Jeep Gladiator pickup revealed: class-leading towing, diesel option, much more

Angelica Greene
December 1, 2018

All hail the 2020 Jeep Gladiator, promising to be a pickup par excellence and the midsize truck to make you forget anything Chevrolet or Ford might have on offer.

For starters, the Gladiator features a new frame not shared with Wrangler that's a whopping 31 inches longer than the one under the Wrangler Unlimited. Jeep has teased a Wrangler-based pickup for years, including an extended-cab concept truck that bowed in late 2004.

As standard, the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 comes with Engine Stop-Start technology, 285 horsepower, and 260 pound-feet of torque. This translates to a payload capacity ranging from a maximum of 1,600 pounds (for the Sport 3.6-liter V-6 with the six-speed manual and 3.73:1 gears) to 1,105 pounds (for the Sport 3.6-liter V-6 with the eight-speed automatic and 3.73:1 gears or the Rubicon 3.6-liter V-6 with the eight-speed auto and 4.10:1 gears).

"Unquestionably a truck and instantly recognizable as a Jeep, the all-new 2020 Gladiator is the ultimate vehicle for any outdoor adventure", said Tim Kuniskis, head of Jeep North America at the unveiling in LA. An 8-speed automatic is optional.

Out back the Gladiator can tow a healthy 3470kg. Jeep includes Command-Trac and Rock-Trac 4×4 systems with third-generation Dana 44 axles, Tru-Lock electric front- and rear-axle lockers, Trac-Lok limited-slip differential and a segment-exclusive electronic sway-bar disconnect. While the pickup truck's front suspension is identical to the Wrangler's solid front axle with coil springs, the rear has a five-link coil-spring setup in place of trailing arms, with two upper and two lower forged steel control arms for longitudinal control, and a track bar for lateral control of the axle. Those features come standard on the more lavish Overland, which offers leather seats as an option. All of this, allied to the claimed approach angle of 43.6 degrees, breakover angle of 20.3 degrees, a 26 degree departure angle and 282mm of ground clearance should make the Gladiator Rubicon a rather formidable off road beast.

From a design standpoint, the Wrangler-design inspiration is clear with the circular headlights, seven-slot grille and square taillights.

While the Gladiator's 725kg payload may be down on what we in NZ expect a ute to haul it can still tow 3,500kg
SuppliedWhile the Gladiator's 725kg payload may be down on what we in NZ expect a ute to haul it can still tow 3,500kg

The 152cm steel tray is capable of taking a 725kg payload, and not only incorporates tie-down points but also a covered 400-watt power outlet and integrated lighting. The sides of the bed box were left low on objective for easy reach in to load or unload items.

Predictably, all Gladiators are four-wheel-drive.

Like the Wrangler, you'll be able to enjoy an open air experience in the Gladiator.

The Gladiator is a Jeep Wrangler four-door-up until its rear seatbacks. In the case of either top, the Gladiator's doors can be removed with a hand tool, and the windshield can be folded down.

The Gladiator instrument cluster is either a 3.5-inch or 7-inch configurable display as well.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility is a neat touch on a rufty-tufty off-roader like this, as are five USB ports and a forward-facing off-road camera that can show you what you couldn't hope to see from the driver's seat.

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