(Editor’s Note: Welcome to NAPA Knows New Cars with the 2020 Jeep Gladiator Overland 4×4. This is not your normal new car review. This series focuses more on the nuts & bolts of the vehicle that are not usually covered by other outlets. The intention is to inform, not endorse. Ultimately the decision to buy a vehicle should be based on an individual’s needs and situation.)
It has been 18 years since you could buy a brand-new Jeep branded pickup truck, the Jeep Comanche. The XJ-platform based Comanche was actually an odd mixed “Uniframe” design, mixing unibody and body-on-frame construction. It has been even longer since you could buy a body-on-frame Jeep truck. Jeep teased a concept Wrangler-based truck back in 2003 under the Scrambler name, and again in 2005 under the Gladiator name. Reportedly the Scrambler concept was almost production ready, but was yanked at the last minute for unknown reasons. Mopar created a truck conversion kit nearly a decade ago for those who were willing to cut up their four-door Wrangler. Even more obscure was the Jeep J8, a military truck based on the JK Wrangler platform used around the world (and oddly the underground mining industry). But now the wait is over and the 2020 Jeep Gladiator is here to satisfy your Jeep truck needs.
Make no mistake, the Gladiator is a Jeep Wrangler with a truck bed, not a truck with a Jeep Wrangler nose. If you are familiar with how a Wrangler drives there will be no surprises with the Gladiator. The Gladiator does receive its own bespoke frame, stretching the wheelbase beyond the normal four door Wrangler. The extra length makes highway driving much less “squirrelly” than the normal Wrangler. The ride is not harsh, but it isn’t smooth either. It is quite easy to navigate on crowded city streets thanks to a shockingly small turning radius. Outward visibility is good from all directions thanks to the ride height.
Interior space is on par with most four-door mid-size trucks. Front bucket seats are supportive and wide enough to be comfortable on the road, while narrow enough to keep you in place when wheeling in the dirt. The rear 60/40 bench seat folds down with a small storage recess area behind the seat. Lifting up on the rear bench seat cushion uncovers a full width storage bin perfect for small items. Using storage bins versus an open flat area under the seat means less chance of items wandering during offroad action. The under seat storage bin is removable with small hand tools if desired.
The words “towing” and “Wrangler” aren’t always spoken together. Towing with the Gladiator has the possibility of becoming a common sight. The 137.3″ wheelbase, full-frame, and solid axles offer a firm foundation for those who want to pull a camper, boat, or utility trailer.
Optioning a Gladiator with the factory base towing package is an extra cost of only $250. The base tow package includes a 240-amp alternator, class IV receiver hitch, heavy-duty engine cooling, and trailer hitch zoom capability added to the backup camera. Moving up in towing capability (depending on which model and options you select) the Gladiator can pull up to 7,250 lbs. with the Max Tow package. By comparison the normal Wrangler can tow up to 3,500 lbs. when properly equipped.
As Jeep tradition the external hood latches are located at the front corners of the hood. The hood opens wide to allow easy access to the top of the engine compartment. The air filter is located behind the passenger side headlight and is accessed easily with small hand tools. The main battery is located above the passenger side of the engine compartment and is protected by a battery blanket. Note that models equipped with stop/start also have a smaller battery located underneath the power distribution center (located along the passenger side firewall). When performing electrical work both batteries should be disconnected for safety.
Oil changes are fairly easy thanks to the top mounted oil filter cartridge located at the front center of the engine. The oil filler cap is located within easy reach as well. The oil pan drain bolt is located on the back side of the oil pan with plenty of room to work. The engine holds five quarts of oil and calls for 0W20 weight oil with a MS-6395 certification.
The engine bay of the Gladiator is tightly packaged. The alternator is located backwards but high up in the accessory drive, which should make replacement fairly easy when the time comes. The high mount alternator location also helps add to the Jeep’s deep water fording capability. Access to the serpentine belt is tight but can be done from the top if the air intake tube is removed. The engine coolant reservoir is located along the firewall next to the brake master cylinder.
The automatic transmission uses Mopar ZF 8&9 Speed ATF automatic transmission fluid or equivalent. There is no transmission fluid dipstick, only a side mounted filler plug. The front differential uses 75W85 gear oil, and the rear differentials requires different oil weight lubrication depending on the equipped rear axle options. The power steering reservoir is located next to the negative battery terminal.
2020 Jeep Gladiator Overland 4×4 Specifications:
- Engine Type: Pentastar® V6
- Engine Displacement: 3.6 liters
- Engine Horsepower: 295 hp
- Engine Torque: 260 lb.-ft.
- Transmission: 8-speed automatic transmission 850RE
- Front & Rear Axle Ratio: 3.73:1 (4.10:1 optional)
- 17 city / 22 hwy / 19 combined mpg
- Length: 218″
- Width: 73.8”
- Height: 73.1″
- Weight: 4,742 lbs. (Overland with automatic transmission)
- Standard Package: 4,000 lbs.
- Max Tow Package: 7,650 lbs.
- 17” steel
- 17” aluminum (optional)
- 18″ aluminum (optional)
- 245/75R17 All-Terrain
- Front: Disc
- Rear: Disc
- Head room: 42.8″ front / 40.8″ rear
- Leg room (max.) : 41.2″ front / 38.3″ rear
- Hip room: 53.9″ front / 55.9″ rear
- Shoulder room: 55.7″ front / 55.7″ rear
- Seating Capacity: 5
- 2020 Jeep Gladiator Sport 4×4 – $33,545
- 2020 Jeep Gladiator Sport S 4×4 – $36,745
- 2020 Jeep Gladiator Overland 4×4 – $40,395
- 2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon 4×4 – $43,545
Check out all the maintenance parts available on NAPA online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on owning a 2020 Jeep Gladiator, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
With an automotive writing career spanning over two decades, Brian has a passion for sharing the automotive lifestyle. An avid DIYer he can usually be found working on one of this many project cars. His current collection includes a 1969 Olds Delta 88 convertible and a slant-6 powered 1975 Plymouth Duster.