2020 JT Gladiator Review

2020 JT Gladiator Review

Can’t decide if you like the JT Gladiator?  Keep reading for our Pros and Cons review.

Thanks for joining us here at Fishbone Offroad.  We’ve had our JT since May 2019 and there are definitely some things that we are just crazy for, and others that really make us cringe.  Hopefully we can help you figure out if this is the right Jeep for you, as we walk through and talk about what we love, is sort of so-so, and what was a total miss.

A lot of us here talked a bit about this review and one thing that each of us shared was that we disliked the way it looks out-of-the-box stock, especially the wheels.  It doesn’t really flow and the tire size and wheel design doesn’t characteristically fit. That being said, we LOVE it lifted and we would go so far as to say that it’s a must-have first purchase before any other aftermarket part.

Our package cost us $46,000, and at that price, it was hard to justify purchasing it when there are ½ , ¾ , and 1 ton base model trucks on the lot, what with the tow rating of up to 4,500 pounds and payload, 1,600 pounds.  Speaking of, the bed is 60” or so, which just briskly brushes the standard truck bed length of 68”. It’s a contender, for sure, but our previous points, again, made it hard to justify.

So then what did we buy and why should you buy in?

Firecracker Red Sport S, Automatic Transmission, Spray in bed liner, freedom top, trailer tow package, cold weather package, 7” touchscreen display w/ the alpine audio system, and the all-weather slush mats.  The list and the prices will be in the comments below, but this ran us $46,025, starting from $36,745. Compare that to a 2020 RAM 1500 which starts at $31,895, and then build from there. And since I’ve mentioned the RAM, it can tow about 3,000 pounds more, load about 1,000 pounds more, and has the option for a V8 or diesel engine.  The JT, however, as of now, runs a 3.6L V6.

So then why take the dive: Ask yourself which do you want first, a Jeep or a Truck?  Do you want a Jeep but need a truck? Or do you want a Truck but need a Jeep? It’s a strange crossbreed.  The price doesn’t make it the ideal truck, and because of its length and departure angle, it’s really not the best Jeep either.  The wheel base is great for off-road use, especially with a lift and larger tires, but the departure angles are just terrible. If you needed a truck, and for the price of the JT, there are amazing alternatives. That being said: It’s amazing how much attention this thing gets.  People are drawn to it and it gets noticed everywhere it goes. You cannot fly under the radar with this Jeep. This is definitely the vehicle to go crazy with your color selection! At the end of the day, you’re buying something that’s universally cool. We love it, you’ll love it, your kids will love it, your neighbors will, their friends will, and everybody you pass on the road will love it and take second looks, especially if you dive in and load up on the massive and prominent aftermarket scene.

So I mentioned kids loving it, so let’s talk about what we found in that regard.  It’s actually pretty decent! Car seat installation was easier and quicker than some SUVs, as told by our resident Professional Car Seat Installer and Parent of Two: Jamey.  Space was a little tight in the back but they didn’t seem to mind. But overall, his 2 and 5 year old LOVED it, and it’s the only vehicle they want to drive and be driven around in.  They called it the “Jeep Truck” and the “Smiles per Mile” were amazing. It was perfect for the Saturday soccer game and the Sunday grocery shopping.

Which is a perfect segue way to talk about the bed and the JTs length overall.  It’s very convenient having the spray in-bed liner for small trips to the store, what with the additional friction holding everything in place.  Its overall length is 218” and it fits in a standard garage without any problems. Ours has a 3.5” lift and 37” tires and as you can see here [pic] there was still no issue there either.  It’s a very comfortable ride.

All in all, forget the truck/jeep differences and all those numbered stats.  The Gladiator is great and performs perfectly as an all-around Jeep-Truck vehicle, thing.  The kids and everybody who sees it loves it and it’s a blast to drive. If you need a heavy duty workhorse for your lawn company, you’d be better off buying a proper truck.  But if you need to be able to run to the store, do some mild towing like a trailer or boat, and want to have a Jeep to customize at the same time, this thing accomplishes it perfectly!  

Our vote:

Utility: 6/10

Jeep: 10/10

Overlanding Jeep:  15/10

Amazing Head Turner: 50/10