Even the Most Expensive 2023 Jeep Gladiator Trims Don’t Come Standard With This Pretty Basic Feature
The 2023 Jeep Gladiator is one of the priciest midsize trucks available, but its higher-than-average cost comes with the expectation it will tackle all terrains like a Wrangler while offering far more pragmaticism with its bed out back. Consider that a “convenience fee” many buyers are willing to dish out. However, interested buyers might be surprised that even the most expensive Gladiator won’t warm your butt on a cold day unless you dish out even more dough.
Heated seats are optional even in the pinnacle 2023 Gladiator trim
According to Jeep, the 2023 Gladiator is available in seven trims starting at $38,775 MSRP, with the High Altitude topping the range — pun intended —at $54,575. The High Altitude model features plenty of connectivity, mechanical, and appearance upgrades over lower models and even comes with some luxe-like features that almost seem out of place in a Jeep-branded pickup. For instance, the seats are wrapped in Nappa leather and quilted, and it rides on 20-inch wheels.
Buyers seeking additional trail capability can seek out the also-pricey Gladiator Mojave. It comes with Fox 2.5-inch internal bypass shocks, a locking rear differential, a one-inch front lift, 22-inch all-terrain tires, high-clearance fender flares, and other upgrades over lower models. The 2023 Gladiator Mojave starts at $51,490 MSRP, the same as the Rubicon.
But even when dishing out more than $50,000 for a Rubicon, Mojave, or High Altitude won’t get you a feature that’s commonplace even on most economy cars — heated front seats.
Heated front seats are an optional extra no matter the 2023 Gladiator trim chosen, as they are locked into the $1,345 Cold Weather Group package. The package also includes a heated steering wheel and a remote start system to make the added price partially palatable. Still, it begs the question, should a $50,000-plus pickup at least be able to warm its driver’s backside without incurring an added cost?
Should the top Gladiator trims offer heated seats as standard?
For perspective, the Jeep Gladiator isn’t alone among midsize trucks in locking away heated seats in an optional package. The Chevy Colorado, Ford Ranger, and GMC Canyon all offer heated seats, but only within an options package.
Heated seats are standard in the SL trim (and only the SL trim) of the 2023 Nissan Frontier and upper-range Toyota Tacoma trims, like the TRD Pro and Limited. The Honda Ridgeline is an exception, as heated front seats are standard in all but the base model.
Of course, there are two schools of thought as to whether new cars, trucks, and SUVs should offer some features as standard, and these apply directly to Jeep, requiring Gladiator buyers to spend more on heated seats.
In one camp will be those that argue that the $54,000 High Altitude trim — and even less expensive trims — should absolutely offer heated seats as standard. After all, such a commonplace feature shouldn’t incur additional cost when a buyer is already paying for one of — if not the — most expensive model available. Additionally, it stands to reason many Gladiator buyers are “lifestyle-oriented” and are likely spending plenty of time outdoors, so the ability to cozy up to a heated seat after a day out in the cold should be expected without the need to pay more.
Then again, those from, say, south Florida might argue they will never use the feature, and making heated seats standard is simply bound to raise the Gladiator’s already high asking price even further.
Both arguments have merit, to be sure, but we can argue the Gladiator High Altitude should have standard heated seats. The trim package appears to be aimed at those who are more prone to tackle a school or grocery run than the Rubicon (the trail, not the trim, that is) with its not very off-road-friendly 20-inch wheels, scratch-prone full body-color bodywork and quilted Nappa leather seats. As such, heated seats should be the standard kit in the top model that extols its more upscale features.