Jeep’s new Gladiator seems to have found that precarious balance between practical workhorse and plaything.
It’s a capable midsize truck that offers open-air freedom, clever functionality and versatility, solid on and off-road dynamics and a host of safety and advanced technology features.
The company line is “Unquestionably a truck and instantly recognizable as a Jeep, the all-new 2020 Gladiator is the ultimate vehicle for any outdoor adventure,” and it’s hard to argue with that.
When it arrives in showrooms next year, you’ll be able to choose between a 3.6-liter V-6 engine, or a 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 power unit. A six-speed manual transmission is standard on all V6 petrol units, with an eight-speed automatic transmission optional. So it’ll get you where you want to go – but you can get there with plenty of personality.
The Gladiator features the option of a folding soft-top or removable hard top, and the doors can also be removed and the windscreen folded flat. And dozens of different door, top and windshield combinations allow for endless configuration possibilities.
This design utility hints at the Gladiator being ideal for families and adventurers rather than a purpose-built fleet or tradie work horse. However, it could well be a weekday worker that transforms cleverly and simply for weekend adventures.
On the inside it has a push-button starter, accent stitching, heated front seats, two USB ports and a USB-C port up front, and two in reach of occupants in the back seat connected to the media center.
Clever storage solutions are found throughout, including durable mesh pockets that extend the entire length of the doors and numerous phone storage areas.
There will be four different trim configurations: Sport, Sport S, Overland and Rubicon.