The Gladiator is Jeep’s all-new vehicle that aims to bring drivers a mix of the rugged off-road features of the Jeep Wrangler, with the added hauling and towing capacities found in mid-sized trucks, such as the Ford Ranger. Looking at the specs, Jeep’s new mid-sized pickup proves to be a much more satisfying SUV/truck fusion than the Scrambler of the 1980s, which had a less than ideal sized truck bed. Resurrecting the name Gladiator from its 1963 pickup truck, this new Gladiator is Jeep’s first pickup truck release since the Comanche was retired in 1992.
How much does the 2020 Jeep Gladiator cost?
Jeep is really going all-in on the Gladiator with a starting price higher than all other base models in Jeep’s current line. The MSRP for the base model, the Gladiator Sport, is $33,545, just above the Grand Cherokee Laredo at $32,195. This number jumps $10,000, however, when you look at the top-of-the-line model, the Gladiator Rubicon, priced at $43,545 MSRP. The Wrangler, the inspiration for the Gladiator, also makes a large price jump between the base model and the top model, the Wrangler Sahara Altitude, but that still puts it at the lower price point of $41,940.
Rounding out the middle, the Sport S and the Overland models of the Gladiator come in at $36,745 and $40,395 respectively. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that what you see is not always what you get. Dealerships are pushing up the prices of these vehicles with extra features and, according to Cox Automotive, the average transaction price is hovering over $50,000.
The Gladiator comes with a 3.6-liter V6 Engine with engine start-stop for added fuel economy. The estimated mpg is 16 mpg city and 23 mpg highway. For comparison, according to Edmund’s, the mid-sized trucks with the best fuel economy run 19 mpg city and 26 mpg highway, so the Gladiator certainly isn’t at the top of the pack, but fairs well in the mix.
Each Gladiator model comes with 4-wheel drive and standard 6-speed manual transmission with an 8-speed automatic option. The Gladiator has an overall height of 75 inches and overall length of 218 inches with a bed that is 60.3 inches long. As with the vehicle frame, the cab size stays consistent across the four models and seats five. Each model has eight speakers and an audio hub with USB and aux input. Additionally, each model is Trail Rated and comes with at least 10 inches of ground clearance, all-terrain or all-weather tires, and a towing capacity of at least 6,000 lbs.
Jeep’s website proudly proclaims that the Gladiator is “the only Trail Rated pickup truck ever,” however what it fails to mention is that it only rates its own vehicles. So what does this rating actually mean? According to Jeep, its vehicles undergo tests for traction, water fording, maneuverability, articulation, and ground clearance.
It tests its vehicles on the Rubicon Trail in California, hence the name given to its top model, the Gladiator Rubicon. In terms of these capabilities, the Gladiator is impressive. It boasts a water fording capability of up to 30 inches and has a variety of controls offered standard, such as hill start assist and traction control, that help drivers safely traverse rough terrain.
What sets the Rubicon apart?
With a starting cost difference of $10,000 between the Sport and the Rubicon, there should be some big perks to the upgrade. The Rubicon has standard upgrades such as the 7.0-inch touch screen display, Apple CarPlay, Google Android Auto, and Uconnect 4 as well as optional leather seats. The Sport, by comparison, does not have these display systems and interior upgrades as an option.
One features serious trail drivers will love is the electronic sway bar disconnect only available in the Rubicon model. This feature allows for more suspension articulation. With larger tires creating an extra inch of ground clearance, the Rubicon is worth the extra investment if off-roading is the main motivator.
What else do I need to know?
The options for the models don’t necessarily incrementally improve. Towing capacity, for example, goes down with the Rubicon when compared to the other three models, while some features are available in one model, and not the others. These Jeeps are highly customizable so the options are definitely worth exploring with a knowledgable salesperson.