The 2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon, tested
This is the 2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon. [credit:
The new 2020 Jeep Gladiator is Jeep’s first pickup truck in 27 years. Rather than compete head-on in concept with other mid-sized pickups in the market like Chevy’s Colorado and Ford’s new Ranger, Jeep has based it loosely on the legendary Wrangler in order to keep nearly all of that vehicle’s off-roading capability in the transformation to pickup life. The Gladiator tackles off-road duties like, well, a Jeep, but it can also haul greater loads than other mid-sized trucks.
Jeep officials stress the notion that the Gladiator is 100-percent truck and also 100-percent Jeep, which means solid axles, boxiness, mud-wrestling through slimy trails and being ready for anything. It’s rated to tow more than nearly everything in its class, but it doesn’t really love that role. So, we’ve driven it, spat dirt and rocks off its tires, and scraped its dangly bits to take you deep into the Gladiator arena.
Rolling in the deep and muddy
This Gladiator’s arena happens to be filthy; that’s where Jeeps shine. On the road, though, the Gladiator acquits itself well. A 19.6-inch (500mm) longer wheelbase than Wrangler reduces rocking and porpoising over bumps and heaves in the road. Steering itself is rather vague and slow to react, but one must adjust expectations of a vehicle with this kind of off-roading focus. No vehicle with this kind of ability in the rocky stuff also ticks the sports-car-steering box.
Source: Ars Technica