• How We’d Configure an Off-Road 2020 Jeep Gladiator

Spoiler alert - You will have a strong desire to own a Gladiator once you configure your truck; just like I did!

Despite having a range of competent products in the stable, the need for a pickup truck was hurting the company. But, after almost three decades, Jeep finally decided to bring back the Gladiator, and the truck has been the talk of the town ever since. Jeep has left no stone unturned to make the 2020 Gladiator the star of the lineup. Right from headlining the Easter Jeep Safari with as many as five concepts based on the Gladiator, to launching an online configurator to customize the pickup truck as per your needs, Jeep has done it all.


How We'd Configure an Off-Road 2020 Jeep Gladiator
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Although considered a hardcore off-roader, Jeep actually built the 2020 Gladiator as a versatile pickup truck that could be used as a daily driver as well. But at its core, it is still meant to be taken over rocks, mountains, and any unconquerable terrain one can think of. Therefore, in this article, I will be configurating the Gladiator as per my needs as an off-roader. Of the four trims on offer - Sport, Sport S, Overland, and Rubicon - I will choose the Rubicon as the base to build my dream machine on since this trim is equipped with all the bells and whistles that Jeep has to offer.

To brief you a little about the 2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon, it comes with a 3.6-liter, V-6 Pentastar mill under that hood that is capable of producing 285 ponies and 260 pound-feet of twist.

The truck comes with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard but is available with an eight-speed automatic as an option as well. The Rubicon trim is the full-fledged Jeep Gladiator that comes with a Rock-Trac 4x4 System with up to an 84:1 crawl ratio, a two-speed transfer case, an electronic sway bar disconnect, locking front and rear differentials, and FOX shocks. Jeep has introduced a new Off-Road+ mode that can adjust the throttle, transmission, and stability control depending on the situation.

How We'd Configure an Off-Road 2020 Jeep Gladiator
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When you slot the Gladiator Rubicon in 4WD low, it slows down to maneuver rocks and boulders, and better navigate through the rougher stuff at lower speeds. In 4WD high mode, it sets itself for higher-speed performance.

The Rubicon is the most expensive offering, priced at $45,040, in the Jeep Gladiator's range.

Since money is no virtue in this exercise, I will equipping the Rubicon with stuff even if it takes it dangerously close to the bullies of the truck segment.


How We'd Configure an Off-Road 2020 Jeep Gladiator
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The Jeep Rubicon essentially ticks most of the boxes for my off-road requirements. A true off-roader needs to have a stick-shift and a third pedal. Period. What’s the fun in driving over boulders when you don’t even have 100-percent control over your truck. Even though the mechanical requirements are met to the fullest, I will be looking to equip my Gladiator with other essentials, and one of them is the Trailer Tow Package for $250. Other than a 240-Ampere alternator and heavy-duty engine cooling, this package includes a Class IV Receiver hitch. This is extremely helpful when you’re playing the ambulance to a fellow off-roader to get him out of a sticky wicket. An Engine Block Heater to safeguard the engine during cold starts is another add-on. This $95 option helps reduce the engine startup wear by warming the engine and engine oil.

How We'd Configure an Off-Road 2020 Jeep Gladiator
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Another thing that comes as standard but I haven't mentioned above is the 4.10 Axle Ratio. This helps improve acceleration at lower speeds and is blessing to have when you are climbing grades.

The next package I’ll install is the $895 Cargo Management Group with Trail Rail System. This includes a 240-Ampere Alternator, 400-Watt Inverter, 115-Volt AC Outlet in the bed, a Lockable Rear Underseat Storage, and rails on the walls of the bed to provide a means tie down your stuff securely. I don’t need to stress on the benefits of these things on an off-roader!

8-Speed Automatic 850RE Transmission $2,000
Trac-Lok® Anti-Spin Rear Differential $595
Engine Block Heater $95


How We'd Configure an Off-Road 2020 Jeep Gladiator
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When you think of a Rubicon, the color that comes to mind is the Punk’n Metallic Orange. I will follow the trend and go for the same color. The main reason for choosing this color is the fact that the Rubicon-exclusive decals are highlighted all the more and add to the character of the Jeep. To retain the exclusivity, it makes sense to swap the Granite Crystal Aluminum Wheels with the Polished Black Aluminum Wheels for an additional 995 bucks. The former is present on the Overland trim as well, and it looks a bit too civilized for an off-roader.

