GONE are the Scrambler and Comanche nameplates, with the allnew 2020 Jeep Gladiator officially debuting at the 2018 LA Auto Show. The mid-size pick-up, set to arrive in US showrooms in the second quarter of 2019, will be available there in Sport, Sport S, Overland top-of-the-range Rubicon configurations.
Bulding on the Gladiator nameplate’s rich 2020 model pays homage to the Jeep’s heritage but packs state-of-the-art tech and classleading performance into its crew-cab form.
When the Gladiator starts rolling out of Jeep’s Toledo, Ohio, plant it will be powered by the brand’s well-established 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 engine (213kW and 353Nm). This will be mated to a six-speed manual transmission as standard, but an eight-speed automatic transmission can be optioned. However, from 2020 Jeep will offer a 3.0-litre EcoDiesel V6 engine mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The eight-speed auto delivers a 77.2:1 crawl ratio, as well as a 4.7:1 first gear ratio coupled with a 4.1:1 final drive; the six-speed manual features a 4.41 ratio spread.
Two advanced 4x4 systems will be available for the Gladiator pickup. Sport and Overland models get the Command-Trac system as standard, which features a two-speed transfer case with a 2.72:1 low-range gear ratio, and Dana 44 front and rear axles with a 3.73 rear axle ratio.
Rubicon models get the Rock-Trac 4x4 system, which features the Dana 44 front and rear axles with a low range ratio of 4:1. Also standard is a 4.10 front and rear axle ratio and Tru-Lok locking diffs. The Rubicon’s suspension travel is aided via an electronic front sway-bar disconnect.
The Gladiator utilises an exclusive five-link coil suspension design down back, with the springs tuned to find a balance between off- and on-road driving situations as well as extra loads.
The Gladiator’s off-road credentials stack up further when you include the front and rear tow hooks, skid plates, bars, approach angle of 43.6 degrees, rampover angle of 20.3 degrees, departure angle of 26 degrees, and a ground clearance of 11.1 inches (282mm). It can also ford water at depths of up to 762mm, tow up to 3500kg, and it has a payload capacity of 725kg.
The Gladiator is available with a premium soft-top, as well as a black three-piece hardtop option – Overland and Rubicon models can be had with a three-piece body-colour hardtop. For the off-road purist who wants the windscreen gone and dirt in their eyes, a four-bolt design allows it to be easily folded down – with the rear-view mirror locked into place thanks to the A-pillar’s connection to the header bar as per the JL Wrangler
The Gladiator’s legendary seven-slot grille remains (obviously) but the slots have been widened to boost engine air-intake, which Jeep claims is to assist with the vehicle’s increased towing capacity.
The body-on-frame design features an allnew lightweight, high-strength steel frame, which is 3787.4mm longer and has a 492.8mm longer wheelbase than the four-door Wrangler. To lose more weight, lightweight aluminium is utilised for the doors, hinges, bonnet, fenders, windscreen frame and tailgate.
Ample storage space down back is enhanced via a wide tailgate opening, strong integrated tiedown points and a power-locking tailgate. Four steel crossmembers reinforce the 1524mm steel load bed, and a full-size spare and mount capable of fitting up to a 35-inch tyre resides beneath the tray and behind the rear axle.
Gladiator production is set to begin in the first half of 2019. Specs and local launch dates are yet to be revealed but it should be here in 2020.
MOPAR has a head start on the aftermarket fraternity, with the FCAowned company already producing products to suit the 2020 Jeep Gladiator. Much like the Wrangler the possibilities for aftermarket support are extensive, with Mopar already stating it will offer more than 200 new or redesigned Jeep Performance Parts (JPP) and accessories for the Gladiator at launch.
With access to factory-exclusive data unavailable to the aftermarket industry, Mopar’ parts and accessories will seamlessly integrate with the Gladiator for proper fit, finish and quality.
Some of the Mopar products developed for the Gladiator include a JPP two-inch lift mated to Fox shocks, 35-inch tyres, five- and seven-inch LEDs, a JPP cold-air intake, a cat-back exhaust, two-inch steel tube doors, windshield tie-down straps, a slide-in storage system developed in conjunction with Decked, and a cross-rail system to maximise storage space.
Mopar’ Gladiator kit – “created in close conjunction with the Jeep brand, engineering and the product design office through tens of thousands of hours of development, testing and validation” – will be backed by a factory warranty.