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The pickup truck battle is on! Is the 2021 Jeep Gladiator a better buy than the Toyota Tacoma? J.D. Power compared the two midsize pickup trucks head-on, and while both vehicles have advantages, the Jeep didn’t pull ahead of the Tacoma as one might expect.

Is the 2021 Jeep Gladiator worth buying?

The 2021 Jeep Gladiator vs. Toyota Tacoma
The 2021 Jeep Gladiator vs. Toyota Tacoma | Joel Lerner/Xinhua via Getty Images

When J.D. Power compared the 2021 Jeep Gladiator and the 2021 Toyota Tacoma, the Jeep pulled ahead in three categories. The Gladiator only comes in one configuration with a crew cab and four doors. The bed of the truck is a 60-inch open bed with no option for a longer version.

The Jeep does come in 10 different trim levels. These include the Sport, Willys Sport, Sport S, California Edition, and Willys. Jeep also offers the 80th Anniversary edition, Freedom, Overland, Rubicon, Mojave, and High Altitude trims. All of the options are four-wheel-drive and come with a V6.

In the case of the price, the Gladiator varies from $34,040 to $52,240. It comes with a standard three-year or 36,000-mile warranty. It also has roadside assistance for five years or 60,000 miles, giving it an advantage over the Tacoma.

As far as safety features go, the Jeep doesn’t have as many features as the Tacoma. It offers an optional package with forward-collision warning (FCW) and automatic emergency braking (AEB), but these aren’t offered on lower-level trims. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave the Gladiator four out of five stars. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) did not rate the Gladiator.

Don’t count out the 2021 Toyota Tacoma

The 2021 Toyota Tacoma is offered in three configurations. The 74-inch access cab (also known as an extended cab) is not very suitable for passengers. The double cab (known as the crew cab) has a full bench seat for passengers. This can come with a 60-inch bed or a 74-inch bed.

The trim levels offered are SR, SR5, TRD Sport, TRD Off-Road, Limited, and TRD Pro. Prices for the Tacoma range from $26,400 to $44,325. When it comes to price and value, the Tacoma pulled ahead. The Tacoma has a standard three-year or 36,000-mile warranty and roadside assistance for three years and unlimited miles.

When it came to safety, the Tacoma comes standard with Toyota Safety Sense. This includes FCW, AEB, lane-departure warning, and adaptive cruise control. The NHTSA gave the truck a four-star rating for overall crash protection. The IIHS gave the Tacoma a rating of “good.” for most crash-testing categories.

Which midsize truck pulls ahead in the competition?

The Gladiator base engine is a 3.6L V6 with 285 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. Buyers can opt for a six-speed manual for an extra $2,000 or an eight-speed automatic for no extra charge. Jeep also offers a turbo EcoDiesel V6. The combined fuel economy is 19 mpg, except the diesel gets 24 mpg. It has a tow rating of 7,500 pounds, or the EcoDiesel maxes out at 6,500 pounds. Overall, the Gladiator has better towing capacities.

The Tacoma comes with either a 2.7L four-cylinder with 159 hp and 180 lb-ft of torque. It also comes in a 3.5L V6 with 278 hp and 265 lb-ft of torque. It only comes in a six-speed automatic transmission. The Tacoma with the short bed has a tow rating of 6,700 pounds.

In conclusion, both the 2021 Jeep Gladiator and the Toyota Tacoma have a lot to offer buyers. The Gladiator beat the Tacoma in reliability/quality, performance/efficiency, and tow ratings/trailering equipment.

The Tacoma had an advantage in the price/value, safety/driving assistance, and infotainment/technology categories. While these midsize trucks are evenly matched in some areas, the Gladiator failed to beat the Tacoma in a few important areas. Depending on your specific needs, it is likely that one of these trucks will fit the bill.


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