Majority of the photos in this article showcase the top-of-the-line Rubicon model.
The Jeep Gladiator pickup fills a void in the brand’s lineup that has existed since the discontinuation of the two-door Comanche pickup in 1992. Introduced in 2019 as a 2020 model, the mid-size JT Gladiator is a resurrection of the name that was last used on a full-size pickup in 1971. This new model is based on the highly acclaimed JL Wrangler.
While we published a first drive review of this mid-size newcomer last year, this article will focus specifically on the interior of the 2020 Gladiator Overland that we recently tested.
For readers interested in towing, we also have a dedicated review covering the Gladiator’s towing capacity and payload.
Jeep Gladiator Overland Pricing
In Canada, the 2020 Gladiator lineup ranges from C$47,545 to C$54,545 (three models), and in the US, it ranges from US$33,545 to US$43,875 (four models). The Overland trim level sits right in the middle and is equipped with a powerful 3.6-liter V6 gasoline engine producing 285 HP and 260 lb-ft of torque. However, keep in mind that there are numerous available options, and our test vehicle, generously equipped, had a price tag of C$64,085 – C$13,000 higher than the fully loaded Ranger we tested last year.
The lineup is expected to expand with the introduction of the top-of-the-line High Altitude trim, featuring a full-leather interior, and a ‘Desert Rated’ Mojave model with specialized tires and suspension modifications for high-speed sand-running. As of now, the prices for these new models have not been announced.
For those seeking a more military-spec model for their weekend getaways, we recommend checking out the Jeep Gladiator XMT Concept by AM General.
So, What’s the Interior of the New Jeep Gladiator Like?
Gladiator Front Seats
Getting in and out of the Gladiator isn’t the easiest due to its high step-up and relatively short door aperture. Be cautious in rainy conditions, as opening the door might result in getting doused by water from the top. However, once you’re seated, you’ll enjoy a commanding view. The flat, sliding rear window surprisingly offers excellent visibility. Just be mindful of the front corners when parking, as the fenders aren’t visible below the tapering line of the hood.
Our test Gladiator Overland featured optional black leather-trimmed bucket seats (C$995/US$1,495). This package also includes a full-length floor console with a “premium” armrest, a leather-wrapped park brake handle and shift knob, as well as a wrapped instrument panel bezel. Additionally, the heated steering wheel and front seats were part of an optional cold-weather package (C$895).
The seating position in the front is upright and comfortable. It would have been even better with the addition of steering wheel reach adjustment to the standard rake adjustment. The controls are conveniently placed, and the practical center console provides a slot for your cellphone and a large storage bin beneath the armrest. This is especially useful since the dashboard’s glove box is relatively small.
The door panels feature chunky handles at the top that are satisfying to grip, as well as nets at the bottom to keep maps or other items secured. The power window controls are located on the dashboard in front of the center console, likely due to the removable doors, similar to the Wrangler.
Gladiator Rear Seats
The legroom for rear-seat adult passengers may be limited, but it’s manageable for shorter journeys. The rear bench can be flipped up altogether or as a 60/40 split, which is a feature not found in the Wrangler. This allows you to utilize the floor for storing bulky cargo or groceries. The seat backs can also be folded down.
In our test truck, lifting the rear seat revealed a long, thin, lockable, and removable storage box. This is part of the Trail Rail cargo management system (C$995/US$895), which also includes a 240A alternator, 400W inverter, and a 115V AC outlet in the truck bed. Even without the optional under-seat box, you can store a small amount of gear behind the seat backs and lock them in place to secure it. There’s also a convenient stowage box behind the seats with holes specifically designed to hold the door bolts if you decide to remove the doors during better weather conditions than an Albertan winter.
Dashboard and Infotainment
The interior designers at FCA, Jeep’s parent company, have been on a hot streak recently, evident in their impressive work on models like the Pacifica, Ram, and Wrangler. The Gladiator continues this trend, thanks to its shared interior design with the Wrangler forward of the B-pillar. This means clean lines, solid build quality, and large, durable buttons that are water-sealed for essential functions, in addition to the controls on the 8.4-inch central touchscreen. The rear-view camera provides a crystal-clear display, showcasing the quality of the screen. For an enhanced audio experience, the C$1,395/US$1,695 Uconnect 4C Nav upgrade includes a premium Alpine audio system.
The Gladiator’s interior features clean lines, solid build quality, and large, durable buttons for essential functions, in addition to the controls on the 8.4-inch central touchscreen. Photo: Jeep (Rubicon model shown here)
The Overland trim level comes with the Uconnect 4 infotainment system, which is user-friendly. Lower trim levels have a smaller screen and a simpler Uconnect 3 interface. Although FCA recently unveiled Uconnect 5 in the 2020 Pacifica, it has not been introduced in any Jeep models yet.
The driver’s instrument binnacle also features a digital screen, with the added touch of a miniature Gladiator driving across it during startup.
Jeep Gladiator Cabin & Tech – Other Features
While this article does not provide a complete road test, our week with the Gladiator Overland gave us a taste of what it would be like to live with this Jeep every day. Firstly, the standard Bridgestone Dueler H/T all-season tires are not suitable for Canadian winters and should be replaced with proper winter tires. The low-rolling-resistance Duelers also don’t seem appropriate for the kind of ‘Overland’ use that Jeep vehicles are designed for. In Canada, for an additional C$295, the Duelers can be switched for A/Ts at the time of purchase.
Secondly, the Gladiator isn’t the smoothest ride on the highway. During our drives, both trucks we tested had a tendency to wander at higher speeds, requiring continuous steering adjustments to keep them on course.
We also experienced quite a bit of wind noise from the roof, despite the presence of the C$725/US$555 hardtop headliner. On our initial drive, we noticed some leaking during off-road evaluations for the AJAC Canadian Car of the Year (although the Gladiator performed admirably on the challenging course, as expected). It’s worth mentioning that the Jeep Gladiator is the current reigning North American Car of the Year.
The V6 engine provides sufficient power and torque for everyday use. Our test vehicle featured an 8-speed automatic transmission, an optional extra (C$1,795/US$2,000), as all Gladiators come standard with a 6-speed manual. The stop-start system works well in traffic, and the truck started quickly even after sitting out in freezing temperatures for a couple of days. In mixed use, we recorded fuel consumption of 12.7L/100km, just slightly above the official rating. Jeep has plans to introduce a 3-liter EcoDiesel option, which could offer a great match for the Gladiator.
Takeaway: The Jeep Gladiator Interior and Our Final Thoughts
The Gladiator stands out in the mid-size truck segment by offering a rugged, off-road-focused alternative to mainstream pickups like the Toyota Tacoma, Chevrolet Colorado, or Ford Ranger. Its unique appeal and strong sales performance have caught the attention of aftermarket companies, resulting in a wide array of available accessories and upgrades.
Even in its factory trim, the Gladiator’s interior is a highlight, as is the case with many recent FCA products. It features a visually appealing design, and the controls are easy to use with a satisfying weight to them. The versatile folding options for the rear seats add an element of practicality.
However, with so many desirable features available as optional extras, the final price can easily escalate. We advise potential buyers to carefully consider the standard equipment levels and think about which additional items are truly necessary before making their final decision.
If you’re in the market for a new small truck, be sure to read our feature on the Best Mid-Size Pickups on the Market Right Now.