The 2021 Jeep Gladiator Finally Has 1 Advantage Over the Toyota Tundra

Old vehicles are romantic, beautiful, and charming, but the only way anyone spends big money on them is if they are collectible or rare. The 2021 Jeep Gladiator and the 2021 Toyota Tundra are both woefully outdated, crude, and terrible on gas; that sounds like a vintage car to me. The problem is, these Dinosaurs are brand new and cost new-car money. Consumer Reports rated both vehicles: neck and neck, but brakes seem to be the finishing blow to one of them. 

The 2021 Toyota Tundra has terrible brakes, among other things

The Tundra, along with every other Toyota 4×4, is tough and rugged – and about 20-years out of date. These trucks are using an old chassis, old motor, and old transmissions. The Tundra was king of the truck world for a while, but over the years, other trucks caught up and eventually surpassed the Tundra with ease because it never changed. Given the nature of the truck scene, this hasn’t really stopped people from buying Tundras, but maybe it should. 

Consumer Reports can be pretty harsh toward trucks because of their rough ride, often crude interior, and poor fuel economy. That has come to be expected. This is why the Jeep Gladiator finds itself so closely tied to Tundra. However, the Tundra’s lack of modern improvements starts to show in one serious way; brakes. 

A photo of the Toyota Tundra outdoors.
2021 Toyota Tundra | Toyota

The emergency stopping distance is downright dangerous. It takes the 2021 Tundra 153 ft to come to a stop from 60 mph in dry conditions. If there’s been any moisture, that distance grows to an alarming 178 ft. The 2021 Jeep Gladiator, on the other hand, gets it’s braking done in 135 ft and 144 ft, respectively. This is more than just not having 86-way adjustable seats; this is the price of leaving a truck largely un-updated for more than a decade. 

Is the 2021 Jeep Gladiator a good truck? 

Relative to other trucks rated by CR, yes. What’s funny is, the Gladiator scored so much higher than the Jeep Wrangler, yet they both face most of the same problems. The Tundra snagged a 63/100 overall, whereas the Gladiator pulled down a 65/100. Why?

The 2021 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon beat out Ford in Consumer Reports' truck rankings
The 2021 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon beat out Ford in Consumer Reports’ truck rankings | FCA

A Jeep In Wolf’s Clothing: The Jeep Gladiator Pulled a Fast One on Us

Well, CR hit it where they hit most trucks; poor handling, noisy, and a stiff ride. CR does note that the Gladiator is a bit smoother than most other pickups but is still a bit stiff. The testers seem to cut the Gladiator a bit of slack where its platform-mate, the Jeep Wrangler, received no quarter. I know this isn’t about the Wrangler, but the Gladiator is, essentially, a Wrangler with a longer wheelbase and a bed, yet the Wrangler scored a 29/100. (Just thought that needed mentioning.)

The Tundra has an old, but great motor

The Tundra’s 381-hp, 5.7-liter V8 is the same motor that was in the 2001 Sequoia, like the exact same one. It is a reliable and strong motor that has kept the Toyota 4×4 line afloat. The Jeep Gladiator is powered by a 260-hp, 3.0-liter V6. Where it lacks in power, it makes up for in Fuel economy. The Tundra’s V8 suffers from only 15 mpg overall, while the Jeep Gladiator gets 18 mpg and still enough torque to tow up to 7,650 lbs when properly equipped. The Tundra will outhaul the Jeep by nearly 2,500 lbs.

The tit for tat on the two trucks remains back and forth. For every more modern and civilized attempt the Jeep makes, the Tundra just knuckles through and out powers it. To be clear, the Jeep is still a dinosaur, but it at least tries to live in this century. 

These two trucks really are very different, but they are so close in rating that it is an interesting comparison. If either one had another pro or con, I think the CR rating wouldn’t be so close, but as it stands, the Tundra’s atrocious braking distance gives the 2021 Jeep Gladiator the edge. And, Let’s be honest, the Jeep is a bit more captivating than the 2021 Tundra.