2020 Jeep® Gladiator RubiconIt had to happen. Many buyers are going for the tough looks and image of double-cab pickup trucks so Jeep just had to join the fray.

Rough, tough and instantly recognisable as a Jeep, the new Gladiator has been announced in the US of A. It won’t be on the road – or well and truly off the road – until mid 2019 in the States, and may not reach us Downunder till 2020. In the meantime here’s what Gladiator is all about.

The 2020 Jeep Gladiator will be available in these different trim configurations: Sport, Sport S, Overland and Rubicon.

Though based on the Jeep Wrangler four-door, Gladiator is significantly different in many ways. To start with its wheelbase is 492 millimetres longer and the frame is 787mm longer.

Obviously Gladiator has the legendary Jeep seven-slot grille, but the grille slots are wider than those of the Wrangler for additional air intake for heavy duty towing.

Traditional square taillights sit at the extreme edges of the wide tailgate to make for wide access to the cargo bed.

An available Trail Rail Cargo Management System provides additional storage options to organise and secure cargo. And a spray-in bed liner, bed divider and tonneau cover provide even more options to keep cargo secure.

2020 Jeep® Gladiator Rubicon

Off-road capability is provided by Command-Trac and Rock-Trac 4×4 systems, third-generation Dana 44 axles, Tru-Lock electric front- and rear-axle lockers, Trac-Lok limited-slip differential, sway-bar disconnect and 33-inch off-road tyres.

The full-size spare tyre and mount is located under the bed, behind the rear axle and can hold up to a 35-inch tyre. (For some reason truck tyres are measured at their outside edge, unlike car tyres that are measured at the inside edge, which is the diameter of the wheel.)

A header bar stays in place even when the windshield is folded down for full-on open air driving.

2020 Jeep® Gladiator – interior

All Jeep Gladiators feature body-colour sport bars welded to the body. They have integrated grab handles for front occupants.

Gladiator Overland and Rubicon have an available three-piece body-colour hardtop option. A black three-piece hardtop, available on all models, offers even more options for open-air driving.

The two Freedom panels and quick-release latches enable a fast removal and installation of the hardtop. All hardtops feature a manual rear-sliding window.

Cloth or leather-trimmed seats have accent stitching, use an adjustable bolster and have lumbar support.

The rear seats provide what Jeep tells us is segment-leading rear legroom, and can be locked in place to provide secure storage behind the seat back. They can be folded flat to access cab-back storage and provide a load floor for larger items.

Durable mesh pockets that extend the entire length of the doors add to the rugged look.

A 7.0-inch or an available 8.4-inch touchscreen house the fourth-generation Jeep Uconnect system and sit atop the centre stack. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are part of the package.

Exclusive to Jeep Gladiator Rubicon models is a forward-facing off-road camera that allows obstructions ahead on the trail to be easily seen.

2020 Jeep® Gladiator Rubicon

Jeep Gladiator will initially be powered by a 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 petrol engine. A 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6 will come later, probably in 2020.

A six-speed manual is standard on Gladiators with the petrol V6, an eight-speed automatic transmission is optional. The diesel will have an eight-speed automatic.

The Command-Trac 4×4 system, standard on Sport and Overland, has a two-speed transfer case with a 2.72:1 low-range gear ratio, and heavy-duty third-generation Dana 44 front and rear axles with a 3.73 rear axle ratio.

On Gladiator Rubicon, a Rock-Trac 4×4 system features heavy-duty third-generation Dana 44 front and rear axles with a “4LO” ratio of 4:1. A 4.10 front and rear axle ratio is standard as are Tru-Lok locking differentials.

With the standard six-speed manual transmission, Gladiator Rubicon has an impressive crawl ratio of 84.2:1, and 77.2:1 on Rubicon models equipped with the optional eight-speed automatic transmission – both of which make scaling any obstacle on the trail easy.

Note that this information and specifications refer to the US market. We will follow the Jeep Gladiator closely and keep you up to date with Australian details.

About Ewan Kennedy

Ewan Kennedy, a long-time car enthusiast, was Technical Research Librarian with the NRMA from 1970 until 1985. He worked part-time as a freelance motoring journalist from 1977 until 1985, when he took a full-time position as Technical Editor with Modern Motor magazine. Late in 1987 he left to set up a full-time business as a freelance motoring journalist. Ewan is an associate member of the Society of Automotive Engineers - International. An economy driving expert, he set the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance travelled in a standard road vehicle on a single fuel fill. He lists his hobbies as stage acting, travelling, boating and reading.
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