2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon Review
A great truck, but not for that kind of money
Since 1945, Jeep has been one of the leading brands for off-road vehicles. Their first creation, the Willys Jeep, took the world by storm following the end of the Second World War and they haven't really slowed down since. The Willys eventually was renamed the Wrangler in the mid-1980s and has been called that ever since.
However, Jeep has now decided that they are making a truck version of the Wrangler. Called the Gladiator, it's a rugged thing designed to do activities very similar to those that the Wrangler was designed for. So, the two seem quite similar. Similar chassis, similar design, they've even both got evocative names. So what's different about this truck version? Honestly, not much. It is essentially the same as a Wrangler. Except it's much more expensive and can perhaps fit a bit more in the back. And that right there is the main issue with this new Jeep. It simply isn't worth the money. The Wrangler starts at just over $28,000. That's a reasonable price for a Jeep that's capable of scaling mountains, wading through streams, and so much more besides. The Gladiator, however, is a bit more expensive. If you were to buy a bare-bones Gladiator with no optional extras whatsoever, you'd be paying just over $33,500. And that isn't including tax and shipping costs. Seems a bit steep, right? Considering that you don't even get power windows on the bargain basement Gladiator, the price is absurd. I've seen used Bentley Continental GT's for less than that. And, if you want the top of the line model with everything fitted as standard, you'll be looking at $95,000 gone. Not even a Trackhawk is that expensive!
So, it's not very different than a Wrangler, and it's much too expensive for what you get. This begs the question, what's there to like about this truck? Well, plenty if you're a pensioner with loaded pockets. But if you're not, then you may want to stop wasting your time reading this and go look for a better way to spend your money.
Now, if you're still here, then my guess is that you're still genuinely interested in this truck, despite the ridiculous price tag. So I had better tell you a little bit about what it's like to drive. Right then. Here goes. Put simply, the ride is genuinely impressive. If you go over a speed hump at 30mph, you'll hardly notice anything. I promise you, it'll feel like you're gliding over the pavement. You might be wondering how Jeep have managed this. It's all to do with the suspension. They've tuned the suspension in such a way that if you curb the wheel or fail to see a speed hump in time, quite frankly, you'll be absolutely fine. In fact, you'll barely feel anything at all. And on the highway it's smooth as well. Acceleration isn't exactly like that of a Raptor, but then again, you wouldn't expect it to be, because it isn't a Raptor. However, don't go thinking that this is just another underpowered truck. Because it's far from underpowered. It's got more than enough oomph to get you to highway speed and then some.
However, you might be thinking that because it's a relatively sizeable truck that it won't be very good for in-town driving. You might think that it'll be cumbersome, but surprisingly, it isn't. In fact, it was quite easy to maneuver. I was able to do a U-turn from the left lane at a stoplight and not hit the opposite curb. And believe me, I've had to maneuver some trucks that have had appalling turning radii, and whose power steering felt like it was trying to pull the wheel away from me whenever I would turn it. Happily, that's not the case with the Gladiator.
Now for the big question. Is it worth the money? No, I don't think it is. Despite its incredible suspension, nimble turning radius, and unexpectedly good acceleration, it isn't worth upwards of $33,500. Perhaps if, in a couple of years after they've had time to depreciate, they're at a reasonable price, I'd be tempted to get one. But for now, at these prices when you don't even get power windows on the base model, it's not worth the time and money. So no, I wouldn't get one now. Which is a pity, really, considering that it's a good truck otherwise.