Jeep returns to the pickup market following 26-year hiatus
2020 Jeep Gladiator pickup
Courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA)

Jeep returns to the pickup market following 26-year hiatus

Toledo-built Gladiator mid-sized truck offers Wrangler off-road capability with a bit of cargo space.

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November 30, 2018
Edited by Robert Schoenberger

Los Angeles, California – Jeep is bringing back the pickup version of its Wrangler off-road vehicle next year as the 2020 Jeep Gladiator. The last Jeep pickup was the 1992 Comanche.

“Unquestionably a truck and instantly recognizable as a Jeep, the all-new 2020 Gladiator is the ultimate vehicle for any outdoor adventure,” Tim Kuniskis, Head of Jeep Brand - North America, said at the product unveiling at the Los Angeles Auto Show. “There is tremendous demand for this unique vehicle from our loyal Jeep customers and pickup truck buyers everywhere. Born from a rich and proud heritage of tough, dependable Jeep trucks, Gladiator combines rugged utility, versatility and functionality resulting in the most capable midsize truck ever.”

The truck promises the off-road capability of the Wrangler, thanks to the Command-Trac and Rock-Trac 4x4 systems, third-generation Dana 44 axles, Tru-Lock electric front- and rear-axle lockers, Trac-Lok limited-slip differential, sway-bar disconnect, and 33” off-road tires.

Built in Toledo, Ohio, the 2020 Jeep Gladiator arrives in showrooms in the second quarter of 2019.

A four-bolt design at the top of the windshield’s frame allows for the windshield to fold down quickly and easily. A header bar connects the A-pillars and stays in place even when the windshield is folded down. This allows the rearview mirror to remain in place even with the windshield folded.

Lightweight, high-strength aluminum doors feature the Torx bit size stamped directly onto the hinge to eliminate guessing which size bit is needed to remove the doors. A tool kit with the necessary Torx bits to remove the doors and lower the windshield is provided as standard equipment.

Rear seat cushions can fold up into stadium position to reveal a standard open storage bin, which uses the space under the seat for stowing miscellaneous items. An optional lockable bin provides secure storage space when the top or doors are removed.

Exclusive to Gladiator Rubicon models, a forward-facing off-road camera allows obstructions ahead on the trail to be easily seen. The front camera sits behind the middle slot of Gladiator’s seven-slot grille.

The Gladiator uses a 3.6L V-6 engine that produces 285hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. A 3L diesel will be offered in 2020, producing 260hp and 442 lb-ft. The truck features a 6-speed manual transmission, an 8-speed automatic is optional.

Gladiator’s body-on-frame design uses advanced materials and engineering to be lightweight, yet stiff and durable, and features an all-new lightweight, high-strength steel frame. When compared to Jeep Wrangler 4-door, Gladiator’s frame is an additional 31” longer while the wheelbase is 19.4” longer. The longer wheelbase and the bed’s positioning center aft of the rear axle centerline enables for better weight distribution and a more comfortable and composed ride when carrying cargo.

Lightweight, high-strength aluminum closures, including the doors, door hinges, hood, fender flares, windshield frame, and tailgate, help curtail weight and boost fuel economy. Other ways the Jeep engineering team looked to manage weight included using hollow track and stabilizer bars, aluminum engine mounts, and steering gear.

The Gladiator is built in Toledo, where Jeep vehicles have rolled off the assembly line since 1941. The new truck will come out of the Toledo complex’s south plant, where the Jeep Wrangler was built until April 2018.

The Toledo South Assembly Plant, or what has also been known as Toledo Supplier Park, was built in 2005 as a cooperative joint venture with robotics company Kuka and automotive supplier Hyundai Mobis. Suppliers build and manage key manufacturing process facilities completely within the plant for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA). Kuka and Hyundai Mobis will supply the body and chassis, respectively to FCA with production expected to begin in the first half of 2019.

Manufacturing capacity for the new truck was created by moving production of the next-generation Jeep Wrangler to the north side of the Toledo Assembly Complex as part of a $4.5 billion industrialization plan to realign the Company’s U.S. manufacturing base to expand the Jeep and Ram brands. FCA US invested $700 million to retool the north plant and added more than 700 new jobs to support production of the new Wrangler.