The Jeep Gladiator is a great off-road truck but with a slightly high price tag

The Gladiator was the most anticipated launch of 2020, right alongside the Chevrolet C8. Jeep had revealed the pickup truck concept back in 2005, but it took the company 15 years to bring out the production version. This was going to be Jeep’s first pickup truck in 30 years, so it was natural for enthusiasts to be hyped up for it. Jeep even introduced five different Gladiator concepts at the 2019 Eastern Jeep Safari and gave the Wranglers a miss; which is some sort of a record in Jeep’s history.

The company launched the Gladiator with four trims plus a limited Launch Edition trim, but it expanded the lineup with three more trims within a year. The Gladiator was a true-blue Jeep, but it isn’t bringing in volumes for the automaker, perhaps because of its slightly-higher pricing. But, a year post its launch with new trims in line and price discounts to lure the customers, can the Gladiator rake in sales numbers for Jeep?

What Does The Jeep Gladiator Look Like?

  • Signature Seven-Slat Grille
  • Hood Scoop
  • 17-inch Wheels
  • 33-inch All-Terrain or Mud-Terrain Tires
  • Exclusive Orange Tow Hooks On Mojave Trim
  • Five-feet Pickup Truck Bed
  • Removable Doors and Roof
2020 Jeep Gladiator - Driven Exterior
- image 924168

The Jeep Gladiator that arrived at the TopSpeed headquarters was in the recently-launched Mojave trim.

The Mojave sits at the top of the lineup along with the Rubicon in terms of the price.

There aren’t a whole lot of differentiating factors on the outside amongst the trims. However, there is no dearth of optional accessories and products that could make your Gladiator stand out from the rest. On this trim, there’s a hood scoop up front and a ‘Mojave’ decal to identify this desert beast. The orange tow hooks are standard irrespective of the exterior body shade and are exclusive to the Mojave trim. You can opt for a Forward-Facing Trail cam and Satin Black grille as well.

2020 Jeep Gladiator - Driven Exterior
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Our example came with the 17-inch low gloss black polished wheels, compared to the stock Mojave’s 17-inch black aluminum-finished wheels. They were wrapped in 285/70 section Wildpeak Falken All-Terrain tires. You can also opt for the same-sized Mud-Terrain tires at no extra cost. The Gladiator Mojave comes with a soft top as standard, but in our test drive vehicle, a body-colored three-piece hardtop. Similarly, Mopar side steps are also optional. You can also choose between three different Tonneau covers.

These are the optional accessories equipped in our 2020 Jeep Gladiator Mojave:

  • Forward-Facing Trail Cam - $595
  • 17-inch Low Gloss Black Polished Wheels - $995
  • Body-Colored Three-Piece Hard Top - $2,295
  • Roll-up Tonneau Cover - $595
2020 Jeep Gladiator - Driven Exterior
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If you want to add some pizzazz and attention-grabbing vibe to it, you can opt for a rad color option from its nine-color palette. This, fire-cracker red, for instance, will draw a lot of attention. The Gladiator also comes with removable doors and roof, similar to the Wrangler. Overall, the Gladiator has a simple, typical Jeep off-roader look to it.

How Big Is The Jeep Gladiator?

2020 Jeep Gladiator - Driven Exterior
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The Jeep Gladiator Mojave is longer than its primary competitors, the Chevy Colorado ZR2 and the Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro. The Gladiator measures 218 inches in length and is almost six inches longer than the Chevy and the Toyota. However, both the rivals are wider than the Jeep. This reflects in the hip room and the shoulder room on the inside. The Gladiator rides high at 75 inches, compared to Colorado’s 72.2- and Tacoma’s 71.6-inch height.

2020 Jeep Gladiator exterior dimensions
Length 218.0 Inches
Width 73.8 Inches
Height 75.0 Inches
Wheelbase 137.3 Inches
Front Track 62.9 Inches
Rear Track 64.9 Inches
2020 Jeep Gladiator - Driven Exterior
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Thanks to the extra length, the 2020 Jeep Gladiator boasts of a healthy 137.3-inch wheelbase. Even though the Gladiator is just six inches longer, the wheelbase is 8.8 inches more than the Colorado and 9.9 inches more than the Tacoma. But, on the flip side, this results in a poor breakover angle of 20.9 degrees when compared to Colorado and Tacoma’s breakover angle of 23.5 degrees and 26 degrees, respectively. Jeep has tried to compensate this by offering a healthy ground clearance of 11.6 inches. The Colorado is rated at just 8.9 inches, whereas the Tacoma’s 9.4 inches is slightly better than the Chevy’s.

