2020 marks the triumphant return of a Jeep classic––the all-purpose, off-road capable 2020 Jeep Gladiator. Between 1947 and 1992, Jeep offered a variety of pickup truck models before they quietly disappeared from the standard lineup of heavy-duty SUVs. Starting with the 1947 introduction of the Willys-Overland 4×4 truck, Jeep realized there was a market for trucks that could go anywhere and do anything with a full payload. Then came the 1957 FC, or Forward Control, series, with its flat face and climb-ready, farm-friendly wheelbases. The J-series is perhaps the least Jeep-styled pickup offered by the manufacturer and was one of the top-selling models for over twenty years. The name “Gladiator” was originally the nickname given to the 1963-1987 J-Series truck, which was followed by the mod-styled Commando of the late 1960s, and the Wrangler-based Scrambler, which hit the streets in 1981. After the Comanche quietly left the scene in 1992, there was only a stunning lineup of off-road capable SUVs from Jeep, until 2019.
In 2019, Jeep announced that the Gladiator would return, with its hearty Wrangler base, but with all the capability of a standard pickup truck. And the crowds went wild. Combining modern safety and convenience technology with classic Jeep styling and capability, the 2020 Jeep Gladiator follows solidly in the tire tracks of its older siblings.
The All-New Features of the All-New Gladiator
Is it a Jeep, or is it a truck? Why not both? The Jeep Gladiator features a lightweight construction that carries it over a myriad of terrain, yet it has the rugged capability to tow up to 7,650 pounds. As for payload, the Gladiator is capable of holding up to 1,600 pounds in its five-foot bed. This pickup bed features three-step positions: open, closed, and midway, allowing for a greater range of cargo sizes.
Under the hood, the Gladiator features one engine. The standard engine is a 3.6L Pentastar V6 engine that offers an impressive 285 horsepower and 260 lb-ft torque. Though it’s not likely drivers will spend much on roads, it also rates a fuel economy of 16 miles per gallon in the city and 23 miles per gallon highway.
For those looking for some classic diesel action, Jeep is rumored to be releasing a 3.0L EcoDiesel V6 sometime this year. This engine will provide up to 260 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque.
Jeep has also installed a variety of adventure-ready features in the Gladiator, as well. It starts with the Keyless Enter ‘n Go system, which unlocks the door the minute you grab the handle, as long as the key fob is within 5 feet away. Hands-free Bluetooth technology helps drivers keep their hands on the wheel when the going gets rough––with streaming audio and calls from a connected smartphone or device.
All Gladiators are equipped with a suite of trail-ready options that add the element of off-road fun no matter where they travel. The Trail Rated badge worn by the Gladiator refers to standard features such as Dana 44 front and rear axles, front and rear tow hooks, and extra-thick construction. The Sunrider zipper-free soft top allows in the fresh air, while removable doors and a fold-down windshield let freedom ring.
Sport, Sport S, and Overland Editions
The 2020 Jeep Gladiator is offered in five trim levels: the Sport, Sport S, Overland, Mojave, and the top-of-the-line Rubicon.
The Sport trim may be a base model, yet it’s loaded with practical features that make it ready to drive for anyone. From 17” steel wheels and all-season tires, the Sport is ready to hit any road. The windows, door locks, and mirrors might be manually operated, but the Sunrider removable soft top with sunroof is a feature not to be missed. LED interior lighting and in-bed cargo lighting help drivers see the way at all times of day. Cruise control, an eight-speaker audio system, rearview camera, and a five-inch central infotainment display help drivers keep enjoying the ride. The cloth seats are easy to clean when the road gets rough, and lockable storage areas in the cabin help keep valuables safely stowed.
The next trim, the Sport S, switches to 17-inch alloy wheels and adds a variety of power convenience features. Power door and tailgate locks are accompanied by power windows. Window tint, an automatic dimming rearview mirror, and automatic headlights keep the right amount of light at all times. Inside, drivers will enjoy the leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated power mirrors, and illuminated sun visors.
The Sport S trim also includes access to a variety of optional packages. For example, the Technology Group adds infotainment features, upgrading to a 7-inch touchscreen with satellite radio and Apple CarPlay or Android Auto compatibility with bonus automatic climate control. The Cargo Group includes a 115V power outlet in the bed with a cargo management system. The Trailer Tow and Max Tow Groups offer the ability to haul more with adaptors and fully equipped axles.
The next trim package offered is the Overland. This trim includes many comfort and convenience features, including a theft alarm for doors and tailgate, 18-inch alloy wheels, all-terrain tires, and side steps. Inside, drivers will have automatic headlights, LED footwell lighting, dual-zone climate control, and a standard 7-inch infotainment screen.
Power options are more abundant in the Overland, as well. There are two USB and USB-C ports inside the vehicle for the front and rear passengers, and a 110V outlet in the center console.
Optional features for the Overland trim include a body-colored hardtop with a rear defroster and a sliding rear window. Leather-trimmed seats can be added, as well as remote start.
The Mojave trim is a relatively new edition to the Jeep Gladiator trim lineup. This is Jeeps first-ever desert rated Jeep. It’s been created to handle whatever the desert can throw at you and is rated for categories like traction, desert prowess, ride control and stability, maneuverability, and ground clearance.
The Rubicon Trim
The top trim of the 2020 Jeep Gladiator is the Rubicon, which is fully prepared for the highest range of adventures.
First, it’s designed with a low-crawl transfer case, permitting better climbing. The fenders are raised, accommodating not only greater overall clearance at 11.1 inches, but the 33-inch tires of the Rubicon sports. Electronic front and rear differentials and a disconnectable front stabilizer bar add to the overall trail-ready visage of this trim. It’s also equipped with Fox shock absorbers, rock rails, and skid plates.
Off-road drivers will also enjoy the TrailCam, a forward-facing camera that assists with overall navigation. This screen view lays simulated gridlines in front of the path of your tires, allowing you to choose the best path ahead. No worries when the going gets messy, either, this camera is equipped with its own integrated washer.
Off-Road+ technology allows Rubicon drivers to adjust the throttle, transmission shift, and traction control to allow for the greatest overall articulation on trails. Whether you’re zooming up sand dunes or on your first crawl, you’re in command.
Drivers of all trim levels can enhance their Gladiator experience with luxury features such as a nine-channel, 553-watt amp premium sound system, spray-in bed liner, a black top with removable roof panels (known as the Freedom Top), and leather seating.
Drive A 2020 Gladiator Today
Whether you plan to take the roads or leave them far, far behind, the 2020 Jeep Gladiator is designed to be your ultimate partner. From hauling great loads to fording water crossings, the Gladiator has been intelligently designed to accommodate a wide range of situations. As a result, it becomes a business partner, a road warrior, a trail companion, and a daily driver, all in one.