The 2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon also comes with 33-inch All-terrain tires as standard, but I am tempted to opt for the 33-inch Mud Terrain tires.

These tires offer much better grip when maneuvering over rocks and harsh terrain. However, Jeep will calibrate the truck and limit the top-speed to 97 mph. Still not bad, right? To cap off the rollers department, I’m throwing in the molded splash guards for the front and rear from Mopar for a 100 bucks. Mud and slush on an off-roader are like its badge of honor, but that doesn’t mean I’ll let it accumulate in tough-to-access spots under the body.

Dual Top Group $2,295
Premium Black Sunrider Soft Top $595
Body-Color 3-Piece Hard Top $1,100
Roll-Up Tonneau Cover $495
Spray-in Bedliner $495
Remote Proximity Keyless Entry $495
How We'd Configure an Off-Road 2020 Jeep Gladiator
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When Jeep offers a Rubicon-exclusive accessory, it is imperative to have it. I’m talking about the Winch-capable steel bumper, which features removable end-caps to further accentuate the off-road fun. Feels a little steep for $695 since there are many other companies on the market, such as Warn that have better accomplished products for similar prices. Oh, I forgot to tell you what this is? It’s a pulling device consisting of a wound cable or rope and a motor, that mounts to the front bumper. This will be extremely helpful to help you pull out of a tough situation, or to help pull out other vehicles. A winch guard light mounting and lower A-pillar bracket from Mopar will be installed to accommodate auxiliary lights as well. Yes, this truck is going to brighten things up!

Coming to the roof, I was tempted to opt for the Dual-top Group, which gives me the option of 'headlining' either the hard-top or a soft top as per my requirement.

However, I will be opting for the Premium Black Sunrider soft top instead for $595. For the truck bed, I’ll be adding the Mopar Soft Tri-fold Tonneau cover instead of the Jeep’s official accessory. The roll-up cover is supposedly more convenient, but I’ll prefer something more robust, hence the tri-fold cover.

How We'd Configure an Off-Road 2020 Jeep Gladiator
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Let’s talk about the lighting now. This is inter-linked with one other piece of equipment I’m keenly interested in - the Forward Facing Trailcam for $595. It captures the feed in the front and displays it on the touchscreen infotainment system. But, there’s a catch here. The trail cam can be had only if you have the 8.4-inch touchscreen infotainment system, as well as the Premium LED Lighting Group. Although the lighting group was on my mind, I was not looking to upgrade the seven-inch touchscreen that comes as standard on the Rubicon. However, I am willing to upgrade it just to have the Forward Facing Trailcam. So, the Jeep gets dearer by $995 for the LED Lighting and $1,595 for the 8.4-inch Radio and Premium Audio Group. To complement the LED lighting Group that adds DRLs, headlights, taillights, fog lamps and turn signals that are all LED, I’ll be opting for the five-inch Off-road LED Light Kit from Mopar’s catalog. This includes two five LED lights.

Trailer Tow Package $250
Premium LED Lighting Group $995
Cold Weather Group $995
8.4-Inch Radio and Premium Audio Group $1,595
Jeep® Active Safety Group $895
Adaptive Cruise Control/Forward Collision Warning+ $795
Auxiliary Switch Group $295
Smoker’s Group $30
Cargo Management Group with Trail Rail System $895


How We'd Configure an Off-Road 2020 Jeep Gladiator
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Since this will serve as a pure off-roader, I would have preferred to keep the equipment in here at a bare minimum.

But just to have the Forward Facing Trailcam, I was forced to add a larger touchscreen system, which in turn included many other niceties like a premium audio system, Sirius subscriptions, etc.

Now, who said that an off-roader cannot be high on tech on the inside? Although Jeep doesn’t have much to offer in here for Rubicon owners, there is some stuff that cannot be missed. One of them is the Cold Weather Group. This package consists of Heated Front Seats and Steering Wheel. Totally worth 595 bucks.

