We don’t know many Gladiator pickups Jeep expected to sell when it debuted in 2018 as a 2019 model? But compared to midsize pickups like the Toyota Tacoma and Ford Ranger, it is selling less. We thought it was going to take the midsize truck market by storm. So we wondered if 2020 Gladiator reviews reveal something that turned off potential buyers?
As a brief review, Jeep sold 40,000 Gladiators in the shortened 2019 model year. It was released to the public in the spring. In 2020 it sold 77,500, and in 2021 that number increased to almost 90,000. In the first quarter of this year, it sold almost 18,000. So it will likely sell around 70,000.
We looked at 2020 reviews from the three top consumer sites, JD Power, Consumer Reports, and Edmunds. Also, we quoted buyers where applicable, and rod test impressions and estimated problems in the future based on similar Jeep models. Essentially, the Gladiator is based on the Wrangler.
JD Power rated the 2020 Gladiator in 5th place
The Gladiator rated fifth behind the Ford Ranger in first with an 84 out of 100 score. Next was the GMC Canyon and Honda Ridgeline tied with 83, the Chevy Colorado with 80, Toyota Tacoma with 79, and the Gladiator with 78.
What owners liked in the first 90 days of ownership:
- How your vehicle makes you feel when you start it up
- Quality of the materials used inside your vehicle
- Experience playing audio in your vehicle
What owners disliked in the first 90 days:
- The quietness of the vehicle’s cabin while driving
- Overall fuel economy and driving range
- How well it steers/handles in normal conditions
Consumer Reports had a fairly critical 2020 Gladiator review
“The Gladiator competes in a class dominated by lackluster competitors, and it also has a couple of key advantages. Most significantly, it uses a rear suspension derived from its corporate cousin, the impressive Ram 1500. That gives the Gladiator a better ride than the Wrangler and rivals such as the Ford Ranger and Toyota Tacoma. And the Gladiator carries over Jeep-caliber off-road skills.
“The only engine, for now, is a 3.6-liter V6 mated to either a six-speed manual or a smooth eight-speed automatic transmission. Matched with the automatic, the Gladiator has some serious oomph and decent towing capacity. The fuel economy is not stellar, but it is on par with competitors.
“Handling is decidedly clumsy with mushy and slow steering that requires a lot of arm work to get the Jeep to turn. It remained under control when pushed to its limits on our track but was completely out of its element.
“We suggest checking out the Sport S, which brings power windows and locks, automatic headlamps, remote keyless entry, and a locking tailgate. Then add the optional Active Safety Group (blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic warning, and rear parking sensors). It’s also worthwhile getting the Forward Collision Warning group (all-speed FCW and automatic emergency braking), and the 7-inch radio group that brings Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, automatic climate control, and SiriusXM radio).”
The Edmunds 2020 review was the most positive
“The Gladiator is a legitimate midsize pickup that takes direct aim at the Chevrolet Colorado, Ford Ranger, Nissan Frontier, and Toyota Tacoma. The Gladiator’s most basic difference is that it comes in just one configuration: a crew cab with a short bed and four-wheel drive. There are no extended-cab, long-bed, or two-wheel-drive variants. That’s fine as far as we’re concerned.
“The 2020 Jeep Gladiator’s extra length will surely filter out hardcore Jeep purists, but it retains more off-road capability than we expected while adding real pickup functionality. As for midsize-truck owners who always wanted a Jeep, they stand to gain more turnkey off-road performance plus a back seat that can carry actual adults. In the end, the 2020 Jeep Gladiator looks to be a runaway success when it finally lands at dealerships. Expect a traffic pileup at the corner of Want Avenue and Need Street.
“The 2020 Jeep Gladiator’s extra length will surely filter out hardcore Jeep purists, but it retains more off-road capability than we expected while adding real pickup functionality. As for midsize-truck owners who always wanted a Jeep, they stand to gain more turnkey off-road performance plus a back seat that can carry actual adults. In the end, the 2020 Jeep Gladiator looks to be a runaway success when it finally lands at dealerships. Expect a traffic pileup at the corner of Want Avenue and Need Street.”