Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips and Reviews

A 2020 silver Jeep Gladiator is parked on a dirt hill overlooking a valley.

How to Know if the Jeep Gladiator is Right for You

So you’re in the market for a new vehicle, and you’re probably hearing a lot of buzz about the 2020 Jeep Gladiator. There’s a good reason for that: it’s a midsize pickup with the soul of a Jeep Wrangler, so it can tow a good amount, offers solid payload with a nice, big cab that resembles a Wrangler, and has the off-road capability of a true Jeep. That’s quite a combination.

But is it right for you? If what you’ve read so far gets your buyer-sense tingling, then maybe it is, but how can you know for sure? Fortunately, that’s pretty easy but it will take some work on your part. I can’t just sit here, look at the leaves at the bottom of my teacup, and tell you if you should go out and buy a Jeep Gladiator. If I could do that, I’d probably have an act on a late-night talk show.

What I can do is tell you what you need to know about the 2020 Jeep Gladiator and what it has to offer. I can also tell you what you need to know about your own vehicle needs, so you can see if those two things line up. If they do, then we’ve got ourselves a match – if not, then you should probably look elsewhere.

So, let’s see what we’ve got…

Start Simple: Towing and Payload

When I’m looking at a truck – and let’s be clear, the 2020 Jeep Gladiator is a truck – I like to start with towing and payload capacity. The reason for this is that it’s a simple metric that you can use to figure out if a certain model or optional engine will work for you. There’s nothing subjective about it – just cold, hard numbers that either meet your needs or don’t.

A grey 2020 Jeep Gladiator is towing a Grand Wagoneer on a grasslined highway.

So, you’re going to need to figure out what kind of towing and payload capacity you need before this is actually helpful. If you have a boat or a flatbed trailer, you need to figure out what it all weighs and keep in mind how much you might want to load it up with. For example, if you have a trailer that you like to load up with camping or tailgating supplies, then you need to have a sense of what all that weighs. Similarly, you need to know how much you like to load up into your truck for a weekend of camping or off-roading.

Now that you know what you need let’s look at what the 2020 Jeep Gladiator has to offer. The nice thing here is that there’s just one engine available so you don’t have to worry about five different engines and each one’s capabilities. When properly configured for optimal towing or payload, the 2020 Gladiator has a maximum towing capacity of up to 7,650 lbs. and an available payload of up to 1,700 lbs.

See? Simple numbers. If you need to be able to tow more than 7,650 lbs. then the Gladiator is not for you – same if you need to load up more than 1,700 lbs. It’s a good idea to give yourself some wiggle room here if you are making estimates. But if you know you have a boat and trailer that tops out well under that maximum towing, then the Gladiator might be a good choice.

Off-Road Performance

Next up, let’s talk about going off-road because it’s one of the key features of the 2020 Jeep Gladiator. So, if you’re not, which is to say not even remotely, interested in going off-road, then you should probably skip the Gladiator. It’s a fine midsize truck in its own right, but if you have no interest in going off-road, you can get more for less with a different model.

That said, if you are interested in doing some off-roading, then the Gladiator could definitely be your brand of strawberry jam! The 2020 Jeep Gladiator is the only midsize truck on the planet that has the Jeep Trail Rated Badge. On the one hand, that’s kind of like saying the Gladiator is the only midsize truck in the world to have the Jeep logo on it since it’s a badge given by Jeep to their vehicles that pass their own rigorous testing.

On the other hand, it also tells you a lot about what the Gladiator can do. While it is something that Jeep gives to its own vehicles, they do so only after the vehicle meets some pretty high standards. For example, the 2020 Gladiator can ford up to 30 inches of water safely, which is pretty impressive for a pickup. It has excellent traction and maneuverability for going off-road, plus high levels of articulation for climbing over uneven terrain. Not to mention you can get more than 11 inches of ground clearance with a factory model of the 2020 Jeep Gladiator.

So, overall, it really is a midsize truck designed for going off-road, and it can compete with the legendary Jeep Wrangler. If you’re looking for a truck to take onto some serious trails, then this is a fantastic choice.

Interior Features and Comfort

The black and red interior of a 2020 Jeep Gladiator is shown with an infotainment system.

One of the great things about the 2020 Jeep Gladiator is that the interior is very spacious for a truck, due to a design that draws a lot of comparisons to the 2020 Wrangler. If you plan on just hitting the trail with your significant other or your dog, then you might not need all that space. But if you have a big family or group of friends you plan on dragging with you into the great outdoors, then the Gladiator is awesome for doing just that.

Plus, there are a lot of niceties and comfort options available in the 2020 Gladiator, some of which are tied to trim levels, as you might expect, such as available leather trim for the Rubicon. There is an available 8-inch touchscreen display with Navigation, not to mention a 9-speaker Alpine premium audio system including an overhead soundbar. There’s even an available weatherproof Bluetooth speaker that recharges while you drive, which you can take with you when it’s time to get out and have something to eat.

Is it Safe?

The answer to that depends on how you drive – no safety features can make up for reckless driving. But all things being equal, and assuming you don’t spend an inordinate amount of your drive time looking at your phone – yeah, the 2020 Jeep Gladiator is a pretty safe vehicle. In particular, the available safety features are quite impressive and definitely go a long way to making this more than just a pickup you can take off-road.

A white 2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon is parked on a dirt trail that's overlooking snow covered mountains.

These features include available blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control with a full stop that adjusts your speed to keep a safe distance between you and the vehicle in front of you, and a forward collision warning. There is also available rear cross-path detection, available rear park assist, and trailer sway control if you plan on doing some towing. So, if you want a vehicle that can help keep you safe, the Gladiator is a good choice.

The Last Word

As you can see, whether the 2020 Jeep Gladiator is right for you or not really comes down to what you’re looking for. Overall, I would say that if you want a midsize truck with incredible off-road potential and solid towing and payload, then yes, it’s a good choice. If you don’t care about going off-road or it doesn’t meet your towing needs, then skip it and consider something like the Ram 1500.

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