CAR SHOWCASE

All Hail the Gladiator!

The Jeep pickup truck has finally arrived and it commands attention!  Debuting at the Los Angeles Auto Show, and as you’d expect, it looks very much like a Wrangler. Indeed, it is essentially a Wrangler from the (fold-down) windshield forward. But Jeep is keen to let everyone know that it’s more than just a Wrangler with a long frame and a short top. This open air truck can tow as much as 7,650 pounds’ worth of trailer or tote as much as 1,600 pounds of payload.

All 2020 Gladiators will be powered by the Wrangler’s familiar 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine that makes 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. The turbocharged 2.0-liter eTorque engine will not be offered, but a 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 that makes a monstrous 442 lb-ft of torque is in the pipeline for late next year. Just like the Wrangler, a six-speed manual is standard and an eight-speed automatic is optional. As for the diesel, the automatic will be the only choice when it finally arrives.

The bottom line is that the Jeep Gladiator is a formidable-looking truck from a legendary brand going head on against the midsize-truck establishment. We thought things were heating up with the impending return of the much-anticipated Ford Ranger, but the arrival of a true Jeep pickup is sure to upset the status quo. It’s a very good time to be a midsize-truck buyer.

 

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