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A gray 2020 Jeep Gladiator treks through the desert with the top down

Will The 2020 Jeep Gladiator Live Up to The Hype?

You’ve probably heard about the 2020 Jeep Gladiator and might even be anxiously awaiting its arrival. There’s been quite a lot of hype, including several best-in-class features, industry exclusive options, and honestly design elements we’ve never heard of before. But, will it actually live up to the hype? Soon it will be released for drivers and critics everywhere to judge, but until then let’s take a closer look at this unique vehicle.

1962 Origins

A baby blue 1962 Jeep Gladiator

Despite popular belief, the 2020 Jeep Gladiator is the return of a popular Jeep model that began in 1962. This vehicle was the Jeep Gladiator (SJ) which was offered in 1963 as a 1963 model and would remain in production for the next 26 years, and eventually discontinued in 1988. However, from 1971-1988, the vehicle dropped the ‘Gladiator’ from its title and was sold under the name ‘J-Series’. During its early production the Gladiator was an important part of the development of military vehicles, and was eventually produced both as a civilian vehicle and a military vehicle that featured a few adaptations. Throughout its nearly three decades of production, the Gladiator remained an entirely unique pickup truck. This was in part due to its availability in both rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive, as well as its independent front suspension available during its earlier years. The Gladiator was by far the market’s most innovative truck, and featured several industry-firsts including an overhead cam engine, 4WD paired with an automatic transmission, and an array of unique accessories and options.

Eventually the Gladiator was discontinued in 1988, however, it would be introduced as a redesigned concept in 2004 as a 2005 Jeep Gladiator. The concept vehicle was not intended for sale, though it presented very similar features to the upcoming 2020 Jeep Gladiator including it unique open-air design and removable doors.

Today, the all-new Gladiator is set to mark even more industry-firsts, featuring several best-in-class features and Jeep exclusive options. However, it is quite different from its 1962 origins and therefore, we should probably take a closer look.

Let’s Talk About Design

The design of the 2020 Jeep Gladiator is perhaps one of the most unique features of this new vehicle. If you think it looks like a Wrangler plus a truck bed, you’re right. Essentially, the front end and body of the Gladiator are heavily inspired by the design of the Wrangler, meanwhile the remaining configuration is a 4×4 crew cab with a short bed. But, yes, we’ll talk about the Gladiator’s most notable exterior design feature, its open-air availability. With the Gladiator drivers can simply fold the windshield, remove the doors, and open the top to enjoy a nearly complete open-air experience. Drivers can also choose from both hard and soft top options in numerous configurations, including body color, black, and 3-piece selections. The exterior is further enhanced by a 3-way convertible tailgate, an optional tonneau cover, and a rugged set of wheels.

On the inside, the 2020 Jeep Gladiator is surprisingly sleek and modern. Drivers can opt for leather seating, a massive touchscreen display, and some of the most advanced entertainment features available on the market. The cabin is appointed with smooth, high-quality materials, and offers intuitive controls for its advanced technology.

Curious about color options? While the interior colors are composed of dark neutrals, you’ll have plenty of bright exterior colors to choose from including Firecracker Red, Hydro Blue Pearl Coat, and Punk’n Metallic. However, if you’re looking for a more subdued color, you’ll probably want to opt for Black, Sting-Gray, or Granite Crystal.

Between its unique exterior and interior design elements, drivers of the 2020 Jeep Gladiator will be turning heads wherever they go. Meanwhile, Jeep enthusiasts will appreciate the classic Jeep Wrangler design that the Gladiator embodies. So, if you’re looking for something unique or are a Wrangler enthusiast at heart, you’ll certainly want to check out this vehicle.

Best-in-Class…Everything?

A gray 2020 Jeep Gladiator tows a trailerThe 2020 Jeep Gladiator boasts several best-in-class features, and we mean several. Additionally, many features are coined as “industry-exclusive”. But, exactly what class does this vehicle fall under and are these features truly that innovative?

Due to its unique design and size, it can be hard to place which class the Gladiator belongs to, however, it is technically classified as a midsize pickup truck. If you’re unsure which vehicles this means it will be competing with, other vehicles in the compact/midsize pickup truck class include the Nissan Frontier, Chevy Colorado, Honda Ridgeline, GMC Canyon, and Toyota Tacoma. These vehicles are known for offering a fair level of power and capability with a higher level of efficiency when compared to full-size pickup trucks like the Chevy Silverado or Ford F-150. In general, the midsize pickup truck class is designed for the driver looking for a truly well-balanced and versatile vehicle. Over the years, not much has changed within this class. However, the 2020 Jeep Gladiator is about to change this and possibly transform its class, especially when considering its best-in-class features.

So, what are these best-in-class features? Well, one of the primary class-leading features is the Gladiator’s incredibly high towing capacity. Formerly, the GMC Canyon and Chevy Colorado have consistently ruled this segment of the class with a 7,000 LB maximum towing capacity. This has far exceeded its competitors like the Honda Ridgeline which has only offered up to a 5,000 LB towing capacity for the past few years. However, the 2020 Jeep Gladiator offers a maximum towing capacity of an incredible 7,650 LBS. For once, the Canyon and Colorado will be beaten in the category, and rather substantially.

Other best-in-class features include a payload of 1,600 LBS. Comparatively this spec is really only around 100 LBS or less more than its competitors, but when paired with the Gladiator’s versatile 3-way adjustable tailgate, roll-up tonneau cover, and high towing capacity, hauling is made much more convenient than with any other vehicle in its class.

One of Jeep’s boasted ‘industry-exclusive’ features includes a removable Bluetooth wireless speaker. If you’ve been perusing the long lists of available entertainment features among other vehicles in the market, it’s refreshing to see a new and truly innovative feature among the many repetitive options. This new feature is further enhanced by the Gladiator’s 8.4-inch touchscreen display, which, you guessed it, is largest-in-class.

Should You Check it Out at Your Local Dealer?

So, will this vehicle live up to the hype? The 2020 Jeep Gladiator offers innovative features that have not yet been attempted by other manufacturers, paired with higher midsize pickup truck specs than ever before. With the release of this vehicle and the long list of truly incredibly features that it offers, it makes it apparent that other manufacturers have been producing vehicles comfortably for too long. No matter what vehicle class you research, you’ll find a fairly standard list of features and very little if any truly new and innovative elements. Years of this kind of ease of production has culminated into an ideal environment for the reinvention of the Jeep Gladiator. When it is finally available for sale, its competitors will simply be unable to compete and will be forced to crank up the innovation of their future models. Is the 2020 Jeep Gladiator worth checking out? Certainly. There has never been a vehicle like it. However, you may also want to keep a close eye on how the automotive industry changes after its introduction to the market. In the midst of a seemingly standardized automotive world, the 2020 Jeep Gladiator is certainly set to stir things up.

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