Quick Spin: 2020 Jeep Gladiator Sport
2020 Jeep Gladiator Sport
Class: Compact Pickup Truck
Miles driven: 178.2
Fuel used: 8.1 gallons
|CG Report Card|
|Room and Comfort||B|
|Power and Performance||B-|
|Fit and Finish||B|
|Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.|
|Big & Tall Comfort|
|Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.|
|Engine Specs||285-hp 3.6-liter|
Real-world fuel economy: 21.9 mpg
Driving mix: 15% city, 85% highway
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 17/22/19 (city, highway, combined)
Fuel type: Regular gas
Base price: $33,545 (not including $1495 destination charge)
Options on test vehicle: Customer Preferred Package 24S ($3200); 7.0-inch Radio Group($995); Convenience Group ($395); Cold Weather Group ($995); Max Tow Package with 4.10 axle ratio ($1095); Jeep Active Safety Group ($995); Adaptive Cruise Control with stop-and-go, Full Speed Forward Collision Warning+ ($795); hardtop headliner ($555); Cargo Management Group with Trail Rail system ($895); roll-up tonneau cover ($595); 8-speed automatic transmission ($2000); black Freedom Top 3-piece hard top ($1195); Alpine premium audio system ($1295); spray-in bedliner ($495)
Price as tested: $50,540
The great: One-of-a-kind looks, attitude, and functionality; off-road prowess
The good: Broad range of available features, even on base model; long wheelbase provides decent ride quality for an off-road-focused vehicle
The not so good: Stingy level of standard equipment and options really drive up the bottom-line price; steering feel demands frequent minor corrections in highway driving
More Gladiator price and availability information
We’ve driven several Jeep Gladiators here at Consumer Guide, but all of them have been higher-end models: the Overland, the Rubicon, and the Mojave. Our Overland test Gladiator bottom-lined at more than $55K, and the Rubicon and Mojave both topped $60K. That’s why we were happy to check in a base Sport model to our test fleet—since the Sport starts at $33,545, we’d have the opportunity to test a Gladiator at a more accessible price point.
Well, the Gladiator Sport’s STARTING price may be under $34K, but our test vehicle was optioned up—way up—to a bottom line of $50,540, including the $1495 destination fee. The biggest chunk of that $15,500 worth of options was the Customer Preferred Package 24S option group, which adds 17-inch silver aluminum wheels, power windows (with 1-touch down functionality on the front windows), power tailgate lock, speed-sensitive power locks, power heated mirrors, remote keyless entry, security alarm, leather-wrapped steering wheel, deep-tint sunscreen windows, automatic headlamps, sunvisors with illuminated vanity mirrors, and upgraded “Normal Duty Plus” suspension.
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The upcharges don’t end there, however. Want an automatic transmission? That’ll be another $2000. How about a removeable hardtop instead of a fabric soft top? The black “Freedom Top” three-piece removable hardtop tacks on another $1195—it includes removable “Freedom Panel” sunroof panels over the driver and front-passenger seats and a storage bag to carry them in as well as a sliding rear window and rear window defroster. Oh, you wanted a headliner for the hardtop? Another $555, please. If you want to optimize your Gladiator Sport’s towing capabilities, the $1095 Max Tow Package adds a 4:10 axle ratio, 245/75R17 all-terrain tires, heavy-duty Dana 44 axles front and rear, a class IV receiver hitch, heavy-duty engine cooling, and a Trailer Hitch Zoom feature which allows you zoom in the backup camera’s view to the hitch area to make it easier to connect a trailer.
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We’ll refer you to our test-drive reviews of the Gladiator Overland, Rubicon, and Mojave, as well as our First Spin report, for more in-depth evaluations. Here, we’ll touch on a few additional observations—most of which apply to all Gladiators, not just the Sport model.
Even in base trim with cloth seat upholstery, the Gladiator’s interior hits a nice balance between utilitarianism and comfort/refinement. Highlights include the great looking satin-metal trim accents, complete with allen-head bolts on the climate-control-trim piece—a nice “industrial art” touch. We also appreciated the grippy rubberized surface on the center-console cupholders, which also incorporate a handy smartphone-holder slot.
The unconventional center-mounted power-window switches always throw us for a loop when we first get into a Wrangler or a Gladiator (a concession to these vehicles’ removable doors, which makes the doors lighter and easier to carry), but we usually acclimate quickly. Another quirk of the Gladiator’s (and Wrangler’s) door arrangement: One of our long-legged testers complained about the fabric door-retainer strap (again, a concession to the removable doors) rubbing against his left leg in the driver’s footwell.
The Gladiator’s extra-long wheelbase means its rear-seat space is quite hospitable for adults. The rear seatbacks are a bit upright, but headroom is fine even for very tall passengers, and legroom is good for average-sized adults. Clever lockable storage bins are a handy extra-cost option—they reside underneath the flip-up rear-seat cushions, and are just the ticket for tool sets or other valuable small items.
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Not surprisingly, the Gladiator shares many of its Wrangler sibling’s quirks in on-road driving. The quick, precise steering—a great feature for slow-speed rock crawling or other demanding off-road maneuvering—requires lots of minute corrections when driving on the highway, which can grow tiresome on long drives. In our highway driving, we also noticed a bit of a whistle from the windshield header around the “Freedom Panel” removable sunroof panels.
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Also, one of our editors found the rear park-assist system annoying when backing out of his driveway. The off-road-focused obstacle sensors point downward enough that they were triggered by the mildly angled end of the driveway—and the resulting warning chimes essentially mute the audio system, which is frustrating when you’re listening to a podcast or a favorite song.
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In many ways, the Gladiator’s “purpose-built” shortcomings in comfort and refinement are part of its appeal—this is an off-roading implement first and foremost, and when viewed in that light it is actually reasonably refined in everyday driving. But even more so than the Wrangler, you’ll pay plenty to acquire one—even in base trim.
Consumer Guide Car Stuff Podcast, Episode 41: 2020 Jeep Gladiator Mojave, Safe Vehicles for Teens
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2020 Jeep Gladiator Sport Gallery
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