The four-cylinder unit simply wouldn't be able to handle the Gladiator's towing capacity.
After years of rumors and leaked prototype photos, last week Jeep finally lifted the wraps off the 2020 Gladiator, the automaker's first pickup truck in 26 years. At the show, Jeep confirmed the Wrangler will be offered with a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 at launch. Curiously, however, there was no mention of the Wrangler's optional turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine available as a $1,000 upgrade. In the Wrangler, this engine produces 285 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque and features an eTorque system.
Utilizing a 48-volt mild hybrid system, this system offers smoother shifts, a better start-stop system, and improved fuel economy. While the standard 3.6-liter V6 is rated at 18 mpg city, 23 mpg highway and 20 mpg combined, the four-cylinder's numbers increase to 23 mpg city, 25 mpg highway and 24 mpg combined.
Why is this option not available for the Jeep Gladiator? The Drive reached out to Jeep to find out, and this was their brief response: "The 3.6-liter engine can handle the temperatures seen while towing." It may not be a very detailed explanation, but it suggests the four-cylinder wouldn't be able to handle the towing capacity Jeep wanted for Gladiator. This is an important selling point for the Gladiator, as truck owners tend to use their vehicles for towing.
The Jeep Gladiator has a best-in-class towing capacity at 7,650 pounds, and even the off-road-focused Rubicon can still tow around 7,000 pounds. While it may not be getting the Wrangler's turbocharged four-cylinder engine, a 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 will be available in 2020. Paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission, it will produce 260 hp and 442 lb-ft of torque.