Jeep Gladiator Overland 4WD Dual Cab Ute 2020 Review

2020 JEEP GLADIATOR OVERLAND 4WD DUAL CAB UTE ROAD TEST REVIEW

Jeep Gladiator Overland 4WD Ute front quarterJeep Gladiator, has there been a more anticipated launch than this one. Jeep aficionados have been asking for a Jeep Ute for quite a while. It was first teased many years ago and now has come to reality.

So what is it like, does the hype manifest itself into reality.

Launched in early May amongst a weak market due to Covid-19 restrictions, the Gladiator marks the return of that nameplate for the first time since 1963.

Many regular readers will know that the first car I drove at 11 years of age on the farm was a WW11 jeep, still there and still working.

There are three models, a Launch edition, the Rubicon and the Overland, which we tested in a Hydro Blue, which is a really cool colour. Priced from $75,450 plus the usual add on costs.

Jeep Gladiator Overland 4WD Ute grill

What is Good?

  • Technology/ Comfort Features
  • Ability for open air cruising
  • Smooth ride

What is not so good?

  • Low towing capacity
  • Cramped drivers foot well
  • Low payload

Overall Rating: 78/100

  • Behind the Wheel           8
  • Comfort                            8
  • Equipment                       8
  • Performance                    8
  • Ride & Handling              8
  • Practicality                        8
  • Fit for Purpose                7
  • Towing Ability                  8
  • Off Road Ability               8
  • Value for Money             7

Jeep Gladiator Overland 4WD Ute grill 3
Model:   Jeep Gladiator Overland Dual Cab Ute 4WD 

  • Model Price       $75,450 MLP*
  • Engine                3.6L V6 PenstarPetrol
  • Drivetrain           8 Sp ZF AT Selec  4WD
  • Power                 209kW @ 6,400rpm
  • Torque                347Nm @ 4,100rpm
  • Safety                  N/A
  • CO2                     260g/km
  • Economy ADR   11.2 L/100 km
  • Servicing             Fixed TBA Price
  • Tow Rating         2271 kg
  • Tow Ball Rating 227 kg
  • Warranty           5 Yrs. / 100,000 km with Roadside Assist

*MLP – Manufacturers List Price includes GST and LCT but excluding statutory charges, dealer costs and dealer delivery. See your dealer for RDAP. Does not include price of any options

Jeep Gladiator Overland 4WD Ute profile

What does the Jeep Gladiator look like?

It’s definitely unusual and attracts a LOT of attention. A dual cab Jeep certainly is different.

From the front it is uniquely Jeep with the gently sloping seven slotted grill, protruding bumper and clipped down bonnet. The clips these days are more for show than effect.

LED headlamps and fog lamps enhance the truck’s modern look. The Jeep Gladiator also features daytime running lights with forward turn signals positioned on the front of the trapezoidal wheel flares.

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

Jeep Gladiator Rubicon 4WD Ute open air

The Jeep Gladiator’s lightweight, high-strength aluminium doors feature the Torx bit size stamped directly onto the hinge to eliminate guessing which size bit is needed to remove the doors. An easy-to-use tool kit with the necessary Torx bits to remove the doors and lower the windshield is provided as standard equipment to ensure door removal is effortless with the Jeep Gladiator.

Overland model features body-colour hard-top and fender flares, and also feature body-colour sport bars, which are welded to the body and feature integrated grab handles for front occupants.

From the side the long, almost 3.5m wheelbase gives the Gladiator a sausage dog look. It allows the rear seats and door to be free of the wheel arch and the tray more centred over the rear wheels. It does look odd though.

Jeep Gladiator Overland 4WD Ute tyres

The wheels are an Alloy, 18 x 7.5 inch style with    255/70 R18 tyres

It has a bold and square rear end that has a high load area. Traditional square tail lamps also feature LED lighting as standard. Our Jeep came with the spray in tray lining and other accessories which we will chat about later.

The Gladiator is unique in the market with its three piece removable roof and replacement soft top and doors as well as a fold down windscreen. The ultimate open air driving.

The two Freedom Panels and quick-release latches enable a fast removal and installation of the hardtop, which features a manual rear-sliding window. The Jeep Gladiator comes with dozens of different door, top and windshield combinations allowing for endless configuration and personalisation possibilities.

