By on December 19, 2018

You knew this one was coming.

The unveiling of Jeep’s first truck in nigh thirty years was a widely anticipated event at the L.A. Auto Show, with our man on the ground reporting at the time that neither man nor beast could get handy to the media area. Gaining admission during the reveal was only slightly less difficult than beating Reid Bigland at arm wrestling.

While we’re still sans pricing, we do know the level of kit bestowed on each trim of Gladiator, including – wait for it! – the base model.

Even the cheapest (a relative term) Gladiator will apparently be able to tow a best-in-class 7,650 lbs, a number that outstrips all but a pair of the fifteen configurations of the V6 Ram 1500 with which it shares showroom space – and even those two machines (3.55 equipped 4×2 Quads) only beat it by a scant 80 pounds. Makes sense that it’s equipped with a hitch and seven-pin wiring connectors as standard equipment, then. This is one stout Jeep.

Base Gladiators are, like their Wrangler brothers, called the Sport. Heavy-duty Dana 44 axles are found underneath the thing. Command-Trac part-time four-wheel drive is shared with all other versions of the Gladiator, save the mighty Rubicon, and there are skid plates over the fuel tank.

Upgrading your not-a-Scrambler will not net you any extra power, as all trims get the same 285 horsepower Pentastar V6 and six-speed manual as standard equipment. It goes without saying one should stick with the stick; slushbox shifting costs a heady $2,000 on the base Wrangler Unlimited, so expect it to cost the same or more on the Gladiator.

At this price point, Gladiator owners are quite literally sitting in the cheap seats, as the chairs are devoid of any power adjustments and bear tough cloth upholstery. Ideal for a Jeep, then. The base infotainment unit blows compared to the 8.4-inch Uconnect, but at least it has Bluetooth. It’ll not escape your notice that the window controls are of the manual variety; power units don’t appear until the Sport S. I’ll posit here that this is a good thing, as power windows are simply one more connection to fiddle with and eventually wear out after repeated removal/installation cycles of the side doors.

It’s a Jeep, so of course drivers can remove those doors and roof, preferably not while they are driving. The windshield flips and folds in a much easier fashion than the JK Wrangler, too. Lockable rear seat storage keeps valuables outta sight when you hit up the beach but leave the Gladiator’s doors at home. All ten colours are available on the Sport as well. Hydro Blue is shown here on stock 17-inch steelies. I enjoy the fact that the base model retains fog lights.

Base models of the four-door Wrangler Unlimited start at $31,545 and it would not be unreasonable to expect at least a 10 percent premium for the Gladiator. That would put Jeep’s pickup right around $34,700. A heap o’ beans to be sure. Check this post to call me out after FCA announces pricing in the new year.

Ace of Base, then? Well, we won’t know for sure until they issue a Monroney but assuming there’s a ten grand spread between entry level and top-of-the-line (like the Wrangler), I’d argue one can build up a base Jeep beyond Rubicon capability – save for the Rock-Trac low range system – for less than the price differential.

[Images: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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52 Comments on “Ace of Base: 2020 Jeep Gladiator...”


  • avatar
    2drsedanman

    Expect some dealer price gouging, regardless of trim. Hopefully an Army green or tan color will be available.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    Props for jeep offering all 10 colors , hopefully at no cost, but 2 K for a auto seems high, maybe I am wrong about that. I am sure it will sell well and 99% of them will live in Kroger parking lots. If there is a 10% premium for this vs the wrangler , why buy this? Serious question for all you Jeep folks.

  • avatar
    FerrariLaFerrariFace

    Man… 7650# towing with a manual transmission? This almost makes me wish I didn’t just buy a Colorado. Almost. Because once I see the price, I’ll surely get over that feeling.

    • 0 avatar
      Giskard

      Sadly no. Max towing is only available with the slushbox. According to the full spec sheet leaked to the gladiator forum the base truck will only be rated to tow 4000 pounds. You have to step up to the max tow package to tow 7650 pounds (this adds the Rubicon’s wider 4:10 axles and is only available with the auto trans). The manual Rubicon will be capable of towing slightly more (4500 pounds), but still a far cry from 7650.

  • avatar
    Mike Beranek

    Doesn’t seem very “basey” to me at 37k. A four-cylinder base engine would be a better way to go, even with a lower tow rating. The base should be within spitting distance of 30k, especially with crank windows!

