First Drive: 2020 Jeep Gladiator

by   Anthony Fongaro

The world of mid-size pickups trucks can do almost any job. As with full-size trucks, you’ll see people hauling, towing, or using their trucks as family vehicles. For FCA, you would think the mid-size truck in their lineup would be RAM, and you’d be wrong. Instead, Jeep took their Wrangler and converted it into the Gladiator. Since the Gladiator has become a front-runner in its segment, I wanted to see how it is. I ran a 2020 Jeep Gladiator Mojave 4x4 for a week and came across some interesting findings. 


One of the funniest things about driving around the Mojave was just how intimidating is it. Riding on 33” tires, the Gladiator Mojave looks huge. Being a pickup, it still has a usable bed, and being a Wrangler, it has the same interior. Did I like the Gladiator Mojave? There’s only one way to find out by reading about my quick review here. Would I recommend it to someone that won’t go off-roading on mud or snow? No. Absolutely not. It’s exactly why you think I wouldn’t recommend it. Although the Gladiator is a great truck and the Mojave trim level looks intense, its trim level is just overkill when you’re only hauling around people and groceries and is terrifying when you go more than 60 MPH. 

So what is one supposed to do if their off-roading is driving on some gravel or grass? Well, there is a Gladiator for anyone. Jeep has eight different trim levels, including the off-roading powerhouse Mojave. Before I reveal the trim level and options, I am going at this a different way. Instead of pretending that both myself and the average Gladiator owner will take it off-road, I will spec this out as a family truck and a truck you can take to the worksite. Now that I’ve said my piece on that, time to take a look at the trim level three lower than the Mojave: the Overland. 


All Gladiators are a four-door cab with a five-foot bed with a 285-horsepower V6, and all-wheel-drive. They also have a push-button start, USB ports, and a touchscreen Uconnect 7.0” touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Gladiators come with a decent amount of standard features, but let’s build out a Gladiator Overland. According to Jeep, this starts at $37,000 with Employee Pricing. 

Looking at the exterior, there are six standard colors including white, black, red, and the color I would pick: Gobi Clear-Coat Exterior Paint. While you can get get a Satin Black Grille by Mopar, it really takes away from the exterior paint. Instead of a Mojave’s massive 33” tires, the Overland uses a smaller and smoother 18” x 7.5” Granite Crystal Aluminum Wheels. These come with all-season tires and that’s just fine with me. There are four different top options and I would go with the $1,300 Black Freedom Top 3-Piece Hard Top. Five tonneau covers are available and similar to the Mojave I tested, I would get the $600 Roll-Up Cover. The final option I would get for the exterior is the $500 Spray-In Bedliner. 


Moving into the inside, there are two cloth colors along with two leather-trimmed bucked seat options. Even though they’re a $1,600 option, they make sense for this build. I do love me a big infotainment system, so the upgrade from the 7” to the Uconnect 4C Nav with 8.4” display is an option I’d tick. This also comes with the Alpine Premium Audio System which can be packaged together. $300 shall get you a Wireless Bluetooth Speaker, and $555 (which is quite specific) gets you a Hardtop Headliner to reduce wind noise. 


Even though it’s a massive $2,000, the 8-speed automatic is a must. Pair this with the  Remote-Start System, which is apart of a package I’ll talk about later, was used quite frequently in over 90-degree weather in Illinois. There are 10 different packages available, but I’m going to choose the ones I used with my test of the Mojave which are quite similar. First up: the Premium  LED Lighting Group package. This includes LED Daytime Running Lamp Accents, Front Fog Lamps, Turn Signals, along with the front and rear lights. 

Moving along to option two: the Cold Weather Group. This includes heated seats, a heated steering wheel, and the remote-start system I talked about earlier. $1,900 is the 8.4” Radio and Premium Audio Group. This has that upgraded infotainment screen and upgraded Alpine sound system from before along with HD radio, rearview auto-dimming mirror, and a plethora of SiriusXM radio items. The Jeep Active Safety Group package has blind-spot monitoring and rear park assist for $900. Finally, the Adaptive Cruise Control/Forward Collision Warning+. This includes...adaptive cruise control and forward-collision warning. It also includes advanced brake assist.


On the Jeep website, there’s two pricing for the Gladiator Overland can be either $49,000 or $44,000, depending on if you can get the Employee Pricing For All. That’s a staggering $11,000 less than the Mojave I tested. This build makes sense to me because I can see this as a family truck or something that can go off-roading which it won’t. The Overland trim will also be a more comfortable ride since it has much smaller tires. All the tech that’s included will make driving safer and enjoyable. I think the Gladiator is a great truck and with the Overland trim level, you combine the capability of a truck with the toughness of a Jeep. 

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