2020 Jeep Gladiator: A Lineup Forms Outside the F&I Office

Adam Tonge
by Adam Tonge
We’re committed to finding, researching, and recommending the best products. We earn commissions from purchases you make using links in our articles. Learn more here
2020 jeep gladiator a lineup forms outside the f i office

The midsize truck market’s explosive growth has already brought the Ford Ranger back to our spacious skies and amber waves of grain. However, Jeep thinks America the Beautiful wants a midsize truck that tackles the purple mountains’ majesties while looking down upon the fruited plains. Enter the 2020 Jeep Gladiator; the vehicle that Jeep calls the most capable midsize truck ever.

Jeep customers have been vocal about their lust for a Jeep truck ever since the Jeep Comanche ended production 25 years ago. The dream of the capability of a Wrangler in a truck package has been elusive. Customers demanding such a vehicle have been forced to fulfill their desires in the aftermarket. That is, until now.

The 2020 Jeep Gladiator is the truck off-road enthusiasts have been dreaming about. Jeep executives made it clear that the Gladiator is just as capable off-road as the Wrangler; at the same time, the Gladiator can tow more than any other four-wheel-drive midsize truck. With up to 7,650 pounds of towing capacity and 1,600 pounds of payload, now you can tackle Moab with three friends while also towing a boat.

The Gladiator’s body-on-frame construction features a new lightweight, high-strength steel frame. When compared to the Jeep Wrangler four-door, the Gladiator’s frame stretches an additional 31 inches, while the wheelbase is 19.4 inches longer.

The longer wheelbase and the bed’s positioning center aft of the rear axle centerline ensures better weight distribution and a more comfortable and composed ride when carrying cargo. The prop shaft, brake, fuel lines and exhaust system were lengthened to accommodate the changes needed to make the design work. The Gladiator also sits on front and rear Dana 44 solid axles. The goal was to take the success of the Wrangler and add capability. All of this extra strength and capability makes the Gladiator tip the scales at around 400 pounds more than the Wrangler Unlimited.

Coming in crew cab guise only, the Gladiator features a five-foot steel bed. Four steel cross members reinforce the load floor. The bed also features a covered external power source and strong integrated tie-downs. The tail gate is made of aluminum, while the Gladiator also features a two-inch Class IV hitch. Four skid plates protect vital components from rocks, debris, and mall curbs.

The cab has significant carryover from the four-door Jeep Wrangler. The hood, doors, and tops are shared with its bedless siblings. This gives the Gladiator the ability to take the top off, remove the doors, and fold down the windshield for a unique open air experience that’s unmatched in its class.

At launch, the only engine offered will be FCA’s ubiquitous 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6. 285 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque will flow through an eight-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission. Both transmissions are available on all trim levels. In 2020, the 3.0-liter V-6 EcoDiesel, with 260 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque, becomes available.

The Gladiator will arrive in three trims. The volume seller (and most basic truck) will be the Sport trim. Those looking to add luxuries like LED lights, a leather wrapped steering wheel, a larger touch screen, and a body colored top to their trail-rated truck can opt for the Overland Trim. The ultimate in off-road trucking is available through the legendary Rubicon trim.

Once off-road, the 2020 Jeep Gladiator delivers the expected capability courtesy of two 4×4 systems. The Command-Trac 4×4 system, standard on Sport and Overland, features a two-speed transfer case with a 2.72:1 low-range gear ratio, and heavy-duty third-generation Dana 44 front and rear axles with a 3.73 rear axle ratio. On Gladiator Rubicon, a Rock-Trac 4×4 system features heavy-duty third-generation Dana 44 front and rear axles with a “4LO” ratio of 4:1. A 4.10 front and rear axle ratio is standard, as are Tru-Lok locking differentials.

The Jeep Gladiator hails from Toledo, Ohio, where Jeep vehicles have rolled off the assembly line since 1941. The new truck will make its production home in the south plant of the Toledo Assembly Complex, where the Jeep Wrangler JK was built until April 2018.

The Toledo South Assembly Plant, or Toledo Supplier Park, is a co-location manufacturing facility where supplier partners build and manage key manufacturing process facilities completely within the plant footprint. FCA will utilize that same manufacturing system to produce the new Jeep truck, working with two of the original supplier partners. Kuka and Hyundai Mobis will supply the body and chassis, respectively. Production is expected to begin in the first half of 2019.

Pricing and fuel economy will be announced at a later date.

[Images: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

Adam Tonge
Adam Tonge

More by Adam Tonge

Join the conversation
4 of 79 comments
  • 28-Cars-Later 28-Cars-Later on Nov 29, 2018

    Nice piece btw.

    • Adam Tonge Adam Tonge on Nov 29, 2018

      Thank you. I think it needs more puns. Steph would never edit out a pun, so I blame myself.

  • Lockstops Lockstops on Nov 29, 2018

    There will be an article of someone having made a 6x6 version of this in about a few days after they're for sale...

    • Adam Tonge Adam Tonge on Nov 29, 2018

      I've already written it. I just have to fill the name of the company, product, and specs in MadLibs style. "Today ___________ announced that they would be taking control of Truck Mountain with their ________ horsepower, 6x6 version, of the 2020 Jeep Gladiator called the ________ Maximus TrailKing 450 X."

  • Theflyersfan Nope. Has nothing to do with Gladiator sales falling off of a cliff and having 5-figure discounts. Or...YTD 2023 compared to last year:Compass +7%Wrangler -14%Gladiator -31%Cherokee -25%Grand Cherokee +6%Renegade -35%Wagoneer -31%Grand Wagoneer: -14%End of 3Q 2023: 490,106 Jeeps soldEnd of 3Q 2022: 541,297 Jeeps sold490K is still a decent number of expensive SUVs sold, especially Grand Cherokees, but it's still a decline. And people want the 4xe models, so that could reverse the trend if they crank more of them out. But let's blame the government for everything. It'll lead a news cycle on any red hat network.
  • VoGhost California is the reason Dodge and Chrysler were starved of new models for the past decade. OK...
  • Random1 I don't know what the "right" price for transit/tolls/driving should be. I'm currently a commuter from Westchester, and it is cheaper for me to commute by car on days my wife is working (she's part-time so 2x/week, I'm 5x/week). Those costs, if you care, are $18/park and a somewhat optional $6.94 toll (pay or spend about 10min to take a free bridge) vs 23.50 round-trip each on Metro-North. That's absurd, either a)transit is too expensive(and we don't need to add subway/bus like many do) or b)driving/parking is too cheap, or c) bothFWIW, the congestion charge means I'll more or less never drive in again, so I guess it'll work?
  • SCE to AUX I'm not understanding the linkage between the old State v Federal domain debate, and layoffs at Stellantis.Stellantis has serious portfolio issues, so I'm inclined to blame layoffs on them.
  • Analoggrotto Meanwhile, we can't build enough Tellurides, Sorentos, Souls and are driving ATPs that only highstreet can get close to.