2020 Jeep Gladiator - Driven Exterior
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As for the approach and departure angles, the Gladiator beats both the trucks comfortably. The approach angle is a fantastic 43.4 degrees – thanks to the short, high bumpers. The Colorado has the poorest 25.3-degree angle, whereas the Tacoma’s is rated at 35 degrees. It’s similar in case of the departure angle as well. The Colorado has the worst rating of 23.5 degrees, followed by Tacoma’s 23.9 degrees, and the Gladiator’s 26 degrees.

How Is The Jeep Gladiator On The Inside?

  • Premium Cloth Upholstery Seats
  • Orange Accents All Around In The Mojave Trim
  • Leather Bucket Seats Optional
  • Leather-Wrapped Steering Wheel
  • Seven-inch Touchscreen UConnect 4 System
  • Supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
2020 Jeep Gladiator - Driven Interior
- image 924099

These seats can be had either in leather or in cloth with orange accent stitching and embroidered Mojave logos. As standard, the Gladiator Mojave comes with premium cloth upholstery seats with orange contrast stitching. The front seats with sport bolstering to hold occupants comfortably in place when driving adventurously. There are a lot of orange accents inside the cabin. If you opt for the leather seats, you get to choose between two color themes - Black and Steel Gray – which are a $1,595 option. There’s also a leather-wrapped steering wheel with accent stitching.

The overall layout is fairly straight-forward and nothing very special to write home about.

Jeep Gladiator Technology

2020 Jeep Gladiator - Driven Interior
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To make things easier while driving, Jeep also offers a forward-facing off-road camera that will allow obstructions and objects to be seen easily on the seven-inch UConnect 4 touchscreen system. You can also opt for the bigger 8.4-inch UConnect 4 touchscreen system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility and navigation. It is married to the Alpine Premium Audio system.

Jeep Gladiator interior dimensions
Jeep Gladiator Mojave Chevy Colorado ZR2 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro
Front Headroom 42.8 Inches 41.4 Inches 39.7 Inches
Front Shoulder Room 55.7 Inches 57.5 Inches 58.3 Inches
Front Hip Room 53.9 Inches 55.0 Inches 57.2 Inches
Front Leg Room 41.2 Inches 45.0 Inches 42.9 Inches
Rear Headroom 42.8 Inches 36.7 Inches 38.3 Inches
Rear Shoulder Room 55.7 Inches 57.3 Inches 58.9 Inches
Rear Hip Room 55.9 Inches 52.2 Inches 56.3 Inches
Rear Leg Room 38.3 Inches 28.6 Inches 32.6 Inches

What Engine Does The Jeep Gladiator Have?

  • 3.6-liter, V-6 Pentastar engine
  • 285 Horsepower and 260 Pound-Feet of Torque
  • Six-Speed Manual Gearbox
  • Eight-Speed Automatic Optional
  • Max Towing Capacity - 7,650 Pounds
  • Max Payload Capacity – 1,600 Pounds
2020 Jeep Gladiator - Driven Drivetrain
- image 924065

The Jeep Gladiator comes packed with a 3.6-liter, V-6 Pentastar engine that produces 285 ponies at 6,400 rpm and 260 pound-feet of torque at 4,400 rpm. Power is sent to all the four wheels via a six-speed manual transmission as standard, whereas an eight-speed automatic gearbox is offered as optional. This is the only powertrain available across the Gladiator’s lineup, but it seems sufficient. Jeep has tweaked the tuning to offer a wider torque band and better torque at lower speeds. This is more of a necessity in a pickup truck since a powerful low-end torque helps you guide through rough terrains and inclines comfortably, and also when you have to move from a standstill with the bed filled with heavy cargo.

Jeep Gladiator Mojave specifications
Engine 3.6-Liter V-6
Fuel Regular Unleaded
Horsepower 285 HP @ 6,400 RPM
Torque 260 LB-FT @ 4,400 RPM
Transmission Six-Speed Manual
Drive 4WD
Towing Capacity 7,000 LBS
Fuel Economy 16/23/19
Curb Weight 5,000 LBS
Fuel Capacity 22.0 Gal

What’s the Max Tow Rating for the Jeep Gladiator?

