Jeep has always been at the forefront of creating functional and fun vehicles. Better known for its SUVs and off-roading prowess, Jeep has come back with a unique vehicle from its humble beginnings. The 2020 Jeep Gladiator is a mid-sized pickup truck that looks almost like a Wrangler with a truck bed. And as no surprise, the Gladiator boasts the off-roading capabilities of the Wrangler, with the functionality of a truck. But what do the experts have to say about Jeep’s newest addition to the truck market?
The new 2020 Gladiator does look much like a Wrangler and it shares the same “take-the-doors-off, open-air, go-anywhere freedom and ruggedness,” according to TopGear. But unlike the Wrangler, the Gladiator can tow up to nearly 8,000 lbs and has four doors. You can choose between four variants of the Gladiator, with a starting price of around $33,000. TopGear claims that the Gladiator is “very much a lifestyle truck, with a focus on facilitating adventures, rather than being purely functional.”
On the drive, the Gladiator is impressively comfortable, easy, and fun. There’s only one powertrain choice, however: a 3.6-liter, six-cylinder engine that puts out 285 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. But this “tried and trusted” engine outperforms most. Jeep never disappoints its fans, providing options for both manual and automatic transmissions. The Gladiator’s rugged design is also carried into the cabin, with highly-functional features and even foldable seats. It’s got the same removable windshield as the Wrangler, and as many interior storage areas. While you may not be able to start your own construction company with the Gladiator, TopGear finds it’s a great choice for adventurers, families, and people looking for the benefit of a truck bed.
It should come as no surprise that the new Jeep Gladiator is RoadShow’s pick for Editor’s Choice and rates it as “the best off-road truck.” The 2020 Gladiator provides the capability of the off-roading Wrangler body, but can still tow and haul as well as the competition with a five-foot truck bed. In true Jeep fashion, the 2020 Gladiator comes with standard four-wheel drive, which helped the experts at RoadShow to get up and over anything.
Just like the Wrangler, the off-roading Gladiator Rubicon features a 44-degree approach angle for attacking steep hills, but a reduced break-over angle of 20 degrees. The Gladiator’s truck bed forces the rear-end clearance to decrease slightly from the Wrangler, from 37 to 26-degree departure angle. But don’t be fooled. The Gladiator can do more than any other midsize pickup available. Equipped to get you anywhere, the Gladiator also features available Off-Road+ to adjust transmission, stability, and throttle for various situations.
If you’re looking for the Gladiator that can handle any off-roading adventure, the Rubicon variant is what you’ll need. The Rubicon is specifically-designed for drivability on the road, but finesse and performance off-road. When the experts at Motor1 took the 2020 Gladiator Rubicon on an intense course, it handled as expected: “flawlessly.” A far cry from the base price for the Gladiator, the Rubicon drove by Motor1 had an as-tested price of just under $60,000. So what exactly do you get for all that extra money?
The Gladiator Rubicon comes with everything you need off the road. You’ll get special features like a front-facing camera, 33-inch tires, an electronic disconnecting front sway bar, super-low crawl ratio, and standard, locking front-and-rear differentials. You’ll also get Off-Road+ capabilities, an impressive infotainment system, and a modern, digital instrument cluster. Jeep does off-roading the best and its new 2020 Gladiator proves it.