Ace of Base: 2020 Jeep Gladiator

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
ace of base 2020 jeep gladiator

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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  • FWD Donuts FWD Donuts on Dec 19, 2018

    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.

  • JD-Shifty JD-Shifty on Dec 20, 2018

    without a V8 it's a non starter.

  • Jeff S In the EV market Tesla is not a niche player it is the major player. According to the latest data of the California-based vehicle valuation and automotive research company  Kelley Blue Book, Tesla has the lion’s share with 75 percent market share in  the electric vehicle market in the first three months of 2022.Tesla has dominated the electric vehicle market for years in the United States. The electric vehicles manufactured by Tesla accounted for 79 percent of the new electric vehicles registered in the United States in 2020 and 69,95 percent in 2021. The decrease in the market share in 2021 might be explained by backlogs and the global chip shortage, but the company is ramping up its sales and has already increased its market share to 75 percent in the first quarter of the year. According to Kelley Blue Book, the top 10 EVs sold in the US in the first quarter of 2022 are;[list=1][*]Tesla Model Y[/*][*]Tesla Model 3[/*][*]Ford Mustang Mach-E[/*][*]Tesla Model X[/*][*]Hyundai Ioniq 5[/*][*]Kia EV6[/*][*]Tesla Model S[/*][*]Nissan Leaf[/*][*]Kia Niro[/*][*]Audi e-Tron[/*][/list=1]Tesla has delivered 310,048 vehicles in the first quarter of 2022, another first-quarter record. The success of Tesla is proven once again as the company has three electric cars in the top 10 most selling electric vehicles in the United States, while no other manufacturer has even two different models on the list.Tesla leads all others, selling slightly over 936,000 units in 2021. This gave the company a market share of nearly 14%.Mar 30, 2022
  • Jeff S I did not know Plymouth had a full size van prior to the mini vans. I did know about the Plymouth pickups and the Trail Duster.
  • Arthur Dailey When I grew tired of the T-Bird trying to kill me by refusing to start at the most inconvenient times/places, I replaced it with a '79 fullsized Dodge (Sportsman) van. Similar to this but with a different grille and rectangular headlights. The 4 'captains' chairs in my van were pretty much identical to the ones in this van. Mine certainly was not as nicely finished inside. And it was a handful to drive in snow/ice. One thing that strikes me about this van is that although a conversion it does not seem to have the requisite dark tint on the windows.
  • Jeff S I am not a fan of Tesla and they were niche vehicles but it seems that they have become more common. I doubt if I get an EV that it would be a Tesla. The electrical grid will have to be expanded because people over the long run are not going to accept the excuse of the grid can't handle people charging their EVs.
  • AMcA The '70 Continentals and Town Cars may have been cousins to the standard body Fords and Mercurys, they didn't have to be disguised, because they had unique, unbelievably huge bodies of their own. Looking at the new 1970 interior, I'd say it was also a cost savings in sewing the seat. Button tufted panels like the 1969 interior had require a lot of sewing and tufting work. The 1970 interior is mostly surface sewing on a single sheet of upholstery instead of laboriously assembled smaller pieces. FINALLY: do I remember correctly that the shag carpet shown under these cars was a Photoshop? They didn't really go so peak '70s as to photograph cars on shag carpets, did they?