’s cab configuration required a new rear seat design, helping to create what Jeep says is segment leading rear legroom.

Jeep designed the rear seats to be locked into place for secure storage behind the seat backs. They fold flat to create in-cab storage and a flat load floor for larger items, and the cushions also flip up to reveal a standard open storage bin underneath. A bolt bin is stored in this location when the doors are removed and the windshield is folded down, and a covered locking bin is an option for this location.

Under the Hood

A 3.6-liter V6 engine with engine stop/start is standard in the 2020 Gladiator. It is paired to a 6-speed manual or 8-speed automatic transmission, and generates 285 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. torque. Jeep has calibrated this powertrain to provide lots of torque low in the rev range, which is essential for off-roading.

Starting in calendar year 2020, a 3.0-liter turbo-diesel V6 with engine stop/start and an 8-speed automatic becomes available. It makes 260 hp and 442 lb.-ft. of torque.

Every Gladiator is “Trail Rated,” which means it can traverse California’s difficult Rubicon Trail. Sport, Sport S, and Overland trim include a Command-Trac 4-wheel-drive system with a 2-speed transfer case and a 2.72:1 low-range gear ratio. Heavy-duty Dana 44 front and rear axles are also a part of this package, with a 3.73 rear axle ratio. Four skid plates and front and rear tow hooks are standard, while a Trac-Lok limited-slip rear differential is an option.

Gladiator Rubicon is equipped with a Rock-Trac 4WD system with a 4-Lo ratio of 4:1. Dana 44 axles, Tru-Lock electronic front and rear axle lockers, 33-inch off-road tires, and an electronic sway bar disconnect system maximize the Rubicon’s capabilities. With a manual transmission, the Rubicon has an 84.2:1 crawl ratio, while the automatic provides a 77.2:1 crawl ratio. Rubicons have cab and cargo bed rock rails and a standard steel rear bumper. A steel winch-ready front bumper with removable end caps is available.

The Gladiator’s longer wheelbase and frame allow Jeep to position the center of cargo bed aft of the rear axle in order to optimize weight distribution and improve the ride quality. A full-size spare is mounted under the bed, and the Gladiator can accommodate up to a 35-inch spare tire.

In addition to its towing and hauling capabilities, the Gladiator boasts 11.1 inches of ground clearance, an approach angle of 43.6 degrees, a breakover angle of 20.3 degrees, and a departure angle of 26 degrees. Water fording depth is 30 inches.

Safety

Adaptive cruise control is available for the new Gladiator, but not forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking. There is, however, a reversing camera and an available forward-facing off-road camera that helps to improve visibility in tricky situations. Buyers can also upgrade to a blind spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert.

Technology

In Sport trim, the Gladiator has a Uconnect Bluetooth radio with a 5-inch display. Infotainment systems with either a 7-inch or an 8.4-inch touchscreen display are available, equipping the truck with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, SiriusXM satellite radio, and more.

Jeep equips the Gladiator with a total of five USB ports, and navigation is available, as is a portable wireless speaker located in a docking station behind the rear seat. An Off-Road Pages section of the infotainment system communicates key data to the driver while tackling tough terrain.

 

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