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Jeep Gladiator Rubicon: Part Truck and Mountain Goat

By Arv Voss, November 2nd, 2019

Jeep has a rich heritage of tough, dependable trucks, but it's been a while since Jeep offered a pickup model in the lineup. Enter the all-new 2020 Jeep Gladiator -- the first Jeep truck to appear in over 40 years.


The 2020 Jeep Gladiator comes with iconic 4x4 capability, up to 7,650 pounds in towing, a 1,600-pound payload capacity, unmatched crawl ratios, up to 30 inches of water fording, and a convenient fold-down windshield.

Gladiator is available with an easy-to-use premium soft top and two hardtop versions. The five-passenger Gladiator is available in four trim levels with base prices ranging from $33,545 to $43,545.


All Gladiator models are four-door Crew Cabs with a 5-foot steel bed featuring an external power source and integrated tie-downs, and all lead off with Jeep's iconic seven-vertical-slot grille and round headlamps. Traditional square taillamps wrap up the rear view.

An available spray-in bed liner, bed divider, and tonneau cover provide additional cargo security. Rubicon models are equipped with protective cab and cargo bed rails. The power-locking tailgate is damped featuring three stop positions.


Two engines are available. The 3.6-liter, 24-valve Pentastar V-6 engine produces 285 horsepower along with 260 lb.-ft. of torque. Transmission choices include either a six-speed manual gearbox or an eight-speed automatic. The 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 is also available with 260 horsepower and 442 lb.-ft. of torque connected to a six-speed manual, with an eight-speed automatic coming next year.

The 4x4 systems include Command Trac for Sport and Overland models, which can be engaged on the fly, featuring a 2.72:1 low range for rock crawling and with neutral flat towability; and Rock-Trac for the Rubicon model with a 4:1 low gear ratio, Tru-Lok electronic locking differentials, and an electronic front sway bar disconnect.


While the Gladiator's off-road capability is the stuff of legends, the on-road handling characteristics are more than adequate, but perhaps less than stellar at lower speeds. Ride comfort was pleasurable and the engine's performance was impressive.

I drove the Rubicon model on a seriously challenging, man-made off-road course with ability on par with a mountain goat.

The two 4WD systems and unmatched crawl ratios of the Gladiator provide legendary off-road capability with figures varying by model. The Rubicon Gladiator's Rock-Trac system's "4LO" crawl ratio is 4:1 and comes with four skid plates and bars to protect the fuel tank, transfer case, and automatic transmission oil pan, as well as providing front and rear tow hooks.


The 2020 Jeep Gladiator's center stack features a horizontal dashboard design that sports a finish dictated by model choice. Functional features, including climate and volume control knobs, media charging and connectivity ports, and Engine Stop Start control are all easily recognizable and within easy reach.

Cloth or leather contoured seats feature adjustable bolster and lumbar support. Available comfort features include heated front seats and steering wheel. The rear seats can be folded flat to access cab-back storage, providing a load floor for larger items. With the rear seats folded flat, LED lights illuminate storage space behind the seats. Exclusive to Gladiator Rubicon models, a forward-facing off-road camera displays obstructions ahead on the trail.


The 2020 Jeep Gladiator is truly a most capable midsize truck. Its versatility and functionality reach beyond impressive, with looks that deliver desirable curb or rock appeal unrivaled in its category.

There are many ways to modify and personalize the Gladiator with Mopar accessories and aftermarket gear, and possibilities are virtually endless. The Gladiator is a welcome and worthy advancement marking the return of the Jeep truck.


Base price $43,545 (as tested: $45,040)
Curb weight 5,072 lbs.
Displacement 3.6-liter
Engine type 24-valve V-6 w/SMPFI
Epa mileage rating 14 mpg city, 22 mpg highway
Fuel capacity 22 gal.
Horsepower (net) 285 at 6400 rpm
Overall length 218.0 in.
Torque (lb.-ft.) 260 at 4400 rpm
Transmission 8-speed automatic
Vehicle type 5-passenger 4WD SUV
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