2020 Jeep Gladiator Makes the Most of Its Bed Size

2020 Jeep Gladiator bed

The 2020 Jeep Gladiator takes what you like about a Wrangler and gives you a compact 5-foot bed and clever tailgate designed for adventures and light work. And it’s all about the bed. Like the Jeep Wrangler, the 2020 Jeep Gladiator is a lifestyle vehicle — just a different lifestyle. Like the Wrangler Unlimited before it, the Gladiator takes what you like about a Wrangler and gives you something more. With the Gladiator that’s most of all the 5-foot, all-steel pickup bed.

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Not that it’s a serious work truck. The Gladiator is for the buyer who wants a Wrangler’s go-anywhere adventure chops but can’t justify such a specialized vehicle. The pickup adds utility for more needs, from hauling your toys to off-road adventures to just checking items off a weekend to-do list. And the bed and its clever three-position tailgate are designed to offer that flexibility. Here are some highlights:

The Bed Has Enough Space, Not too Much

The compact 5-foot bed provides useful hauling space without too much bulk or making the truck so long that its breakover angle is seriously compromised. By the numbers, here’s how the Gladiator’s bed size measures: The bed floor is 60.3 inches long with the gate closed, the bed width at the tailgate is 56.8 inches, and the gate opening itself is 50 inches wide while the floor between the wheel humps is 44.8 inches wide. The bed is about 18 inches deep with a reasonable lift over the sides with the standard 33-inch tires. At the rear, the open tailgate is about 35 inches off the ground. Sprayed and drop-in bedliners are available.

About That Tailgate: Up, Down or In Between

The three-position damped and power-locking tailgate extends the bed’s utility for fun hauling and Home Depot runs as well. Dropping the tailgate stretches the floor to 81.3 inches and its 1,200-pound total distributed load capability can handle heavier long loads, such as a pair of dirt bikes. The tire-tread-patterned icons on the front wall will help you line them up. And to get that load to the tailgate’s 35 inches from the ground, the gate will handle 600 pounds with a single ramp and 850 pounds with a pair.

Meanwhile, the tailgate in its half-down position (achieved by simply looping the cable supports around clips on either side) still can support 500 pounds, enough to let you tilt up long but awkward loads such as a kayak or surfboard — or some lumber.


The height in that position also lines up with the tops of the wheel bumps to handle and support 4-by-8-feet sheets of plywood. Pockets in the bed walls halfway back are sized to secure 2-by-6 timber for extra support for the sheets. Jeep says that arrangement can haul up to 11 sheets of 3/4-inch plywood.

Tie It Down


The bed has sturdy D-shaped tie-down brackets standard at all four corners, fixed at the rear and hinged at the front to fold out of the way. Jeep offers a rail system on the sides and front wall for more tie-down points as well as for mounting an already wide range of other accessories, such as available bed cross-bars for more accessories.

Power to the People


Cargo lights in the bed sides are standard and a 115-volt, 400-watt three-prong outlet is available.

Rollaway Bed Cover


Jeep offers a soft tonneau cover that locks with the tailgate, but a rear portion can be opened partially to allow carrying of long planks or other such loads. A Jeep spokesman says that hard and soft tri-fold covers are coming, too, though I like the saddle roll look of that rolled-up tonneau better.

Sky (or Your Wallet) Is the Limit for Bed Add-Ons

Jeep and aftermarket suppliers already offer a range of bed accessories, including a pair of lockable sliding storage drawers that fill the bed, to adapt the truck to your specific needs for adventure gear, camping or just hauling. And the well-established willingness of Jeep owners to spend freely on accessories should ensure lots more to come to make it a personalized Swiss Army knife of pickup beds.

Still Not a Work Truck

That’s a lot of utility in a vehicle with a 1,600-pound maximum payload capacity that still can crawl over rocks and ford 30 inches. It’s no work truck, but lifestyle buyers will be paying this much (a Rubicon can push $60,000) for the fun factor, and the cleverly outfitted bed serves that purpose very well. I drove Gladiators recently at an event sponsored by Jeep parent Fiat Chrysler Automobiles that also featured Ram’s new heavy-duty pickups. If work is what you need, a long-bed Ram 2500 Tradesman with crank windows will do a whole lot more at about half that price.

05-jeep-gladiator-2020-angle-exterior-heartbeat-rear-red-tailgate’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

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Former D.C. Bureau Chief Fred Meier, who lives every day with Washington gridlock, has an un-American love of small wagons and hatchbacks. Email Fred Meier

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