The Jeep family continues its lineage into the future with a pickup truck like none other. Capable of rock-crawling, towing, putting the top down, and quite a few other feats, the 2020 Jeep Gladiator is a compact truck you have to see in person to believe. We’ve gathered a smattering of details you’ll want to familiarize yourself with before you chat your coworkers and buddies up about the Jeep Gladiator. Because despite what you may hear, the Gladiator will fight for Jeep’s reputation in the truck segment—and we think it could win big.
Before we get into the powertrain specifics for the 2020 Gladiator, check out the colors you can order this 4×4 do-it-all in:
- Punk’n Metallic
- Billet Silver Metallic
- Firecracker Red
- Granite Crystal Metallic
- Hydro Blue Pearl-Coat
- Bright White
Each of these colors announces the singular engine available (for now, anyway) on the 2020 Jeep Gladiator. It’s a 3.6-liter V6 paired with a 6-speed manual transmission standard. In fact, it’s probably one of the last vehicles to come with a manual transmission as standard equipment. If you prefer things a bit simpler, an 8-speed automatic is available. For a price, of course.
The singular V6 makes 285 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. European customers are the only ones that get the optional 3.0-liter V6 turbodiesel engine, which makes 260 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque.
Jeep’s Gladiator also sports an impressive towing and payload capacity. With 1,700 pounds loaded down in the bed, you can still tow up to 7,650 pounds behind you when sufficiently equipped. That’s a lot of room for toys for sure.
As of the writing of this article, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) have not yet rated the 2020 Jeep Gladiator. Check back on their websites in the coming weeks for updates. Although it doesn’t yet have ratings in crash tests, the Gladiator is a massive vehicle. That alone should help protect its drivers and passengers.
Trims and Features
Jeep offers the 2020 Gladiator in four trim levels: Sport, Sport S, Overland, and Rubicon. Let’s take a closer look at what each trim level offers. One of them is bound to strike your fancy.
The Sport trim level ranks in at $33,545. Cloth seats, a five-inch touchscreen, an all-steel five-foot cargo bed, 17-inch wheels, a backup camera, cruise control, Bluetooth, and a tilt and telescoping steering wheel account for most of the standard features. Manual windows, door locks, mirrors, and seats may be hard for some drivers who are used to these items being powered. However, the old-school mechanics are because Jeep is lazy or cheap. They allow the Gladiator to ford through water up to 30 inches, according to the manufacturer.
Sport S trims include keyless entry, power windows and doors, heated mirrors, and quite a few optional components as well. You can add a seven-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a power outlet in the bed, remote start, and various driving aids such as adaptive cruise control and forward-collision warning. Prices for the Sport S trim start around $36,745.
Shell out around $40,395 for an Overland Gladiator and you’ll be able to enjoy black leather seating, steering-wheel mounted audio controls, push button start, 18-inch wheels, and automatic headlights. The Overland trim also brings a bit more class to the Gladiator’s interior.
Top of the Line
Top dog is the Rubicon trim level, priced at $43,545. Blind spot detection is optional on this trim, along with the ParkSense Rear Park-Assist System. If off-roading is what you’ll be doing most, you should pick this trim level. It has a lower crawl ratio, thanks to the exclusive transfer case built for this model only. Both front and rear differentials are lockable, and you’ll certainly feel the benefit of Fox shocks, protective skid plates, rock rails, and a brush guard.
There was an available Launch Edition of the 2020 Gladiator, which sold out nearly instantly when announced in April 2019. The 4,190 units sold represented the community in which the Gladiator is built. Toledo, Ohio’s area code is 419.
While fuel efficiency has never necessarily been a strong suit of the 4×4 royalty known as Jeep, the 2020 Gladiator does suffer a bit when it comes to city and highway ratings. The EPA reports the 3.6-liter V6 posts 16 city and 23 highway EPA-estimated miles-per-gallon for the manual transmission, while automatics gain one point in both regards. But let’s be honest, you don’t buy a rugged Jeep to save at the pumps.
How the 2020 Gladiator Stacks Up
There are quite a few other compact trucks out there to choose from. Some examples include the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon twins, Toyota’s ageless Tacoma, Nissan’s Frontier, the Honda Ridgeline, and the new Ford Ranger. Many of these models have been representing the larger truck brands for years and years, so the entrance of a Jeep truck is sure to shake things up a bit.
Consumer Reports notes that the Gladiator “rides better than two truck rivals, the Ford Ranger and the Toyota Tacoma.” Jeep took a few nuts and bolts out of the Ram 1500’s bin to achieve this superior ride quality but it’s difficult to pair superior off-road capability with smooth highway driving. This is where the Gladiator stands to make a name for itself. If it can effectively straddle the line between both a Sunday slow-drive car and an off-road weekend mud-masticating machine, big names like Ford and Dodge should take notice.
That being said, there are a few barriers that bring the Gladiator down from its pedestal. U.S. News reported somewhat “sluggish engine” power. Plus the steep price point have a few prospective buyers shying away. The new Gladiator might be based on the ever-popular Wrangler concept but it’s not necessarily the budget-friendly beat-up car you would expect from the brand. Tackling the terrain is (and always will be) an expensive hobby, which is what the Gladiator is really made for.
All that said, the 2020 Jeep Gladiator certainly announced its presence well. Travel to your nearest Jeep dealership and check one out.
- Only convertible truck on the market.
- Easy-open tailgate won’t slam down.
- Large, roomy back seat.
- No dead pedal to brace against (automatic only, of course).
- Reduced visibility.
- Tall stock height make ingress and egress difficult for some.
The Last Word
The 2020 Jeep Gladiator is a formidable opponent when it comes to the compact truck segment. Have you seen the various modifications done to this otherwise standard platform, including a Hellcat-powered Gladiator that’s listed for nearly $150,000? With all these radical designs coming back to the automotive community, it begs the question: will the Mercedes-Benz G 63 AMG 6×6 be coming back soon?