The introduction of the 2020 Jeep Gladiator gives midsize-truck shoppers an intriguing new option to consider. Simply put, the Gladiator is a four-door Wrangler Unlimited with an extended wheelbase and a 5-foot cargo bed instead of the normal cargo area. This Wrangler DNA promises to give the Gladiator off-road performance that no other truck can match.
There’s plenty of towing and hauling capability here, too. When appropriately equipped, the Gladiator can tow a class-leading 7,650 pounds. The cargo bed is only available in a 5-foot-long configuration, but it’s easy to access and has some useful features such as a special tailgate position that enables you to haul 4-by-8-foot sheets of plywood.
A Rubicon version is available, just like on the Wrangler. Features such as lockable front and rear differentials, standard 33-inch all-terrain tires and a disconnectable front stabilizer bar give the Gladiator Rubicon the ability to traverse difficult terrain with ease. But even if you’re just cruising around town, you can have fun with the Gladiator’s removable top and doors. It’s the only convertible pickup on the market.
There are a few downsides. The Wrangler-based underpinnings that give the Gladiator its off-road prowess are a detriment for driving on the street and result in vague steering and a sometimes jiggly and wandering ride quality. Also, the Gladiator can end up getting significantly more expensive than its rivals when you start adding a bunch of options. Overall, however, we’re quite fond of the Jeep Gladiator and think it’s a great pick for a truck that delivers off-road capability, cargo hauling and fun all in one.