Driving a 2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon on the Rubicon Trail is a fun activity, yet not a simple activity.
We're crawling the Gladiator along the internal sloping right side of a narrow lane with the left front tire dubiously roosted on a stone at the base of Arnold's Rock, an especially hairy area of the trail. The tire starts to slide into the water underneath, smashing the Gladiator's underbody onto the rock with a blast. High-centered, we can't push ahead or back. The Jeep Jamboree trail aides start hurling smaller rocks under the tires to give them something to take hold of. When they've developed a little heap, they rock the Jeep pickup from side-to-side as we give it a little gas to fly off the stone. We at that point, approach it once more, figuring out how to keep the tire on it this time and climb over. The fun's not over. We quickly wrench the wheel hard to one side and climb the stair steps up onto the slick rock, joined by a reasonable piece of scratching of the stone rails.
The Rubicon adaptation of the Gladiator combines locking front and rear differentials, disengaging front sway bars, Fox monotube stuns, a Rock-Trac shift-on-the-fly transfer case, a 4.10:1 rear axle proportion (up from 3.73), 17 x 7.5" wheels with LT285/70R17C tires, high-clearance bumper flares, shake rails, a front skid plate/brush guard, and four tow hooks.
Ground clearance remains at 11.1 inches, which is 1.1 inches more prominent than different Gladiators. The Rubicon has an approach angle of 43.4 degrees (versus 40.8 for other Gladiator models), a break-over angle of 20.3 degrees (versus 18.4), and a departure angle of 26.0 degrees (versus 25.0).
Tires were aired down to 22 psi to give the production-line fitment Falken Wildpeak A/T tires better buy on some of the rocks and to make for a less-fun ride. Our model was fueled by the 285-drive 3.6-liter V6 mated to an eight-speed automatic. The deliberate throttle reaction of the normally aspirated motor was acknowledged as we tried to apply simply enough stick to keep the Jeep climbing steep slopes.
One especially valuable alternative on our Gladiator (and one that is not offered on the Wrangler) is a front aligned off-road camera. It displays what's quickly ahead and overlays rules showing the way of the front tires. It's useful for the exact wheel situation.
As much as we would have wanted to finish the trail, the Gladiator demonstrated its mettle on our one-day adventure. With some foresight and skill, it can go anyplace a Wrangler can, while as yet having the one of a kind characteristics of a truck. In spite of the limitations of its long body and wheelbase, the Jeep Gladiator Rubicon demonstrated that it can deal with its namesake trail.