5 Fixes for the 2020 Jeep Gladiator


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From its introduction at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show, we know there is a plenty to love about the newest mid-size pickup truck player from Jeep: the 2020 Gladiator. There's no other brand in the class — maybe the auto industry — with the kind of customer loyalty and instant name recognition that Jeep enjoys, and we're well aware that the automaker could have really screwed up this pickup during the development process.

Related: 2020 Jeep Gladiator Is Ready for Adventure: Video

Clearly Jeep did many things right with the 2020 Gladiator that's based on the popular Jeep Wrangler SUV four-door: leaving the removable doors and drop windshield, including a new convertible option, making a manual transmission available, eventually offering a diesel and making the Rubicon trim the Gladiator's flagship model. But this pickup isn't perfect, not if Jeep wants the Gladiator to be a real pickup truck competitor. It's already longer than the sales-leading Toyota Tacoma crew-cab long bed, and the Tacoma has a wheelbase that's 3 inches longer and a bed that's 18 inches longer.

Here are our other quick quibbles with the new Jeep:

 

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1. No Trailer Brake Controller

We understand that most owners in this class will not tow; that's not how mid-size pickup owners typically use their truck. But given the number of Wranglers we see towed behind Ford, Chevrolet and Ram pickups, it seems like the automaker would want to offer an integrated feature trailer brake controller so that existing Jeep fans who purchase both vehicles can tow the Wrangler behind the Gladiator. Seems like a missed opportunity for now but we're guessing Mopar parts will pick up the slack.

 

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2. Five-Lug Axles

There's plenty to like about Jeep's decision to include the Wrangler's heavier-duty Dana 44 axles on the basic Gladiators and include stronger Dana 44s on the Rubicon, but we it looks weird to us. Five lugs on the axles doesn't necessarily communicate extra strength, and it's something none of the competitors in the mid-size class have (they all show six). We know this is mostly about the towing and gross vehicle weight ratings, but if Jeep ever plans to offer an upgraded towing package, engineers might want to address this.

 

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3. No Extended Cab

Until the Jeep Gladiator, the Honda Ridgeline was the only mid-size player lacking a smaller four-door. Yes, crew-cab models are the big sellers in the class, but offering a simple extended-cab model — or even a regular cab — would give Jeep bragging rights about offering a longer bed (keep the single wheelbase option) for those who might want to use their bed for more than carrying luggage to the airport.

 

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4. No Bed Creativity

We're disappointed that the company that gave the world the RamBox didn't provide a special feature or two integrated into the Gladiator's bed or hiding underneath. We've seen our share of air compressors, hidden storage bins, extra fuel tanks, and even outlets for 12-volt tools and kitchen appliances (ever had a blender on the trail or worksite?). A basic bed in a not-so-basic pickup doesn't make much sense. How about a JeepBox?

 

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5. No Work Truck Option

This overlaps a bit with complaint Nos. 3 and No. 4: Offering a work truck trim seems like low-hanging fruit for Jeep. A work truck trim would benefit those who have remote mail routes or navigate backcountry dirt roads. It would be a great way to offer something less expensive with a longer bed and possibly some unique tool storage packages. How about a special-edition pit crew chase vehicle? At least offer something in commercial white.

Cars.com by Mark Williams; manufacturer images

 

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Comments

As I have stated before, this will be a yuppie urbanite vehicle, nothing special.

It will sell some units but it will not be a vehicle suited for work, just play.

but it will not be a vehicle suited for work, just play.
Posted by: oxi | Dec 9, 2018

Is "play" a bad thing? Do all those Tacoma's I see dressed-up for romping in the dirt go to work on Monday morning? I don't think so.

I've not seen Oxi so revved up over a competitive model since the last major update to the Colorado came out.

@PUTC

I'm thinking that Jeep execs carefully considered who their customer really is (and isn't). I cannot imagine auto parts stores or pizza drivers using Gladiators to deliver the oil filters (and garlic knots). Ditto for masons and plumber's assistants.

FCA realizes that the new Jeep truck will be a outdoors toy that is occasionally asked to do a little work around the ranch, or the mall. I'm impressed with what they've done and how it's targeted.

Majority of the demographic who buys pickups uses it as daily and family vehicle. The "work" truck aspects of it is just for show and the "offroad" uses it will see will be over the lawn and curb of the mall. People who truly uses a pickup for what it is buy 3/ton+ and those that really do offroad mods their vehicles beyond civilized city driving comfort.

