For the Gladiator to perform as a proper truck, it required a new frame that’s stronger and longer than the Wrangler Unlimited’s (by about 80cm). The result is a tow rating of 3,475kg and a payload rating of 725kg.PHOTO: FCA

For the Gladiator to perform as a proper truck, it required a new frame that’s stronger and longer than the Wrangler Unlimited’s (by about 80cm). The result is a tow rating of 3,475kg and a payload rating of 725kg. PHOTO: FCA

2020 Jeep Gladiator

It’s actually a real truck

The Jeep division of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is no stranger to pickup production, having built various generations of them dating back to the original 1947 Willys Overland. So, with growing interest in off-road vehicles of all kinds, bringing a Jeep truck to market seems to make good sense.

Viewed head-on, the 2020 Jeep Gladiator looks like any other Jeep Wrangler, with a traditional slotted vertical grille, round headlights and a stout bumper. Behind the second-row seat is a five-foot-long box capable of transporting up to 725 kilograms of ATV, dirt bikes, camping gear and/or just about anything else you can imagine. Trailering capacity with the proper tow package tops out at 3,475kg.

To make the Gladiator, Jeep built a new — and stronger — frame, longer than the Wrangler Unlimited’s by about 80 centimetres. This was necessary to have a decent-sized box and the capability to put heavy things in it. As such, the Gladiator has a best-in-class tow rating.

The distance between the front and rear wheels is increased by about 50cm. The result is a smooth visual transition from passenger compartment to pickup bed. The Gladiator doesn’t really look like a Wrangler with a truck box slapped on the back.

As with other Wranglers, the Gladiator’s removable doors, hood, fenders, tailgate and fold-down windshield frame are made of aluminum. The Gladiator also matches other Wranglers with an ability to ford water up to 75cm deep, although with a longer wheelbase, there’s a slightly greater chance of being high-centred going over obstructions (like a teeter-totter).

The steel hardtop can be unbolted and replaced with an optional folding soft-top, or with a hardtop with dual removable roof panels that lets the sun shine over the front seats. A handy sliding rear-window is standard with either version.

The interior is pretty much a walkover from the other Wranglers, including a colour-keyed dashboard with myriad knobs and switches, along with a standard touch-screen for the infotainment system. The split-folding rear seat has storage compartments beneath the cushion as well as behind the seat back.

The standard 3.6-litre V-6 — 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque — will be familiar to Wrangler fans and moves the Gladiator along with surprising authority.

A recently added option is a 3.0-litre V-6 turbo-diesel that puts out 260 hp and 442 pound-feet. Note that the Gladiator can’t be ordered with the turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder gasoline engine available in two- and four-door Wranglers.

A six-speed manual transmission or optional eight-speed automatic can be harnessed to the V-6, while the auto box is standard with the turbo-diesel.

Fuel consumption for the 3.6 and the automatic transmission is rated at 13.7 l/100 km in the city, 10.7 on the highway and 12.3 combined.

Command-Trac four-wheel-drive, which comes with all but the Rubicon trim, has a two-speed transfer case with low-range gearing.

The Rock-Trac system in the Rubicon has locking front and rear differentials plus steeper low-range gearing for crawling up and down sharp inclines.

Pricing for the base Sport S — one of three trims — starts at $45,900, including destination charges. It comes reasonably well turned out, but you’ll need to pony up a few more dollars for the Overland or Rubicon trims to get the seven-inch display, ambient interior lighting, side steps, satellite radio and other niceties.

Along with the Rock-Trac 4×4 system, the off-road thrashing Rubicon adds heavy-duty front and rear axles, specific Fox-brand shocks, high clearance fender flares, protective skid plates, dual front and rear tow hooks and 33-inch Falken off-road rubber.

As well as the available three-panel removable hard top, the options list includes leather-trimmed seats, nine-speaker Alpine audio system and all available active-safety technology, such as autonomous emergency braking and blind-spot warning.

With increasing competition in the category of off-road-capable-vehicles, the Gladiator — along with the two- and four-door Wrangler models — gives Jeep buyers a range of choices, all with a decades-old pedigree.

