After many months of speculation and rumours, Jeep officially makes its return to the pickup market with the 2020 Gladiator.
Jeep based the Gladiator on the latest generation Wrangler Unlimited, so the two vehicles share a lot in common between the front bumper and C pillar. Behind that, the Gladiator gets a five-foot-long pickup bed that makes the pickup longer tip to tail than the Wrangler.
There are also differences you can't see: the Gladiator gets a beefed-up frame and a rear suspension based on that in the Ram 1500 truck to boost the Jeep's towing abilities.
For 2020, all Gladiator models come with a 3.6L V6 that makes 285 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual is the standard transmission, and an eight-speed auto is the option. Naturally, four-wheel drive is standard. The Wrangler's turbo four-cylinder is not available here, but Jeep says a diesel is coming.
With the Gladiator, Jeep throws its hat into the mid-size pickup ring to compete with trucks like the Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, Toyota Tacoma and Ford Ranger. With its relatively shallow cargo bed, the Gladiator will arguably be less practical than those more traditional trucks, but it's hard to argue with the Jeep's appearance and baked-in off-road prowess.
Jeep Gladiator trims include Sport, Overland and Rubicon. The latter is the off-road star, with an electronic disconnecting front sway bar, locking differentials, a grille-mounted off-road camera and big, knobby off-road tires.
Sport trim keeps things basic, with roll-up windows and manual door locks and side mirrors. It also gets fog lights, 17-inch wheels/tires, fuel tank and transfer case skid plates, folding soft top with sunroof feature, air conditioning, push-button start (but no keyless entry of any kind), cloth seats, tilt-and-telescopic steering, eight-speaker stereo with 5.0-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, USB input, electronic roll mitigation and hill-start assist.
Overland trim brings power windows, locks and heated side mirrors, automatic headlights, side steps, 18-inch wheels, three-piece modular hard top, keyless entry, 7.0-inch touchscreen and rear-seat USB ports.
Finally, Rubicon's additions are largely off-road centric, but it does get premium cloth upholstery and extra ambient interior lighting.
Active safety is optional in all three trims. The Jeep Active Safety Group adds rear parking sensors and blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert. An Advanced Safety Group builds on that with adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go and forward collision warning with active braking.
As of this writing, Jeep hadn't published fuel consumption estimates for the Gladiator. However, we expect they'll be similar to those for the Wrangler Unlimited, at 12.9/10.2 L/100 km (city/highway) with the automatic, and 13.8/10.1 with the six-speed manual.