Shy of the name, the Wrangler pickup known now as the 2020 Jeep Gladiator is exactly what so many Jeep, small truck and off-road enthusiasts have been calling for over the course of the past decade or so. Since the Comanche was discontinued in the early 1990s, many people have been clamoring for a new Jeep pickup and rather than a Cherokee-based pickup like the Comanche, people wanted a Wrangler-based pickup.
The Gladiator is just that, even though its name was originally used on another Cherokee-based pickup back in the 1960s. While there are some obvious differences, this new pickup takes the look and the capabilities of the legendary Wrangler and applies them to a midsized truck, resulting in what seems to be the perfect “trail rated” pickup.
The community wanted a Wrangler pickup and the exterior design of the new JL models has been perfectly applied to this truck. The Gladiator is only available as a Crew Cab, so the basic shape of the cabin is similar to that of the Wrangler Unlimited, but the pickup has shorter rear doors and, of course, no rear cargo area. That has been replaced with a five-foot cargo box, providing comparable space to the other midsized trucks on sale today.
Up front, the Gladiator looks identical to the Wrangler in every way, with the boxy form of the legendary SUV being applied nicely to the pickup. In fact, if you cover the middle of the rear doors to the tailgate, you would be hard-pressed to know that this isn’t a Wrangler and out back, the LED taillights of the truck are the same as those on the SUV.
On the inside, the Gladiator has a slightly smaller rear seating area than the Wrangler Unlimited, but the front seats and the dashboard look like the came straight out of the SUV. This includes the Wrangler’s configurable gauge cluster and the award-winning UConnect system in a variety of sizes, topping out with the 8.4-inch screen.
Wrangler exterior look, check. Pickup bed, check. Wrangler interior feel, check.
Trail Rated Performance
When the 2020 Jeep Gladiator goes on sale next year, it will only be offered with the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, send 285 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque towards all four wheels by means of one of two transmissions and one of two four-wheel-drive systems.
The 6-speed manual transmission is standard and the 8-speed automatic is optional while the Command-Trac system is standard in Sport, Sport S and Overland models and the Rock-Trac system is standard in the Gladiator Rubicon.
The Rubicon package also includes Dana 44 axles, 33-inch off-road tires, underbody skid plates and unique off-road bumpers, making this the most off-road-capable package – just like the Wrangler.
In addition to being able to climb over just about anything, the Gladiator Rubicon will safely cross 30 inches of water, so this is another Jeep that will get you anywhere you want to go. Best of all, it can also tow up to 7,650 pounds and haul 1,600 pounds, so this midsized Jeep pickup can serve as a solid work vehicle as well.
Of course, the Jeep Gladiator will have to prove that it is as good off-road as the Wrangler, but based on what we can see and what FCA has told us, this should be the most off-road-ready truck in the segment. That alone will make it popular, but add in the working abilities and the basic daily driving benefits and this truck could be a beast in the midsized segment.
People Need to Buy It
People wanted a Wrangler pickup and while it has a different name, the Gladiator is the Jeep pickup that so many people online have been demanding for years. Now that it is here, those people need to get out and buy them. In many cases, the people who demand a certain vehicle talk about how much they want one until it goes on sale. For instance, endless people online demanded more small diesel trucks and now that they are here, they don’t sell anywhere near as well as those folks online suggested.
Fortunately, the Gladiator is almost guaranteed to benefit from the Jeep branding, so people will buy it simply because it is a Jeep. However, if you are one of those people who has been stating for years that “if they built a Wrangler pickup, I will buy one”, now is the time to put your money where your mouth is.
Get out there, buy a new Gladiator and show the folks at Jeep that they made the right move in creating a Wrangler pickup that so many people have demanded for years.