Blog

No other pickup truck feels like this.

BY JARED ROSENHOLTZ

The midsize truck segment has long been dominated by the Toyota Tacoma, which now exists in its third generation and is in need of some critical powertrain and technology upgrades. Other trucks in this class include the Chevy Colorado, GMC Canyon, Ford Ranger, Honda Ridgeline, and Nissan Frontier, all of which have their strengths and weaknesses. And then there’s the 2020 Jeep Gladiator, likely the biggest disrupter we will see in the pickup segment until electric trucks become a reality.

You may think the Gladiator is simply a Wrangler with a bed in the back but the truck actually rides on its own platform and shares a lot in common with the Ram 1500. We recently had the chance to drive a 2020 Gladiator Rubicon (the highest trim level) at a media driving event and based on our first impressions, the rest of the midsize segment has a lot to worry about.

The clearest and most obvious difference between the Gladiator and its competitors is its removable doors and roof. Jeep is selling the Gladiator as an adventure vehicle and the ‘fun factor’ it possesses is unlike any other pickup truck on the market. The effect is so pronounced that Ford may respond with its own pickup truck version of the Bronco, which will also boast a removable roof. The next major difference is the exterior design, which borrows heavily from the popular Wrangler. In a segment where none of the competitors are truly styled to stand out, the Gladiator easily jumps out in a crowded parking lot.

But the Gladiator isn’t just a gimmick. With a 3.6-liter V6 producing 285 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque, it offers a best-in-class towing capacity of 7,650 pounds. Jeep will also offer a diesel engine making 260 hp and 442 lb-ft. Manual lovers will also find solace because Jeep will sell a six-speed manual on the gasoline V6 models.

We only see one major problem with the Gladiator – its price. A Gladiator Sport starts at a fairly reasonable $33,545, but our Rubicon tester model was over $60,000 as-tested. With the competition offering much lower prices and heavy incentives, Jeep is in a completely different ballpark in terms of pricing. But shoppers seem willing to pay because the expensive Launch Edition sold out in just 24 hoursand the average Gladiator is selling for $56,403, with some customers even paying over MSRP.