We Drove a 2020 Jeep Gladiator With $10,000 In Mopar Accessories

2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon Exterior

Cars.com photos by Aaron Bragman

By Aaron Bragman

One thing Jeep owners have in common is that the vast majority customize their vehicles. And why wouldn't you? The Wrangler SUV and Gladiator pickup truck are practically snap-together kits — Jeep intentionally makes it easy to take your vehicle apart and put it back together again with all kinds of new and exciting gear. But Fiat Chrysler Automobiles also wants you to upgrade with parts it's deemed safe and sane, and that's a big reason why the Mopar parts and accessories division exists. For the 2019 FCA What's New event at its Chelsea, Mich., proving grounds, the automaker showed off its full line of vehicles, and Mopar showed off what you can do with the new 2020 Gladiator Rubicon.

Related: We Drove a $60,000 Jeep Gladiator: Here's What You Do and Don't Get

With the simple addition of more extreme parts from Mopar, engineers created an even more capable, more ridiculously fun off-road rig, which I drove back-to-back with a standard Jeep Gladiator Rubicon on FCA's Lyman Trail test route. The trail is a backcountry forest two-tracker that sees the Jeep scrambling over stepped obstacles, diving into deep, muddy water and rolling over moguls that are meant to test suspension articulation.

What's Been Added: The Functional Bits

Mopar Jeep accessories can be decorative, functional or anything in between. But improving the Gladiator Rubicon's nearly unrivaled off-roading ability is a key mission for Mopar. To that end, it's added functional parts to this Gladiator, including a Jeep Performance Parts 2-inch lift kit, which allows for the fitment of 37-inch BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tires on 17-inch JPP five-spoke slotted wheels. The rock rails along the sides are heavy-duty, thicker and wider JPP models, and use the same durable powder coat that FCA uses for Ram pickup bedliners. Under the hood, Mopar added a cold-air intake to the standard 3.6-liter V-6, meant to give a little boost to power production.

2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon Exterior

The difference between the two is subtle but noticeable. The standard Rubicon felt extremely competent and never stumbled at anything the PG-13-rated trail could throw at it, only rubbing its underbody skid plates a couple of times on some of the taller obstacles that challenged its breakover angles. But the Moparized Gladiator had no such issues — that extra 2-inch lift kit plus the height added by the taller 37-inch tires kept anything from hitting the underside of the Gladiator even on some of the more aggressive breakover tests. As an added benefit, the balloonlike BFGs considerably smoothed out the ride on the trail — no more jarring impacts over small bumps and rocks, as the more voluminous tires soaked up the trail and made for a much smoother, more enjoyable experience.

What's Been Added: The Blingy Bits

But improving your ability to go off-road isn't just about ground clearance and big tires. Most Jeep owners don't stop at just a lift and tires when they're doing upgrades, and Mopar is ready for this, too. The most obvious addition is the replacement of the Gladiator's solid panel doors with 2-inch round steel-tube doors, which offer all of the open-air joy of Jeep ownership with just a bit more protection than not having anything. The top has been replaced by a mesh sunbonnet, which is a life-saver on super-sunny days, providing just enough shade to keep you comfortable but still allowing airflow overhead, while a hard tri-fold tonneau cover keeps items in the bed protected and dry. The tonneau covers a bed storage system with sliding racks that helps keep things organized in the bed, but still allows for cargo carrying.

Up front, a fixed black grille guard is installed in front of a custom satin-black grille, and JPP 7-inch 8,000-lumen LED off-road lights are fitted. More LED lights (5-inch, 4,800-lumen) have been added to brackets on the A-pillars, which stay in place even when the Gladiator's windshield has been folded to the hood. Keeping that hood locked down are dressy hood latches featuring a Jeep silhouette. Those lights are hooked up to the Gladiator's optional auxiliary switch bank, a panel of four switches smartly integrated to the lower center console that are programmable via the Uconnect multimedia screen.

2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon Interior

To help keep the interior clean (or at least easily cleanable), Mopar added all-weather deep-channel rubber floormats with a plug directly connected to the floor drains in the Gladiator's belly pan. To bling things up a bit, there's also a bright pedal dress-up kit and black door-sill guards featuring the Gladiator logo, while modular lightweight load-carrying equipment bags attached to the front seatbacks let you carry more with you in the cabin.

What's It All Cost?

The beauty of the Mopar stuff is that it's not only designed to work with the Gladiator like factory parts, but you can also order it directly from Jeep along with your truck, as well as see it financed with the truck and covered under the Jeep factory warranty. I found the quality of the parts to be exceptional, with the tube doors especially impressive — they close with a factory precision that is lacking in most aftermarket parts.

Moparized 2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon Parts List

MSRP

Jeep Performance Parts (JPP) 2-inch steel tube doors (4)

$1,195

Truck bed storage system

$1,295

JPP heavy-duty rock rails

$950

JPP off-road slotted wheels (4)

$1,140

 

JPP 2-inch lift kit with Fox shocks

$1,495

Tonneau folding cover

$950

Mopar satin-black grille 

$325

JPP cold-air intake

$445

Bright pedal kit 

$105

Hood latches with Jeep logo     

$60

All-weather floormats

$165

Door-sill guard

$75

JPP 5-inch LED off-road lights (2)

$475

JPP 7-inch LED off-road lights (2)

$725

JPP A-pillar LED light brackets

$145

JPP grille guard LED light brackets

$65

Grille/winch guard

$249

Grab handles (4)

$78

Molle storage bags (3)

$145

Mesh sunbonnet

$150

Total

$10,232

The price for this Gladiator's considerable list of upgrades is $10,232, plus tax and installation costs at your local dealership. Some of these accessories can be installed at the factory, some at the dealership, some at a Mopar Custom Shop; it depends on the accessory. Being liberal with the parts catalog can easily push the cost of your new Gladiator Rubicon north of $70,000, but many buyers are planning on spending that kind of cash to upgrade their rig anyway, and Mopar execs figure, why not spend that cash with them?

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