I finally got a 2020 Jeep Gladiator Launch Edition, which arrived over 70 days after I ordered it — except it wasn’t supposed to be mine. For me to get one, somebody’s arm literally had to break — and I’m not joking. Complaints about the ordering and delivery process aside, I’m happy to report that all the trouble was well worth it, as this Jeep truck is better than I imagined.
To recap from my previous Gladiator purchasing drama, I ordered the special Launch Edition on April 4th, assuming the Launch Edition would be the first vehicles to arrive at the dealership. Every Launch Edition is a heavily optioned Rubicon, with a few special touches to distinguish it from the rest. After accidentally ordering two, and having to fight a little to have the Gladiator delivered to the dealer of my choice, I waited, and waited, AND WAITED. Eventually, Gladiators began pouring in from all over the country — but they weren’t Launch Editions.
It seems Jeep decided to do a little marketing shrewdness, and tied up as many hardcore Jeep customers as they could with Launch Editions, but they still built tons of regular Gladiators to send to dealers beforehand. So imagine my frustration after trading in my old truck and then, over the course of 10 weeks, I slowly begin seeing Gladiators pour into Jeep dealerships all over town. Instead of getting one of the first Gladiators like I wanted, I was duped, and forced to wait for my "Launch Edition." Maybe they should have called them the "sucker edition" — since that’s how I felt.
As time passed and I continued to get more frustrated, my dealer friend Clay at Robbins Motors in Manhattan, Kansas finally got his first Launch Edition — which he planned to keep for himself. Unfortunately, shortly before it arrived, this grown man decided to slide down a staircase banister for fun, and ended up shattering his elbow, which required surgery. This prevented him from being able to enjoy his new toy — and since he had no idea when my Gladiator would arrive, he decided to offer his to me. With all the sympathy I could feign for my friend, I gladly accepted his offer while the pain killers were still probably affecting his judgment.
So if you’re interested in a Gladiator identical to the truck I just purchased, it will be showing up to his dealership at some point — and it will actually have my name on the window sticker. Plenty of people have reminded me that I could have bought a new Ford Raptor for the same money — and believe me, I know — but I like this Gladiator Rubicon way better. I wanted a midsize truck so I can fit in a normal parking stall — and with the 7,000-lb towing capacity, I can still haul home all the broken hoopties I want.
I’m also a die-hard Jeep fan, and I love how they modernized the newest generation while staying true to the original. The infotainment system is perfect, with more tech than I will ever use — and the instrument cluster has plenty of fun menus to play with, as well. It also feels way more stable and comfortable than the Wranglers I’ve had in the past — and while it wasn’t exactly built to be luxurious, the long wheelbase and thick off-road tires do a pretty good job of giving a smooth ride on the highway.
While these are all huge benefits of Gladiator ownership, along with the expected insane resale values, it’s not the main reason why I bought one. The idea of having a convertible pickup truck is what won me over, and it had me buying brand new. I couldn’t wait to get home from the dealership and take my Gladiator’s top off — even though it continues to rain almost daily in Kansas. Thankfully, if it does rain, it only takes about 10 minutes to reinstall, as well as remove the hardtop — and unlike the Wrangler’s larger top to accommodate the rear cargo area, I can actually manage to lift it into place by myself.
Jeep even provides a handy little tool kit to remove everything, along with a storage bin to house all the bolts for the top, doors and windshield should you want your Gladiator completely naked. Given how bugged up the flat windshield got on the drive home, I’m pretty sure I’ll never fold down the windshield so my face doesn’t get splattered with bug guts — but it’s nice to know it still shares the same original Jeep DNA from 1941.
As for my plans for the new Gladiator, I’m not sure if I will lift the suspension, or swap it for a V8 like so many are doing, or really do much of anything to change it. It seems so close to perfect right out of the box, but time will tell — especially when aftermarket Jeep outfitters begin offering irresistible shiny objects to bolt on Gladiators. So even though it’s brand new, like my other hoopties, I’m sure I’ll find a way to waste money on it. Find a Jeep Gladiator for sale
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