Many folks will not consider this as a wise move, but I am willing to skip all the safety features that Jeep has to offer. This includes stuff like blind spot monitors, forward collision warning, etc. which I don’t find that relevant if it will be used to climb boulders and mountains or wade through water. Obviously, leather-trimmed seats and the likes do not make a way in here. I’ll be opting for the slush mats, though. Need I tell you what a boon it is to have slush mats in a car that will see muddy shoes get inside the cabin regularly? If $150 can save my carpet flooring, I’m adding it with my eyes closed. To add a little more protection in here, I’ll chip in $75 more for the Black door sill guards.

How We'd Configure a 2020 Jeep Gladiator Daily Driver
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Leather-Trimmed Bucket Seats $1,495
Wireless Bluetooth® Speaker $295
Soft Top Window Storage Bag $75
All-Weather Slush Mats $150
Hardtop Headliner $555

Touchscreen systems are generally fingerprint magnets, and it’s even worse when the screen is bigger. To safeguard the screen from that, I have opted for a Media screen protector as well.

I'd assume Jeep would offer this with the Soft top, but I'll still buy the soft top window storage bag for $75.

I picked up a soft roof for my Rubicon so that it can be taken off, folded, and dumped into a corner anytime. But the soft top needs protective gear for longevity and this bag provides just that. Since I’m a fan of music, I’m going to pamper myself here by adding the wireless bluetooth speaker for $295. This unit can be paired with the speaker from another Jeep Gladiator to add more fun.

How We'd Configure a 2020 Jeep Gladiator Daily Driver
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Well, I’m done customizing my 2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon as an off-roader. Coming to the costs, I added products and packages worth $7,925 from the Jeep website, and stuff worth $1,475 from the Mopar catalog (Split up given below). This brings the cost of my virtual possession to $54,440. To acquire a legendary moniker that serves as a capable off-roader and is customized as per my needs, I think the amount is completely justified. How would you configure your 2020 Jeep Gladiator as an off-road vehicle? Let us know in the comments section below.

Mopar accessories:

Molded splash Guards (Front And Rear) $50*2 = $100
Winch Guard Light Mounting $65
Lower A-pillar Bracket $145

Soft Tri-fold Tonneau Cover | $595 |
| Five-inch Off-road LED Light Kit | $475 |
| Media Center Screen Protector | $20 |
| Black Door Sill Guards | $75 |

2020 Jeep Gladiator specifications

Type and Description 60-degree, V-type, liquid-cooled
Displacement (cu. in. / cc) 220 cu. in. (3,604 cu. cm)
Bore x Stroke 3.78 x 3.27 (96 x 83)
Valve System Chain-driven DOHC, 24 valves and hydraulic end-pivot roller rockers
Fuel Injection Sequential, multiport, electronic, returnless
Construction Aluminum deep-skirt block, aluminum alloy heads
Compression Ratio 11.3:1
Power 285 HP @ 6,400 RPM
Torque 260 LB-FT @ 4,400 RPM

Further reading

2020 Jeep Gladiator Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2020 Jeep Gladiator.

2019 Jeep Gladiator Gravity Concept
- image 836840

Read our full review on the 2019 Jeep Gladiator Gravity Concept.

2019 Jeep Gladiator M-715 Five-Quarter
- image 834211

Read our full review on the 2019 Jeep Gladiator M-715 Five-Quarter Concept.

2019 Jeep Gladiator J6 Concept
- image 834224

Read our full review on the 2019 Jeep Gladiator J6 Concept.

2019 Jeep Gladiator Flatbill Concept
- image 834214

Read our full review on the 2019 Jeep Gladiator Flatbill Concept.

2019 Jeep Gladiator Wayout Concept Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2019 Jeep Gladiator Wayout Concept.

Sidd Dhimaan
Sidd Dhimaan
Senior Editor, Truck Expert, EV Expert - sidd@topspeed.com
Sidd joined the Topspeed.com team in 2017 as an intern and in less than a year he earned a full-time position as an associate editor and junior automotive expert. Fast forward to today, and he is currently serving as a senior editor, pickup truck expert, and EV expert.  Read full bio
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