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Jeep Gladiator SUV pickup truck–How do you like me now?

Written By | Oct 5, 2021
Jeep Gladiator, Vehicle, Review

Picture of the author with his 2020 Jeep Gladiator in ‘Punkin’ metallic

TOLEDO: Jeep® hasn’t made one of their sport utility vehicles (SUVs) in a pickup truck since the 1990s when they put the Jeep Comanche® to bed. The Comanche was taken out of the lineup for several reasons upsetting those who owned them and would have bought another. Native Americans notified Jeep that the Comanche tribe was the most murderous of all tribes and would even rape and kill their own. Jeep and Dodge had just merged and even though the Comanche was the TRUE first mid-size pickup of the United States, the Dodge Dakota® said they were and they had the sales figures to carry on over the Comanche.

So, for many years Jeep contemplated another pickup truck-style SUV and for many years the Jeep fans (a.k.a. Jeep freaks) encouraged them to do so. Many of them wanted the next pickup to look more like the Wrangler and less like the Cherokee which is what the Comanche was modeled after. In 2019 the announcement was made, a Wrangler-looking pickup to be named the Jeep Gladiator® would come to market in 2020!

Awards for the Gladiator began to stack up early on in 2019.

U.S. News & World Report named the 2020 Jeep Gladiator as their ‘The Best New Pickup Trucks Arriving in the Next Year’.

In its opening year, ‘Popular Mechanics‘ awarded the Gladiator as its ‘Mid-Size Truck of the Year.’

In 2020 the Gladiator also won with their Jeep Gladiator Rubicon edition. It won FOUR WHEELER’S 2020 Pickup Truck of the Year Award. FOUR WHEELER magazine is the world’s leading 4×4 authority since 1962. In 2020 they selected the Jeep Gladiator Rubicon as the winner of its 31st annual ‘Pickup Truck of the Year’ award. The Automotive Press Association gives out awards for North American Cars, Utility, and Truck every year. In 2020 the Gladiator won ‘North American Truck of the Year’ and it won by a landslide!

The 2020 Jeep Gladiator commercial featuring Bill and Brian Murray of the Super Bowl scored Super Bowl commercial of the year.  The commercial was shot as a spinoff of the cult movie ‘Groundhog Day‘ of 1993.

‘Bill Murray Super Bowl Ad’ – ReelChicago Reel360

Also in 2020, the Jeep Gladiator was awarded ‘North American Truck of the Year’ in the mid-size truck category by a panel of automotive experts.

North American Car Truck of the Year (NACTOY) organization’s awards are unique because they are given by a jury of automotive journalists across disciplines rather than a single media source such as a website, radio or television station. Journalists representing diverse media outlets from the United States and Canada meet to give this award.  In 2021 NACTOY awarded the Mojave edition of the Gladiator their mid-size truck of the year. NACTOY always notes its status as, “NACTOY is an independent, non-profit organization, with dues-paying journalist members led by elected officers.”

In 2021 Magazine delivered a repeat win for the Jeep Gladiator Mojave edition. This publication awarded the Gladiator ‘Truck of the Year’ for both 2020 and 2021! The magazine’s seven editors tested 220 vehicles with criteria of approximately 50 factors to rank their selections.

Gladiator repeats on Kelley Blue Book’s list of ’10 Best Overall Resale Values’ .

J.D. Power awarded it with the ranking of an ‘Initial Quality Study’ where customers reported it had few problems experienced per 100 vehicles during the first 90 days of ownership in their ‘Midsize Pickup’ segment rankings.

In 2021 Car and Driver magazine again put the Jeep Gladiator on their ‘Editors’ Choice’ list. Specifically for its off-road readiness at all times and ability to haul and tow more than a Wrangler. As well as its ability to ‘go naked’ (door-less & roof-less configuration options). Down in Texas, the Texas Truck Rodeo rated the Gladiator their Mid-size Pickup Truck of Texas for the 2nd straight year in a row in the Gladiator with Mojave trim edition.

The annual New England Motor Press Association (NEMPA) ‘Winter Vehicle Competition’ named the Gladiator was named the winner in their ‘Mid-size Pickup Truck’ class. Journalists serve as jurors representing print, television, digital, and radio media outlets from Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. They appreciated how this Jeep dominated New England’s snowy winters.

Like its older brother, the Wrangler, the Gladiator is available in many different models containing option packages related to both mechanical and convenience.

Jeep Gladiator

Car and Driver Resale chart

Chart courtesy of Car and Driver

Jeep also comes out with limited edition models of the Gladiator.  In 2021 those models are the Willys, the Freedom Edition, the 80th Anniversary Edition, the California Edition, and the Texas Trail. As an option that became available later in 2020, Jeep offers a 262 hp Eco-Diesel with a whopping 442 tq. That engine still offers a very nice 25 mpg rating city/hwy.

Other engine options done aftermarket are as humorous as they are insane. The Dodge Hemi can be stuck under the hood of the Gladiator without too much trouble. The Hemi is a 5.7-liter power plant. If that is not enough for you, the Dodge Hellcat engine can be done for a pretty hefty price… like around $200,000 per truck. But hey, if you really need 1,000-hp,

The stock 6.2-liter V8 Hemi Hellcat can be bored out and modified aftermarket to take it from 707-hp to 1,000. The YouTube videos of these two big engine custom Gladiator models are most delightful!

The stock higher priced model Gladiators come out on 33-inch tires and wheels.

Those same wheels will accommodate 35’s without adjusting the steering. You can add a full-size spare under the truck box in that compartment as well.

The ‘Sport S’ model is generally one of the largest selling editions of Gladiators. It makes the perfect blank canvass to begin modifications. Jeep ‘mods’ are a big part of the Jeep culture as are Jeep themes for those mods. The ‘Zombie Apocalypse’ themed mod is one of this author’s favorites!

Probably one of the easiest and most common mods is the angry bird Jeep mod grill. On Facebook Marketplace is a customized Jeep Gladiator for $147,000.

Jeep, Gladiator, Jeep Gladiator

The folks you see driving Jeeps and doing the Jeep wave are a different kind of breed.

They have their own expression, “ITS A JEEP THING, YOU WOULDN’T UNDERSTAND”. Parking their vehicles together in parking lots for no good reason, instantly bonding as part of an unorganized brotherhood. They believe in putting American workers and American jobs, first.

For that reason the Jeep brand has earned another award year after year, that of America’s ‘Most Patriotic Brand’.  And this year of our Lord 2021 made this award the 19th year in a row it has received that award in a list of the annual top 50 contenders!


Read more from Mark Schwendau.

About the author:

Mark Schwendau is a conservative Christian patriot and retired technology professor (CAD-CAM and web development). He prides himself on his critical thinking ability. Schwendau has had a long sideline of newspaper editorial writing where he used the byline, “bringing little known facts to people who want to know the truth.”

Mark is “on alternative free speech social media platforms after lifetime bans from Facebook and Twitter and shadow bans from Instagram and Fox News commenting.

His website is www.IDrawIWrite.Tech

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Mark Schwendau

Mark Schwendau is a Christian conservative patriot and retired technology professor (CAD-CAM and web development) who prides himself on his critical thinking ability. Schwendau has had a long sideline of newspaper editorial writing where he used the byline, “- bringing little known facts to people who simply want to know the truth.” Mark is on alternative free speech social media platforms after lifetime bans from Facebook and Twitter and shadow bans from Instagram and Fox News commenting. His website is www.IDrawIWrite.Tech