BERNAT LÓPEZ / ©RACERZ
The 2020 Jeep Gladiator pickup truck has been a long time coming. For decades, Jeep has teased us with the idea of a Wrangler-based pickup trucks. At the 2018 LA Auto Show, America’s off-road brand finally delivered on its promise – in a big way.
The Gladiator’s arrival comes at a time when truck sales are hot and the midsized pickup truck market is expanding, with the return of the Ford Ranger. Like the Wrangler, the Gladiator will be distinguished by its off-road ability, its removable hard and soft tops, and the brand allure.
Under the Gladiator’s hood sits Jeep’s familiar 3.6-liter V-6, rated here at 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. Power shuttles to all four wheels via either a 6-speed manual transmission or an 8-speed automatic transmission. Sometime in 2020, Jeep said that it will offer a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6 rated at 220 hp and a hefty 442 lb-ft of torque tied to an 8-speed automatic as an option. The Gladiator doesn’t get the turbo-4 offered in the Wrangler.
With the automatic transmission and an optional tow package, the gas V-6 is rated to tow as much as 7.650 pounds. Order carefully, however, as manual transmission models top out at 4.500 pounds. Payload capacity is similarly variable, ranging from around 1.100 to as much as 1.600 pounds.
Safety & Driver-Assist Systems
Jeep lists the availability of several advanced safety and driver-assist features, including forward collision warning, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, and a rearview camera with dynamic guidelines. The Wrangler currently makes such features available only on the higher trims.
Like its Wrangler siblings, the new Gladiator offers a fully removable top, fold-down windshield, and removable doors. There is no other truck that can provide the same open-air motoring.
The aftermarket will pounce on this opportunity, just like they have with the Wrangler, to offer a wide range of soft tops, custom hardtops, half doors, etc. The last time the North American market got a truck with a removable top was 1991, with the Dodge Dakota Sport convertible. But even that unique low-volume truck didn’t offer a drop-down windshield and easily removable doors like the new Gladiator. Let’s enjoy the desert with it!
What it competes with: Chevrolet Colorado, Ford Ranger, GMC Canyon, Toyota Tacoma
Estimated price: $34,000
On-sale date: Spring 2019