I have never seen the reason for 6 lugs on a wheel. The more holes, less metal should make a wheel weaker. You do not see 6 lugs on a 800hp Nascar car, or my 1974 PowerWagon with the 440cuin 4 speed had 5 lugs. I put 35'ss on it with oout any type of lift. and only 5 lugs/
Then I buy a Taco with 195hp with 6 lugs?

Not sure where you get the info that a Taco bed is 18inches longer then the Jeeps 5 foot bed? Maybe a typo?

I even looked it up, 6 feet is the longest on a Taco...

This truck does have the ability for some serious upgrades and
I'm sure the aftermarket community will have a field day dressing this thing up in all sorts of goodies. I wonder if AEV
will do a workup like they did with Ram 2500.

Now, lets get serious. Go to HDRams.com and see the all new
2019 Ram 2500's, interior/exterior and see whats new...The CGI
Cummins with some staggering numbers will make your mouths
water. 410hp/930 lbs of torque connected to a 8 speed ZF
Powerline auto box....Time to have Fords for lunch and Chevy's
for dinner....

@papajim--I believe oxi's attack on the Gladiator is more about fear that this truck will cut into Tacoma's sales and that it actually might be a better off roader. My opinion is the more competition the better--in the long run it will make all of the competition better even Tacoma.

@Dave, there's not much I can add to your comment on the hubs but here goes.

First your points are on target. Second. I'm convinced that FCA/Jeep engineers are SAE guys, and thus very sharp on this sort of 20th century technology and analysis.

This is the bread/butter of SAE people. It's engineering 101 for guys in that field. The total clamping force of the fasteners and the rim itself are what counts here.

I was hoping for a replacement for my Dakota...Oh well.

Much complaining about nothing. Here's the translation of what FakeNews.PickupTrucks.com is really trying to say:

1. No Trailer Brake Controller
We all know nobody tows anyway, especially midsize vehicles, yet we're shocked that Jeep cut corners by not offering something that hardly anybody would use.

2. Five-Lug Axles
They just look weird and that makes us cross. Shame on Jeep, nobody makes us look bad except us.

3. No Extended Cab
After all the complaining we do at PickupTrucksDotCom about not being able to fit 8'11" men in the back seats of many vehicles, we're fuming that Jeep didn't offer the cheaper version that only fits individuals with toddler-sized legs. Not for the reason you might expect which is price, but because suddenly we care about longer beds.

4. No Bed Creativity
How DARE Jeep not be creative with their beds? A travesty of the arts and totally unlike the rich cultural heritage of the Fiat-Chrysler-Daimler-Dodge-AMC-Plymouth-Rambler-Eagle Corporation. It's as if Jeep believes that Jeep owners, who are brand loyal and will buy a Jeep regardless of extra features, the same people who always modify their Jeeps to suit their individual needs, will look beyond an empty bed and modify it themselves like they always have.

5. No Work Truck Option
Again we hate to complain, despite doing it constantly, but after all the whining we do about trucks being "cheap" and "stripped down" now what we really want is a work truck version of the one thing that is not meant to be a work truck at all. It's like Jeep doesn't even care about the rural postal service or chase crews, the two types of buyers who are least likely able to afford a 4-door Jeep truck that costs as much as a down payment for a house.

@BD- Spot on.
The vehicle the Gladiator is based on costs $38 grand if you dont want manual locks and a tent for a roof. It will be a premium truck.

The Toyota Tundra has had five-lug wheels (why?!) since 2007, switching from six-lug rims of the first generation. And it was the biggest half-ton in 2007. It shouldn't matter as much with the Jeep.

Despite all the picks this will sell. I would have liked to see an extended cab version but I am not the market that this is targeted to. As for 5 lug nuts versus 6 it is not a deal breaker for those who would buy this truck.

As I have stated before, this will be a yuppie urbanite vehicle, nothing special.

"It will sell some units but it will not be a vehicle suited for work, just play."


Posted by: oxi | Dec 9, 2018 7:06:05 AM

Just like the current Tacoma. Only more capable off road.

A "work truck" option? Probably for the Third World.

Five lug wheels? Not a problem. My Tundra had them. No problem with hauling.

An extended cab? Yes! Please.....

I think Jeep is inching away from Sergio's vision of an "intentionally expensive" toy. I bet the extended cab 6 ft. bed truck is righaround the corner....

6. Needs a more powerful gas engine option. Either a turbo 3.6L or even Hemi 5.7L. I know the diesel is coming and that's great but there should also be a premium, low volume more powerful gas option.