2020 Jeep Gladiator - Driven Exterior
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The Jeep Gladiator Mojave, with the manual transmission, can tow up 7,000 pounds and with 6,000 pounds with the automatic gearbox. It has a maximum payload capacity of 1,200 pounds. The base trims, Sport and Sport S, however, have the best rating in the Gladiator lineup. They can tow up to 7,650 pounds and haul up to 1,600 pounds.

What Is The Jeep Gladiator’s Fuel Economy?

2020 Jeep Gladiator - Driven Drivetrain
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The Jeep Gladiator Mojave with the manual gearbox delivers 16 mpg in the city, 23 mpg on the highway, and 19 mpg combined. The eight-speed automatic returns 1 mpg more in the city. It isn’t the best of the lot, as the Colorado delivers 18 mpg in the city, 22 mpg on the highway, and 19 mpg combined. The Tacoma, on the other hand, returns 18 mpg in the city, 22 mpg on the highway, and 20 mpg combined.

The biggest reason for the Gladiator’s fuel economy is its 5,000-pound curb weight, which is over 500 pounds more than both its competitors. Jeep has installed a 22-gallon fuel tank, however, to reduce your fuel station runs.

How Does the Jeep Gladiator Drive on the Road?

2020 Jeep Gladiator - Driven Interior
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As I mentioned earlier, the Jeep Gladiator Mojave is essentially a Gladiator Rubicon with a few tweaks. They both share the same drive ratio of 4.10:1. However, the 2.72:1 low-gear ratio transfer case in the Mojave helps it drive faster in low range. This doesn’t sound very convincing in regular conditions, but when you’re driving on sand dunes, this combination makes it fun.

The 285 horses and 260 pound-feet of torque from the V-6 mill are adequate, but they won’t make you grin ear-to-ear.

A bigger engine would be highly appreciated, even if it shoots up the price considerably. Jeep recently announced a 6.4-liter, V-8 Hemi for the Wrangler and there are high chances of it trickling down to the Gladiator as well. If it does, the Mojave needs to get it first since this pickup truck is a runner.

2020 Jeep Gladiator - Driven Exterior
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The truck’s steering is light and good for city driving, but, it doesn’t weigh up sufficiently as the speed increases. This is a common problem with electric steering setups, but it came as a surprise on this electro-hydraulic unit. Coupled with flat sides, poor aerodynamics, and high ground clearance, the Jeep Gladiator doesn’t instill a lot of confidence when you are driving at highway speeds.

We have no complaints on the braking front as all the four-wheel-disc-brake setup is crisp and stops the vehicle without any drama. The turning radius makes things a little troubling when you have to take a U-turn in tight spots, but it’s a 218-inch long truck at the end of the day and you’ll have to get used to it.

What Off-Road Equipment Does The Jeep Gladiator Mojave Have?

  • Command-Trac Four-Wheel-Drive System
  • 4.10 Rear Axle Ratio
  • Two-Speed Transfer Case
  • Heavy-Duty Dana 44 Front And Rear Axles
  • Fox Hydraulic Jounce Bumpers
  • One-Inch Suspension Lift Kit
2020 Jeep Gladiator - Driven Drivetrain
- image 924152

The Mojave trim is essentially a Gladiator Rubicon, but Jeep has focused on making this a fun-to-drive truck on desert terrains unlike the Rubicon, which is more of a mountaineer and rock climber.

Jeep has equipped the Gladiator Mojave with the Command-Trac four-wheel-drive system.

A two-speed transfer case with a 2.72:1 low-gear ratio is equipped here along with heavy-duty Dana 44 front and rear axles.

Thanks to this transfer case, the Gladiator Mojave can operate at higher speeds in 4LO that will make climbing sand dunes a lot easier, since you need that initial torque in such conditions. The Gladiator Mojave also comes with standard electronic-locking rear diff and a 4.10 rear axle ratio that will improve acceleration while climbing grades, uneven terrains, and carrying heavy loads.

2020 Jeep Gladiator - Driven Drivetrain
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Jeep has also reinforced the frame and made the axles stronger with cast-iron steering knuckles so that the Mojave is a lot more abuse-friendly.

Desert runs dictate heavy-duty suspension setup, so this Jeep truck is also equipped with exclusive Fox hydraulic jounce bumpers that provide extra damping when the shocks are fully compressed. 2.5-inch internal bypass shocks with external reservoirs are also present to keep the shock fluid cool under extreme conditions.

