2020 Jeep Gladiator Review: A Wrangler Truck That Really Carries (2023)


The Jeep Gladiator truck has been around for a long time. thisfight- Nasty rumors and teaser ads based on pickups, and finally -- finally! - debuted last year at the Los Angeles Auto Show. I've been lucky enough to do some serious on- and off-road testing in Northern California, and I can tell you that this $33,545 (and up) truck is definitely worth the wait.

2020 Jeep Gladiator Review: A Wrangler Truck That Really Carries (1)


Jeep Gladiator 2020

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The 2020 Jeep Gladiator is the best off-road truck you can buy right now, with a best-in-class towing capacity of 7,650 pounds.


Utility's longer wheelbase reduces breaking angles.

the bottom line

The 2020 Jeep Gladiator has dirt-pumping capabilities, but it can still tow and tow with the best of them.

Not just a Wrangler with a bed

The 2020 Gladiator uses a completely different frame than the Wrangler, and while the front suspension hardware remains the same, a more complex five-link setup has been installed in the rear for better ride and handling. You can only get a Gladiator with four doors — unlike the Wrangler, which can only have two — and only a 5-foot bed.

look at this:2020 Jeep Gladiator: Taking truck love to the next level

jeepThe Gladiator will initially be offered in base Sport, Sport S, Overland, and Rubicon trims, which come standard with all-wheel drive. there is even onerelease releasemodel, limited to 4,190 units (419 is the area code for Toledo, Ohio, where the Gladiator was manufactured). Takes inspiration from the latest Tesla launches such asModel 3, these limited, fully loaded early versions are becoming more and more common. But if you want one of these, you better act fast and open your wallet. The Launch Edition retails for $60,815 plus $1,495 shipping.

All Gladiators will initially be equipped with Jeep's proven Pentastar 3.6-liter V6 rated at 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. A 3.0-liter diesel will follow later, but Jeep won't offer the Wrangler's 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 in the Gladiator. No problem - the V6 runs so well you can get it with a six-speed manual (wow!).

off road like a jeep

The Gladiator is off-road like a Wrangler, with a few minor compromises. The 33-inch Falken Wildpeak tires on the Rubicon models got a real workout on the clay-filled off-road track the Jeep designed. But the Gladiator climbs rocks with ease, can navigate deep potholes and generally exudes a "we can go absolutely anywhere" vibe – just like a Jeep should.

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2020 Jeep Gladiator Review: A Wrangler Truck That Really Carries (4)

The Gladiator Rubicon maintains the same 43-degree approach angle as the Wrangler, so I could easily attack steep hills without worrying about scratching the front end. But the truck's long 138-inch wheelbase lowered my break angle a bit—down from 22.6 degrees in the four-door Wrangler Unlimited to 20 degrees. If you're doing serious off-roading, it's easier to focus on the Gladiator, although the Rubicon's rails help keep damage to a minimum. Out back, the Gladiator bed needs some rear clearance with a 26-degree camber angle compared to the Wrangler Unlimited's 37 degrees, but the Jeep protects the bed with its own shorter rocker rails.

Jeep Gladiator 2020

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Make no mistake, the Gladiator still has to outperform every other midsize pickup truck available today.

The Gladiator Rubicon has all the other Wrangler-spec off-road gear, including a two-speed transfer case, locking front and rear differentials, a removable front sway bar and a super-low 77.2:1 crawl ratio for slow cruising. Speed ​​maneuvers. Heck, the crawl ratio drops even more to 84:1 with the manual transmission. You can pull yourself together and overcome almost anything without blinking.

A new Off-Road+ mode adjusts throttle, transmission and stability control for different situations. When the truck is in 4WD height, the performance parameters change at higher speeds, such as when driving through sandy terrain. In low-speed 4WD, it works in the opposite direction, dialing everything back to better traverse rougher, more technical stuff at lower speeds.

If you regularly tackle tough off-road situations, the Rubicon is obviously the gladiator you want, but other versions of the Jeep truck handle the rough stuff just fine. After thoroughly testing the Rubicon on a jeep track, I took the Gladiator overland to an isolated cabin on a snowy mountain and bombed it with no problems. Even without the aggressive 32-inch tires and non-locking differential, the Gladiator Overland got me through two miles of 1-foot-deep snow.

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2020 Jeep Gladiator Review: A Wrangler Truck That Really Carries (6)

Civilized driving etiquette

Heading back to civilization, the Gladiator's 3.6-liter V6 is as good here as it is in the Wrangler, perfectly paired with the Jeep's eight-speed automatic transmission. The V6 gets the truck up to speed quickly, and there's enough power in the midrange to get you through slow half-miles without too much power. Typically, the eight-speed gearbox fades into the background and shifts smoothly and carefully.

Jeeps once took the slow lane on the pavement and sped along at 55 mph, drivers yelling at each other over the sound of the road and the wind. Not my friend anymore. The Gladiator is happy to cruise at 70 or 75 mph without bouncing around on the road. The Rubicon's Falken tires are a bit noisy, yes, but on the less aggressive Overland I can talk to passengers at normal volumes.