6. Needs a more powerful gas engine option. Either a turbo 3.6L or even Hemi 5.7L. I know the diesel is coming and that's great but there should also be a premium, low volume more powerful gas option.

Would be nice to have a regular cab with some room behind the seat .Mounted on the 4 door Wrangled frame. And make the bed whatever length it needs to be to fit. It's just me or a buddy going fishing. We all don't need a school bus. I like the idea of a bed, Wet dogs, sloshing ice chests full of fish etc.

@BD -- Have to say, that was pretty good. We'll have to wait and see about pricing and whether they surprise us with a V-8 option.

the car is very beautiful. Very sporty style. very nice furniture. I love this car.

These are some very thin issues to have with the Gladiator. Pretend trucks don't tow (Toyota found it was in the 30s of what people look for in little trucks). The lug... so what. Bed creativity/work version? Its a toy remember. Extended cab... with the Wrangler already offering more interior space keeping them double cabs for production reasons and as a place to put your stuff/bring your friends is probably smart.

All of the Gladiator's Greatest weaknesses are also its (and for the most part the Wranglers) Strengths. It looks great, its very off road capable, its fun, take off the top/sides, FREEDOM, quirky, different, it Jeep ect... and because of those strengths/reasons its also noisy, primitive, poor on road handling/ride, leaks, often broken into, expensive, inefficient, inconsistent build quality, ect...

Just like the Wrangler for many its a cool fun vehicle for a very short point in ones life that often looks far cooler than it actually turns out be, leading high demand and high turn over keeping used inventory and values high.

Yea the last thing a prospective owner of one of these cares about are bed features, towing, payload, price, onroad manners/ride/comfort/noise, efficiency, and even to a large extent quality. This is ALL about being different, cool and most of all FUN.

Clint nails it. You don't need to know more. Says it all.

Does everything that resembles a half-ton truck really need 6-lug hubs? We've been doing fine for decades with 5 until the over-engineering sickness virus took over.

Trailer brake controller? I'm quite sure that about 3% of anyone buying these trucks will tow a trailer that needs brakes.

This vehicle will steal so much sales from the dated F-series and upcoming (whenever that might be) cookie cutter Ranger. People like newly designed , stylish and cool vehicles that GM, Ram and now jeep offer. Great job Jeep!

GovMsRGREAT been sucking off his 6.2's tail pipe again.

The Gladiator wont be stealing sales from the fullsize world or the Ranger. It will steal most of its sales from Wranglers, and little trucks with off road packages (TRDs, ZR2/Bison). This vehicle will never be "mainstream" pretend truck.

It will never approach in sales any of the pretend trucks that have road manners. Even the Colorado and Canyon are safe from this thing.

The Ranger however based on prior NA and current global sales will soon slot in the top 3 pretend truck and could re-establish itself as the number 1 selling little truck in NA. Something it was and the S10/Colorado have NEVER EVER been (even in the Ranger's absence).

The Ranger however based on prior NA and current global sales will soon slot in the top 3 pretend truck and could re-establish itself as the number 1 selling little truck in NA.

Posted by: Clint | Dec 10, 2018 1:31:20 PM

Lay off the Ford cool aid.
I have been hearing comments like that about the Ranger for years now. The Ranger will not be a top selling vehicle in its return. The truth is, the Ranger is too late to market and Ford won't allow it to be successful in order to prevent it from cannibilizing the F-series.

Ford won't allow it to be successful in order to prevent it from cannibilizing the F-series...Posted by: GMSRGREAT

So true. Pricing is going to really hurt the sales potential the new Ranger has. Ford played a few cute games with the pricing announcement a few months ago, but please realize there will be ZERO $20-30k Rangers on the lots for quite a while.

The first Rangers to show up will be tricked-out and big bucks. Maybe even for a year.

Ditto for the Super Cab Ranger. It will be a rare puppy until Dearborn decides to compete price wise at the lower end. It has the potential to be a volume seller, but I'm not seeing it for another year.

The Ranger is likely going to surprise many with sales numbers.

The only point I'll agree with is number 5.
True, there aren't trailer brakes... yet. I imagine that option will come with the diesel.
I understand having a crew cab only. They're testing the waters. No sense in wasting time and effort on what would probably be low volume configurations. It's the same strategy Nissan took with the Titan XD.
A basic bed makes sense for the same reason. Let the platform find it's feet, then peddle the gadgets and gimmicks.
I don't mind 5 lug axles. My first truck was a 1990 Dodge. It had 5 lugs, and I rarely felt like I needed more truck.
But yes, you NEED a work truck trim. I'm sure there are thousands of farmers, loggers, contractors, and oil field workers who would LOVE this truck, but most of them have too much sense to beat a $40,000 truck to pieces off road.

