The new 2020 Jeep Gladiator is the first production midsize truck to cross the $60,000 mark when loaded with every option.
How good is the Gladiator when compared to its main competitors? What is the fuel economy rating for the new Jeep truck? How much does it cost? It’s time to get all of this information out into the open. We drive the three of the most popular trucks in the midsize segment to compare the powertrains, pricing, and capability.
Take a look at this updated 2019 midsize truck comparison guide for all of the numbers. This first drive review will focus a little more on the new Gladiator, rather than all of the competitors: Toyota Tacoma, Chevy Colorado, and Ford Ranger. Naturally, the midsize segment also includes the Nissan Frontier, GMC Canyon, and Honda Ridgeline.
[Note: We will publish our full driving review video to TFLtruck early in the morning.]
2020 Jeep Gladiator
The Gladiator comes in one configuration. It’s a crew cab 4×4 with a short (5-foot) bed. When comparing the Gladiator against the competition on price, towing, payload, or fuel economy only crew cab 4×4 truck should be considered.
The Gladiator is launching with just one engine option. It’s a 3.6L Pentastar gas V6 with a rating of 285 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. The engine can be paired with a standard 6-speed manual transmission, or an automatic 8-speed.
Here are the fuel economy estimates as communicated by Jeep.
- 16 / 23 / 19 MPG : 6-speed manual
- 17 / 22 / 19 MPG : 8-speed automatic
The fuel economy ratings are not class leading. Take a look at the chart below to see how it compares.
There is little doubt that the Gladiator truck will be one of the most capable off-road truck in the class. The Rubicon is riding on beefed up Dana-44 axles front and rear with selectable lockers.
The Rubicon has 11.1 inches of ground clearance. It has a disconnecting front swaybar for a maximum Ramp Travel Index (RTI) score of 623.
The Rubicon is using a 4:1 low range transfer case, and when combined with the 8-speed automatic the crawl ratio is 77:1. The 6-speed manual transmission improves the crawl ratio to 84:1.
Here is how the approach / breakover / departure angles compare. The Jeep is leading with best approach and departure angles, but the breakover is different story.
The truck is offered with a choice of Falcon Wildpeak all-terrain or mud-terrain tires.
Ride / Handling
The Gladiator wheelbase is 19 inches longer than that of the JL Jeep Wrangler four-door (wb: 137.3 inches). While the Gladiator’s long wheelbase decreases its breakover angle, it also makes the truck ride nice on the highway or off-the-pavement. The Sport or Overland trims are not using the FOX Shocks that are available on the Rubicon.
I spent most of my on-road Gladiator driving in a Sport or Sport S. When driving empty or with a load, the truck drive more like a midsize SUV and less like a midsize truck. The rear five-link suspension does a good job at smoothing out the ride.
Indeed, the long wheel base is a bit of a challenge when the going gets really tough. When crawling over the rocky trail that Jeep chose for the first drive event, I touched the undercarriage somewhere in the middle. Thankfully, skid plates and rock rails on the side protected all vital components and the body of the truck. I never actually got hung up or suffered any damage.
It’s to get down to the price. The 2020 Gladiator Sport 4×4 with a manual transmission starts at $33,545 before the $1,495 destination charge. This makes the total starting MSRP $35,040.
This is precisely $2,000 more than a base 2019 Jeep Wrangler Sport 4-Door, which retails at an MSRP: $33,040.
These are the starting prices for all four trim levels of the Gladiator (all including the destination charge).
- Gladiator Sport: $35,040
- Gladiator Sport S: $38,240
- Gladiator Overland: $41,790
- Gladiator Rubicon: $45,040
Here is how the Gladiator pricing compares against competitive crew cab 4×4 trucks.
2020 Jeep Gladiator Launch Edition
What about the most expensive Jeep Gladiator you can configure? Jeep is doing something very special on Apr 4th, 2019 (4-by-4 day).
Jeep is opening the Gladiator ordering process with the Launch Edition Rubicon. The company will build a total of 4,190 Launch Edition trucks as a nod to the 419 area code for Toledo, Ohio where the truck is made. It’s also a contest. One of the people who orders a Gladiator Launch Edition can win a one-year salary or a sum not to exceed $100,000.
The Launch Edition comes with unique blacked-out wheel design, interior styling updates (not shown yet), and a special serial number badge on the tailgate. Launch Edition can be ordered in several different colors, but it is basically a fully-optioned Gladiator Rubicon with a color-matched three-piece freedom top (hard top). Total price including destination is $62,310.
In the end, if you want the quickest truck in the midsize segment with the best MPG rating and lower entry price, then the turbocharged Ford Ranger has an edge.
If you want a unique-looking truck that has class-leading payload, towing ratings and off-road capability, but at a higher price – then the Gladiator is definitely worth a look.