2020 Jeep Gladiator is a new kind of pickup truck
The 2020 Jeep Gladiator is a new kind of pickup because it combines the flexibility of a Jeep Wrangler with the utility of a truck bed. All Gladiators come with a full four-door crew cab and a five-foot, three-inch bed. Further, every Gladiator is a convertible. You can buy pieces to make it into a hardtop or a soft-top. You can even take the doors off and fold the windshield down onto the hood if you want. That's enough to make the Gladiator unique, but there's more.
All Gladiators come with Jeep's proven four-wheel-drive system as standard equipment. Buyers can choose the standard CommandTrac dual-range 4X4 or an advanced system with electronic locking differentials in the Rubicon trim. Engine power comes from Chrysler's 3.6-liter Pentastar V6. The engine is rated at 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque, and it's paired with an 8-speed TorqueFlite automatic or 6-speed manual transmission. A 3.0-liter turbo diesel is expected next year.
One of the other special things about the Gladiator is the rear suspension. Most truck suspensions are simple leaf springs, but the Gladiator has a five-link design with coil springs. That gives the Gladiator its best-in-class payload rating of 1,600 pounds, and up to 7,650 pounds of towing capacity.
The rear suspension also gives the Gladiator surprisingly good road manners. When you take this Jeep onto Portland roads, you'll notice that it's smooth and quiet inside, with plenty of power. On-road handling is predictable and responsive. The Gladiator is also comfortable, with well-made seats and convenient controls. You can get an up-to-date touchscreen infotainment system, too. You can drive a Gladiator every day and be happy.
Of course it's still a Jeep, so we went off-roading. The standard 4X4 system with all-season tires got us through some muddy and rocky trails with no drama. Then we transferred to the off-road Rubicon trim for some serious work. Jeep provides low-speed crawl control and hill descent control. The Rubicon crawled over anything we could find.
One more note: all Gladiators can ford through 30 inches of water. It's not that you're likely to have to cross a river that way, but at this time of year there are plenty of places around Portland that fill up when it rains.
When you match up features, a crew-cab 4WD Gladiator with a V6 costs about the same as a crew-cab 4WD truck with a V6 from any other automaker. The Gladiator starts at $35,040, including all fees. The mid-level Overland trim starts at $41,890, and the top Rubicon trim is $45,040.
If you're ready for a different kind of pickup truck, the 2020 Jeep Gladiator is for you.
2020 Jeep Gladiator
Base price: $35,040
Price as tested: $41,890
Type: Mid-size pickup truck
Engine: 3.6-liter V6 (285 hp, 260 lbs-ft)
Transmissions: 8-speed automatic; 6-speed manual
EPA estimated mileage: 17/22
Overall length: 218 inches
Curb weight: 5,072 pounds
Final assembly: Toledo, Ohio