Jeep Gladiator ›› 2020 Jeep Gladiator

2020 Jeep Gladiator

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Overview (Final Score: B)

Few vehicles have had the anticipation level and immediate interest level as has the Jeep Gladiator. New for 2020, the Gladiator builds on the legendary pickup trucks from Jeep's past. It even takes its name from one of them. Like those previous trucks, the Gladiator, despite appearances, is not just a Jeep Wrangler with a 5-foot bed on it.

The 2020 Gladiator uses a lot of what Jeep's parent company, Fiat-Chrysler, has learned from its Ram Trucks brand. The underpinnings of the Gladiator are more akin to the Ram 1500 pickup than they are to the Wrangler that the Gladiator's bodywork faithfully imitates. This is a good thing, as it makes the Gladiator a working pickup truck instead of a truck-in-shape-only as could have been the case.

In keeping with the Jeep focus, however, the 2020 Jeep Gladiator does keep the off-road prowess, strong "get out there" nature, and rugged appeal of the other Jeep offerings. The Gladiator is a specialty truck that focuses on off-road capability above all else. Trim packages for the Gladiator bear this out with names like Rubicon and Mojave.

The Jeep Gladiator is a midsize pickup truck that comes as a four-door with a five-foot cargo bed. It can be had in a hard top or automated convertible with rear-wheel bias and four-wheel drive. For the 2020 model year, a V6 gasoline engine and a V6 diesel engine are offered.

What We Love About the 2020 Jeep Gladiator:

  • Very ruggedly and most definitely Jeep.

  • Huge back seat and lots of comfort and ergonomics to its interior.

  • Every model is convertible and strip-down-ready.

What We Don't Love About the 2020 Jeep Gladiator:

  • Not the best on-road experience in the segment.

  • Diesel engine not available until late 2020.

  • Fuel economy is below par for even this low-return segment.

Exterior View (10/10)

The 2020 Gladiator has a love-hate look that some are going to hate, but most will probably love. It's definitely a Jeep, with most of its design elements coming from the iconic Wrangler SUV. Specifically the Wrangler Unlimited four-door model: trapezoidal fenders, a slotted grille, exterior door hinges, square side mirrors, and hood tie-downs are some of those elements. Strong steel bumpers, X-shaped tail lamps, round headlamps, and lots of clearance between tire and wheel well are more.

A few differences mark the Jeep Gladiator as not quite a Wrangler, however. Besides the truck bed at the rear, the Gladiator also has a hard 90-degree-sharp angle to its rear roof, wider grille slots to accommodate more cooling when under load, and heavier brakes and wheels for that same reason.

Like the Wrangler, though, the Gladiator comes standard with removable body elements to include the roof and doors as well as a drop-down windscreen. One hard-top roof option has removable panels for quick open-air and the rest of the roof can be removed with included Jeep tools and a little more effort. The soft top version, like the new-generation Wrangler, is retractable or fully removable.

A couple of points are worth mentioning, however. When removing either hard top, we noted that the roof does not fit in the Gladiator's five-foot bed with the tailgate closed. It misses by only a couple of inches and is somewhat of an oversight, in our opinion. Also, while most Jeep accessories for roof covers or vehicle covers can be adapted to fit the Gladiator, that isn't a guarantee as many elements of the Gladiator are actually larger than those found on the Wrangler.

In all, though, the 2020 Gladiator has a great look that most will like right off the bat. It only grows on you from there.

Interior Comfort, Quality, Ergonomics (9/10)

The interior comfort of the 2020 Jeep Gladiator is very good both as compared to previous generations of the Wrangler it's derived from and when compared to other midsize trucks on the market. Seating in the Gladiator is mostly taken from the current Jeep lineup, but with a few elements (such as the center armrest and rear bench setup) coming from the Ram Truck line.

With or without the roof on it, the Jeep Gladiator feels fun to drive and remains comfortable to sit in and be in. Unlike Jeep models of the past, the current generation has garnered a lot of interior sophistication from the Dodge and Chrysler lines and it's to the brand's benefit. The Gladiator has easy to reach controls, a comfortable layout, and is built from good quality materials.

The ride quality in the Gladiator is lower than any other competing model, however, thanks to the extreme off-road equipment often included and the general design of the Gladiator itself. Road noise is loud, wind noise is high, and suspension stiffness is loose. That's compared to other midsize pickup trucks. Yet they aren't as terrible as one might expect given the Gladiator's overall design. Wind noise, especially in the hard top, is not as pronounced as it could be and the body roll is kind of an expectation from any Jeep at this point. Sometimes, the rough nature of the Gladiator actually enhances the fun of the truck.

As such, it's difficult to mark down the 2020 Gladiator's score for those points alone, given how very well done it is overall and the appeal the truck has to the buyer who's likely to want one.

Technology (10/10)

The 2020 Jeep Gladiator has several technology standards and options. A 5-inch touchscreen using FCA's latest Uconnect infotainment system is standard in the Gladiator, as is an eight-speaker audio system and two USB ports. A 7-inch or 8.4-inch touchscreen upgrade is available along with several audio and other upgrade options. A removable Bluetooth speaker system is a cool option for those who like to tailgate or take their party camping. The speaker is stand-alone, its battery recharging from the mounting port it sits in behind the Gladiator's rear seat.

