For the Gladiator to perform as a proper truck required a new frame that’s stronger and longer than the Wrangler Unlimited’s (by about 80 centimetres). The result is a class-leading tow rating of 3,480 kilograms and a payload rating of 730 kilograms. Photo: FCA

For the Gladiator to perform as a proper truck required a new frame that’s stronger and longer than the Wrangler Unlimited’s (by about 80 centimetres). The result is a class-leading tow rating of 3,480 kilograms and a payload rating of 730 kilograms. Photo: FCA

2020 Jeep Gladiator

The take-it-anywhere pickup owes plenty to its Wrangler roots

The four-door Wrangler Unlimited has spawned the Gladiator pickup, a vehicle that delivers a greater degree of utility, from a brand with a history of off-road competency.

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.

From the front, the 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 that’s capable of transporting up to 730 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 3,480 kilograms.

To make the Gladiator, Jeep built a new — and stronger — frame, longer than the Wrangler Unlimited’s by nearly 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 50 centimetres. The result is a smooth visual transition from passenger compartment to pickup bed. The Gladiator doesn’t 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 75 centimetres 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 sliding rear-window is standard for either hard top.

A spray-on bed liner and soft tonneau cover can also be added.

The interior is pretty much a walkover from the other Wranglers, including a colour-keyed dashboard with a myriad of knobs and switches, along with a standard touchscreen 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. Coming later in the model year, however, is a 3.0-litre V-6 turbo-diesel option with 260 horsepower and 442 pound-feet. Note that the Wrangler’s turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder gasoline engine is not available.

A six-speed manual transmission or optional eight speed automatic can be harnessed to the V-6, while the auto box will be standard with the turbo-diesel.

Fuel consumption for the 3.6 is pegged at 13.7 l/100 km in the city, 10.7 on the highway and 12.3 combined (automatic transmission).

Four-wheel-drive is standard, with two systems available, depending on the model. Command-Trac, which comes with Gladiator Sport and Overland trims, 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 trim starts at $47,400, including destination charges. It comes reasonably well turned out, but you’ll need to pony up a few more dollars for the Overland trim to get power windows and door locks, push-button start, side steps, all-terrain rubber 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 18-inch wheels (17s are standard).

As well as the available hard tops, the options list includes leather-trimmed seats, nine-speaker Alpine stereo and all available active-safety technology, such as autonomous emergency braking and blind-spot warning.

Early indications are that the Gladiator will be a smash hit, even though it’s priced as premium player in the midsize pickup category. A premium player with pedigree and unrivaled off-road experience, that is.

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 wait for the turbo-diesel if more torque is needed. • Active-safety technologies should really be standard.

Active 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) $47,400

BY COMPARISON

Ford Ranger SuperCrew 4×4

Base price: $37,650

New 2019 model marks the return of the Ranger name, but in a midsize format.

GMC Canyon Crew Cab 4×4

Base price: $35,500

Great style, roomy interior and an available 308-horsepower V-6.

Toyota Tacoma SR5 4×4

Base price: $42,500

Midsize companion to the Tundra comes with a full array of active-safety tech.

If you’re interested in new or used vehicles, visit TodaysDrive.com!

-written by Malcom Gunn, Managing Partner at Wheelbase Media.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

2020 Jeep Gladiator

The Gladiator’s rear seating can hold three adventuresome individuals, although its optimized for two. Photo: FCA

The Gladiator’s rear seating can hold three adventuresome individuals, although its optimized for two. Photo: FCA

The standard engine is the 285-horsepower 3.6-litre V-6. A new turbo-diesel is optional and offers nearly 200 pound-feet more torque. Photo: FCA

The standard engine is the 285-horsepower 3.6-litre V-6. A new turbo-diesel is optional and offers nearly 200 pound-feet more torque. 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

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

Just Posted

(File Photo)
Lights, camera, action: IFF Film Club launches monthly discussions

The club meets virtually every second Tuesday of the month to chat about indie films

Fernie Delivery is the valley’s first delivery company. (Photo Contributed)
Fernie’s first delivery service kicks off

Fernie Delivery gives residents the chance to get any local goods delivered to their doorstep

The Elk Valley Hospital is adapting to meet the needs of patients in the Elk Valley.
‘Horrible’: Number of positive tests in Elk Valley on the rise

Dr Ron Clark of Elk Valley Hospital said one in five tests was returning positive for COVID-19

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
253 new COVID-19 cases, 4 more deaths in Interior Health over the weekend

More than 1,000 cases in the region remain active

(File Photo)
Fernie Heritage Library plans Family Literacy Day events

The Fernie Heritage Library is hosting a number of programs to get kids excited about reading

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

Robbie Campbell lost his livelihood when the pandemic shut down Shambhala Music Festival. Instead, he spent part of 2020 working on a children’s book called Tulip that is now available. Photo: Submitted
In a lousy year, a Kootenay man was saved by a pink T-rex

Robbie Campbell became a children’s author after the pandemic cost him his livelihood

Health-care workers wait in line at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Canadians who have had COVID-19 should still get the vaccine, experts say

Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines were found to have a 95 per cent efficacy

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

An empty Peel and Sainte-Catherine street is shown in Montreal, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Poll finds strong support for COVID-19 curfews despite doubts about effectiveness

The poll suggests 59 per cent remain somewhat or very afraid of contracting COVID-19

Sunnybank
COVID-19 related deaths at Oliver, West Kelowna and Vernon senior care homes

Sunnybank, Heritage Retirement Residence and Noric House recorded deaths over the weekend

A female prisoner sent Langford police officers a thank-you card after she spent days in their custody. (Twitter/West Shore RCMP)
Woman gives Victoria-area jail 4.5-star review in handwritten card to police after arrest

‘We don’t often get thank you cards from people who stay with us, but this was sure nice to see’: RCMP

An elk got his antlers caught up in a zip line in Youbou over the weekend. (Conservation Officer Service Photo)
Elk rescued from zip line in Youbou on Vancouver Island

Officials urge people to manage items on their property that can hurt animals

Most Read