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

Just Posted

Greater father involvement in the home leads to improved childhood development and increased marital satisfaction, says expert. (Black Press Media file photo)
University of Victoria researcher finds lack of father involvement a drag on gender equality

Working women still taking on most child and household duties in Canada

New COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island by local health area for the week of June 6-12. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control image)
New COVID-19 cases up on Island, but health officials say trends going right way

There were 22 new COVID-19 cases in Greater Victoria last week after just four the week before

Emergency health services treated a person after they were blocking traffic at the intersection of Fort and Douglas Streets on June 17. (Evert Lindquist/ News Staff)
Victoria intersection traffic returns to normal after protester blocked roadway

A person in a motorized wheelchair was blocking the intersection at Fort and Douglas Streets

Eric White’s roadside farm stand in Metchosin sits stocked with produce. (Photo courtesy of Eric White)
Fledgling Metchosin farmer frustrated by thefts from stand

Eric White said every dollar made at the roadside helps sustain his farm

Saanich police took a suspect into custody after a store employee on Cedar Hill Cross Road was assaulted Wednesday afternoon. (Black Press Media file photo)
Employee assaulted at Saanich store after asking suspected shoplifters to leave

June 16 incident saw worker taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: When was the last time you visited the mainland?

The films are again lighting the screens at local theatres, the wine… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of June 15

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

The Co-op gas station at Whiskey Creek is burning after a camper van exploded while refueling just before 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
Exploding camper van torches Highway 4 gas station between Qualicum Beach and Port Alberni

Highway traffic blocked after Whiskey Creek gas station erupts into flames

Helen Austin performing with Trent Freeman at the 2018 Vancouver Island MusicFest. Austin is one of the many performers listed for the 2021 event.
Vancouver Island MusicFest goes virtual for 2021

Black Press to stream 25 hours of programming July 9-11

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

Most Read