Cleveland Auto Show & 2020 Gladiator

February 27th, 2019 by

Although it’s been on the auto show circuit for a few months, it’s not lost its excitement. The Cleveland Auto Show, on-going at the time of this publication (February 22 – March 3, 2019), the long-awaited Jeep Gladiator. The 2020 Jeep Gladiator is more than a Wrangler with a pickup bed.

According to, the Jeep Gladiator looks like a long Jeep Wrangler with a truck bed. Jeep hasn’t had a pickup truck since the old XJ-based Comanche two-door was discontinued in 1992 and the Dodge Dakota was put to pasture in 2011, but the continued success of mid-size pickups like the Toyota Tacoma and the Chevrolet Colorado has inspired other manufacturers to follow suit. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles decided it was time to return to the market with its own mid-size pickup.


The 2020 Gladiator can be recognized as a Wrangler-based vehicle, with the front end and cabin basically identical to the four-door Wrangler JL. The Gladiator will only be available as a four-door model, riding on an extended wheelbase. It’ll replace the rear cargo section of the Wrangler with a 5-foot steel pickup bed.

Like the Wrangler, the Gladiator features a lot of aluminum construction: the doors, hinges, hood, fenders, windshield frame and tailgate are all aluminum. Like the Wrangler, the doors are removable and the windshield folds flat against the hood.     

A zipperless Sunrider soft-top is standard, while two hardtop choices are optional (body color or matte black). The hardtops feature Jeep’s Freedom Top panel configuration, with two removable panels over the front passengers and a solid single piece for the rear. All hardtops feature a manually sliding rear window, but unlike the Wrangler, there’s no rear wiper, and there’s no power sliding top option.   


Two powertrains will be available: the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 will start things off, being joined in 2020 by the turbocharged 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6. The Pentastar will make 285 horsepower and 260 pounds-feet of torque in the Gladiator, and be mated up with either a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission. The EcoDiesel, when it arrives in the Spring of 2019, will offer up 260 hp but 442 pounds-feet of torque, paired only with the eight-speed automatic.

Two four-wheel-drive systems will be offered and the Command-Trac system will be standard on the Sport and Overland trim levels, while the robust Rubicon model gets the more serious Rock-Trac system with a more aggressive low-range crawl ratio. Heavy-duty Dana 44 axles are mounted front and rear on all trim levels, while the Rubicon gets an electronic locking front and rear differentials, as well as electronic front sway bar disconnects. The maximum trailer rating is 7,650 pounds and up to 1,600 pounds of payload capacity when equipped with the Max Towing Package but Jeep has not specified what, exactly, the package improves or what combination of powertrain and trim level enables these abilities.


In the inside, the look will be familiar, as everything looks just like the Wrangler. The top luxury trim level for the Gladiator will be the Overland, unlike the Sahara on the Wrangler. Sport, Overland, and Rubicon are the trim levels Jeep enthusiasts are expected to see on the newly launched Gladiator in the Spring.

The exciting news is the Gladiator’s cabin will have a lot more storage options in the rear of the cabin and a new model-exclusive seat configuration is present. The rear bench is a 60/40 split, folds down to access rear lockable storage compartments in the cabin’s rear wall. The rear seat also folds up stadium-style to expose open bins in the cabin’s floor. The seats are lockable to keep people from getting into the rear cabin wall storage if the truck’s doors have been removed.


The latest Uconnect multimedia system will be offered. Standard is a 5-inch touchscreen, likely offering up Uconnect 3 as in the current Wrangler. Optional will be a 7-inch or 8.4-inch screen running Uconnect 4, adding in Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as satellite radio support. Two USB ports and one USB-C port are located up front, while two more USB ports are located up front, while two more USB ports are located within reach of the backseat passengers and premium audio is also available with a subwoofer and detachable wireless speaker, which locks into place in a compartment behind the rear seats.  


The new Gladiator shares all of the modern safety features with the Wrangler, more than 80 available active and passive safety systems, according to Jeep. Optional features include blind spot monitor, rear cross-path detection, adaptive cruise control and something that the Wrangler doesn’t have: a forward-facing camera that can be activated at low speed for off-road obstacle detection. By turning on the Rubicon-exclusive camera the driver can see things that they might otherwise not be able to over the hood if the Gladiator. We wouldn’t be surprised to see if it showed up on the Wrangler for 2020, as well.  

There isn’t a price for the 2020 Gladiator yet but if you’re interested in test-driving a Jeep Gladiator or a Jeep model, make sure to check them out at the Cape Coral Chrysler Dodge Jeep RAM dealership.

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