It has taken Jeep an almost 30-year-gap before pickups have become a part of its lineup again, with the 2020 Jeep Gladiator winning hearts wherever it goes. While it may look like an extended Wrangler with a pickup bed, there are as many similarities between the two as there are differences.
Even if you weren’t a Jeep fan before, a Gladiator test-drive may just make you a Jeeper for life. While there may be a need for further refinements since the 2020 Jeep Gladiator is an all-new vehicle, it’s a beautiful debut and may just become the next big thing on the auto bazaar. Here are 10 things you may not have known about the 2020 Jeep Gladiator.
10 There Was Once A Gladiator Before
The 2020 Jeep Gladiator isn’t the first Gladiator. The first Jeep Gladiator was introduced in 1963 and stayed on till 1972, even if it didn’t have as many bells and whistles as the 2020 Jeep Gladiator. Even after 1972, the Jeep pickup stayed alive, but they were now dubbed the J-Series pickup.
And frankly, while the 2020 Jeep Gladiator may seem new to us all because of Jeep’s pickup avatar, pickups have been part of Jeep since 1947. Of course, there has been a 28-year-gap in Jeep pickups with the last XJ-based Comanche being culled in 1992. It the 2020 Jeep Gladiator that has brought the pickup back into Jeep’s line.
9 It's A Great Daily Driver
Most sports cars or two-seat cars are not good for daily driving. They take up space, take in too much fuel and offer somewhat rough rides. While the Gladiator is a sporty ride (not too fast though), it is a class apart. One reason why this could be your next daily driver is because of the pickup bed.
All your shopping lists can be accomplished with the 2020 Jeep Gladiator. And with the roofs and the doors open, nothing would feel like a chore anymore. It’s an immensely fun car to drive and can make you a lifelong Jeeper.
8 Sporty, But Not Sports Car Fast
Do not go for the Gladiator is you are looking for something like the GMC Syclone. This is not a fast pickup and will not respond to you pressing the accelerator as much as you like. It’s big and it ambles. It will get you there in a fun, if not the fastest way.
The manual transmission makes it even more fun to drive, but it also adds a time lag. The single-engine option, of a 285-horsepower 3.6-liter V6, works better with the eight-speed automatic, though it takes the driving fun away. With a 10-inch ground clearance (11.1 for the Rubicon) it does make for a capable off-roader, even if it’s a bit slow.
7 Far More Stable Than The Wrangler
From the front, the Gladiator does look ditto to the Wrangler and it is so because it is heavily based on the same. While it looks like the Wrangler, there is a ton of difference in the working and the mechanics. The Gladiator has another 18.9 inches of stretch on the already stretched-out four-door Wrangler.
Surprisingly, it is this additional wheelbase that lets the Gladiator drive a lot different from the Wrangler and gives it a far smoother and more stable ride. The five-link rear suspension (taken from the RAM?) makes it a comfortable ride for the second-row passengers as well.
6 There Are Times You May Not Like It
If you love the wind in your hair, the 2020 Jeep Gladiator is your best friend. Of course, if you remove the roofs, doors and the windshield (which is also immensely fun to do for the first few times, and thereafter may just turn into a chore), the wind may turn into a category 5 windstorm.
Also, though it handles better than the Wrangler, it's still not built to turn tight or accelerate too fast. It is big and needs a decent parking space. Plus this is not a car to go zippy fast in either. And it is a noisy drive so too many rides in it may get the spine aching, and the eardrums ringing.
5 Not The Greatest Pickup, But Very Savvy
If you want a pickup, there are better pickups available – like the Ford F-Series or the RAM trucks. But the 2020 Jeep Gladiator is still a very usable, nifty pickup with a five-feet bed which is also the standard for trucks like the Ford Ranger.
The payload capacity is a decent 1,600 pounds while the 7,500 pounds towing capacity can be pretty useful as well. This combined with its decent offroad capabilities can turn every trip into an unforgettable adventure. Think camping in the wilderness, secret trails to the beach, kayaking under the stars or just riding your bike on nature trails.
4 The Rubicon Trim: The Perfect OffRoader
Like the Wrangler, the 2020 Jeep Gladiator also comes in the Rubicon trim. For the Gladiator, this means an upgraded four-wheel-drive transfer case with the right gears for off-roading at low speeds. Better shock absorbers, locking differentials for both the front and rear as well as a disconnecting front sway bar offers a superior ride even when the Jeep is doing some tough terrain.
All-terrain tires work to chew up any kind of road and the taller fender flares reduce bumps and scratches. It also has rock rails (like the Rubicon Wrangler) plus extra protection for the bed overhang. The better suspension makes it handle the terrain even better than the Wrangler, and make for a far smoother ride.
3 What’s With The ❤419?
Look closely on the left side of the pickup bed, and you will spot a ❤419 stamp. It does not stand for the capacity, or the length or any kind of measurement in fact. So what is it exactly? No great mystery. The Jeep Gladiator is being assembled where the Wrangler is, in Toledo, Ohio in a massive 312-acre area.
Divided into two sections – the bigger north plant is where the Wranglers are made and the smaller south plant is where the 2020 Jeep Gladiator action is at. The south plant was upgraded at a massive $1 billion cost in 2017 to make it Gladiator friendly. So the 419 is just the area code for Toledo and the Jeep Gladiator loves it.
2 Wrangler-Based, But Different
While the rear-end of the Wrangler and the Gladiator are miles apart, the front crew-cab does look a lot similar. The removable doors, roof (hardtop or soft-top) and windshield are very much like the other. And if you wanted after-market doors and roof, it’s a one-size-fits-all for both the 2020 Jeep Gladiator and the Wrangler.
Of course, the Rubicon trim of the Wrangler boasts Dana 44 axles. But these are standard for all Gladiators, Rubicon trims or not. Technically, the Gladiator also makes for a better ride because of the axles, and the longer wheelbase. So the similarities are there, but so are the differences.
1 Some Fun Stuff
If you need a little more secure storage than the pickup bed, lift the rear seats of the Gladiator for a nifty storage bin. There’s a full-size spare fitted under the bed, so that’s a boon for any off-roader. And that after-market bike rack comes mounted on a set of sliders for ease of use.
The Uconnect multimedia system comes with a 5-inch touchscreen that can be upgraded to a 7-inch or an 8.4-inch one, with added Apple and Android compatibility. There’s a premium audio/subwoofer stored in a compartment behind the rear seats – this works as a detachable Bluetooth speaker to carry music with you, where the Jeep can’t go.