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2020 Jeep Gladiator Is Impressive, Even When You Just Stay On The Road

We Spend A Week On Pavement With Jeep’s Pickup

Jason GondermanAuthor, Photography

By now we're all pretty familiar with Jeep's newest entry into the midsize pickup space. We've driven, tested, and reviewed nearly all of the different varieties of 2020 Gladiator, including the Sport S with the max tow package, the rock crushing Rubicon, and the desert dominating Mojave. What we hadn't done, however, was get behind the wheel of the mid-range Overland model. Until now, that is.

The Overland trim, which shares its space with the Altitude and North Edition, brings more luxury and technology to the space while not quite being as extreme-off-road oriented as the Rubicon or Mojave models. Bumping up from Sport to Overland adds aluminum wheels, side steps, body-colored fender flares, and the ability to add more niceties, such as leather seats, the larger 8.4-inch touchscreen, adaptive cruise control, and LED lighting.

Our 2020 Jeep Gladiator Overland came to us with practically all of the option boxes checked. It was fitted with leather trimmed and wrapped everything, heated front seats, remote start, LED lighting all around, the 8.4-inch Uconnect 4C infotainment system, adaptive cruise control, color-matched hardtop with head liner, spray-in bedliner, cargo-management system, and a soft folding tonneau cover. All Gladiators feature Jeep's 3.6L V-6 engine and Command-Trac four-wheel drive system. Although a manual transmission is optional, ours had an eight-speed automatic. All of this came to a total sticker price of $56,785.

For our week with the Gladiator Overland we did what, let's face it, most Gladiator owners do we stayed on the pavement. That's not to say that our Gladiator Overland wasn't capable, quite the opposite in fact as all Gladiators carry Jeep's "Trail Rated" badge of honor (except Mojave, which has a unique "Desert Rated" badge). But really, most owners aren't taking their new Overland models rock crawling every weekend. Anyway, our plan for the week was partly laid to mimic what we feel is the real-world use of a Gladiator Overland, and partly due to the fact that a barrage of wildfires in California had caused the closure of all national forests in the state, and in turn our local off-road spots were closed (you'll also notice a slight orange hue to the photos, which is from the wildfire smoke).

Our time with the Gladiator Overland was all-around fantastic. We enjoyed the Gladiator's acceleration and braking prowess and found the Overland model to be the best riding and handling Gladiator that this author has driven. We figure this is due to the lesser weight of the Overland, smaller and less aggressive tires, and a large rear anti-sway bar. Thanks to the optional hardtop and hardtop headliner the interior was exceptionally quiet, for a Gladiator anyway.

We still aren't super fond of the Gladiator's shallow bed. On more than one occasion we were forced to roll back the truck's soft tonneau cover to allow us to use the bed. Speaking of the bed, the optional spray-in liner is done very well, and the LED bed lighting was useful on more than one occasion.

Rear seat ingress and egress is still tough, given the narrow nature of the bottom of the rear doors. However, we had no issues when it came to fitting a pair of child seats in the back. One gripe, however, is that due to the fact that the rear seat headrests are impossible to remove without disassembling the entire seat, it's nearly impossible to correctly attach the rear anchor for said child seats. And if you do get it to secure properly, removing the strap is nearly impossible.

Over the course of 231 miles, we achieved a fuel economy of 16.27 mpg, which is below the EPA estimates by a fair margin. Our driving encompassed a good mix of highway and city driving, with a bit of shopping and carpool drop-off thrown in. Because of this, we feel we should have been able to get close to the 19 mpg combined. Even so, just over 16 mpg isn't anything to scoff at, especially for a pickup.

At the end of the week, what we had was a pickup with immense off-road capability that sacrifices nearly nothing. For those who want a Gladiator, but who already have an off-road toy, the Overland seems like the way to go. It's comfortable, quiet, and fun to drive. The exterior is elegant and classy, and it can be optioned with loads of technology. And let's face it, you look cooler driving a Gladiator than just about any other midsize pickup. We didn't get near enough waves from other Jeep drivers though, so we'll need to work on that in the future.

2020 Jeep Gladiator Overland

Base price: $40,395
Price as tested: $56,785
Engine: 3.6L V-6
Transmission: 8-speed Automatic
Horsepower: 285 @ 6,400 RPM
Torque: 260 lb-ft @ 4,400 RPM
Towing capacity: 6,000 pounds
EPA fuel economy rating: 17 city / 22 hwy / 19 comb
Actual calculated economy, 231.8-mile trip: 16.27 mpg