The Ranger is likely going to surprise many with sales numbers.
Posted by: just the truth | Dec 10, 2018

@JTT

Does that mean a positive or negative surprise? I am a solid believer in the potential of the Ranger but I'm very skeptical about Ford execs wanting Ranger sales to come at the expense of F150 sales in the $27-37k price range.

Those half ton work trucks are much more profitable than the Ranger, at least for now. Ford (and GM) bean-counters are very influential these days.

Papajim Positive. The ranger has enough history to sell.

I made an intelligent comment and you replied with an idiot comment that 50 people would read 50 different ways. Go home.

History? Fool

Papajim Positive. The ranger has enough history to sell.


Posted by: just the truth | Dec 10, 2018 7:13:49 PM

Interesting, placing Ranger and history together in the same sentence.

History = Something happened before now. Such as the Ranger has been sold in the past = history. Due to ranger history there is likely pent up demand. This pent up demand will cause flush of sales at the start.If people buying rangers have good reports sales will be good. The Ranger will be second or third in mid-size sales as not likely to dethrone Tacoma any time soon.

What size are the lugs? 12mm? More important than the number of lugs are the stud diameter and diameter of the lug pattern. Toyota said the 14mm stud 150mm pattern on the Land Cruiser/Tundra about 18% stronger than the 6 lug 12mm pattern.

Less expensive to produce also...

As I have stated before, this will be a yuppie urbanite vehicle, nothing special.

Posted by: oxi | Dec 9, 2018 7:06:05 AM

The Tacoma is the embodiment of the yuppie urbanite vehicle. Every Tacoma video I've watched on Youtube shows some early 30's bro in his suburban mcmansion, talking about all his "off-roading" mods yet there's isn't a spec of dirt on the truck. And the most offroading they might do is a dirt access road on the outskirts of the city.

The Ranger is likely going to surprise many with sales numbers.
Posted by: just the truth | Dec 10, 2018

No, it won't. Ford went out of their way to make sure the Ranger was as late and uncompetitive as possible. Every Ranger offered outside of the US has a manual transmission option, yet here in Ford's home country, they offer nothing in a manual transmission. They're offering only one engine and it's the 2.3 ecoboost famous for blown headgaskets and poor engine performance when running on 87 octane fuel in the summertime. They won't even offer a Duratec V6 as an upgrade. No diesel engine either despite having a 3.0L diesel they could use. The only way the Ranger sells big is if Ford pushes the truck hard in the fleet market. The sales won't come from the saturated midsize retail market.

The sales won't come from the saturated midsize retail market.
Posted by: Hilti | Dec 12, 2018

@Hilti

I hope you're wrong, but unless Ford is prepared to fight for market share in every niche that the Ranger is capable of competing for...you'll be absolutely right.

Ford's making a mistake trying to ignore the pizza/auto parts market. They also need to recognize the opportunity for sales to the mom-pop suburban households. Sometimes history repeats itself.

During the prosperous mid-1990s the S10 and Ranger sold like hotcakes despite being pretty average trucks. I have not forgotten that the VERY stale Generation-one Colorado and Canyon were head and shoulders better than the 1990s versions of the S10 and Ranger. That tells you how hungry buyers were for compacts back then.

The build engine is now available on the Jeep website. It DOES have an option for integrated trailer controller. As another article on this page noted, Mopar will offer plenty of unique and creative bed organization add-ons, the Max Tow is basically a work truck. At this price point, though, you’d never find these in fleets anyway.

As was previously mentioned, 5 lug axles are more than adequate for a mid-size truck. They ran 5 lugs on half-tons for decades without problems.

So that leaves the extended cab argument. It’s a valid argument, but affects so few people that it almost becomes a non-issue.

I was hoping for a bed delete option. I foresee a wide array of aftermarket bed replacements, including over lander RV add-ons.

I have been waiting for yrs to trade in my 2001 Taco. 2 things I want, and if they aren't available, it is a deal-breaker. I want a standard transmission and a 2-dr ext cab. I want the Jeep, but I won't buy a 4-dr. My kids are grown and gone, and I use it for off-road. I don't need the added length. The Colorado is offered in ext cab, but only offers a stick w/ a 4-cyl, which is way under-powered for a truck of this size. What to do, what to do...



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