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 V6 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