2020 Jeep Gladiator

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2020 Jeep Gladiator Test Drive Review: The Ultimate Adventure Truck

The Jeep brand hasn't offered a pickup truck in the United States since 1992 but with the popularity of the body style rising and an overall sense of pent up demand, Jeep finally decided to give the fans what they've been asking for and revived the Gladiator nameplate. The 2020 Jeep Gladiator arrives as a mid-size truck, competing against the likes of the GM-built Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, Ford Ranger, and the best-selling Toyota Tacoma among others.

Unlike the company's last pickup, the Comanche, the Gladiator is far more than just a different Jeep model with a truck bed grafted on the back. It may look just like a Wrangler but Jeep says the Gladiator actually rides on its own platform that shares much in common with the Ram 1500. The Gladiator does borrow its styling from the Wrangler though, meaning it is the only pickup truck available with a removable roof and doors. It also retains the Wrangler's signature off-road ability, making it a capable weekend warrior's truck. Jeep has even added a new 'Desert Rated' Mojave trim to the mix and tossed us the keys to a bright orange example for testing in one of Florida's massive national parks.

Read in this review:

8.9
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🚙What’s New For 2020?

The Gladiator is an all-new arrival for the 2020 model year, although it first hit the market in 2019. Visually based on the well-known Wrangler, it's Jeep's first pickup truck in nearly three decades. The Gladiator is powered by a 3.6-liter V6 producing 285 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque; a six-speed manual transmission is standard but an eight-speed automatic can be equipped. All trims are equipped with four-wheel drive, with either a Command-Trac or Rock-Trac 4x4 system offering excellent off-road capability. A ground clearance of up to 11.6 inches and wading depth of 30 inches ensures that the Gladiator is ready to get dirty. While it is based on a combination of the Wrangler and the Ram 1500, the Gladiator is 31 inches longer than the former. Technology includes the Uconnect infotainment system and, according to Jeep, over 80 available safety/security features.

Pros and Cons

  • Rugged styling
  • It's the first Jeep pickup in almost 30 years
  • Competitive towing capacity
  • Highly capable off-road
  • Novelty of removable roof/body panels
  • Good rear-seat space
  • User-friendly Uconnect infotainment system
  • Road manners could use some refining
  • Unresponsive, woolly steering feel
  • It's pricey
  • Not the quietest cabin
  • Virtually every modern safety feature costs extra

Best Deals on 2020 Jeep Gladiator

2020 Jeep Gladiator Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
Sport
3.6L V6 Gas
6-Speed Manual
Four-Wheel Drive
$33,545
Sport S
3.6L V6 Gas
6-Speed Manual
Four-Wheel Drive
$33,545
Altitude
3.6L V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Four-Wheel Drive
$33,545
North Edition
3.6L V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Four-Wheel Drive
$40,395
Overland
3.6L V6 Gas
6-Speed Manual
Four-Wheel Drive
$40,395
See All 2020 Jeep Gladiator Trims and Specs

2020 Gladiator Exterior

2020 Jeep Gladiator Forward View CarBuzz
2020 Jeep Gladiator View Out Back CarBuzz
2020 Jeep Gladiator Front-End View CarBuzz
See All 2020 Jeep Gladiator Exterior Photos

Dimensions

  • Length 218.0 in
  • Wheelbase 137.3 in
  • Height 75.0 in
  • Max Width 73.8 in

Exterior Colors

  • Punkn Metallic Clearcoat, Build Out:02/12/2020 +$195
  • Billet Silver Metallic Clearcoat +$245
  • Granite Crystal Metallic Clearcoat +$245
  • Hydro Blue Pearlcoat +$245
  • Black Clearcoat
  • Bright White Clearcoat
  • Firecracker Red Clearcoat
  • Gator Clearcoat
  • Gobi Clearcoat
  • Sting-Gray Clearcoat

2020 Gladiator Performance

2020 Jeep Gladiator Rear Angle View CarBuzz
2020 Jeep Gladiator Side View CarBuzz
2020 Jeep Gladiator Engine CarBuzz

Engine and Transmission

  • Engine
    3.6L V6 Gas
  • Transmissions
    6-Speed Manual, 8-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrain
    4X4

Handling and Driving Impressions

Much like its sibling, the Jeep Wrangler, the Gladiator doesn't possess the most refined road manners amongst midsize pickups. It was built with off-roading in mind. The steering is vague and offers 1970s levels of play, causing the truck to feel loose at highway speeds. Of course, the vague, tractor-like steering can be forgiven when you experience it off the pavement, where direct inputs are discouraged as the steering wheel could be ripped from the driver's hands or cause unintended veering. In fact, while the vague steering works to the Gladiator's detriment on the road, it is an advantage when driving fast on dirt or sand.

