15 October 2020

Jeep Gladiator 2020 Car Review

Penned as the only convertible lifestyle truck in the world, last seen between 1963 and 1972, the aptly named Jeep Gladiator is back. And what a specimen it is, at over 5.5 meters long and a wheel base of just under 3.5 meters. This machine is built tough, can go almost anywhere, and is packed full of features and technology.

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Jeep Gladiator 2020
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Jeep Gladiator 2020
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Jeep Gladiator 2020
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Jeep Gladiator 2020
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Jeep Gladiator 2020
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Jeep Gladiator 2020

A fun feature of this vehicle is that the roof is fully fiberglass, and made up of three parts. You can remove the two overhead panels like a Targa-top, or the complete lid unhinges and you are left driving in the breeze with the roll bar for protection. All the doors are easily removable, too, and the front screen can fold down to the bonnet for the complete ‘naked’ experience. We recommend saving this only for the beach or bush tracks.

We took the two overhead panels off, sat them in the back seats and drove home from the photo spot. While it was a nice experience driving in the sun, the same can’t be said for driving home once it had gone down. There’s always the option you have with all convertible cars - put on the heated seats, heated steering wheel and the cabin heater.

Another cool feature is the speakers in the roof roll bar, which are located behind the front driver and passenger’s head – and they sound great too.

An interesting optional extra on the Jeep Gladiator Overland is the portable Bluetooth speaker, which hides behind the rear seat. LED lights on quarter-trim panels illuminate the storage space and the docking station for the wireless speaker. The interior speakers are also waterproof in up to three feet of water for 30 minutes. The speaker offers additional utility on the trails and in those remote spots, as it can charge up to three other devices connected to its USB ports.

We were amazed at the technology incorporated in a vehicle that was designed from something more traditional looking - clear touch screen with navigation, off-road driving displays, and adaptive cruise control all feature.

The Jeep Gladiator Overland is dual-cab which 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.  It’s available in traditional Jeep colours like 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.

For an extra $3k you can upgrade to the top-spec Rubicon Gladiator, which builds on the Overland by adding more off-road capable goodness by upgrading the tyres, suspension, 4WD drive train and adding a black removable hard-top roof.

Driving the Jeep Gladiator Overland through Auckland’s Waitakere Ranges gave us a good opportunity to see how it drives on some twisty roads. And it turns out its great, especially for such a long vehicle. A lot of the latest SUVs and utes seem to ‘drive like a car’ but not this one - you certainly know what you’re driving. It take on all the bumps and lumps in the road, and soaks them up with ease.

Every Jeep Gladiator receives a "Trail Rated" badge that proves its legendary 4x4 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.

At a glance


Jeep Gladiator Overland


3.6L Pentastar V6 Petrol


From $89,990 (+ORC)

ANCAP safety rating


Power and Torque

209kW, 347Nm torque


Eight-speed ZF Auto Transmission

Fuel economy

11.2L/100km (Combined)

Towing capacity

750kg (unbraked), 2,721kg (braked)


4WD Selec Trac® Active On-Demand 4x4

Seating capacity


Luggage capacity/payload

527kg payload

Safety systems

  • Full speed collision warning
  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Rear cross-path detection
  • Front and side airbags
  • Electronic roll mitigation
  • Adaptive cruise control

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