The 2020 Jeep Gladiator is here and it’s ready for the trail
Jeep finally showed the Gladiator pickup at the Los Angeles Auto Show and it’s exactly what we’d hoped for: practical, customizable, and still off-road capable. The Jeep corners of the internet blew up two weeks ago when images of the new pickup leaked early, but we now have full details on everything you need to know about the Gladiator JT.
The basics: it’s a beefed-up chassis with a 137.3-inch wheelbase with all the good Wrangler Rubicon bits available, plus it has a five-foot bed. That length means that breakover angle and departure angle both suffer compared to the Wrangler Unlimited, but them’s the breaks when you want an off-roader with a big bed. In return you can haul as much luggage and gear as you can fit in the 35 cubic feet of bed space. The bed also comes with under-rail lighting and is available with a spray-in liner and 115-volt outlet.
Four trim levels are available: Sport, Sport S, Overland, and Rubicon. Sport will remain Jeep’s entry-level trim, with Overland bringing more luxurious interior materials and exterior details. The now-legendary Rubicon trim adds front and rear differential lockers and a 4:1 low range transfer case for phenomenal crawl ratios. A limited-slip rear differential is available on Sport and also Overland, and they all get Dana 44 axles front and rear.
Inside, it’s very much Wrangler. But in the Gladiator are unique rear seats that lift up for under-seat storage or fold down to reveal rear cab storage. Rear seat legroom is the same as the JL Wrangler Unlimited, at just over 41 inches, meaning it’s roomier than the Chevy Colorado and Toyota Tacoma crew cabs by five inches and eight inches, respectively.
Jeep is skipping the Wrangler’s four-cylinder turbo engine, choosing two V-6s to haul the Gladiator’s 4700–5000 pound curb weight. The 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 is standard and available at launch, while the uprated 3.0-liter EcoDiesel and its 260 horsepower and 442 lb.-ft. of torque will be available starting in 2020. The base Pentastar has to deal with a bit of extra weight compared to the Wrangler, but the Gladiator nonetheless packs an impressive maximum towing rating of 7650 pounds with the gas engine (slightly less on the Rubicon trim) and 4000 pounds with the manual transmission.
Yep, gear grinders rejoice, there’s a standard six-speed manual transmission for the gas V-6 and an available eight-speed auto. The 3.0-liter diesel engine will only come with the automatic. It seems that Jeep has kept the customization options high, just like the Wrangler, as the Gladiator is available in both hard and soft-top varieties. Also like the Wrangler, the doors are made out of aluminum and are easily removable.
Diesel towing numbers have not yet been released, and neither have EPA fuel economy estimates. But we doubt buyers have major gripes no matter what the results are. There’s decades worth of pent-up demand for a Jeep pickup that can keep pace on the trail—including the 1963–87 Gladiator, 1981–85 CJ-8 Scrambler, and 1986–1992 Comanche—and we bet that the assembly line in Toledo will be running day and night to pump out enough pickups to keep pace.