Infotainment in the 2020 Gladiator is very well done and informative. It's very closely derived from that which is found in the new-generation Wrangler, adding a couple of truck-centric options for trailering and lighting. Uconnect is an easy-to-use, robust infotainment system that ranks highly on all of our reviews.

Fuel Economy (7/10)

The 2020 Gladiator comes standard with a V6 gasoline engine, the same Pentastar engine found in the Wrangler and other Jeep models. The EPA rates this engine at 17 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway with the automatic transmission. The manual transmission drops economy by about 2 points in the city and one on the highway.

In our Gladiator test model equipped with the V6 Pentastar, we eked out 19 mpg on the highway as an average and only 12 mpg in the city. Our high altitude (over 6,200 feet), the added (and heavy) equipment found in the Rubicon model we drove, and the more aggressive off-road tires on the Rubicon are all reasons our numbers were so much lower than EPA estimates.

The diesel engine coming to the Gladiator has yet to be EPA tested for the model.

Predicted Reliability, Initial Quality Ratings (7/10)

Although the Gladiator is brand new this year, J.D. Power and Associates have given it an "About Average" rating in the latest Vehicle Dependability Study. The 2020 Gladiator comes with a basic three-year warranty and a five-year powertrain warranty.

Safety (6/10)

There isn't much safety data to go on for the 2020 Gladiator. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has given the Gladiator a four star (out of five) rating for frontal crash tests and four stars for rollover tests. The NHTSA has not otherwise published any crash test information for the Gladiator.

Famously, however, the Gladiator was part of a crash test video series that were published showing how it and the Wrangler both tended to flip onto their sides during frontal offset crash tests. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has not published any other crash testing information for the Jeep Gladiator as of this writing.

Performance (10/10)

By every measure, the 2020 Jeep Gladiator is a good performer. The 3.6-liter V6, which is an engine well-used in the Jeep lineup, outputs 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission or an eight-speed automatic are available, as is four-wheel drive. The automatic is actually the better choice for the Gladiator, delivering smooth shifts and strong acceleration. It also comes with a better tow rating and higher fuel economy returns.

Also available late in 2020 is a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 diesel engine that will output 260 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque. This will have an eight-speed automatic as standard.

When towing, the 2020 Gladiator is rated at up to 7,650 pounds and it can haul up to 1,600 pounds, depending on configuration. That's best-in-class for compact/midsize pickups. The Gladiator includes trailer sway control and factory-installed tow kits include plugs for both common wiring harnesses.

Off the road, the Gladiator is a beast. Especially in its Rubicon trim, which includes most of the off-pavement goodies that the same trim level in the Wrangler has. Including a disconnecting front swaybar, beefier axles, skid plates, and more. The Gladiator can ford up to 30 inches of water without a snorkel.

Pricing and Value (8/10)

The 2020 Jeep Gladiator is an excellent truck all around. It's capable, fun, and desirable. Those factors, plus its newness, however, work against it when figuring a value quotient. Resale on this Jeep should remain high, as it's both a truck and a Wrangler-style Jeep. On the flip side, sales on the Gladiator are brisk and customers have shown a willingness to line up and wait to get one. That affects pricing and means that finding a discounted deal of any kind is not very likely for the buyer.

Most buyers are going to be looking in the $40,000 range when getting into a Jeep Gladiator. The base model starts at $33,545, but most are going to be looking at the Overland and Rubicon models, which are priced at $40,000 and above. Expect to pay close to $50,000 for a well-equipped and well-optioned Gladiator.

Total Score and Competitive Comparison (67/80, 84%)

The 2020 Jeep Gladiator is a strong contender in the midsize pickup truck segment. It's unique in that it's so off-road-ready out of the box and has the Jeep styling that most will love.

Comparables to the Gladiator are plentiful, however, as the segment heats up. The best-selling Toyota Tacoma is a good choice and the Chevrolet Colorado and its GMC Canyon twin are also popular now. The well-aged Nissan Frontier gets a new engine this year, but otherwise remains unchanged, and the oft-forgotten Honda Ridgeline is also a solid choice for those who need simplicity. The new Ford Ranger is not as competitive as the rest.

For the Jeep enthusiast and for those who want a highly capable pickup truck, the Gladiator delivers. It's got all of the goodness of a Jeep Wrangler with the added capability of a Ram 1500 pickup. There's a lot to love in the 2020 Gladiator and buyers have definitely proved Jeep hit the mark when they designed this truck.

Trim Engine Drive Train MSRP
4x4 Sport 4dr Crew Cab 5.0 ft. SB 6 Cylinder 4X4 33545
4x4 Sport S 4dr Crew Cab 5.0 ft. SB 6 Cylinder 4X4 36745
4x4 Sport Altitude 4dr Crew Cab 5.0 ft. SB 6 Cylinder 4X4 40340
4x4 Overland 4dr Crew Cab 5.0 ft. SB 6 Cylinder 4X4 40395
4x4 North Edition 4dr Crew Cab 5.0 ft. SB 6 Cylinder 4X4 45720
4x4 Rubicon 4dr Crew Cab 5.0 ft. SB 6 Cylinder 4X4 43875
4x4 Launch Edition 4dr Crew Cab 5.0 ft. SB 6 Cylinder 4X4 54845
4x4 Mojave 4dr Crew Cab 5.0 ft. SB 6 Cylinder 4X4 43875

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