There is a great selection of midsize trucks available on the current market. The Chevrolet Colorado and Honda Ridgeline are two popular picks, and Ford recently revamped its Ranger after a long hiatus. Jeep also released a brand-new midsize pickup for this year: the Jeep Gladiator.
The truck features some great off-roading power, a comfortable interior, and a peppy engine. How fast is Jeep’s new midsize pickup? MotorTrend recently put its specs to the test in some real-world situations. It turns out that the hype around the Gladiator is well-deserved.
For this test drive, MotorTrend used a Gladiator Rubicon with almost every available add-on. Under the hood, it has a V6 3.5-liter engine capable of 285 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. An eight-speed transmission is standard for the Rubicon, but a manual six-speed is the usual offering for lower-priced trims. Four-wheel drive is also standard on this model.
The interior is also very comfortable in this truck. There’s plenty of room for passengers of all sizes, and as much technology as the upscale Overland trim. This includes dual-zone climate control, Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, multiple USB ports, a premium sound system, and satellite radio.
The Rubicon has all the off-roading features you’d expect from a Jeep. It has an off-roading mode specifically designed for desert terrain, providing excellent crawl ratios and traction control for sandy surfaces. It also has bigger tires, a brush guard, an anti-sway bar, and locking differentials in both the front and the rear.
From 0-to-60 mph, the Gladiator clocked in at 8.1 seconds, which was faster than the Jeep Wrangler. It’s also worth noting that the car tested had a hardtop, but an optional removable soft top is also available. With the removable roof and doors, the Gladiator is probably faster.
In addition to its great speed, MotorTrend’s testers found that the steering was responsive, the ride was smooth, and the 8-speed transmission delivered accurate shifts. There were no hiccups to be found during downshifts, and the truck could stop itself reasonably quick. It decelerated from 60-0 in just 129 feet. Its fuel economy is average for a midsize truck, with a combined rating of 19 mpg.
The Gladiator’s cabin is definitely comfortable, but there are a lot of storage options as well. The rear seats can be folded up to reveal a lockable storage compartment in the truck’s floor. When folded down, you can also access the storage compartments in the back of the second-row seats.
In terms of towing, the Gladiator performs well for a midsize truck. It’s perfectly capable of towing a trailer with a maximum capacity of 7,650 pounds. With either available tow package, you’ll also get a Class IV receiver hitch and heavy-duty engine cooling. A new diesel engine will also be released soon, which may increase the Rubicon’s towing capacity even more.
The truck has a maximum payload of 1,600 pounds. Its cargo box is only five feet long, which is shorter than many of its rivals. However, it still has power outlets, LED lighting, and adjustable tie-downs inside.
Built for off-roading
While most trucks are good for adventures off the track, their heavier masses and large beds can make things difficult for the driver. The Gladiator doesn’t have these problems because of its compact bed and steel rock guards to help support the truck’s weight. The Gladiator also has a higher seating position and excellent departure and breakover angles.
While it feels slightly limited in other areas, there’s no question about its off-roading power. Like most Jeeps, it has a higher price tag compared to its rivals, but it’s a great bang for your buck.