  • avatar
    MrGrieves

    Rest assured every Jeep franchise will pack the heck out of the MSRP with all sorts of dealer-installed options. They’ll also add a “premium vehicle” charge. I’m guessing none will be sold the first year of availability for under $50K.

    I live in a town with a large military base, they’ll probably go for even more in this area.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Pack? It’s more like PAD. Sun-protectant paint sealer anyone? $395, when a bottle of Nu-Finish costs $6.99 at Wal-Mart.

      In fact, that’s what many dealers use. You spread it on, and wipe it off. That’s all there’s to it.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Yep, $35K would have been my guess as well and you will NEVER see any discounts on these… ever and they will sell them quicker then they can make them

    • 0 avatar
      jh26036

      When supply eventually outstrips demand, it’ll be discounted like any regular Wrangler.

      And for those who are patient, order one, you’ll still get your discount and what the specs you want. Lead time is as little as 4 weeks (at least for JKUs).

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Yes but I also predict that the Dealer Markup will last for nearly the first year of production and that it will be roughly $10,000.

        • 0 avatar
          MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

          I would not be surprised, but one would REALLY hafta have a strong need to pose to spend over MSRP for one of these.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            But that always happens when something new is introduced. Often buyers will bid up against each other and the dealership just goes with the flow.

            The dealership has no obligation to any buyer other than to part that buyer with as much of their money as they can.

            To think otherwise is uninformed and naive of the auto bid’ness.

          • 0 avatar

            A friend of mine has already contacted several dealers. He is expecting to get one of the first Rubicon’s he expects to pay around $55K. And looking at some forumns he’s not alone.

  • avatar

    $35K for a vehicle with manual windows?

    My Tacoma was $35K and comes with a lot more features. And even the base $27K taco comes with power windows. It doesn’t have the removable roof option, so you need to justify that as an $8,000+ feature.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Does a $27k Tacoma come with 4wd, quad cab, towing package and a V-6 engine? But, yes, its power windows that matter so much more than that silly stuff.

      • 0 avatar
        MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

        They may as well price it aligned with Tacomas as far as equipment levels, because they both will hold their values amazingly well.

        People can then choose between looks/coolness and perceived Japanese quality.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      I don’t think Tacoma and this Jeep care of each other. Tacoma is a truck, this is a toy with a truck bed and lots of off-road ability. Solid axle – does Tacoma have it?

      • 0 avatar

        In the off road market the two most cross shopped vehicles are the Tacoma and Wrangler at least they used to be 10 years ago. The demo’s line up with the addition of more suburban Moms on the Wrangler side.

  • avatar
    MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

    My guess is Jeep will smell blood in the water, and this will start close to 40 Grand. And I don’t really see the point of it, I mean our F250 4×4 (stick) can “do” way more pickup stuff than one of these, and it was a fraction of the cost. These won’t be bought to do work, they will be bought so people can say they got the newest Jeep thing.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    TTAC circa 2016: Jeep is stupid for not making a pickup, it’s free money.
    FCA 2017: we’re introducing a Jeep pickup
    TTAC 2017: yay!

    *Journalist predicts price*

    TTAC 2018: This is going to be an overpriced poser mobile, boo, I can’t afford it so I will proclaim it is stupid!

    How much is the average new car?

    • 0 avatar
      MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

      I never said the first thing, back in 2016 or any other time, and I would have predicted the overpriced posermobile thing at any point along the way. And I like your username, referring to an overpriced posermobile compared to say my Tahoe :)

      Oh and I just bought a $45,000 vehicle so it stands to reason I could afford a $40,000 one. But it’s cool to assume facts not in evidence.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        Im glad you feel the need to tell me you can afford a $45k car, the fact remains $45k is not a lot of money today outside of middle America. Not sure what my username has to do with your comment? If you want talk about poser mobiles then look no further than the prolification of front drive, car based, crossovers with owners pretending they’re buying an SUV and not a less useful minivan.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      I think, average transaction is misleading thing for sure. I know huge group of people who lives lets say in NYC or Boston. And they don’t need a car on daily basis and commute using public transportation. But for the weekend they have Lexus or BMW. So here we go – they use one car but they bring average transaction higher up.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        There is almost no interesting vehicles below that $38k (or whatever it was) median. Even a pickup that doesn’t have a poverty spec engine option and isn’t a complete stripper is in the $30k range now.

