The 2021 Jeep Gladiator Is the Most Satisfying Pickup Truck According to Consumer Reports

The pickup truck segment probably has the most loyal customers of any segment. I don’t have the data to back this assertion up, but it feels true. Although there aren’t quite as many offerings from manufacturers as sedans or SUVs, pickup truck makers are definitely trying to get customers to commit to their brand. Although the 2021 Jeep Gladiator might not be objectively the best truck, Consumer Reports says that it might be the most satisfying pickup in the game. 

Jeep has always had the loyalty thing down pat. This may not be true across the Jeep lineup, but for Jeep Wrangler owners, loyalty has never been that hard for Jeep to secure. It seems that now with the Gladiator, a similar diehard fan base might be forming. 

Consumer Reports says the 2021 Jeep Gladiator is the most satisfying pickup truck

The front grille of a Jeep Gladiator on display at an auto show
A Jeep Gladiator on display | Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

How does CR determine how satisfying a pickup truck is? Well, each year, CR polls its members and asks what car they own and whether or not they would buy that vehicle again. They take the responses and rate each model based on how many people said they would spend the money on that vehicle again. Of all the polled members who own pickup trucks, it seems that the 2021 Jeep Gladiator got the most votes and had the highest predicted reliability rating, earning it the no.1 spot. 

Is the 2021 Jeep Gladiator a good truck? 

Surprisingly, Consumer Reports actually kind of liked the 2021 Jeep Gladiator. It is surprising because the Wrangler got one of the lowest ratings of anything on CR. However, the Gladiator got a 65/100, which lands it pretty high on the compact truck list. 

2021 Jeep® Gladiator Rubicon parked in the wild was named most satisfying pickup truck by Consumer Reports
2021 Jeep® Gladiator Rubicon | Stellantis

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The Gladiator looks like a Wrangler with a bed slapped on the back, which isn’t bad. The truth is, it is actually fairly different. For one thing, it is built on a totally new frame, not the Jeep Wrangler frame. But that’s not all; it also borrowed some rear suspension bits from Dodge to give extra support to the bed and make the ride smoother. As we know, CR really likes a smooth ride, which is part of why the Gladiator did much better than the Wrangler. 

How is the Gladiator different than the Wrangler?

Aside from the brand new chassis and rear suspension, it can also tow way more than the Wrangler. The Gladiator is an actual pickup up truck when it comes to towing. It can tow up to 7,700 lbs. The longer wheelbase and Dodge suspension is a major factor in this figure. For reference, the Wrangler can only safely tow about 3,500 lbs. 

What engine does the Gladiator have? 

Jeep Gladiator Re Bare Concept in Moab
Jeep Gladiator Red Bare Concept | Jeep

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It comes with a 3.6-liter V6 making 285 horsepower, but there is also an optional 3.0-liter diesel that makes 260 horsepower but is obviously more torque than the gas engine. The standard 3.6-liter delivers good power and smooth acceleration, according to CR. It can hit 60 mph in only 7.6 seconds and gets an average of 17 mpg. These numbers are all adding up to make the Gladiator a decent truck in its own right. 

Don’t forget; It’s a Jeep

There is a certain built-in love for anything Wrangler shaped. Many people dream of owning a Jeep. Even though they can be loud, impractical, inefficient, and uncomfortable, there is a romantic idea that this is just how they are, and we should embrace those quirks. 

The 2021 Jeep Gladiator directly benefits from this built-in love. Even though it is pretty different from a Wrangler, it looks close enough to appeal to buyers in that same way. Like the Wrangler, it promises adventure or at least the potential for it. I would argue that many people who buy a Gladiator have already decided to love it before they ever take it off the lot. This is Jeep’s superpower.