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How the 2020 Jeep Gladiator Blew Away the Competition and Earned Truck of the Year

The 2020 Jeep Gladiator got more votes than the other two competitors combined. Why the Jeep Gladiator was chosen as North American Truck of the Year.

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The 2020 Jeep Gladiator has been a game changer since Fiat Chrysler started shipping them to dealers in mid-April. Jeep waited 27 years to bring back a Jeep pickup and fans were anxious to hop in and get the midsize pickup dirty. The Jeep Gladiator was designed to blow your socks off and it managed to thrill virtually everyone. It has been a media darling and customers have been lined up to get them.

2020 Jeep Gladiator’s Decisive Victory

The Jeep Gladiator not only won North American Truck of the Year, it won by a landslide. The Gladiator hauled home 273 votes, compared to 122 votes for the 2020 Ram Heavy Duty and 105 votes for the 2020 Ford Ranger. The 50 automotive journalists that serve as jurors each had ten votes that they could allocate anyway they wanted to the vehicles and the Gladiator was the decisive winner.

“The Jeep Gladiator is not only the world’s most capable midsize pickup, it's now the North American Truck of the Year as well,” said Jim Morrison, Head of Jeep Brand – FCA North America. “This honor is a testament to our customers who demand the very best and the Gladiator delivers with all of the 4x4 capability and versatility expected of a Jeep vehicle.”

I have written at length about the Gladiator and its incredible attention to detail. While it is very similar to the Jeep Wrangler, it also has amenities all its own. It has best-in-class towing for a midsize truck. The Gladiator can tow up to 7,650 pounds and haul 1,600 pounds, so this Jeep pickup is more than a pretty face. Also, all Gladiator models are Trail Rated indicating that the 4x4 vehicle is designed to perform in a variety of challenging off-road conditions. The Gladiator is designed to have great traction, ground clearance, maneuverability, articulation and be able to drive through streams and standing water.

2020 Jeep Gladiator is Capable and Fun

Not only in the 2020 Jeep Gladiator a great truck, but it is also a fun truck. You can take off the roof and the doors and the Gladiator will take you just about anywhere. Plus, it is equipped with little exclusives to help you enjoy the adventure. The Gladiator features a little camera on its grill so you can see exactly what you are driving into, plus it has a little washer for the camera, so you can clean it, no matter how muddy you get. It has a removable, blue tooth speaker, so you can set up your audio, no matter how remote you decide to go. The Gladiator also features extra under the seat, locking storage for those times when you go hiking or running.

Fifty Automotive Journalists Voted

The Automotive Press Association gives out the awards for North American Car, Utility and Truck every January. Previously, they have been announced as the official start of the North American International Auto Show, in Detroit. This year, the auto show has been moved to June.

Jurors evaluate the finalists based on segment leadership, innovation, design, safety, handling, driver satisfaction and value for the dollar. The process, which started in June 2019 by determining a list of eligible vehicles, includes three rounds of voting.

This is the 26th year of the awards. Last year, the 2019 Ram 1500 took home the prize as North American Truck of the Year. Many thought that the 2020 Ram Heavy Duty might capture the title this year, because it has been redesigned and upgraded much like the 2019 Ram 1500. The other competitor was the 2020 Ford Ranger, Ford’s recent re-entry into the midsize category. While they are all strong trucks and competitors, 2020 is the Jeep Gladiator’s time to shine.

The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray took top honors as North American Car of the Year. The 2020 Kia Telluride was chosen as North American Utility of the Year.

Follow Mary Conway at @maryconwaymedia and send her car news tips for future stories. Find more of Mary's stories covering Jeep vehicles at Torque News. Search Torque News Jeep for more news reporting on Jeep vehicles by our reporters.

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DeanMcManis (not verified)    January 14, 2020 - 10:08PM

I like the new Gladiator, but to offer a counterpoint here, it really is just a Wrangler with a truck bed. There is no new ground broken with this model. I would have been wowed if Jeep threw in the outrageous 797HP Hellcat motor, or if they went the other direction and made this a plug-in, diesel hybrid model. But it has definitely been a nice boost for Jeep, and it was clear from the sales that there was a strong hidden market for a truck/Jeep, in a Reeses cup, peanut butter in my chocolate kind of way. For the current Gladiator I think that the Eco-diesel engine is a sweet spot, having just become available in the Wranger recently. It's 262HP and a whopping 442TQ is complimented by an impressive 25MPG+ combined city/hwy. With the steady media blitz, and glowing praise of the Gladiator, I am not surprised at this win.