        I see that average trans price as the base price to get into anything that won’t suck your soul from your body. It may be skewed by people in large cities, but theres a lot of low income people that skew it in the opposite directions in every town and city in the country.

        • 0 avatar
          slavuta

          I think, this is wrong! Mustang GT is what, 32K? I think, there are plenty interesting things under 38K.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            I said ALMOST no interesting vehicles, yes the Mustang is an exception and I’m sure we could find a couple more (2dr Wrangler, Hemi Charger/challenger for instance) but we have limited choices that are increasingly becoming more limited.

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          Good lord…There is a Focus RS, new up at the local dealer with 38.5 splashed across the windshield. Bet I could get that at 38. Not interesting I suppose though. Sorry about your ED.

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            That excludes all the Miatas, Focus/Fiesta ST, GTI (You could probably snag a Golf R for 38), WRX. Awesome cars, but for a great price as well. I guess not so much for the “Hemi See your doctor if you have an erection lasting longer than 4 hours crowd” though. Yeah, because straight lines 1/4 mile at a time are sooooo interesting. Get real.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            Yes because paying $38 for a econo box with a 4 cylinder and FWD is super interesting. It’s literally a FWD econobox that your trying to justify your interest in by insulting me. Yes it must be a great car If that’s all the merit it takes to make a chintzy car “awesome”.

            I can’t fit in a Miata as I’m too tall else that would be one of the cheapest fun cars. Everything else you mentioned are cheap economy cars disguised under the faux category of “hot hatches”.

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            Because your posts are like a Viagra ad.

            You: there are no interesting cars under 38k

            Me:. Here is a list of sub 38k cars that the automotive enthusiast community as a whole is positive about and certainly finds interesting.

            You:. But muh veeeee eight. Those are just economy cars. Yeah because a freaking Focus RS isn’t a serious car. The crap you come is today’s crown Vic…mailing it in and checking the boxes for oldsters.

  • avatar
    Oberkanone

    Open your pockets to FCA. Nickel and dime their customers is the plan for Jeep as far too many options should be standard on the higher trim levels. It won’t end there. Jeep is well aware their customers will open their wallets to add wheels, tires, lights, etc. to replace the subpar stock equipment before they ever leave the dealership and take their Jeep on road.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      You may be right because I know several old codgers who are just chompin’ at the bit to be the first to own one of these, no matter the cost.

      Because they can!

      And that is going to dent the real Jeep aficionado who is budget-restrained or strapped for cash because they are limited to owning/insuring only ONE vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Just lay low for awhile. Wait. If this thing is not moving, it will be discounted. If it is like Wrangler, still wait until people get their fill, Jeep fixes issues; then buy whatever model you like because resale is great. You not gonna lose too much on this

      • 0 avatar

        You do realize there aren’t huge savings on Wranglers right? At least here in New England factory incentives are rare. All they usually offer are some lease deals on lower trims. I know quite a few Wrangler owners and a few I know what they paid and it’s usually within 5% of MSRP. Which dosen’t really bother them thanks to insane resale values.

  • avatar
    Carrera

    For about 34-35,000 this truck with this level of equipment isn’t too bad. It isn’t good, but it isn’t too bad. And as for the Tacoma comparison, I take the 3.6 Pentastar any day over the new Toyota Tacoma V6 3.5

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      What was the intent and purpose of an Atkinson-cycle ICE in the Tacoma? When pushed, like in 4WD driving slowly off the beaten path, you can still watch the gas gauge go down, just like in other trucks.

      • 0 avatar
        Carrera

        Exactly Highdesertcat. Could be better on the hwy I guess? I don’t know.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Carrera, my #3 son has one of those new Tacomas and he has told me that mpgs aren’t all that great. Not even driving up I-10 towards El Paso, TX. But he’s happy with it.

          Seems to me, Toyota could have fitted REAR DISCs and Calipers to make a better truck instead of an Atkinson-cycle V6 engine.

          Almost makes the new Canyon/Colorado the better value in the V6 market, even without the reliability, durability, dependability and longevity of the Tacoma factored in.

