Looks Eerie Similar To The Gladiator Concept 14 Year Old

With the impending introduction of the new 2020 Jeep Gladiator, I just have to look back at Jeep history and actually compare it with the 2005 Jeep Gladiator Concept. Normally, this would have to wait until its official debut, but thanks to leaked (and what we believe to be official) images, we can diving into comparing old and new straight away. The spiritual concept predecessor appeared in November 2004 and actually represented the then-new Wrangler JK. Of course, I am sure that by its unveiling Jeep wanted to research the market and gain potential customer feedback. Obviously, before a great return of one-ton trucks in the U.S. (like the Ford Ranger and Chevy Colorado, for instance) the Jeep one-ton pickup wouldn’t be a logical option. Now, it is, and before the official introduction next week, I am giving you the first chance to see just how different the new 2020 Jeep Gladiator is compared with the Gladiator Concept from 2004.


Front End

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While the 2005 Jeep Gladiator Concept was only a concept, its exterior look seems to be perfectly in line with anything Jeep may release into production. The designers did the only sensible thing with its design. The front end of the Gladiator Concept was dominated by all of the styling cues of the Wrangler JK. Sure, chromed pieces, cool lights, and a bumper with chromed protection were “concept” pieces, but the look of it is just plain Wrangler. Fast forward to 2018 and we have the same freaking thing happening again. The new Gladiator’s front end looks basically the same as the front end of the latest Wrangler JL.

The most important change, however, is the integration of the new grille with outer grille slots actually intersecting with the headlights.

You can look at this design cue as a throwback to the Jeep CJ (including the CJ Scrambler). That one also had intersecting outside grille slots with the headlights. Coincidence? I think not. It is a throwback.

Nevertheless, the newest Wrangler, and the Gladiator as well, have been designed with the best possible aerodynamic efficiency. Sure, the sheer shape of the Wrangler does not allow it to be the most aerodynamic thing out there, but Jeep designers did what they could to make the most of it.

The windshield rake has been optimized for increased aerodynamics. That makes it “optimized” compared with the Gladiator Concept as well. This is what Jeep’s Head of Design, Mark Allen, has to say about the new Wrangler JL design:

"The all-new 2018 Jeep Wrangler is a fresh, bold, and authentic Jeep design that is immediately recognizable as the icon of the brand. With its rugged stance, muscular body forms and robust proportions, the all-new Wrangler has been designed with a deep respect for tradition and a focus on improving the Jeep open-air experience."

Can’t wait to see what he will say about the new Gladiator.


Visual Comparison Between the 2020 Jeep Gladiator and the 2005 Jeep Gladiator Concept
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While the differences on the front are hard to spot with one glance, the sides of the 2005 Jeep Gladiator Concept and the 2020 Jeep Gladiator differ quite a bit. This isn’t surprising as the Jeep Gladiator Concept is actually a two-door pickup truck. Sure, it did have two more doors that could be opened the other way. But they aren’t full-size doors. The new one, at least from what we’ve seen up to this point, is a four-door pickup truck.

Obviously, the cabin is longer, the new Gladiator has two doors on each side, and the bed is a bit shorter.

This gives a somewhat different silhouette to the truck.

Visual Comparison Between the 2020 Jeep Gladiator and the 2005 Jeep Gladiator Concept
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Apart from that, the beltline is far more pronounced on the new Gladiator. The Gladiator Concept felt somehow cleaner and neater on the sides. Plus, it has a better-looking side step and definitely better-looking wheels. But that is easily fixed I believe. In the light of it being a concept, Jeep actually administered a replacement tire at the left side of the Gladiator Concept. No such adventures for the new one. I am a bit sad we’ve lost this touch, but what the hell?

Rear End

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There is only so much you can do with the rear end of a pickup truck. The same is with the Jeep Gladiator.

Although almost 15 years have passed between the Gladiator Concept and the 2020 Gladiator, the Jeep pickup rear end looks really similar.

Although looking closely, one can see that Jeep designers changed the rear lights, the relief on the tailgate, and the bumper. Well, the changes are superficial of course, but the new one doesn’t necessarily look more modern compared with the old Gladiator Concept.


Visual Comparison Between the 2020 Jeep Gladiator and the 2005 Jeep Gladiator Concept
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While we do not have any photos of the 2020 Jeep Gladiator’s interior, I can infer that it will be much the same as in the latest Wrangler.

Considering that the interior in the Gladiator Concept was similar to the one that appeared at the Wrangler JK, I can tell you that we have here a clash of generations.

It is rather impressive how the modern interior feels far more sophisticated. It fits better, has nicer materials throughout, and more displays as well. Plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto will work perfectly in this one. They did not even exist when the Gladiator Concept came to be. Yup, it is that old.

Final Thoughts

Visual Comparison Between the 2020 Jeep Gladiator and the 2005 Jeep Gladiator Concept
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With the new 2020 Jeep Gladiator just around the corner, I am rather impressed by the whole Internet frenzy that started over it. Now, comparing it with the 14-year-old concept feels only right, but the thing is that the Wrangler shape and character does not really allow for many styling adventures. Despite the fact that every single panel on the new Jeep Gladiator looks different compared to any panel on the old Gladiator Concept, the trucks do look really similar.

Can’t wait to see other specs of the new Gladiator.

Further reading

Visual Comparison Between the 2020 Jeep Gladiator and the 2005 Jeep Gladiator Concept
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Read our full speculative review on the 2020 Jeep Gladiator.

Visual Comparison Between the 2020 Jeep Gladiator and the 2005 Jeep Gladiator Concept
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Read our full review on the 2005 Jeep Gladiator Concept.

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