Jeep fans demanded a Wrangler pickup truck for years, and in 2020 the automaker finally delivered. The Gladiator wears unmistakable styling and borrows from the parent company's corporate parts bin to add the structure needed for a pickup bed. That makes it more work-ready than any other Jeep, and it is impressively capable off-road compared to its midsize truck competitors. Sold only in quad cab configuration with a five-foot-long bed, all Gladiators have standard 4WD. For 2021, a new turbodiesel engine is offered alongside the standard gas unit.
We don't love the Gladiator, but it sure is cool.
If maximum capability is important, the Gladiator isn't the truck to get. Its five-foot bed is smaller than what's available on segment competitors.
Much like its Wrangler counterpart, handling is roll-prone and vague; steering requires constant correction. Ride quality is a bit bouncy, and odd driver's seat ergonomics can make long trips a chore. We like driving stick, but the Gladiator's manual transmission makes us yearn for the automatic.
Given that the Gladiator shares so much with the Wrangler, it's very capable off-road. The recently introduced Mojave trim does nearly everything a Rubicon will do, while a Rubicon won't do half of what the Mojave can. Still, in terms of overlanding trucks, there seem to be better options. And if off-road ability is your goal, just get a Wrangler.
Despite these critiques, the Gladiator has massive appeal. That much is clear just from looking at it. The Gladiator might not be a pragmatic choice compared to a Chevrolet Colorado or even Honda Ridgeline, but few trucks can match its heritage and cool factor; emotional appeal makes every Gladiator drive fun.
All Gladiators are equipped with 4WD as standard. Transmission choices include a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic.
The Gladiator's standard engine is a 3.6-liter V-6 that generates 285 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. In MotorTrend testing, 0-60 mph acceleration in automatic-equipped Rubicon models took between 8.1 and 8.7 seconds. We measured a 7.9-second 0-60 mph time from a Gladiator Sport with the six-speed manual transmission. EPA-rated fuel economy for this engine is 16/23 mpg city/highway with the manual transmission, and 17/22 mpg with the automatic.
New for 2021 is the EcoDiesel-badged 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6. This optional engine produces 260 hp and 442 lb-ft of torque and is only available with the automatic transmission. EPA-rated fuel economy for the Gladiator EcoDiesel is 22/28 mpg, except for the Rubicon model which gets 21/27 mpg.
In the NHTSA's partially evaluations of the Gladiator, the truck earned a four-star frontal crash score and a three-star rollover score (out of a possible five stars).
Available driver-assist and active-safety features include forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and adaptive cruise control.
Front-row headroom measures 42.8 inches in the Gladiator, which compares to 39.8 inches in the Ford Ranger with a crew cab. Second-row headroom is also 42.8 inches in the Gladiator, a good amount more than 38.3 inches in the Ranger. Front-row legroom is 41.2 inches in the Jeep, a bit less than 43.1 inches in the Ford. However, the Gladiator has more rear legroom, offering 38.3 inches to the Ranger's 34.5 inches.
The bed on the Gladiator is 60.3 inches long, 44.8 inches wide at the wheelwells, 56.8 inches wide above the wheelwells, and about 18.0 inches deep. Lift-over height is 29.7 inches. An available bed extender adds additional length when the tailgate is folded down.
When equipped with the automatic transmission, gas V-6, and Max Tow package, the Gladiator Sport or Sport S can tow up to 7,650 pounds, the most of any Gladiator. Properly equipped Rubicon models can pull up to 7,000 pounds, while Mojave and Overland versions are rated for up to 6,000 pounds.
The highest Gladiator payload rating is 1,700 pounds, available in Sport or Sport S models with the gas V-6 and manual transmission. However, choosing the automatic transmission reduces payload to 1,105 pounds, the lowest of any Gladiator trim. Overland, Mojave, and Rubicon models can haul between 1,120 and 1,200 pounds depending on transmission choice.
A 5.0-inch infotainment display with Bluetooth connectivity is standard in the Gladiator. An available 7.0-inch touchscreen is available and adds Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. An 8.4-inch touchscreen is also on the options list, adding built-in navigation. Two front-row USB ports are standard, while two second-row USB ports are available. A nine-speaker audio system is standard, and an Alpine-branded premium setup is available.
|$0||0% Financing for a maximum term of 36 Months - FCA announces APR rates on select models.||02-01-2021|
|$0||1.9% Financing for a maximum term of 48 Months - FCA announces APR rates on select models.||02-01-2021|
|$0||2.9% Financing for a maximum term of 60 Months - FCA announces APR rates on select models.||02-01-2021|
|$0||3.9% Financing for a maximum term of 72 Months - FCA announces APR rates on select models.||02-01-2021|
|$500||FCA announces a Bonus Cash offer on select models for eligible Military personnel.||01-03-2022|
|$500||FCA announces a Bonus Cash offer on select models. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.]||02-01-2021|
|$1000||FCA announces a Lease Bonus Cash offer on select models. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.]||02-01-2021|
|$1500||FCA announces a Bonus Cash offer on select models.||02-01-2021|