So here it is - Jeep's first truck in over 27 years:
The 2020 Jeep JT Gladiator is actually happening. While many doubted Fiat Chrysler's resolve to bring a new Jeep truck to the market, everyone in the Jeep department was actually taking enthusiast feedback to heart in order to create a vehicle that is - at once - dynamic and innovative, while also living up to the legendary Jeep name. Originally, FCA was planning on a summer 2018 roll out for the truck which would have put the vehicle in dealerships about a year after the planned launch of the new Jeep Wrangler JL. But when that new Wrangler encountered delays, so did the release schedule for the JT. And now it is here as dealerships around the country are currently taking delivery of Gladiator production trucks.
As far as the vehicle itself, Jeep executives said they pondered all kinds of name ideas including Scrambler and Comanche, before settling on the powerful-sounding Gladiator. Something they believed best represented what they wanted the truck to be when it reached the market. It will exclusively have four-doors as Jeep said it examined mountains of data suggesting that size provides the best selling result. It is also midsize, possessing a five-foot steel bed including cargo restraints, bed lighting, available power outlet and tonneau cover. This bed size makes it perfect for those hauling canoes, kayaks, mountain bikes or other fun accessories like tents or overlanding equipment. The tailgate is also dampened so it it easier to open, and contains cleats which allows the tailgate to remain open in several different positions.
From the headlights to the crew cab's rear, the Gladiator is nearly identical to the JL Wrangler with a few exceptions. Sure it will have the same iconic Jeep keystone seven-slot grille, round headlights, fender flares and raked windshield, but because of cooling issues when towing, the Gladiator's grille openings are slightly larger and the front of the hood a bit more swept back for aerodynamics. Plus, the rear seats can fold down to expose lockable behind seat storage compartments, as well as an optional removable Bluetooth speaker. Also new is an available under seat storage compartment to help secure your needed cargo items. Meanwhile, the Gladiator's windshield will fold down just as easy as the new JL Wrangler's version, while its doors, hard roof panels, rear panel or available Sunrider soft roof, are all removable. This gives the Gladiator a class-exclusive overall open air cabin.
Where this truck will really shine is in the towing and hauling department, as Gladiator is rated at up to 7,650 pounds of towing capacity and 1,600 pounds of payload. These are segment-leading numbers for Jeep and are achieved somewhat by the vehicle's new frame that has been stretched 31 inches, as well as its 19.4-inch extra wheelbase over Wrangler. For those looking to take this vehicle off-road for trail riding or overlanding, Jeep says the truck has an approach angle of 43.6 degrees, breakover angle of 20.3 degrees, departure angle of 26 degrees and 11.1 inches of ground clearance.
Rest assured, despite other trucks in the class having independent front suspensions, the Gladiator utilizes the same ladder-on-frame, solid axle design that Jeep has always employed in nearly all of its vehicles. Also underneath is heavy-duty Dana 44 axles specifically designed for the truck, as well as the vehicle's spare. And should you plan on upgrading, there is still room to bump up to a 35" tire before having to find another spot. Under the hood will be FCA's tried-and-true Pentastar 3.6L engine which pushes out 285 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft of torque. Then, sometime in 2020, Jeep will release its 3.0L EcoDiesel engine as an option that drops horsepower somewhat to 260, but majorly bumps torque to an earth-chewing 442 lb.-ft. Both engines will have electronic start/stop, but the diesel will only be available with Jeep's eight-speed automatic. The Pentastar will have both automatic and six-speed manual availability.
No pricing numbers have been released for any trim levels, nor have any fuel economy ratings.