Jeep Gladiator Overland 4WD Ute tray

Lifestyle Adventure Package:

Our model came with the Lifestyle Adventure Package: $3,835 MSRP that includes

  • Cargo Management Group with Trail Rail System
  • Lockable Rear Underseat Storage Bin
  • Roll-Up Tonneau Cover
  • Spray-In Bedliner
  • Auxiliary Switch Bank (4 Programmable Switches) 240-Amp Alternator
  • 700-Amp Maintenance Free Battery
  • Wireless Speaker – Bluetooth

The cargo management system is a mixed blessing. It allows safe storage in the drawers and a flat top to place items on, but effectively reduces the practicality of the tub. There are roof rails across the tub to allow mounting a roof top tent for example.

Normal dual-cab configuration features a durable five-foot steel bed with strong integrated tie-downs, providing versatility to bring all kinds of adventure equipment such as bicycles, dirt bikes, surfboards and ATVs.

Available in Diamond Black, Bright White, Billet Silver Metallic, Firecracker Red, Sting Grey, Hydro Blue, Granite Crystal Metallic, as well as two new exclusive Gladiator colours; Gobi and Gator.

Jeep Gladiator Overland 4WD Ute interior

Let’s look inside the Jeep Gladiator

Inside the Overland is a mixture of comfort features and traditional Jeep quirkiness.

You climb up into the interior and there are grab handles on all doors to assist. The driver’s seat is manually adjustable and comfortable in the American fashion with soft padding like a lounge chair. There is heaps of headroom though.

Taller drivers with long legs, like me, will feel a little cramped and I found myself pushing the steering wheel as far forward as possible. The transmission tunnel also intrudes on foot space for the left foot.

However the arm rest, door sill and centre console lid are all perfectly positioned for comfort.

Jeep Gladiator Overland 4WD Ute dash 3

The steering wheel is nice and thick with the usual level of controls on the spokes. The instrument binnacle houses two large outer dials with a configurable 7 inch LED MFD between. The choices are handy and informative.

Next to the driver are twin cup/bottle holders and the transmission levers, which I particularly like. They are easy to use, big and notchy.

The centre stack houses the widow switches, USB port and other assorted buttons and switches for the traction control, seat and steering wheel heaters, stop start and more.

On top is the fourth generation Uconnect 8.4-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, more on that later.

Rear sculptured seats are more for two people with an occasional third, providing comfort and support. There is good room all around for normal sized passengers and the seats are amongst the best in class.

Jeep Gladiator Overland 4WD Ute rear seats

Internal storage

The front glovebox is only big enough for the service and information booklets. Door pockets are a mesh only. Centre console is a twin lid style with the tools for the roof on top and a deep bin below. With the rear seats folded flat, LED lights on the quarter trim panels illuminate the storage space behind the seats.

The rear seat cushions can fold up into “stadium” position to reveal a standard open storage bin, utilising the space under the seat for stowing miscellaneous items.

An optional lockable bin provides secure storage space when the top or doors are removed, and are available in two different size doors that correspond to the 60/40 split rear seat cushion. Removable dividers can also provide the flexibility of up to five separate compartments and use the same lock as the glove box and centre console.

A removable bolt bin fits in the under-seat storage space and makes it easy to secure bolts when the doors and top are removed, or the windshield is folded down. The bolt bin lid indicates the corresponding number of bolts and their location under the lid in Petroglyph style.

Jeep Gladiator Overland 4WD Ute screen

Jeep Gladiator Infotainment, Technology and Connectivity

An 8.4-inch touchscreen houses Jeep’s fourth-generation Uconnect system and sits prominently atop the centre stack. The fourth-generation Uconnect system has a simple and quick user interface and excellent screen resolution.

Both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard and the clarity is great. The Alpine premium audio system belts out crisp music with minimal distortion when it’s cranked up.

Media connectivity ports include two USB ports and a USB-C port up front and two in reach of occupants in the back seat that connect to the media centre so you can stay connected and fully charged.

A portable Bluetooth wireless speaker is located behind the rear seat. LED lights on quarter-trim panels illuminate the storage space and the docking station for the wireless speaker.

Waterproof up to 3-feet of water for 30 minutes, the speaker offers additional utility on the trails and in remote locales, as it can charge up to three other devices connected to its USB ports.

