posted on August 29, 2019

Finally, a Jeep truck

Americans have always loved the Wrangler, and they have always loved pickup trucks. It’s only natural that we combine the two, which is what many custom fabricators have been doing for years at places like SEMA. Finally, though, we have the Gladiator, the answer to the longtime prayers of Jeep enthusiasts everywhere.

On the outside, the inside, and from everywhere else, the Gladiator looks like a Wrangler with a truck bed stuck on the back. Which is exactly what it is. It seems obvious and simple, but it is also genius. Jeep has taken America’s most iconic adventure vehicle and upped its functionality and cool-factor significantly. Which is why the Jeep Gladiator is our car of the month for August 2019.

Andrew’s 2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon (Mississauga, ON)

Turo host Andrew was waiting on the Gladiator from day one. As soon as his local dealership had Gladiators in stock, he was there on the lot. He knew he wanted a red one, and he had to have it in the Rubicon trim — luckily they had exactly what he was looking for.

Andrew’s 2020 Gladiator is a Rubicon, the top-level off road-ready trim that has the beefiest parts available from the factory. It has bigger tires and lifted suspension, and other goodies like a low range transfer case, Fox shocks, and front and rear locking differentials. Altogether, these toys make the Gladiator a champ on trails, but keep in mind off-roading is prohibited on Turo.

For all its backcountry pedigree, Andrew reports that the Gladiator is downright comfortable inside. The interior comes with all the required modern gadgets, and Jeep has sorted out the ergonomic quirks from the previous generation Wrangler. With Rubicon’s upgraded monotube Fox shocks, Andrew says “it’s really comfortable on the road, it makes you feel like you’re not driving a truck.”

The Jeep Gladiator has only been out for a few months now, and people still get confused and/or excited when they see it on the road. Andrew notes that he consistently gets questions from onlookers in parking lots and at stoplights, and many of his guests so far have been people test driving the Gladiator to see if they want to buy one themselves.

Andrew’s favorite thing? The truck bed. Andrew has a jetski he uses from time to time, and the Wrangler-turned-pickup easily hauls the jetski where he wants to go. He’s also used it at his local drive-in theater, where he plops an air mattress down in the bed (you can add Andrew’s air mattress as an extra, as well as other equipment like chairs and a kayak).

Under the hood sits a 3.6L V6 that manages 17 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on highways, which is fine. A more torquey 3.0L turbodiesel will soon be available which can boost the towing capacity up to 7,650 pounds — nothing to sneeze at. So the Gladiator’s good at all the stuff a midsize truck is supposed to do, and by the numbers it stacks up against its competitors nicely.

Where the Gladiator really rises above its rivals is in its construction — the roof panels (and doors) are fully removable, making this the only pickup truck that’s also a convertible. If, by chance, it starts raining while you’ve got the top off, no worries! The Gladiator’s interior is completely waterproof and all the electronics will be fine.

If you’re planning an outdoor excursion or simply want to test drive the coolest new pickup on the road, book Andrew’s Gladiator in Toronto. Just be ready for people to stop and ask you questions about it.

Steven is an avid car guy and content maker at Turo. Between Golden State Warriors games he can be found getting lost somewhere in California.