WHEN you step up, or should we say jump, into the 2020 Jeep Gladiator Overland, you get what is best described as the full beast experience. Riding on 18-inch rims, this truck-come-ute stands tall at just on 1.9 metres high.
The first thing that height does for you is make you feel superior to about 90 per cent of your fellow motorists. But it’s the realisation that should you so desire, you can remove the roof and the doors, that gives an extra feeling of supremacy.
It feels incredibly comfortable on the road, despite its largess, and while the suspension is what you might describe as bouncy, it does an incredible job of absorbing the lumps and bumps of some of our um, quality roads.
It’s off road though that the Gladiator comes into its own. You might almost describe it as its natural habitat, even if the long wheelbase makes the turning circle somewhat ridiculous.
The downfall of being a top heavy, high riding, car though, is that much like a semi-trailer or a caravan, it gets buffeted quite badly in strong winds.
Best described as a full-sized Wrangler with a fully lined tub, the Gladiator Overland looks proper tough, stands out from the crowd and is capable of whatever you can throw at it.
Inside, there’s leather seats all round (in either black or a tan colour called Dark Saddle), with heating up front, including the steering wheel, and an 8.4-inch touchscreen infotainment display with satellite navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
You can even shut off the infotainment system for when you need to concentrate off road. The vehicle is also kitted with a high quality rear-view camera, which has handy dynamic parking lines for reversing the almost tank-sized Jeep.
It’s good for backing out your driveway or making sure you don’t fall off cliffs when you’re out in the elements.
There are some nice little touches throughout the cabin too, like white camouflage patterns in the roof lining and inside the heavily cushioned cup holders. As we mentioned, you can take the doors off too.
Depending on where you live, that may not be legal on public roads, but can be done off road, or on private property. Being able to remove the doors also means Jeep has moved the power window controls into the centre console.
It’s a little bit funny to watch people try to find them if it’s their first time aboard the big Gladiator. Well, it was to us anyway. There’s also a handle bar, which we’ll call the ‘goodness gracious’ bar for added security when you’re off road.
You might name it after your favourite deity, or some ‘French’ term starting with F, but whatever you call it, it’s a handy addition to give you something to hold onto as you climb over rocks, or if you just need helping getting in the thing.
The gear selector features the Jeep Gladiator emblem, which is a nice touch, and a handy reminder should you forget what car you’re actually in (unlikely we know). The finishing touch is an outstanding 9-speaker Alpine premium audio system.
Safety too is high on the list for the 2020 Jeep Gladiator Overland, with blind spot monitoring, front collision warning, and adaptive cruise control with stop/go. There’s key-less entry and remote start as well.
One thing we did find a bit funny, odd even, is the fact you have to have your key to open the fuel tank. That’s all well and good if you’re concerned about someone siphoning your petrol, but it’s not super convenient when it’s time to fuel up.
The Gladiator comes in a range of exterior colours, including the Black of our test vehicle, Bright White, greens such as Gator and Gobi, Billet Silver, Granite Crystal and Sting Grey, along with the ultra cool Hydro Blue, and Firecracker Red.
At its heart, the Gladiator is powered by a thirsty 3.6-litre 6-cylinder petrol engine, delivering 209kW of power and 347Nm of torque, via an 8-speed automatic transmission. It slurps 12.4-litres/100km and there’s no manual gearbox option either.
It’s a fairly decent power plant but is quite honestly a little down on the kind of grunt-like noise you’d expect for a vehicle of this size. Don’t get us wrong, the power is there, it just sounds a little underdone. It has a maximum braked towing capacity of 2,721kg.
The 2020 Jeep Gladiator Overland will drain your bank by $74,450 plus on roads and comes with a 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty. Capped price servicing is locked in at $399 per visit to the dealership.
But we wouldn’t be telling the whole truth in this reveiew if we didn’t tell you about the other thing owning a Jeep does, particularly when it’s one from the Wrangler family.
You see, it make you part of a unique community. The kind of unwritten group where you raise your hand off the steering wheel to wave, every time you pass one coming the other way. And there are few nameplates that generate that special kind of loyalty.
Our test vehicle was provided by Jeep Australia. To find out more about the 2020 Jeep Gladiator Overland, contact your local Jeep dealer. Exterior images courtesy of Cameron Cooke Photography.