The 2020 Jeep Gladiator Is the Glorious Jeep Pickup You’ve Been Dreaming of for the Past 26 Years
The last time Jeep offered a pickup truck, Lee Iacocca was CEO. Over the 26 years since, enthusiasts clamoring for a Jeep with a bed have been let down by Chrysler Corporation, DaimlerChrysler AG, Chrysler LLC, Chrysler Group LLC, and FCA US LLC. But now the wait is over. The 2020 Jeep Gladiator is here, and it is glorious. Here’s what we know about the long-awaited Jeep truck.
Official images of the Jeep truck have been revealed by Truck Trend, and it appears that the spy shots we saw earlier this month showing a very Jeep Wrangler-looking vehicle were on point. The front half of the Gladiator looks just like the Wrangler.
According to Truck Trend’s post, which has since been taken down, the Gladiator’s frame is 31 inches longer than the JL Wrangler Unlimited’s, and the wheelbase is up 19.4 inches. The story also says the larger axles, brakes, and also the 33-inch tires and the suspension are unique to the truck. Truck Trend says the Gladiator will be able to carry 1,650 pounds of payload, with a towing capacity of 7,650 pounds.
The windshield folds flat and the roof comes off, just like on the JL Wrangler. That makes the new Jeep truck the first pickup on the U.S. market with a removable top since the the 1991 Dodge Dakota Sport convertible (and no, the Chevy SSR doesn’t count).
Under the hood is apparently the same 3.6-liter Pentastar “Upgrade” engine found in the JL, making 285 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. It can be had with either an automatic (Truck Trend, strangely, says it’s a six speed auto and not the eight speed found in all other Pentastar applications) or a six-speed manual. Truck Trend also says the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel should come in 2020 with 260 horsepower and 442 lb-ft, bolted to an eight-speed auto. We don’t know if a 2.0-liter will be available.
As for off-road bits, the story says the new Gladiator, in Rubicon trim, will get “Fox aluminum-bodied 2-inch-diameter shocks,” lockers, a disconnecting front sway bar, a 4:1 low range transfer case ratio, and 33-inch mud terrain tires. The new truck apparently has an approach angle of 43.6 degrees, a breakover angle of 20.3 degrees, and a 26 degree departure angle, along with 11.1 inches of ground clearance. Aside from the breakover angle, those are all at the top of the mid-size truck segment.
As for protection, the Rubicon will apparently get rock rails along the rocker panels to keep the big-bellied truck’s body safe from dings, and also metal bars aft of the rear axle to protect the long rear overhang.
Today is a big day for Jeep and for Jeep fans, who have waited since before Lee Iacocca retired from Chrysler in 1992 for another Jeep truck after the Cherokee-derived Comanche died off. And folks hoping for a true body-on-frame Jeep truck have waited even longer—since the departure of the full-size J10 (formerly called the Gladiator) in 1987. That’s the same year that Chrysler bought American Motors Corporation, which owned Jeep at the time.
Clearly, this has been a long time coming, but the recent resurgence of the mid-size truck segment means it was only a matter of time. The Jeep truck is here. And by the looks of it, it appears to be a legitimate, off-road worthy, solid axle-having, body-on-frame machine, just like Jeep diehards have been hoping for for over a quarter of a century.