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2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon Review

Reviewing the Gladiator and Flat Towing Mods
Article Date: November, 2019


Electronics Galore

The new electronics in the JT Gladiator were similar to the what the new 2019 JL Wrangler has, which is light years ahead of what we have in our 2012 JK Wranglers. The radio was now used an 8.4" Touch Screen display that controlled the entertainment functions as well as GPS navigation. But the screen had many other uses as well. One screen controlled your Smart Phone, which could be connected via a wireless Blue tooth connection to allow hands-free use. Your Smart Phone could also be connected via a USB cable in the console or dash that allows you to use Apple Car Play or Android Auto to operate various phone apps such as Goggle Maps, Waze or whatever from your touch screen display. Another screen display the interior heating and cooling functions. Fan speeds and temperature settings can all be adjusted by simply tapping the screen or dragging your finger across a slider. Dual zones are used so your passenger doesn't have to have the same temperature settings as the driver. You simply set the temperature like a thermostat and let it do its thing. Screen icons also control the heated seats and heated steering wheel, which is nice feature in Wisconsin winters. There are also switches beneath the screen that allow you to control these systems if you prefer that method. Lastly, if you really want to feel like you're on the bridge of the starship Enterprise you can press the Uconnect button on the wheel and speak to the system saying things like "Set passenger temperature to 72" or "Play song La Grange" and the computer will reply and perform that action. Pretty cool stuff.

The entertainment system's media screen.

GPS map display.

Climate control screen.

Controls for heated seats, steering wheel, cameras.

The Gladiator also has the Uconnect system that you can use to get help by pressing a button. This was demonstrated when we placed a call for assistance during delivery when I had a question that could not be answered. Within a minute a helpful voice on the other end of the line answered our question. In addition to the generic assistance button, a second button places an emergency call for help that Jeep will relay to a 911 dispatcher. This is part of the Sirius advanced system package that also brings you weather information, warnings and radar as well as other advanced features available through Sirius. One feature is the Uconnect app that you can download to your smart phone. This app can locate your vehicle from any where in the world and display it graphically on a map your phone. It can also display your tire pressures, fuel level, percent of remaining miles left until you need to change your engine oil and any vehicle safety warnings. You can also lock or unlock your doors, sound your horn or start your vehicle from your phone from anywhere in the world as long as you have cell service at your phone.

But Jeeps are made for off-road use so the electronics accounts for that. One screen shows the off-road screen, which can toggle between numerous displays. One screen shows an array of analog style gauges displaying everything, including oil and transmission temperatures. Another shows the angle of you pitch and tilt so you know when you are getting into unsafe territory. Another shows a graphic of your drivetrain, which shows your current steering angle as well as the status of your transfer case and locking differentials (Rubicon only). Lastly, the optional front-facing trail cam can be displayed. This camera shows a forward looking view with overlays that show you where your tires will track. This view is dynamic so will change as you turn the wheel. This is great for off-road use when you want to avoid a rock or pick your way through a narrow area. It's also great for parallel parking so it can be handy for mall cruisers as well. When I first got my Gladiator I had to go through a narrow bank drive-through lane. I wasn't yet familiar with clearances on my new vehicle so I switched on the front trail cam and tracked my way right down the center of the narrow lane. This display can toggle between the rear back-up camera and the front trail cam just by tapping the correct screen icon. By the way, if your trail cam gets all splattered full of mud, don't worry. Just press the "Clean" button to operate the camera washer nozzle which is fed from the windshield washer reservoir and pump.

Off-road screen showing pitch and roll angles.

Off-road screen showing driveline status.

Off-road screen showing accessory gauges.

Front trail cam display.

The Trail Cam is mounted in the front grill.

A washer nozzle is used to clean the camera.

The main instrument panel was also digital. Digital speedometer and tachometers were placed in round bezels to keep that traditional look. Placed between these two instruments was a center color display that can be toggled between various screens. The steering wheel button toggles between a large current speed display, tire pressures, trip miles and odometer, fuel economy or a number of engine and driveline gauges. All of these screens are user customizable. Color vertical bar graphs on each side will always display your fuel level and engine temperature. A miles-to-empty reading is also displayed.

Digital instrument panel.

Rear camera display.

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