2020 Jeep Gladiator Starts at $33,545, Rises to $43,545 for Rubicon
Both Automatic and Manual Transmissions Achieve 19 Combined MPG
We’ve finally gotten behind the wheel of the 2020 Jeep Gladiator, and as much as we loved its brand-upholding off-road capability and vintage styling, it’s the reasonable price structure that has us most excited for the pickup.
Starting at $33,545 (presumably before a $1,495 destination charge), the base Gladiator Sport slots in at a bit more than the base Toyota Tacoma SR Double Cab 4x4 ($32,195), but it undercuts the less off-road–friendly Honda Ridgeline Sport AWD ($35,290). The Chevrolet Colorado WT asks $31,700 in its four-wheel-drive, crew cab configuration, while the Ford Ranger XL SuperCrew 4x4 is a bit cheaper still ($30,680). The bargain-basement Nissan Frontier Crew Cab S 4x4 is the only body-on-frame midsize 4x4 crew cab to slot in under $30,000.
So admittedly, the Gladiator is the second-most expensive vehicle in its competitive set. However, moving into a higher-spec Jeep truck isn’t as financially daunting as we were expecting.
The mid-spec Gladiator Sport S will ask for $36,745 for the pleasure of ownership, bringing power windows and door locks, silver-painted wheels, and a few other conveniences along with it. The luxurious Gladiator Overland—which will add larger wheels, tinted windows, heated mirrors, side steps, dual-zone automatic climate controls, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, and a wider variety of optional extras—demands $40,395.
At the top of the Gladiator range is the Rubicon, which starts at $43,545 and includes a long list of axle, transfer case, and body modifications to help it perform significantly better than its still-capable siblings when the going gets rough. Among those changes include a lower gear ratio for the transfer case’s low range (4.0:1 compared to 2.72:1), standard locking front and rear differentials, a disconnecting sway bar up front, and off-road–tuned Fox monotube shocks. The Rubi also gets an added 1.1 inches of ground clearance, improving approach, departure, and breakover angles along the way.
While nearly $44,000 is still a lot of coin for a midsize truck, the Rubicon is arguably more capable than the similarly priced Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 and Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro, the only die-hard off-roaders in the midsize class. And the Rubicon is the only pickup to offer four-wheel drive and a manual transmission in all of its grades—a mixed blessing that makes our enthusiast hearts very happy but requires those who want an automatic to pony up a bit more dough. Something that should pique everyone’s interest is that the Gladiator, regardless of trim level, is the only open-air pickup on the U.S. market, with a removable top and doors and a folding windshield.
Also announced were the Gladiator's EPA-rated fuel economy numbers, and the news is good-not-great on that front. Currently, the truck is only available with a 3.6L Pentastar V-6, which achieves 17 city/22 highway/19 combined mpg with the eight-speed automatic gearbox or 16 city/23 highway/19 combined with the standard six-speed manual. Those numbers are right in line with the automatic-only Chevrolet Colorado, which achieves 17/24/19 in EPA testing, but they're down on the 2.3L turbocharged I-4 found in the Ranger (20/24/22 mpg).
With segment-competitive towing, payload, off-road capability, and pricing, plus all that baked-in Wrangler personality, we think many midsize pickup buyers are going to have a hard time driving past the Jeep dealer without stopping to check out the Gladiator.