For the Gladiator to perform as a proper truck required a new frame that’s stronger and longer than the Wrangler Unlimited’s (by about 80 centimetres). The result is a class-leading tow rating of 3,480 kilograms and a payload rating of 730 kilograms. Photo: FCA

For the Gladiator to perform as a proper truck required a new frame that’s stronger and longer than the Wrangler Unlimited’s (by about 80 centimetres). The result is a class-leading tow rating of 3,480 kilograms and a payload rating of 730 kilograms. Photo: FCA

2020 Jeep Gladiator

The take-it-anywhere pickup owes plenty to its Wrangler roots

The four-door Wrangler Unlimited has spawned the Gladiator pickup, a vehicle that delivers a greater degree of utility, from a brand with a history of off-road competency.

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.

From the front, the 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 that’s capable of transporting up to 730 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 3,480 kilograms.

To make the Gladiator, Jeep built a new — and stronger — frame, longer than the Wrangler Unlimited’s by nearly 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 50 centimetres. The result is a smooth visual transition from passenger compartment to pickup bed. The Gladiator doesn’t 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 75 centimetres 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 sliding rear-window is standard for either hard top.

A spray-on bed liner and soft tonneau cover can also be added.

The interior is pretty much a walkover from the other Wranglers, including a colour-keyed dashboard with a myriad of knobs and switches, along with a standard touchscreen 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. Coming later in the model year, however, is a 3.0-litre V-6 turbo-diesel option with 260 horsepower and 442 pound-feet. Note that the Wrangler’s turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder gasoline engine is not available.

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

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

Four-wheel-drive is standard, with two systems available, depending on the model. Command-Trac, which comes with Gladiator Sport and Overland trims, 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 trim starts at $47,400, including destination charges. It comes reasonably well turned out, but you’ll need to pony up a few more dollars for the Overland trim to get power windows and door locks, push-button start, side steps, all-terrain rubber 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 18-inch wheels (17s are standard).

As well as the available hard tops, the options list includes leather-trimmed seats, nine-speaker Alpine stereo and all available active-safety technology, such as autonomous emergency braking and blind-spot warning.

Early indications are that the Gladiator will be a smash hit, even though it’s priced as premium player in the midsize pickup category. A premium player with pedigree and unrivaled off-road experience, that is.

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 wait for the turbo-diesel if more torque is needed. • Active-safety technologies should really be standard.

Active 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) $47,400

BY COMPARISON

Ford Ranger SuperCrew 4×4

Base price: $37,650

New 2019 model marks the return of the Ranger name, but in a midsize format.

GMC Canyon Crew Cab 4×4

Base price: $35,500

Great style, roomy interior and an available 308-horsepower V-6.

Toyota Tacoma SR5 4×4

Base price: $42,500

Midsize companion to the Tundra comes with a full array of active-safety tech.

If you’re interested in new or used vehicles, visit TodaysDrive.com!

-written by Malcom Gunn, Managing Partner at Wheelbase Media.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

 

2020 Jeep Gladiator

The Gladiator’s rear seating can hold three adventuresome individuals, although its optimized for two. Photo: FCA

The Gladiator’s rear seating can hold three adventuresome individuals, although its optimized for two. Photo: FCA

The standard engine is the 285-horsepower 3.6-litre V-6. A new turbo-diesel is optional and offers nearly 200 pound-feet more torque. Photo: FCA

The standard engine is the 285-horsepower 3.6-litre V-6. A new turbo-diesel is optional and offers nearly 200 pound-feet more torque. 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

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

Just Posted

Photo collage of loved ones lost to substance use and overdose. (Photo courtesy Moms Stop The Harm)
B.C. overdose deaths still rising 5 years after public health emergency declared

Moms Stop the Harm calls on B.C. to provide safe supply in response to deadly illicit drug use

Angelique Houlihan gets her COVID-19 vaccine jab last week at the community-wide clinic. (Angelique Houlihan photo)
Vaccine clinic continues this week

Plenty of booking spots available

District of Houston
Council adds flexibility to spending decisions

Singles out road works as potential beneficiary

Filling potholes in Houston
Holes filled on Highway 16

Potholes aren’t restricted to District of Houston streets. Lakes District Maintenance crews… Continue reading

In the past, the pitch-in days saw the community working together to clean-up unlike this year, when they will be encouraged to stay in their own bubbles. (Shiela Pepping photo/Houston Today)
Houston to pitch-in on Apr. 22

The Houston & District Chamber of Commerce’s 60th pitch-in day

Demonstrators at the legislature on April 14 called on the province to decriminalize drug possession and provide widespread access to regulated safe supply across B.C. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)
Rally calls for decriminalization, safe supply on 5th anniversary of overdose emergency declaration

From 2016 to the end of February, 7,072 British Columbians died due to overdose

(Government of Canada)
Liberal MP caught stark naked during House of Commons video conference

William Amos, in Quebec, appeared on the screens of his fellow members of Parliament completely naked

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Feb. 1, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps to 1,168 Wednesday, nearly 400 in hospital

Now 120 coronavirus patients in intensive care, six more deaths

Moss covered branches are seen in the Avatar Old Growth Forest near Port Renfrew on Vancouver Island, B.C. Thursday, Sept. 29, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. blockades aimed at protecting old-growth forests reveal First Nation split

Two Pacheedaht chiefs say they’re ‘concerned about the increasing polarization over forestry activities’ in the territory

Richmond RCMP Chief Superintendent Will Ng said, in March, the force received a stand-out number of seven reports of incidents that appeared to have “racial undertones.” (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
‘Racially motivated’ incidents on the rise in B.C’s 4th largest city: police

Three incidents in Richmond are currently being invested as hate crimes, says RCMP Chief Superintendent Will Ng

Commercial trucks head south towards the Pacific Highway border crossing Wednesday (April 14, 2021). The union representing Canadian border officers wants its members to be included on the frontline priority list for the COVID-19 vaccine. (Aaron Hinks photo)
CBSA officers’ union calls for vaccine priority in B.C.

Border officers at ports including, YVR and land crossings should ‘not be left behind’

A still from the video taken of a violent arrest on May 30, 2020 in downtown Kelowna. (File)
Kelowna Mountie charged with assault for caught-on-camera violent arrest

Const. Siggy Pietrzak was filmed punching a suspected impaired driver at least 10 times during an arrest

A screenshot from a Nuu-chah-nulth healing song and performance created in collaboration between Hjalmer Wenstob and Timmy Masso. (Screenshot from YouTube)
VIDEO: Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation brothers produce COVID-19 healing song

Hjalmer Wenstob and Timmy Masso share dance and inspiration.

Most Read