Refreshing or Revolting: 2020 Jeep Gladiator vs. The Competition
The 2020 Jeep Gladiator stole the spotlight at the Los Angeles auto show this week. It may be a little tardy to the midsize pickup segment when it goes on sale in the second quarter of 2019, but it’s well worth the wait if it drives anything like the Wrangler, our 2019 SUV of the Year. And we think the outdoor-adventure styling is a breath of fresh air compared to rivals, which look slightly soft in comparison. But what do you think? Did Jeep capture the right look for its new pickup, or do competitors offer a sleeker package?
Up front, the Gladiator features a seven-slot grille just like the Wrangler. Its slots are a bit wider, however, so additional air can flow through to keep the engine cooler when towing. Of course, the Gladiator has the round headlights that are unmistakably Jeep. The rest of the model is unapologetically boxy, from the shape of the cab to the fender flares and huge wheel flares. The Ranger, on the other hand, takes on a very modern look with slim headlights attached to a small grille on a rounded front end. The Tacoma has a large hexagonal grille that gives it some presence, while the Colorado’s front end is starting to look dated thanks to the chunky headlights.
Move to the side profile and the Gladiator’s appearance really lives up to its name. The wheel flares look especially aggressive at this angle, especially when compared to the round flares on the Ranger. From the black door handles to the boxy doors, every little design detail looks unique. Notice the Gladiator also has a higher ground clearance than all three competitors, hitting 11.1 inches. The Tacoma and Colorado take on a muscular look with their square wheel flares, although the Ranger deserves praise for its sleek character lines. Of course, another big difference between the Gladiator and its competition is the removable body parts.
The Gladiator looks slightly less interesting from behind. It’s only available with a 5-foot bed, and the taillights are small relative to the tailgate, which keeps it simple with a small Jeep logo in the center. Of course, the Jeep offers a heavy-duty off-road bumper that lends the rear a more rugged look. The rear window is boxier than competitors, but it also looks like it offers a clearer view out the back. The Ranger stands out for its “Ranger” badging that spans the entire width of the rear end. Like the Ranger, the Colorado and Tacoma have vertical-oriented taillights.
Inside, the Gladiator’s design becomes just a bit cheeky. Rounded vents complement a rounded shift lever and rounded instrument cluster, plus there are bold color options for the dashboard. The Gladiator Sport gets a 5-inch touchscreen, while other models upgrade to a 7-inch or 8.4-inch screen. The Ranger features a somewhat old-school look, with the touchscreen embedded into the dash and traditional gear stalk. The Colorado has its buttons nicely organized around the touchscreen, although the overall design might be considered a little dated. The Tacoma also has rounded air vents like the Gladiator, but the largest available center screen is 7 inches.
Which truck do you think looks the best? Let us know in the comments on Facebook.