2020 Jeep Gladiator Won’t Be Offered With The Turbo Four-Cylinder Because Of Heat / Towing Issues

The 2020 Jeep Gladiator was one of the stars of the Los Angeles Auto Show, but it was curiously missing the Wrangler’s optional turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine.

Producing 270 hp (201 kW / 273 PS) and 295 lb-ft (400 Nm) of torque, the engine slots above the Wrangler’s entry-level 3.6-liter V6 which develops 285 hp (212 kW / 289 PS) and 260 lb-ft (352 Nm) of torque. While the turbocharged engine is slightly down on horsepower, it has more torque which would prove useful in a pickup.

Of course, the four-cylinder’s biggest advantage is its eTorque system. It features regenerative braking, electric power assist and an engine start / stop system. This setup significantly improves fuel efficiency as the Wrangler with the 3.6-liter V6 and an eight-speed automatic transmission is rated at 18 mpg city, 23 mpg highway and 20 mpg combined. With the four-cylinder, those numbers climb to 23 mpg city, 25 mpg highway and 24 mpg combined.

That’s a noticeable improvement and The Drive reached out to Jeep to ask why the engine isn’t offered on the Gladiator. Their response wasn’t very detailed, but the company said “The 3.6-liter engine can handle the temperatures seen while towing.” This seems to suggest the four-cylinder engine was nixed for temperature management issues and a potentially low towing capacity.

The latter was hugely important for Jeep as the Gladiator is their first pickup in decades and the company obviously wanted to claim a best-in-class towing capacity. The brand was able to achieve that as the truck can tow up to 7,650 lbs (3,470 kg) when properly equipped.

While the Gladiator won’t be offered with the turbocharged four-cylinder engine, the company has already announced a 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 will be available in 2020. It will be paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission and produce 260 hp (193 kW / 263 PS) and 442 lb-ft (598 Nm) of torque.

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  • Jay

    So why can’t they make it optional but lower the towing rating if it’s installed? I’m positive that not everyone plans on towing with it.

    • PhilMcGraw

      I think it’s more than just the towing capacity. The weight difference is another big factor. The Wrangler weighs between 3900 to 4400 lbs, the Gladiator weighs between 4600 to 5000 lbs. That’s a difference of 600+ lbs which can make a turbo 4 cylinder feel a lot different. Just take a look at the Chevy Silverado and how that turned out with it’s turbo 4 cylinder.

      • Jay

        However that would mean the wrangler with that engine would have issues towing anything over 600 pounds wouldn’t it… Since I highly doubt that’s a fact they could easily drop the tow rating by 1000 pounds if equipped with it.

        • PhilMcGraw

          I’m not just talking about towing capacity though. I’m talking about the fact that you’re asking a turbo 4 cylinder engine to move 600+ lbs more of weight around even without any towing happening. That’s a lot of strain on a smaller engine which is probably why Jeep is citing the temperature as a factor because I could only imagine a smaller turbo 4 having to be in constant boost to move that extra 600+ lbs of weight on top of any weight in the bed of the truck or from towing.

          The turbodiesel is still going to be on hand to be used which would be better suited for this type of application.

  • Anton Yuri Calderon

    For a measly 3 mpg savings, I’d take the 3.6 all day long. Id never pay 30 or 40k for a pos 2.0 in anything! Who would buy a 2.0 Turdbo to tow with anyway??

    • Matt

      There are a lot of amazing 2.0 turbo engines out there – not sure where you get the idea they are ‘POS’. Maybe you don’t get them in your country?

      • PhilMcGraw

        I think it depends on the application. Turbo 4 cylinders are great for small to midsize cars and SUVs but horrible for larger vehicles. Case in point: the new Silverado with its optional turbo 4 cylinder gets 20 mpg city/23 mpg highway in 2WD form. That’s abysmal compared to the twin-turbo V6 engines it competes with in the class getting 26 mpg on the highway and above.

        You also have to remember that weight is a very important factor here. The regular Wrangler weighs between 3900 and 4400 lbs. The Gladiator weighs anywhere between 4600 and 5000 lbs. That’s a HUGE weight difference and one that would certainly be felt with a small turbocharged engine where the efficiency comes from not being in boost all the time. Also, reliability will take a hit from the strain put on the engine to push that extra weight around.

        • Matt

          That’s not the fault of the engine for being dropped into a full-size truck, nor does it make the engine a ‘POS’ – just not suited for that particular application.

          • PhilMcGraw

            Hence why if you re-read my comment my first sentence reads: “I think it depends on the application. Turbo 4 cylinders are great for small to midsize cars and SUVs but horrible for larger vehicles. ”

            I did not say they are POS. I specifically said it depends on the application.

      • Jay

        Their point is who would want to tow with it.

  • SteersUright

    Something off in the looks of this Jeep. Its cool, for sure, but not bad ass looking at all like a Raptor, TRD 4-Runner, and other off-roader trucks somehow.

  • Craig

    Yes… BUT. Does the Gladiator come with all of the necessary rivets?

  • haji

    Why not the turbodiesel for EU spec?

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