Keeping the Gladiator pointed in one direction at high speed is remarkably easy and with the Mojave trim, the truck floats over bumps like a Rolls-Royce. Whereas the Rubicon trim level is built for slow-speed rock crawling, the Mojave was designed for high-speed desert running, like the Ford F-150 Raptor. It features 2.5-inch FOX internal bypass shocks with front and rear external shock reservoirs to keep the suspension from overheating. Jeep also added industry-first front hydraulic jounce bumpers, which act as a form of secondary suspension to keep the Gladiator from bottoming out when jumped. All of these changes result in a pillowy ride that protects the occupants from tremendously large surface impacts. Even if you take a bump at outrageous speeds, the Mojave falls back to the Earth's surface with a ballerina's grace. It takes some getting used to but eventually, you learn to stop bracing for impact.

High-speed off-roading is the Mojave's forte but like all Gladiator models, it is still Trail Rated. The Command-Trac 4x4 system features a two-speed transfer case with a 2.72:1 low-range gear ratio. An Off-Road Plus mode alters the throttle positioning, making it easier to control the truck when crawling over thicker terrain. Managing to get the Gladiator stuck in any situation is likely the fault of the driver, not the truck.

2020 Gladiator Interior

2020 Jeep Gladiator Control Panel CarBuzz
2020 Jeep Gladiator Steering Wheel Details CarBuzz
2020 Jeep Gladiator Open Top CarBuzz
See All 2020 Jeep Gladiator Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater
  • Front Leg Room 41.2 in
  • Front Head Room 42.8 in
  • Rear Leg Room 38.3 in
  • Rear Head Room 42.8 in

2020 Gladiator Trunk and Cargo Space

2020 Jeep Gladiator Compartment CarBuzz
2020 Jeep Gladiator Rear Passenger Seats CarBuzz
2020 Jeep Gladiator Cargo Room CarBuzz

2020 Gladiator Safety and Reliability

Warranty

  • Basic:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    5 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Maintenance:
    2 Years \ Unlimited Miles

US NHTSA Crash Test Result

  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
  • Rollover Rating

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2020 Jeep Gladiator a good Truck?

A relatively high base price of $33,545 and fully-loaded price that exceeds $60,000 will ensure that the Gladiator will never outsell more mainstream trucks like the best-selling Toyota Tacoma. But Jeep has managed to carve out a niche with vehicles like the Wrangler, proving that more than a quarter of a million people per year are willing to sacrifice a bit of everyday livability for off-road credentials. Some of these Wrangler owners may pivot to the Gladiator and the truck could also attract off-road adrenaline junkies who have always wanted a Jeep but needed the space of a pickup bed.

Jeep didn't set out to break new ground in classic pickup truck criteria such as towing, bed space, and payload capacity. Instead, it wanted to inject the Wrangler's fun features into a midsize pickup truck segment that was seriously lacking a sense of humor before the Gladiator's arrival. Traditional truck buyers may not find the Gladiator's casual approach to capability suitable for their lifestyle but anyone who is looking for the most off-road-ready pickup available and either can't afford or doesn't want the massive bulk of a Raptor, the Jeep Gladiator can't be beaten.

2020 Jeep Gladiator Comparisons

Toyota Tacoma CarBuzz
Jeep Wrangler Jeep
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Jeep Gladiator285 hp16/23 mpg$37,170
Toyota Tacoma 278 hp18/22 mpg$27,150
Jeep Wrangler 285 hp17/25 mpg$29,995

2020 Jeep Gladiator vs Toyota Tacoma

Like the Jeep Gladiator, the Toyota Tacoma is a midsize truck that is a brilliant choice for off-roading. The rugged Tacoma is significantly more affordable, starting at just over $26,000, and like many other trucks, offers different cab configurations and bed sizes. But whereas the Toyota has the option of a bigger six-foot bed, the Gladiator can tow more (over 800 lbs more than the Tacoma, in fact). The Tacoma has the option of a cheaper four-cylinder, but it is rather underpowered, whereas a 3.5-liter V6 with 278 hp gets fairly close to the Gladiator's output. In the Toyota's favor are more standard safety features, and it's expected to be the more dependable truck in the long term. But the Gladiator is newer and has that novel removable roof. Both trucks have their strengths, and while the Gladiator is newer and better for towing, the Tacoma's reliability and greater cargo capacity are aspects that matter in a truck.

See Toyota Tacoma Review

2020 Jeep Gladiator vs Jeep Wrangler

The Gladiator has much in common with the Wrangler, as these two capable Jeeps both share a V6 engine, nearly identical dashboards, and a similar front-end design. They also stand out from rivals with the ability to remove the doors and roof for the most outdoorsy experience possible from inside a vehicle. Being so similar, both these Jeeps share the same weaknesses, though: the lack of standard safety kit is unforgivable, and neither promises to be exceptionally reliable, a bit of a worry when one considers how deep into the bush they can both take you. The difference between the Wrangler comes down to the Gladiator's exposed bed, with the latter offering a lot more space for cargo overall, along with superior space and storage inside the cabin. Both the Wrangler and the Gladiator have tons of personality, and a choice between them will come down to your individual needs.

See Jeep Wrangler Review

2020 Jeep Gladiator Video Reviews

Check out some informative Jeep Gladiator video reviews below.

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