Jeep Gladiator Overland 4WD Ute centre stack

What features does the Jeep Gladiator have?

We tested the Overland model that is well equipped with

  • McKinley Leather Seats with Overland logo
  • Jeep Selec-Trac Active On-Demand 4×4 system
  • Heated Front Seats and Steering Wheel
  • 18-inch Alloy Wheels
  • Removable Body Colour Freedom Hard Top Roof
  • LED Headlights/Taillights/Day-Time Running Lights/Fog Lights
  • Forward Collision Warning Plus
  • Body Colour Fender Flares
  • Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop
  • Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Path Detection
  • Remote Proximity Keyless Entry
  • 9-Speaker Alpine Premium Audio System
  • Uconnect 8.4-inch Touchscreen with Navigation
  • Apple CarPlay & Android Auto

In addition buyers can customise the Jeep Gladiator with over 70 MOPAR accessories available in Australia from launch

Jeep Gladiator Overland 4WD Ute engine

Jeep Gladiator Engine and Drivetrain

Gladiator continues with the 3.6-litre V6 Pentastar engine that delivers 209kW @ 6400rpm of power and 347Nm @ 4100rpm of torque. A lot of that torque is available at lower rpm to assist with off road driving.

The 8- speed ZF-Automatic transmission is standard and works well with the engine to extract smooth and efficient power delivery. I particularly like the old school HI/LO range shift lever. It’s nice to feel the clunk when shifting into 4LO rather than simply pushing a button or turning a dial.

Jeep Gladiator Overland 4WD Ute transmission levers

I actually got very close to the ADR fuel figures with 9.5 L/100k on the freeway and about 15l L/100k around town.

On the freeway the cruise control holds well and the V6 cruises effortlessly. Around town you tend to give the Gladiator a little bit of a push and the reduced economy shows.

Jeep Gladiator Overland 4WD Ute dash

I can’t help but want the 5.7L V8 in the Gladiator from the RAM 1500, or even a diesel.

Gladiator Overland features the Selec- Trac Active On-Demand 4×4 system and features a two-speed part-time transfer case with a 2.72:1 low-range gear ratio, and heavy-duty third-generation Dana 44 axles with a 3.73 rear axle ratio.

Utilising a body-on-frame design and featuring a superbly engineered five-link suspension system, to optimise ride, handling and sound characteristics and fuel economy even while towing and hauling

Selec-Trac Active On-Demand system offers full-time torque management in the Jeep Gladiator, enabling optimal grip in low-traction conditions.

Jeep Gladiator Overland 4WD Ute MFD

Jeep Gladiator Driveability and 4WD Capability

Jeeps have always been known for their off road capabilities, especially the Wranglers that form the base of the Gladiator.

On my test I took the Gladiator on the beach, which it handled without fuss, and on some fire trails and rocky trails. All easily accommodated as you would expect. For a big vehicle it feels much smaller off road, (as well as on road) than it is and has a surprising nimbleness about it despite its 13.6m turning circle.

Over bonnet visibility is surprisingly good as it most visibility, the rear end assisted by the reversing camera. For more visibility there is an optional (standard on the Rubicon) camera system.

Jeep Gladiator Rubicon 4WD Ute rampover

My only thought is the long wheelbase means that the ramp over angle is compromised and on some sections I could feel the belly dragging. Have a look at the dimensions section for all the details. It’s also long in tight twisty trails and short dips.

While the Rubicon is the vehicle of choice for the more serious off road enthusiast, the Overland has been “Trail Rated” to ensure its 4WD capabilities.

Trail Rated performance is the result of a series of heavy tests performed in the following areas: TRACTION, WATER FORDING, MANOEUVRABILITY, ARTICULATION and GROUND CLEARANCE.

Jeep Gladiator overland 4WD Ute driving

Protecting the critical vehicle components while on the trail, including the fuel tank, transfer case and automatic transmission oil pan, the Jeep Gladiator employs three skid plates and bars. Both models benefit from the use of heavy gauge tubular steel rock rails to curtail potential body damage inflicted whilst out on the trail and also feature segment-exclusive rock rails for the bed corners

The Gladiator is a BIG vehicle yet feels much smaller. It takes a little getting used to the driving style, as its a little bit rock and roll over bumps, but it provides a smooth ride on most surfaces with little road and tyre noise. There is however a lot of wind noise, exacerbated by the roof racks howling in the windy conditions.