The Gladiator certainly won't win any handling contests thanks to its relatively soft suspension, but it's good in its own right. As with the Wrangler, the steering offers plenty of weight but lacks feedback, and the ride quality is comfortable enough for cruising but still fits the bill for a truck.

The 2020 Jeep Gladiator has a commercial van in the front, a truck in the back

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Gladiator is also a technical truck, loaded with driver aids such as blind spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control. No, the 3.6-liter V6 doesn't have the 2.0-liter turbo's 48-volt mild-hybrid system, but it does have a stop-start function that helps improve fuel economy.

With the automatic transmission, Jeep estimates the Gladiator should see fuel economy ratings of 17 mpg city, 22 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined. For the six-speed manual, those numbers become 16, 23, and 19, respectively. In the week I drove the automatic-equipped Gladiator Overland, I saw 20 mpg. Not bad.

truck thing

At its best, the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon can tow 3,500 pounds, which is more than enough for a small RV or a side-by-side RV or two. But thanks to a redesigned frame, the Gladiator increases its towing capacity to 7,650 pounds, better than any other midsize truck sold today.

Jeep took a 22-foot boat to the media drive to test the trailer, which weighs 5,700 pounds, including its trailer. Gladiator's Tow/Haul mode is activated at the push of a button, and when you're driving up to a 6 percent grade, the transmission keeps the engine revs high to deliver plenty of power to the road. That said, the Gladiator's mirrors aren't very wide, so visibility isn't the best, and the truck's blind spot monitoring doesn't span the length of the trailer like other trucks. For bed hauling, Jeep says the Gladiator can handle up to 1,700 pounds of payload.

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2020 Jeep Gladiator Review: A Wrangler Truck That Really Carries (11)

Note, however, that these maximum towing/load values ​​only apply to the Gladiator Sport S equipped with the eight-speed automatic transmission. Stepping up to the Rubicon, for example, drops the tow weight to 7,000 pounds and the payload drops to 1,160. Throw a manual transmission in your Rubicon and tow weight drops to 4,500 pounds, but payload increases slightly to 1,200.

Fun and topless if that's your thing

Inside, the Gladiator is basically the same as the Wrangler. It even comes with a Wrangler-like soft top option for open-air driving. Yes, you can also fold down the windscreen. On the plus side, all the hardware is IKEA-style bolt-on and fits neatly under your seat, so you won't lose any essentials when you shut down your Jeep.

(The same hardware storage tray comes in handy if you decide you just want to remove the Gladiator doors, a configuration that gives you a lot of convertible feel without being as vulnerable to rain or harsh sunlight. It's fun—so very much indeed that Roadshow managing editor Chris Paukert recently spent an entire week working out of doors in Gladiator Overland,Submission of this report.)

Jeep's excellent Uconnect technology handles infotainment duties with a 5-inch screen standard on the Sport, a 7-inch screen on the Sport S, an 8.4-inch touchscreen optional on the Overland and standard on the Rubicon, which offersApple CarPlay, Android Auto and standard Wi-Fi hotspots. Uconnect is one of our favorite infotainment setups on the road, thanks to its well-organized menus and robust feature set. In Gladiator in particular, I like that the navigation can show the exact longitude, latitude and elevation of my current location, which is very useful when reading maps. The instrument cluster can display pitch and roll data as well as steering angle and power delivery information so I know how to push the Jeep.

2020 Jeep Gladiator Review: A Wrangler Truck That Really Carries (12)

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2020 Jeep Gladiator Review: A Wrangler Truck That Really Carries (13)

The Gladiator Rubicon advertises a forward-facing camera for traversing obstacles like rocks - it's great to know exactly where the tires are.

The base Sport has two USB Type-A outlets and a 12-volt port, but higher trims add a smaller USB Type-C connection up front and an additional 115-volt output along with Type-A and C ports. An optional 400-watt, 115-volt outlet is also available on the truck bed. There's even an optional Bluetooth speaker mounted behind the rear seats to drown out your distractions.

worth the wait

The 2020 Jeep Gladiator is only $2,100 more than the base Wrangler, which seems like a solid deal considering all the extra utility you get. The base Gladiator Sport starts at $33,545 and the top-tier Rubicon starts at $43,545, including $1,495 for destination.

That's a little more than you'd pay for a similarly equipped versionChevrolet Colorado,ford rangerthis hereToyota Tacoma, but keep in mind that the Gladiator offers the best off-road capability, not to mention the best towing, of any midsize truck. Off-road enthusiasts can definitely give it a tryChevrolet Colorado ZR2orToyota Tacoma TRD Proand the Ford Ranger offer great potential with powerful turbocharged powertrains, but none of these trucks can match the Gladiator's feel-good factor.

The Wrangler is an absolutely iconic SUV, and all of its great features apply to the Gladiator pickup. This is definitely the truck I've been waiting for - and more.

The 2020 Jeep Gladiator offers comfort and capability throughout

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Editor's note:Travel costs associated with this feature are borne by the manufacturer. This is common in the automotive industry because it is much cheaper to send a reporter in a car than to send a reporter a car. While Roadshow accepts multi-day car loans from manufacturers to provide graded editorial reviews, all graded vehicle reviews are conducted on our premises and on our terms.

The judgment and opinions of Roadshow's editorial staff are our own and we do not accept paid editorial content.

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