Here’s the recipe: take a Jeep Wrangler, stretch the wheelbase by 19 inches, add a truck bed and the rear axle setup from the Ram 1500 pickup. The fresh-baked Jeep Gladiator is proving to be a tasty blend of off-road ability coupled with the everyday usefulness.
Our review Gladiator is the base Sport model, one of four trims. All have standard all-wheel drive with lockable differentials and all the off-road goodies that make a Jeep a Jeep. The three-piece hardtop is a $1,200 option.
The Gladiator can become a beach buggy just like the Wrangler because the top and doors can all be removed and the windshield laid flat.
Inside, it’s all just like the Wrangler, a pretty comfortable place to be after the Jeep upgrades of a few years ago. Our review Gladiator has the very capable eight-speed automatic, but a six-speed manual shift is available.
The $1,000 cold-weather package provides a heated steering wheel and heated seats for roughing it on the trail.
Row two is surprisingly roomy and includes a lockable storage box under the seat. Only one bed length is offered: a five-footer. The roll-up Tonneau cover is an extra $600.
This truck has the 3.0-liter V6 pumping out 285 horsepower. A diesel turbo V6 is available.
The longer wheelbase gives the Gladiator a much more comfortable ride than the Wrangler. It can also tow a lot more — 7,650 pounds — when properly equipped.
So for the 2020 Jeep Gladiator Sport, I say thumbs up to lots of utility, lots of off-road ability, and a comfortable ride. Thumbs go down to poor gas mileage. I averaged about 19 miles per gallon.
The as-reviewed sticker is just over $50,000.