Apart from this, the Gladiator Mojave also benefits from a one-inch suspension lift kit and a half-an-inch wider track that helps the Mojave attain better stability. This desert rated trim will also feature an Off-Road Plus button that allows drivers to adjust throttle, transmission shift points, and traction control for peak performance during low-speed rock crawling as well as high-speed sand runs. It can be activated with just the press of a button and it also enables drivers to lock their rear axle at high speeds while in “4H”. However, this feature will feature later in 2020.

The Flaws In The Mechanical Department

2020 Jeep Gladiator - Driven Drivetrain
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While all these credentials make the Jeep Gladiator Mojave a great truck, there is one glaring flaw – its solid front axle.

For a truck that’s being marketed as a desert racer, a solid front axle counts as a negative point. Jeep should’ve ditched this in favor of an independent front suspension system, which most of the off-road vehicles are now using. Hopefully, Jeep will make the switch in next year’s model.

Another one is regarding the crawl ratio. Although the Command-Trac 4x4 system looks good in theory and is great for desert terrains, the crawl ratio is not as impressive as the Rubicon’s Rock-Trac system and makes it a not-so-good off-roader. The Command-Trac with the six-speed manual has a crawl ratio of 57.3:1 and 52.6:1 ratio with the eight-speed automatic gearbox. The Rubicon’s Rock-Trac system, on the other hand, has a crawl ratio of 84.2:1 with the manual gearbox and 77.2:1 with the automatic transmission. This makes the Rubicon more off-road friendly and much easier to climb over rocks and boulders.

How Much is a Jeep Gladiator?

2020 Jeep Gladiator - Driven Exterior
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Every trim of the Jeep Gladiator for sale seems a tad bit expensive, but Jeep is currently running discounts on a few trims. Here are the current prices (at the time of writing)

  • Sport - $33,545 ($31,482 after discount)
  • Sport S - $36,745
  • Altitude - $40,340 ($37,292 after discount)
  • Overland - $40,395 ($36,897 after discount)
  • North Edition - $45,915 ($41,617 after discount)
  • Rubicon - $43,875
  • Mojave - $43,875

How Much Will The Cheap Gladiator Cost?

2020 Jeep Gladiator - Driven Exterior
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The cheapest Gladiator Jeep you can get is the base Sport trim. The MSRP is $33,545, but Jeep is currently running some discounts and you can get it for $31,482.

What Are The Packages Available With The Jeep Gladiator Mojave?

2020 Jeep Gladiator - Driven Exterior
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Jeep had mentioned some time back that a Gladiator owner spends $1,000 on an average on aftermarket products alone. This is courtesy of the hundreds of Mopar products that are available for the Gladiator. Jeep even offers nine different packages and equipment groups on the Gladiator Mojave. These include:

  • Trailer-Tow Package - $350
  • Premium LED Lighting Group - $1,195
  • Cold Weather Group - $695
  • 8.4-Inch Radio and Premium Audio Group - $1,845
  • 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

    What is the Target Market For the Jeep Gladiator?

    2020 Jeep Gladiator - Driven Exterior
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At the onset, the Gladiator doesn’t sound like your everyday-use truck, but with the number of customizations that are possible, it can cater to just about every need and even be your daily driver. The base trims come with a high towing and payload capacities, so it fits as a work truck as well. However, the Jeep Gladiator will serve well to enthusiasts who’d love an off-roader truck and take it out for adventures quite often.

Is the Jeep Gladiator Better Than the Chevy Colorado ZR2?

left right

The Chevy Colorado ZR2 is the off-road trim in the Chevy lineup and is one of the strongest competitors in the segment. It looks smart and comes with a lot of creature comforts.

It features a 3.6-liter, V-6 mill that churns out 308 horses and 275 pound-feet of torque. It weighs only 4,480 pounds, so the power-to-weight ratio is also much better when compared to the Gladiator.

You can also have it with the 2.8-liter, turbodiesel mill that makes 186 ponies and 369 pound-feet of torque.

The 2021 Colorado ZR2 even comes with stuff like components like Multimatic shocks, and front and rear electronic locking differentials, and add-ons like skid plates and rock sliders. The towing capacity of 5,000 pounds is less than the Jeep’s but the 1,433-pound payload capacity is better. In terms of pricing, it isn’t placed that far from the Gladiator Mojave. The 2021 Colorado ZR2 starts at $44,395.

