Gladiator will offer two powertrains: a 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine with Engine Stop-Start (ESS) and eight-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission; and a 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 with ESS and an eight-speed automatic transmission available in 2020. With so much, the same, is the Gladiator really all that different than the Wrangler? While the Gladiator also uses a fully boxed high-strength steel frame underslung with solid axles, the differences begin with a JT frame that is 31-inches longer. The wheelbase grows by 18.9 inches from the JL Unlimited’s 118.4 inches, up to 137.3 inches for the Gladiator. While that sounds long, keep in mind that the AEV Brute came in at 139 inches, the’ 05 Power Wagon was 140 inches, and the current Toyota Tacoma and Chevy Colorado short beds come in at 127.4 and 128.3 inches respectively, while their long bed counterparts are 140.6 and 140.5 inches. The extra length of the JT comes from the fact that the distance from the A-pillar to the front axle is greater with solid axles (in order to clear the oil pan and improve articulation and approach angle) versus an independent suspension truck. It’s a tradeoff we gladly support.
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 brand in North America. There is a tremendous demand for this unique vehicle from our loyal Jeep customers and pickup truck buyers everywhere. Born from a rich and proud heritage of tough, dependable Jeep trucks, Gladiator combines rugged utility, versatility, and functionality resulting in the most capable midsize truck ever,” Kuniskis said with pride.
Safety has always been a contentious issue for Wrangler which has previously attracted a one-star safety rating, though, given the Gladiator is available with a raft of active safety systems including adaptive cruise control with full stop, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring car light system, and rear cross-path detection to name some – though we’re not sure if these will be offered as standard kit on Australian-delivered models or as part of an optional safety package as they are in the US – we’d expect to see a high rating applied here.
There are quite a number of cool features in the Jeep Gladiator, too. This includes a forward-facing roof camera and washer on the Rubicon trim level. You can see off-road pages in real-time from the touchscreen inside the truck. You’ll also have a Uconnect infotainment screen where you can connect your smartphone with Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. Both the front and back seats are roomy so you can fit in plenty of passengers for the ride of a lifetime, too.
The Jeep Gladiator pickup truck is set to go on sale sometime in spring 2019, and our first chance to drive one will most likely coincide with the Easter Jeep Safari in Moab. But Jeep is not ready to share pricing just yet. From the sheer size of it and extra parts involved, the Gladiator can only be more expensive than a four-door Wrangler Unlimited. One of those costs $33,040 in Sport trim and $43,040 in Rubicon form with no options and a manual transmission. It’s hard to guess how much more expensive the Gladiator will be, but it’s easy to imagine a price of at least $4,000 or so higher. That would make the starting price of a 2020 Jeep Gladiator about $37,000.