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2020 Jeep Gladiator vs. 2020 Jeep Wrangler: Compare Trucks

March 24, 2020
2020 Jeep Wrangler and Jeep Gladiator Three O Five Editions

2020 Jeep Wrangler and Jeep Gladiator Three O Five Editions

The 2020 Jeep Gladiator and 2020 Jeep Wrangler serve different market segments—one’s a pickup and the other’s an SUV—but they are very similar. In fact, the Gladiator amounts to a longer version of the Wrangler with a pickup bed. Both cater to buyers looking for adventure, both are great off-road, and both get expensive quickly.

We award the Wrangler and Gladiator similar scores of 5.4 and 5.2 out of 10, respectively, with the Wrangler earning the higher score for its more efficient base engine. Otherwise, they share similar styling and performance, neither has complete crash test scores, and they are similar inside. They also offer cool features that have made the Wrangler so endearing, such as removable roofs and doors, and go-anywhere four-wheel-drive capability. 

But which is the better choice for you? Let’s break it down to find out.

2020 Jeep Wrangler Sahara EcoDiesel

2020 Jeep Wrangler Sahara EcoDiesel

2020 Jeep Wrangler Sahara EcoDiesel

2020 Jeep Wrangler Sahara EcoDiesel

2020 Jeep Gladiator Mojave

2020 Jeep Gladiator Mojave

2020 Jeep Gladiator Mojave

2020 Jeep Gladiator Mojave

MORE: Read our 2020 Jeep Wrangler and 2020 Jeep Gladiator full reviews

Style and performance 

From the front view, you can’t tell the difference between a Gladiator and a Wrangler. In fact, the vehicles share a design up to the B-pillar. The Gladiator is only offered as a four-door while the Wrangler comes with two or four doors. Compared to the four-door Wrangler, the Gladiator is 19 inches longer, its rear wheels are pushed back, and a bed replaces the SUV’s cargo area. It’s no surprise, then, that we give both a styling rating of 8 for their classic, iconic, rugged looks, though both base models also look cheap on 17-inch steel wheels.

The two also share a platform and their 3.6-liter V-6 engine, and we rate both a 5 for performance. The Wrangler offers a 2.0-liter turbo-4 and a 3.0-liter V-6 turbodiesel. The turbo-4 and gas V-6 provide similar power numbers, but the turbo-4 is more efficient, which is a point in favor of the Wrangler. The Wrangler’s diesel engine also offers great torque and even better fuel economy. The Gladiator, on the other hand, is the towing king, with up to 7,650 pounds of towing capacity compared to 3,500 pounds in the Wrangler. Score a point for the Gladiator.

2020 Jeep Wrangler Sahara EcoDiesel

2020 Jeep Wrangler Sahara EcoDiesel

Ride and handling are similar, but again each has a point in its favor. Their old-school rotating ball steering is unsteady at highway speeds, and their ladder frames and solid axles create a bouncy ride. The Gladiator’s long wheelbase quells some of those up-and-down motions, making it the better cruiser. However, the Wrangler’s shorter dimensions, especially in the two-door version, enhance its breakover angle and ability to negotiate tight turns for off-roading. The long rear overhang of the Gladiator can scrape on certain terrain. Otherwise, both come with great off-road features, including low-range gearing, disconnecting sway bars, locking differentials, and knobby tires. Call ride and handling a draw.

2020 Jeep Wrangler

2020 Jeep Wrangler

2020 Jeep Wrangler and Gladiator High Altitude

2020 Jeep Wrangler and Gladiator High Altitude

2020 Jeep Gladiator

2020 Jeep Gladiator

2020 Jeep Gladiator

2020 Jeep Gladiator

Comfort, Safety, and Features

Neither vehicle has a safety rating because neither has been fully crash tested. The Wrangler hasn’t fared well in the few crash tests it’s undergone, and those ratings should also apply to the Gladiator. Neither vehicle offers much in the way of active safety features, and neither makes them standard. However, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and blind-spot monitors are available.

Both are also similarly equipped and come with the features that make the Wrangler and now the Gladiator so appealing: removable doors, roofs, and windshields. They also offer similar lineups that start with Sport models and ramp up to Rubicon models loaded with off-road equipment. The Gladiator starts at about $35,000, while the Wrangler begins around $33,000. The 2-door Wrangler knocks about $3,500 off the price. However, the Wrangler offers more model choices, with numerous spin-off editions. 

2020 Jeep Gladiator Mojave

2020 Jeep Gladiator Mojave

The base models are very base. They lack power windows and locks, air conditioning, and alloy wheels. Adding that equipment brings the price above $38,000 for the Gladiator and $36,000 for the Wrangler, and the 8-speed automatic instead of the 6-speed manual adds at least another $2,000. Go all in on off-road equipment in a Rubicon model and those prices jump to about $45,000 and $43,700, respectively. Both can top $50,000 easily.

In the end, the Jeep Wrangler and Rubicon score almost exactly the same. The Wrangler's fuel economy gives it a slight advantage, but your choice should depend on what you need. If the utility of a truck bed is important and you’d like a smoother ride and/or more towing capacity, the Gladiator is the choice. If you want fuel economy, a larger backseat, a two-door model, or the best off-roader, go with the Wrangler.

Summary

5.2
Expert Rating
The 2020 Jeep Gladiator pairs everything we love and hate about the Wrangler with a useful pickup bed.
5.4
Expert Rating
The 2020 Jeep Wrangler is an American SUV icon and off-road wonder, but not without compromise.

Styling

8.0
Expert Rating
If you like the Wrangler’s looks, you’re probably on board with the 2020 Jeep Gladiator.
Read More
8.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Jeep Wrangler is sharper and more cohesive to look at than ever, both inside and out.
Read More

Performance

5.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Jeep Gladiator excels off-road, but it comes up short on pavement.
Read More
5.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Jeep Wrangler remains a seriously capable off-roader and is now at least tolerable on the road.
Read More

Comfort & Quality

5.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Jeep Gladiator is spacious, but it’s a big step to climb aboard.
Read More
5.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Jeep Wrangler is compromised in its comfort and quality, but better than in years past.
Read More

Safety

We’d like to see more active safety gear standard, but the 2020 Jeep Gladiator is par for the course.
Read More
The 2020 Jeep Wrangler lacks full crash-test scores.
Read More

Features

5.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Jeep Gladiator range stretches from basic to less basic.
Read More
5.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Jeep Wrangler comes in a variety of flavors and capability, all of which are more expensive than they should be.
Read More

Fuel Economy

3.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Jeep Gladiator is rated at 19 mpg regardless of configuration.
Read More
4.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Jeep Wrangler manages only mediocre fuel economy.
Read More

MSRP

from $33,545
from $28,295

Invoice

from $32,928
from $27,796

Fuel Economy - Combined City and Highway

19
20

Engine

Regular Unleaded V-6, 3.6 L
Regular Unleaded V-6, 3.6 L

Drivetrain

Four Wheel Drive Read Full Specs
Four Wheel Drive Read Full Specs
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