The steering is reasonably direct and response to throttle input is good both on and off road.

Jeep Gladiator Overland 4WD Ute front quarter 2

But is the Gladiator safe?

So far there isn’t an ANCAP safety rating. The Wrangler on which the Gladiator is based has a 3 star ANCAP (2019) but as the vehicle is different it’s hard to extrapolate from that.

It does have over 70 standard and available safety features including autonomous emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-path detection, front and side airbags, electronic roll mitigation, adaptive cruise control and speed limiter, forward collision warning plus, blind-spot monitoring and standard ParkView rear backup camera with dynamic grid lines.

Jeep Gladiator Overland 4WD Ute rear 2

Jeep Gladiator Dual Cab Ute Dimensions

Gladiator Dual Cab Ute has an

  • overall length of 5591 mm,
  • wheelbase of 3488mm,
  • width of 1894mm and
  • height of 1905mm
  • Unladen ground clearance is 249mm.
  • Approach angle is 40.7 degrees, rampover is 18.4 degrees and departure angle is 25.1 degrees.

Jeep Gladiator Overland 4WD Ute open air 2 water

  • Wading depth is 760mm
  • Turning circle is 13.6m
  • Fuel Tank is 83L
  • GVM of 2631kg, GCM of 5080kg,
  • Kerb mass of 2104kg and Payload* of 527kg
  • Towing capacity is 2721kg
  • Tow ball rating is up to 10%.

*Includes occupants, fuel and fitted options/accessories. The weight of these must be deducted from the payload to determine load carrying   capacity. Front and rear axle loads must not be exceeded

Jeep Gladiator Overland 4WD Ute grill 2

Gladiator fit for purpose

Here is where the Gladiator gets interesting and a little confusing.

On the surface it’s a 4WD Dual Cab Ute that sits in the premium sector. However there are shortcomings as well as the good points.

First up it has levels of interior comfort and technology that is matched only by the RAM 1500 and way beyond most normal dual cab Ute. The Ranger Raptor comes close

However if a buyer wanted it for use as a workhorse dual cab the reduced payload is a problem. Most normal dual cabs have way more payload. The Toyota LC70 has twice the payload but nowhere the same level of interior comfort.

Towing is also an issue with just about every major Ute having 3500kg tow weight.

Yes the Overland is a good 4WD, but no more than the likes of a Nissan Navara Warrior, or a Toyota LC70 Dual Cab. The Rubicon is a different story, but if you were buying it for 4WD capability alone then a normal Wrangler is better.

Jeep Gladiator Overland 4WD Ute rear

Jeep Gladiator final thoughts

First impressions made me sit back a little and ponder. However the Gladiator grew on me to the point where I really enjoyed driving it. It has that big Ute feel like the RAM 1500 which I love.

I’m not sure that Jeep will get many conquest sales but the Jeep aficionados will go bananas over the Gladiator.

Also look at

Jeep Gladiator Overland 2020 Review
  • Rating
4.0

Summary

First impressions made me sit back a little and ponder. However the Gladiator grew on me to the point where I really enjoyed driving it. It has that big Ute feel like the RAM 1500 which I love.

I’m not sure that Jeep will get many conquest sales but the Jeep aficionados will go bananas over the Gladiator.

About Rob Fraser 1485 Articles
Rob Fraser – General dogsbody & Director Rob is the founder of the business. He constantly mutters something about way too many red wines one evening being to blame. Often known for taking the 4WD in the driveway over the sports car, he has travelled pretty much everywhere in Australia and when he is bored goes for a drive. He first learned to drive on the farm in a left hand drive WW11 Jeep when he was 11, and was hooked on 4WDriving way back then. In addition to 4WD he is an avid motoring enthusiast and has maintained a strong interest in the industry ever since his teens. He has owned way too many cars in his time as well. Having previously lived at the top of corporate life he retired in 2000 and hasn’t put a suit and tie on since. Cars are his passion so why not have a business doing what you love he figures. He has towed either a caravan or camper trailer to most parts of Australia, has run guided tours for camper trailers’ and instructed drivers in off road towing.