If there are two things we love around here, it’s a Jeep and a pickup truck. You can imagine our sheer gear delight when we learned that Jeep will release its first pickup truck since the Comanche, which was discontinued in 1992. The new 2020 Jeep Gladiator premiered at the Los Angeles auto show in November 2018. You might not recognize the Jeep Comanche vibes of yesteryear, but you will definitely notice the nods to the Wrangler. For good reason, of course, because the front cab was designed to mimic a Jeep Wrangler. This is not your average Wrangler, despite what the front of the Gladiator looks like. Tim Kuniskis, head of Jeep brand North America, said of the new Jeep model at the auto show: “[The] Gladiator is a dedicated pickup. [Customers] are looking for real pickups.”
Jeep is banking on this Wrangler-fied pickup truck blowing the Scrambler out of the water. After the first Wrangler was produced in 1987, Jeep turned away from pickup trucks but began focusing on them throughout the mid-90s again with concept after concept.
The Gladiator name itself, however, has its own history. Originally, the Gladiator was the name of Jeep’s first full-size pickup, produced from 1962 to 1988. Rumor has it that Jeep even considered reviving the Comanche name instead of the Gladiator. In my humble opinion, the new Jeep Gladiator has a more powerful truck ring to it.
The 2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon is a midsize pickup truck that’s just as home off-road in the wild as it is dropping the kids off at practice. Its towing capacity is clocking in at a staggering 7,650 pounds with a 3.6-liter V6 and the payload is 1,650 pounds. It blows the Toyota Tacoma out of the water in that regard. The Wrangler’s frame is reinforced and the engine of the new Gladiator has a better cooling system to handle that kind of payload. There is also talk of 3.0-liter diesel arriving in 2020, as well.
The downside? The diesel engine will be issued in an automatic transmission only. The gas V6, however, will be offered in an eight-speed automatic or a six-speed manual transmission.
The Jeep Gladiator pickup features a folding soft top like the Wrangler, with one crazy detail. The windshield on this Jeep pickup folds down. Yes, you read that right, y’all. No one can hide from your Jeep wave in this open-air bad boy. The four-door cab and five-foot truck bed is enough to make a functional Jeep truck without losing the ability to cart watercraft or bikes into the mountains.
Featuring Jeep’s classic four-wheel drive, the Gladiator model has solid front and rear axles. The Gladiator is available in four models: base Sport, mid-level Sport, luxury Overland, and off-roading Rubicon. The Rubicon, which is the top-of-the-line model, even features a front-facing camera mounted in the grille.
Whether you live in Colorado or Maine, there’s just something American about a truck. Will you check out this new pickup the next time you’re in the market for an upgrade? The fact that the front windshield comes down is my favorite feature and something I can envision myself using the next time I’m in the Rockies or just coasting across the desert of West Texas.