Which 2020 Jeep Gladiator Trim Should You Buy?

2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon

Cars.com illustration by Paul Dolan

By Aaron Bragman

The 2020 Jeep Gladiator mid-size pickup is one of the hottest trucks for 2019, and something enthusiasts have been clamoring to get their hands on for years. But like the Jeep Wrangler SUV, there are a number of Gladiator configurations that offer a different focus for the Jeep truck depending on what you intend to do with it. We've had a look through the various Gladiator trim levels to break down its features and help you decide which of these models is right for you if you're in the market for the latest must-have Jeep.

Related: Find a Jeep Gladiator for Sale Near You

Gladiator Sport ($35,040, all prices include $1,495 destination fee)

The basic Sport model is your entry into the Gladiator arena, and it is indeed quite basic. Manual transmission, manual crank windows, manual door locks. It's meant to either be the Gladiator to get if you just have to have the cheapest convertible pickup and don't care about equipment, or to be a canvas that you can modify to your liking given the massive catalog of Jeep accessory parts. But for the Jeep Gladiator's price, you don't get anywhere near the level of equipment found in competitor mid-size trucks at this level.

There are option packages that can help, like the Auxiliary Switch Group that puts four programmable switches in the center console, or the Max Tow Package that enables you to tow the Gladiator's maximum of 7,650 pounds with a 4.10 axle ratio (3.73 is standard), 240-amp alternator and additional cooling. An eight-speed automatic transmission is a $2,000 option. The audio system is a basic 5-inch Uconnect 3 system, which does not support Apple CarPlay or Android Auto but does have a USB connection and Bluetooth streaming audio. This is a great place to start if you want to build your own off-road rig; however, the four-wheel-drive system isn't the Rock-Trac part-time four-wheel drive with the ultra-low crawl ratio that you'd get on the top Rubicon model. It's the still-robust Command-Trac system.

  • 285-horsepower, 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine
  • Command-Trac part-time four-wheel-drive system
  • Six-speed manual transmission
  • Removable soft-top
  • 180-amp alternator
  • Cloth seat upholstery
  • Six-way, manually adjustable driver seat
  • Four-way, manually adjustable passenger seat
  • Fully carpeted interior with floormats
  • 5-inch touchscreen Uconnect 3 audio system
  • 17-inch black steel wheels
  • All-season tires
  • Halogen headlamps (no automatic on/off headlamps)
  • Foglamps
  • Backup camera
  • Cargo bed tie-down loops

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

Gladiator Sport S ($38,240)

The Sport S adds convenience features to the Sport model, but also opens up the possibility for option packages that you can't get on the Sport. Only in the Sport and Sport S can you get the Max Tow Package that enables the 7,650-pound towing capacity; the Overland is limited to just 6,000 pounds, and the Rubicon can safely do 7,000 pounds. Options for the Sport S are more numerous: They include the 7-inch Uconnect 4 touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a removable Bluetooth cabin speaker, the Cold Weather Group with heated front seats and steering wheel, the Dual Top Group that gives you both a three-piece hardtop and a premium soft-top, the Active Safety Group with rear parking sensors, blind spot detection and cross-traffic alert. You can also order up an Alpine premium audio system, LED taillights and adaptive cruise control with forward collision warning and autonomous braking.

Gladiator Sport S adds:

  • Power windows
  • Power locking doors and tailgate
  • Heated power side mirrors
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Sun visors with illuminated mirrors
  • 17-inch silver aluminum wheels
  • Automatic headlamps
  • Remote keyless entry
  • Speed-sensitive automatic power locks
  • Anti-theft alarm

Gladiator Overland ($41,890)

The Overland is meant to be the most luxurious model of the Gladiator, more at home on the street than the trail. With its 18-inch wheels and all-season tires, just like the Wrangler Overland, its goal is to be the nicest version of the Gladiator. It can certainly be an expensive one — a couple of option packages are available, such as the Premium LED Lighting Group and the 8.4-inch Uconnect 4C touchscreen multimedia system. Leather seat trim is also an option.

Gladiator Overland adds:

  • 18-inch Granite Crystal aluminum wheels
  • Body-colored fender flares
  • 220-amp alternator
  • Premium door trim panels
  • Silver instrument panel bezels
  • LED interior ambient lighting
  • Overland cloth bucket seats
  • Daytime running lamps

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Gladiator Rubicon ($45,040)

The top-of-the-line Gladiator is the Rubicon, which is also the most capable off-road model. Packed full of off-road equipment like electronic locking differentials, a 4.10 axle ratio, electric sway-bar disconnects, a unique 4x4 system with a very low crawl ratio, big off-road tires, a lifted suspension and higher fender flares for more tire clearance. But despite the Rubicon's price tag, you still have to pay extra for things like the 8.4-inch Uconnect 4C touchscreen with navigation, LED lighting, adaptive cruise control, etc. That can easily push the cost of a loaded Gladiator Rubicon north of $60,000 if you're not careful on the option sheet.

Gladiator Rubicon adds:

  • Rock-Trac 4x4 system with 84:1 crawl ratio (manual transmission)
  • 33-inch off-road tires
  • Lifted off-road suspension
  • Electronic front sway-bar disconnect
  • Locking front and rear differentials
  • Fox monotube off-road shocks
  • Unique vented Rubicon hood
  • Steel off-road rock rails
  • Red interior accents
  • Automatic climate control

And that's where Jeep gets you on all of this pricing. It's already an expensive truck for what you get, but you're paying for the style and uniqueness of having an open-air, off-road pickup from which you can quickly remove the doors. It costs thousands of dollars more than comparable pickups from competitors, but offers an experience competitors can't match.

Which Gladiator Should You Buy?

The trim that's right for you is a matter of how you'll use it: Choose the Sport S if you want the maximum towing ability, the Overland if you don't much plan to go off-road or the Rubicon if you want to haul some toys or stuff to a remote campground, or perhaps go on an overland expedition somewhere. Just make sure you bring that loaded checking account, as regardless of the version you choose, it's not going to be cheap.

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