I drove a $62,000 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon — here are the rugged pickup truck's best features (FCAU)


Jeep Gladiator Rubicon

  • I recently tested a $62,020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon, the much-anticipated midsize pickup truck from Jeep.
  • The Jeep Gladiator is an insanely robust competitor in the midsize pickup arena.
  • In top Rubicon trim, it’s also a feature-fest. Here’s a rundown of all the goodies.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The midsize pickup-truck segment had for some time been left to the popular Toyota Tacoma and the ancient Nissan Frontier. But about five years ago, automakers decided to liven it up. Chevy brought back its Colorado pickup (as well as a GMC version, the Canyon). Then Honda revamped its Ridgeline, and Ford reintroduced the Ranger.

Jeep has done a small pickup in the past, so when it announced that it would restore the Gladiator nameplate to an all-new truck, there was much rejoicing.

The pickup arrived last year, and I recently tested it. The upshot was that it gives the off-road-focused Chevy Colorado Bison ZR1 a run for its money.

The Gladiator Rubicon, with its stout 4×4 setup and premium extras, is perhaps the full-featured midsize pickup money can buy.

Here’s why:

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I tested a 2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon, with a sticker price of $62,020 (base price was $43,545, and cheapest Gladiator is the Sport trim, at $33,545). Cool feature number one is the snazzy orange paint job — “Punk’n,” in Jeep-speak.

Read the review.

The Gladiator is Jeep’s much-anticipated midsize pickup truck, and the segment has become extremely competitive in the past five years, with Chevy and Ford jumping into the game, after having left the space to Toyota.

Read the review.

Being a pickup, the Gladiator’s most notable feature is obviously the five-foot bed. Jeep didn’t just bolt a box onto the back end of a Wrangler, by the way — the Gladiator got its own, dedicated platform.

The bed has a 1,600-pound capacity and could handle most of what its target customers would put in it, ranging from camping gear to mountain bikes. My review car didn’t have a spray-on bedliner …

… But the cover somewhat eliminates the need for the additional protection. It’s a $595 extra.

You yank a pair of release pulls, roll it up, and secure it with a pair of Velcro straps.

The bed also has its own power outlet, for 120-volt applications.

The feature is activated using this button in the cab.

Engine? It’s should come as no surprise …

… That it’s a 3.6-liter V6, making 285 horsepower with 260 pound-feet of torque. This motor is well-known to Jeep fans.

The power can be sent through an optional eight-speed automatic, with four-wheel-drive capability. A six-speed manual is standard.

My tester was outfitted with 33-inch all-terrain tires. But obviously, the Gladiator’s wheel-arches could accommodate bigger rubber. The wheels were 17-inch “Granite Crystal” aluminum jobs, and they were standard.

There are FOX off-road shocks front …

… And rear.

There are heavy-duty front and rear axles that can be locked, a heavy-duty four-wheel-drive setup, a shielded gas tank, a shielded transfer case, and a front skid plate.

All this for around $60,000 represents staggering off-roading capability.

The familiar Jeep fascia has been updated, but it remains unmistakable, thanks to that famous slotted grille. The fenders are borrowed from the Wrangler, and they have built-in running lights. They’re part of a $1,045 LED lighting package.

The front bumper could easily support bulk — and has been beefed up so that a winch can be attached.

My Gladiator had a $350 towing package. It can manage 7,000 pounds. Other trim levels can tow more, up to 7,650 pounds.

Now for perhaps the coolest feature: the removable roof.

The front seats can be completely opened to the elements …

… Simply by throwing some latches and removing two panels.

Presto! Beats a sunroof!

The rest of the roof also comes off, but you need special tools (included).

If you get ambitious, the doors are also removable.

I missed a running board …

… But grab handles make getting in and out relatively easy.

The Rubicon spec is the Gladiator’s top-dog trim level.

The branding gets a shout-out inside on the leather-trimmed front seats.

The 8.4-inch infotainment touchscreen is small by current industry standards. But the system runs Fiat Chrysler’s excellent UConnect system.

UConnect is an industry underdog, but we’ve found it matches up well against the competition. It does everything well, from GPS navigation to Bluetooth and USB device connectivity.

You’ll also appreciate the large knobs and buttons on cold days when you’re wearing gloves. You’ll appreciate the heated front seats and steering wheel, too.

On balance, the 2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon is the most feature-rich midsize pickup on the market.