In styling and off-road performance, the 2020 Gladiator is a derivative of the Jeep Wrangler and shares a number of components and key attributes with the latest-generation JL Wrangler. Photo credit: REUTERS
LOS ANGELES — After a nearly 14-year tease of just-over-the-horizon promises and someday-soon product plans, Jeep showed the first production pickup to carry the brand’s name in a generation: the 2020 Jeep Gladiator.
And Wednesday at the Los Angeles Auto Show, the brand put an end date on the horizon and identified someday-soon, promising that the Gladiator — a descendant of an ultrapopular concept pickup of the same name Jeep first showed in 2005 — would be in showrooms in the second quarter of 2019.
In styling and off-road performance, the 2020 Gladiator is a derivative of the Jeep Wrangler and shares a number of components and key attributes with the latest-generation JL Wrangler that went on sale this year, including removable doors, a removable roof and a folding front windscreen.
But while it is Wrangler-based, the Gladiator is distinct from the iconic off-roader, with a frame that is 31 inches longer and a wheelbase that is 19.4 inches longer to carry its 5-foot cargo bed.
The Jeep Gladiator in Rubicon trim. Photo credit: TOM WOROBEC
Under its hood clips, the Gladiator will be powered by either the standard 285-hp 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 gas engine or — beginning in 2020 — an optional 260-hp 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 diesel engine mated to either a six-speed manual transmission or optional eight-speed automatic. Both engines will come with electronic stop-start systems standard to improve fuel efficiency.
In exterior styling, the Gladiator freely apes the popular JL Wrangler, incorporating much of the SUV’s exterior lighting and design cues while departing in some small ways to improve capability. One example: The seven slots in the Jeep grille are larger on the Gladiator than they are on the Wrangler to enhance airflow for towing, allowing the Gladiator to boast up to 7,650 pounds of towing capacity and up to 1,600 pounds of payload capacity with an optional Max Towing package.
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