This Is Why the 2020 Jeep Gladiator Won't Get the Hybrid Four-Cylinder Engine

The regular Jeep Wrangler offers a four-cylinder turbocharged engine assisted by a mild-hybrid system.

2020 Jeep® Gladiator Overland
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Last week we finally got to take a look at the all-new 2020 Jeep Gladiator, the brand's first pickup truck in a quarter of a century. During the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show reveal, we learned a heap including information about the two engines powering the boxy pick'em up. The tried-and-true 3.6-liter Pentastar will be on board upon launch and a 3.0-liter EcoDiesel is coming in 2020. But one question remained: where's the mild hybrid eTorque?

On a regular Jeep Wrangler, there's a $1,000 upgrade that nets the buyer an eTorque four-cylinder turbo engine. By utilizing a 48-volt mild hybrid system, the four-banger shifts smoother and has a better start-stop system. Additionally, it adds torque in key areas of the rev range, with power ultimately rated at 270 horsepower and 295 pound-feet.

If this engine is a premium upgrade on Wrangler, why wouldn't it be available as an engine choice on Gladiator?

The Drive reached out to Jeep with that very question, and a spokesman told us it comes down to towing and temperature management. "The 3.6-liter engine can handle the temperatures seen while towing," they said. While no knocks were mentioned against the smaller four-cylinder, it's easy to conclude that it simply wasn't created for the hauling capacity Jeep expects from the Gladiator.

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Remember that the new model still needs to function as a truck, and pickup drivers tow with their vehicles. As a result, Gladiator engineers wanted to make sure buyers aren't sacrificing performance by buying the Jeep. 

Gladiator has best-in-class towing at 7,650 pounds, and even the off-road-focused Rubicon is capable of lugging around 7,000. The Chevrolet Colorado diesel four-wheel drive maxes out at 7,600 pounds, but if you get the trail-ready ZR2, that drops to just 5,000.

Now, what about that eTorque V-6 that comes standard in the 2019 Ram 1500? No word on that yet, but with the diesel locked in for 2020, we'll make the hybridized six-pot our choice to hope and dream for as work capacity could reach even higher with the techy powerplant.

2018 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon JL -- TEST/DRIVE
The Drive