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L.A. Auto Show 2018: Jeep returns to the truck market with the mid-size 2020 Gladiator

L.A. Auto Show 2018: Jeep returns to the truck market with the mid-size 2020 Gladiator
Jeep returns to the pickup-truck market after a 28-year absence with the Gladiator for 2020. (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles)

Jeep is tapping into the strong market for pickup trucks by rolling out its first new pickup in more than two decades. The 2020 Jeep Gladiator arrives in U.S. showrooms in the second quarter of next year.

Unveiled at the L.A. Auto Show on Wednesday, the Gladiator retains some of Jeep’s iconic looks — including its front grille and round headlights — but it’s a newly designed truck with the latest all-wheel-drive technology, fuel-efficient engines, 33-inch off-road tires and a bevy of electronic safety features.

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Jeep, a unit of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, is returning to the truck segment for the first time since 1992, when it concluded production of the Jeep Comanche.

“There is tremendous demand” for the Gladiator “from our loyal Jeep customers and pickup-truck buyers everywhere,” Tim Kuniskis, head of the Jeep Brand in North America, said in a statement.

The Gladiator will be available in four main trims: the Sport, Sport S, Overland and Rubicon. It will tow up to 7,650 pounds and have as much as 1,600 pounds of payload capacity.

The truck has a 3.6-liter V6 engine that delivers up to 285 horsepower with a standard six-speed manual transmission; an eight-speed automatic transmission is optional. In 2020, Jeep also will offer a 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 with the eight-speed automatic transmission as standard.

Jeep said the Gladiator has a frame that’s 31 inches longer and a wheelbase that’s 19.4 inches longer than Jeep’s Wrangler four-door SUV. Available safety features include a backup camera, blind-spot monitoring and a forward-facing camera for off-road use. A full-size spare tire is included under the cargo bed.

Prices for the Gladiator, which will be built at Jeep’s plant in Toledo, Ohio, will be announced closer to the truck’s market launch.

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