Expert review written by the Kelley Blue Book vehicle review editorial team.
The long-awaited 2020 Jeep Gladiator lives up to its midsize-truck promise and doesn’t disappoint as an off-roader either. With a starting price at $33,545, it’s the highest entry-level midsize truck available, but offers singular Jeep styling and convertible capability for a fun off-road vehicle that can do a lot of work-truck heavy lifting.
You'll Like The 2020 Jeep Gladiator If...
Combines Jeep Wrangler off-road pedigree with 5-passenger pickup truck utilityBest-in-class towing capacity of 7,650 poundsChoice of automatic or manual transmissionGasoline or diesel V6 engine optionsRemoveable roof and door panels enable open-air adventuring
You May Not Like The 2020 Jeep Gladiator If...
Highest starting price among midsize pickupsOnly available in one cab/bed configurationBase models lack basic features like power windows and power door locks
2020 Jeep Gladiator is all-new modelGladiator marks the long-awaited return of a Jeep pickup truck
The interior looks and feels familiar to the latest Jeep Wrangler JK generation, with the similar center stack and console. The circle gauges and air vents evoke Jeeps of the past, which is a nice historical touch. It’s rugged inside, and has some comfortable leather-wrapped surfaces, but doesn’t feel like it’s going to be a problem when it gets dirty. There are some great storage options in the rear, both under and behind the seats. It has three seat configurations, regular for passengers, stadium seating when seat cushions are up, and the backs go flat as well. Behind the rear-right seat hides an optional wireless speaker.
The Gladiator is a right-angled rectangle on wheels true to Jeep styling, and we love it. The base Gladiator Sport trim comes with in-bed cargo lighting, 17-inch steel wheels, black one-piece fender flares, and the Sunrider folding soft-top with the sunroof. The Sport S trim adds 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights and tinted windows. Move up to the Overland and you get power-heated side mirrors, side steps so it’s easier to get into your truck, and 18-inch wheels with all-terrain tires. At this trim a body-colored hardtop becomes an option.The Rubicon’s front bumper is winch-ready. It also comes equipped with 2-piece high-clearance fender flares, a body-colored grille with Rubicon accents, rock rails and 18-inch Falken Wildpeak all-season tires. All-terrain tires are a wise option.
There’s a 5-link coil suspension system at both front and back, both have different control-arm setups, with dampers working hard for a smoother ride on pavement. No, it’s never going to feel like a Bentley, but the on-road driving experience of Jeeps keeps getting better and better.It’s easy going on the highway without a ton of vibration. The Overland and Sport come standard with 32-inch Bridgestone tires, but the Rubicon comes with 33-inch tires with Falken all-terrain design that produces a more discernible vibration. There is a bit of road noise inside the cabin, but even that gets better with every Jeep generation.On the Sport and Overland models Jeep’s Command-Trac 4×4 system comes standard and features a 2-speed transfer case and heavy-duty Dana 44 front and rear axles. The Rubicon comes standard with the Rock-Trac 4×4 system, which includes those Dana 44 axles but also locking differentials and an electronic sway-bar disconnect feature.The available low-end torque on both systems is as good as you’ve come to expect on the Wrangler, but especially on the Rubicon. In the longer-wheelbase Gladiator the sideways crabbing you get in 4-low as the front and rear wheels fight each other, becomes more pronounced. However, between the grip of the tires and its stout torque, even the manual Rubicon made easy work of large obstacles.
Pricing Notes (around 50-150 words)There is a $10,000 spread in base price from the entry-level 2020 Jeep Gladiator Sport at $33,545 to the rugged Rubicon at $43,545. In between buyers can opt for a Sport S at $36,745 and the Overland, which starts at $40,395. Delivery is $1,495 extra.
The Gladiator Sport trim comes with trailer-sway control, in-bed cargo lighting, LED interior lighting, push-button start, a 5-inch display, cloth seats and lockable rear and behind-seat storage in the passenger area. The Sport S trim adds power door and tailgate locks, power windows, remote keyless entry, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and illuminated sun visors. Move up to the Overland and you get a vehicle theft alarm protecting the doors and tailgate, the universal garage-door opener, and 18-inch wheels with all-terrain tires. On the interior you’re treated to dual-zone climate control, a larger 7-inch display screen, and a 115-volt outlet in the center console. There are two more USB and two additional USB-C ports for all your electronics as well. Options include a body-colored hardtop, LED lighting and leather-trimmed seats. In addition to its robust off-road extras the Rubicon features LED center-console lighting and premium cloth seats.
If the standard Sunrider top isn’t sufficient, a Premium Sunrider top, Freedom Top, which is a modular 3-piece hardtop with rear defroster and a sliding rear window, or a body-colored hardtop all grace the option sheet. Leather-trimmed seats, a hardtop headliner, remote start and passive entry are additional add-ons. If you’re not entertained with Jeep’s available options, Mopar has more than 200 aftermarket parts ready to trick out your Gladiator.
CONVERTIBLE OPTIONSIt’s a tough work truck that comes with convertible soft-top and hardtop options. The doors come off and the windshield folds forward for a complete open-air driving experience expected in a Jeep.3-POSITION TAILGATEYes, two of the positions are open and closed, but Jeep offers a third. With the tailgate cable a midway position is optional, making it easy to load larger items such as drywall or 2x4s that extend beyond the 5-foot bed. It’s a small, but thoughtful feature.
Under the Hood
Initially, there’s a single engine option available for the Gladiator, a 3.6-liter V6 engine that makes 285 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque and is mated to a 6-speed manual transmission. An 8-speed automatic transmission is available if you choose. Coming later will be a 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 that makes 260 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque. The 8-speed automatic will be the diesel engine’s only transmission.3.6-liter V6285 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm260 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/22 mpg (automatic), 16/23 mpg (manual)3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6260 horsepower442 lb-ft of torqueEPA city/highway fuel economy: N/A
The long-awaited, all-new Jeep Gladiator lives up to its midsize-truck promise with its tough, lightweight construction, best-in-class 7,650 pounds of towing power, and excellent 1,600-pound payload capacity. It doesn’t disappoint as an off-roader either incorporating the Wrangler’s legendary pedigree. With a starting price of $33,545, it’s the highest entry-level midsize truck available, but offers singular Jeep styling and convertible capability. On the road the Gladiator feels surprisingly untruck-like, offering a solid daily driving experience. The Gladiator boasts dual-purpose credentials; it’s a fun off-road vehicle that can do a lot of work-truck heavy lifting. Best of both worlds? It just might be.