— Don’t call the 2020 Jeep Gladiator, “the Wrangler pickup,”
unless you’re ready for a lecture from its owner.
For starters, the top
model, a Gladiator Rubicon, is about 30 inches longer and 600 pounds
heavier than a four-door Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon.
The difference in the
two Jeeps’ length and weight is much greater than the gaps between
a Honda Civic compact and Accord midsize sedan.
In addition to the
difference in its own weight, the Gladiator was designed to haul
7,650 pounds, more than twice a Wrangler Unlimited’ s towing
capacity of 3,500.
frame — a ladder-like structure that’s effectively the skeleton
of most pickup-style vehicles — is made by a different supplier
and has different shapes and sizes from the Wrangler.
The frame determines
how a vehicle handles weight, and how the structure behaves to
protect its occupants in a crash. It’s similar to the Wrangler’s
under the cab, which is largely identical in the two vehicles.
change to a vehicle’s weight affects nearly every other aspect of
its structure. That means changes like moving the spare tire from
the Wrangler’s tail gate to under the bed — where nearly all
pickups’ spares go — meant more changes. The whole rear
suspension had to be redesigned for that, and to deliver off-road
capability, towing capacity and the ability to carry 1,650 of people
and stuff in the cab and bed.
More than just the
understructure changed. The slots in Jeep’s trademark seven-slot
grille are bigger in the Gladiator because the engine needed more
air for cooling when towing a heavy trailer up a steep hill in hot
The rear brakes also
are bigger because rear brakes do more work in load-hauling pickups
than in passenger-carrying SUVs and cars.
So save yourself a
lecture. When your neighbor pulls up in their new Gladiator, say:
“Nice pickup. It’s great how they engineered it to be a real