I drove from Casper Wyoming to Morrison Colorado eager to check out the all-new 2020 Jeep Gladiator. Driving 4+ hours in a Power Wagon ought to prepare me for the all-new pickup. After all, the Gladiator Rubicon is kind of a mini Power Wagon without the lift and winch (front bumper is winch ready though).

2020 Jeep Gladiator in Bright White. Photo. L Baures.

27 years have come and gone since the last Jeep pickup has been on the market.

Jeep tells us that enthusiasts and customers have been asking for a Jeep pickup for a long time.

So now that it’s finally here, Jeep says they wanted to make it the most capable mid-size truck and be a top performer in its class.

First drive

Gladiator Rubicon in Firecracker Red. Photo: Jeep.

Not just a chop-shopped Wrangler with a bed, but built on a truck platform it shares components from the RAM 1500.

It’s a real truck.

With a bed.

That you can take the doors off of.

Not to mention, it’s just a tad brawny looking.

A 3.6-liter V-6 powers the truck giving it enough get-up-and-go. A 3.0-liter diesel version is coming next year.

Smooth on the road, it’s more nimble and responsive than a half ton. Easy to get in and out of, no trampoline needed for an Olympic gymnastic entry into this truck.

With a vehicle that’s highly off-road capable, it’s easy to think that ride quality may be compromised. This is not the case with the Gladiator.

A longer wheelbase than the Wrangler makes it much smoother. The suspension felt stable (fox shocks on the Rubicon) and not too bouncy with minimal body roll by truck standards.

Interior dimensions are the same as the Wrangler and it feels just like a Wrangler on the inside too.

Gladiator Rubicon interior. Photo: Jeep.

With a 5′ long bed on the back, there’s enough space to put camping gear or an impulse purchase at the home improvement store.

Speaking of which, a full 4×8 sheet of plywood will fit in the Gladiator bed.

But the bed is only 5′ long you say?

Thanks to Jeeps clever design the sheet will sit on top of the wheel wells, and be supported by the 3-position tailgate at the midway point.

3 Best Features on the Jeep Gladiator

There are tons of really cool features on the Jeep Gladiator, so having to pick just 3 is difficult. Here they are.

Towing Capacity Is Very Good

Looking at specs for the Jeep Gladiator pickup, it has the best in class 4×4 towing and payload. Towing is up to 7,650lbs and payload is up to 1,600lbs.

Jeep Gladiator Overland in Billet Silver Metallic. Photo: Jeep.

To put that into perspective, towing capacity is almost as much as, and more than some half-ton pickups. 1600lbs of payload is enough for 10 kegs of beer.

Just like regular pickup trucks, the Gladiator is available with a choice of rear axle ratios depending on if you’re looking for fuel economy, off-road capability or towing.

Note, that not all of the Gladiators can tow 7,650lbs, so if it’s towing capacity you’re looking for, pick a trim level and rear axle ratio based on your needs.

Transmissions are either available in a 6-speed manual or an 8-speed automatic.

2020 Jeep Gladiator Towing and Payload

Sport (S)Manual3.734,6509,1004,0001,600

The Gladiator in a Sport or Sport S trim with a 4.10 rear axle ratio and automatic transmission have the best towing capacity (when properly equipped).

Integrated trailer brake controllers will be standard on all model Gladiators next year.

Forward Facing Off-Road Camera With Washer Jet

Front camera washer on the Jeep Gladiator Rubicon, for when it gets covered in mud.

Optional on Rubicons only at this time, the front camera comes with a wheel track overlay and a washer jet.

There may come a time when climbing up a steep incline means you can’t see much out the windshield other than ground or rock. Using the forward-facing camera helps with wheel placement and navigating a line through rocks.

Similar to a backup camera, lines appear on the screen showing where the wheels will place depending on steering angle.

Off-Road Ready

Bradon Girmus, Jeep Gladiator Brand Manager, says he is most proud of the off-road capability of this truck. I didn’t get to test it off-road, but I can tell you that the numbers and off-specs on paper are impressive.

2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon off-road. Photo: Jeep.

All trim levels of Gladiator are ‘Trail Rated’. Sport and Overland models have 10″ of ground clearance, Command-Trac shift on the fly 4×4 system with a 2.72:1 crawl ratio, skid plates, and Dana 44 axles.

A whopping 40.8 degrees of approach angle is double that of other trucks in the segment. Breakover angle is 18.4 degrees, and departure angle 25 degrees.

Gladiator Rubicon

The Rubicon trim is the daddy-of-off-road trim.

Off-Road specs for the Gladiator Rubicon;

  • 11″ of ground clearance
  • 43.4 degree approach angle
  • 20.3 degree breakover angle
  • 26 degree departure angle
  • 33″ off-road tires (Rubicon)
  • Rock-Trac NV241 OR shift on the fly transfer case, 4:1 low gear ratio and crawl ratios of 84.2:1 (manual trans Rubicon) or 77.2:1 (auto trans Rubicon).
  • Tru-Lock electric front and rear axle lockers (Rubicon)
  • Electronic sway bar disconnect (Rubicon)
  • FOX monotube shocks (Rubicon)
  • Heavy duty off-road bumpers front and rear (Rubicon)
  • Forward-facing camera with washer
  • Tubular steel rock rails
  • Front brush guard

Build a Jeep Gladiator and customize it how you like at Jeep.com or contact your local Jeep dealership for more information.

2020 Gladiator pricing starts at $33,545 MSRP.

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