2021 Chevrolet Colorado Exterior
- image 865468
Jeep Gladiator Mojave vs Chevy Colorado ZR2
Jeep Gladiator Mojave Chevy Colorado ZR2
Engine 3.6-Liter V-6 3.6-Liter V-6
Fuel Regular Unleaded Regular Unleaded
Horsepower 285 HP @ 6,400 RPM 308 HP @ 6,800 RPM
Torque 260 LB-FT @ 4,400 RPM 275 LB-FT @ 4,000 RPM
Transmission Six-Speed Manual Eight-Speed Automatic
Drive 4WD 4WD
Towing Capacity 7,000 LBS 5,000 LBS
Fuel Economy 16/23/19 18/22/19
Curb Weight 5,000 LBS 4,480 LBS
Fuel Capacity 22.0 Gal 21.0 Gal

Read our full review on the Chevy Colorado ZR2

Is the Jeep Gladiator Better Than the Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro?

left right

The Toyota Tacoma is one of the most popular trucks in the segment.

It looks a little dated, but the indestructible build and the rather fuss-free ownership is what makes the Tacoma special.

The Japanese automaker has introduced a lot of variants of the Tacoma, and the one that goes up against the Gladiator Mojave is the TRD Pro. Under the hood is a 3.5-liter, V-6 mill produces 278 horses and 265 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to all the wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox. It comes with a lot of off-road equipment like lift kit and beefy shocks that make it an amazing off-roader, but it isn’t a daily driver. The towing capacity is rated at 6,400 pounds and payload capacity at 1,155 pounds, both of which are less than the Gladiator Mojave’s. The Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro starts at $45,080.

left right

Read our full review on the Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro

What’s the Difference Between The Jeep Gladiator Models?

2020 Jeep Gladiator - Driven Exterior
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Jeep introduced the Gladiator in four different trims at launch but has expanded the line up by including three more trims. All the seven trims are powered by the same V-6 Pentastar engine. The base Sport trim comes with basic stuff like 17-inch steel wheels, a five-inch touchscreen display, and a rear camera. The Sport S comes with power windows, power locking for the tailgate and doors, heated mirrors, and you can opt for a seven-inch touchscreen UConnect 4 system that supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

2020 Jeep Gladiator - Driven Exterior
- image 924162

Next in line is the Altitude trim and it comes with just a few changes on the outside, like body-colored fenders, trail-rated badge, etc. and some on the inside like black interior theme, and so on. The Overland trim comes with bigger of 18-inch Granite Crystal Aluminum wheels wrapped in 32-inch tires, ambient LED lighting, and receives better optional packages. Then comes the Rubicon which comes with all the bells and whistles that Jeep has to offer; a bigger touchscreen system is available, loads of off-road equipment, bigger tires, and so on.

2020 Jeep Gladiator - Driven Exterior
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The Mojave is priced the same as the Rubicon and we have mentioned all about it in the article. Finally, there’s the North Edition that is purpose-built to tackle the harsh winters and comes with an 8.4-inch touchscreen with SiriusXM Travel Link Weather, heated seats, heated steering wheel, power heated mirrors, remote engine start, and all-weather floor mats.

Final Thoughts

2020 Jeep Gladiator - Driven Exterior
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Jeep tried to offer something for every type of customer and has succeeded to a large extent. Every model has its USP and it competes well with its rival-trim. However, something isn’t clicking and the Gladiator isn’t selling in big numbers as expected. The biggest reason is the pricing. Also, someone looking for a pure work truck will not look at the Gladiator. Instead of opting for the base Gladiator, he could go for something more accomplished and from a segment above, like the Ford F-150.

The higher trims, especially upwards of the Rubicon are desirable. Hardcore Jeep fans will be clear in the head, but not people who want the best bang for their buck. They will be lured by the likes of better placed Toyota Tacoma and the Chevy Colorado. So, a price correction could fix things for Jeep to a large extent. Now that a Bronco pickup is also official and could be here by 2022, Jeep needs to rectify its pricing strategies immediately because there is nothing wrong with the product itself and this is the only way it could get a boost.

Where is the Jeep Gladiator Made?

Jeep manufactures the Gladiator pickup truck in its Toledo factory in Ohio.

Philippe Daix
Obsessive and Compulsive Automotive Expert - phil@topspeed.com
Always on the lookout for the latest automotive news, Philippe Daix is our most senior editor and founder of TopSpeed.com. He likes to see himself as a consumer advocate with a mission to educate motorheads of all ages.  Read More
About the author

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