The dash layout of the Gladiator looks like that of any other Wrangler, which is to say it’s a busy spot. Note that one shift lever is for the transmission and the other is for operating the transfer case for high-low gear range. PHOTO: FCA

The dash layout of the Gladiator looks like that of any other Wrangler, which is to say it’s a busy spot. Note that one shift lever is for the transmission and the other is for operating the transfer case for high-low gear range. PHOTO: FCA

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: 2020 JEEP GLADIATOR

Type: Four-door, four-wheel-drive midsize pickup

Engines (h.p.): 3.6-litre DOHC V-6 (285); 3.0-litre DOHC V-6, turbo-diesel (260)

Transmissions: Six-speed manual; eight-speed automatic (std. with turbo-diesel)

Market position:The Wrangler-based Gladiator stands to capitalize on the growing demand for traditional two-and four-door Jeep models. Premium priced based model, so consider it a niche Jeep model rather than a straight-up competitor in the midsize segment.

Points: Well-executed styling, front to back. • First-rate interior appointments include plenty of stowage spots. • V-6 is highly rated, but the turbo-diesel is great if more torque is needed. • Optional active-safety technologies should really be standard.

Dynamic safety: Blind-spot warning with cross-traffic backup alert (opt.); active collision warning (opt.); emergency braking (opt.)

L/100 km (city/hwy) 13.7/10.7 (3.6, AT); Base price (incl. destination) $45,900

BY COMPARISON:

Ford Ranger SuperCrew 4×4

  • Base price: $37,900
  • Ford’s compact pickup comes with a 270-h.p. turbocharged 2.3-liter I-4.

GMC Canyon Crew Cab 4×4

  • Base price: $40,650
  • Great style, roomy interior and an available 308-horsepower V-6.

Toyota Tacoma SR5 4×4

  • Base price: $43,000
  • Midsize companion to the Tundra comes with a full array of active-safety tech.

written by Malcolm Gunn, Managing Partner at Wheelbase Media

AutomotivecarsTrucks

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

City of Chilliwack survey asks for feedback on planned Rosedale skate park

The new structure will occupy a 3,000 square foot space in the middle of Rosedale Park

File
Agassiz Speedway hosts food drive for AHCS

Food, toys, cash and more accepted at Super Valu in Agassiz, Nov. 28

(Left to right) Brandon Kloot, board member with John Kampman, board chair, and Matt Van Muyen, System Principal at Unity Christian School pose with the sold sign on a 8.1 acre property the school has purchased to plan for future growth, November, 2020. (Submitted photo)
Land purchase by Unity Christian will help with future growth

New acquisition ‘promises to be a blessing for the long-term future of our school’ says board chair

File
Exterior Christmas decorators wanted Agassiz Seniors Community

Call to action to brighten the upcoming holiday season for isolated seniors

Santa Claus makes his way through the Cottonwood Centre shopping mall during his big arrival in 2019. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)
Santa’s Cottonwood Centre visits in Chilliwack cancelled by COVID

Provincial health orders mean Santa won’t be able to visit children, even with physical distancing

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 887 new cases

Another 13 deaths, ties the highest three days ago

The baby boy born to Gillian and Dave McIntosh of Abbotsford was released from hospital on Wednesday (Nov. 25) while Gillian continues to fight for her life after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
Abbotsford mom with COVID-19 still fighting for life while newborn baby comes home

Son was delivered Nov. 10 while Gillian McIntosh was in an induced coma

B.C. Premier John Horgan, a Star Trek fan, can’t resist a Vulcan salute as he takes the oath of office for a second term in Victoria, Nov. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
Horgan names 20-member cabinet with same pandemic team

New faces in education, finance, economic recovery

A new ‘soft reporting’ room is opening inside the Ann Davis Transition Society offices on Dec. 1, 2020 which is thought to be the first of its kind in B.C. (Ann Davis Transitional Society/ Facebook)
New ‘trauma-informed’ reporting room opening next week in Chilliwack

It’s a space for reporting domestic violence, sexual assault, or gender-based violence to police

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The corporate headquarters of Pfizer Canada are seen in Montreal, Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. The chief medical adviser at Health Canada says Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine could be approved in Canada next month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Health Canada expects first COVID-19 vaccine to be approved next month

Canada has a purchase deal to buy at least 20 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine,

The online poster for Joel Goddard, who left his Willoughby home Nov. 10, 2020, has been updated by his family and friends who received word that he’s been found.
Langley man missing since Nov. 10 found alive and safe in Abbotsford

Family of the Willoughby area man had been searching for days. Police find him at Abbotsford Airport

A UBC study recommends an multi-government investment of $381 million to protect 102 species at risk in the Fraser River estuary. (Photo supplied by Yuri Choufour)
102 Fraser River estuary species at risk of extinction, researchers warn

UBC team develops $381-million strategy to combat crisis, boost economy

Most Read