          • 0 avatar
            Carrera

            Well I am not so sure about their legendary reliability and all that. They are not sitting on a very good spot on CR. Oh, my dad’s 1992 Toyota PUP LX, 5 speed manual? Yes, that had legendary reliability. I have a coworker who owns a loaded TRD crew cab, manual 4×4 and he had a bunch of small, very unlike Toyota small annoyances.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            “….a bunch of small, very unlike Toyota small annoyances.”

            Yup, my son did as well.

  • avatar
    MoparRocker74

    Far as Im concerned, this is the ONLY sub-full-size pickup that even exists. Standard 4×4 (solid axles, WOO-HOOO!!), check. Manual transmission, check. Crank up windows, check. Engine…eh. I like the pentastar as V6’s go but this needs a Hemi! Still, its not a dinky 4-banger hooked to a slushbox so its tolerable. Best of all, it’s everything I loved about my Wranglers/CJs but in a versatile all around package. Granted, a direct reboot of my ‘85 Scrambler is what I would REALLY want, but this isn’t bad.

    For me, the elephant in the room is a single cab 4×4 Ram 1500 Express…which does give me a Hemi upgrade, and my preferred single cab body style, even if I have to give up the manual and straight front axle.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      I am wondering, how much maintenance/lubrication this suspension/drivetrain needs? I will check the manual for scheduled maint. before thinking this option

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        I’m not sure about FCA but GM has apparently switched to no maintenance suspension, had to argue with idiot at the service desk for him to grease the zerks on my H2 he claimed didn’t exist.

        I prefer servicable parts as they seem to last significantly longer when cared for compared to non servicable parts.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      This, I’m sure Toyotas will still sell to those fanatics, and Nissans will continue to be fleet darlings, and maybe the other two will get sales from old codgers that just want a cheap base truck.
      But anyone that actually is interested in a less than fullsize 4 door would be hard up not to give this a serious look. If this had a V8 I would 100% be in line to buy one. I think the only other oversight (other than of course lack of enough engine) is a extended cab model a couple grand cheaper, not something I would buy but a good way to get people in the dealer. Granted GM went 4 door only on the H3T and 10 years later crew cabs have only increased.

      Both the ZR2 and Raptor Ranger are a joke compared to this Jeep even in stock form.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        I don’t know man…If I really need a 4 door truck the back doors on this thing look fairly useless. And again, if I don’t understand the “jeep” thing this is probaly well into fullsized extended cab money, forget the other traditional midsizers. And the roof is a hindarance for that buyer.

        Not saying it won’t sell…It likely will en masse, but not to buyers who just want a smaller truck. For that market it doesnt seem to be alot of bang for the buck and has some compromises. As a cool vehicle likely with some offroad chops, sure but as a pure midsized truck, doubt it.

        And I’d wait to proclaim it the champ over the others when they haven’t even built a Ranger Raptor. Whatever the top dog offroad Bronco is should give us a look at what to expect there if they do. Still I’d be surprised if those got the solid front axle which I think is such a massive plus on an offroad rig that it typically outweighs most faults. Then again, having been down that path, breakover and departure angles are things too so we will see.

  • avatar
    Goatshadow

    I want to like it, but I would want DOUBLE extra super bedliner, and the manual crank windows can go f**k themselves.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    The 2016 jeep wrangler linked to this article had FCA charging $1350 for a slush box, no idea which one vs what is there enow but that is a big jump, I think roll down windows are a joke but maybe it might make sense with the doors common on and off, not sure if ace of base jeeps wrangles in the past had them, this is not for me. It is a Jeep thing you would not understand is 100% correct in this case, and that is before the dealer extra pinstripe markup.

    • 0 avatar
      rudiger

      A possible explanation for the automatic trans price difference might be the towing capacity. This is just a guess, but maybe the Gladiator’s automatic includes the uprated towing package, while you have to order it a la carte on the Unlimited. It would make sense since I vaguely recall the Unlimited tow package being about that much.

  • avatar
    cicero1

    how much will fully optioned mounted 50 cal. version cost?

  • avatar
    FWD Donuts

    Good grief. That contraption is hideous. Wouldn’t be caught dead in one. Then again, I don’t need a bed for hauling around freshly harvested marijuana plants (organic of course) for delivery to the medicinal marijuana store. There should be a Birkenstock special edition. Yikes.

  • avatar
    JD-Shifty

    without a V8 it’s a non starter.


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