Life-long Jeep fans are always eager to see and support the latest releases from their favorite brand. For those consumers who also love trucks, the Jeep Gladiator is the best of both worlds. The company kept the iconic shape and open-air style of the classic Jeep, while equipping it with the flatbed and strength of a traditional work vehicle. 2020’s model saw significant sales success despite the pandemic, making us wonder what the new year would bring. Although the last Gladiator does have some swoon-worthy upgrades, they come at a shocking price point . . . especially given what the vehicle lacks.
The Jeep Gladiator is one of 2021’s most expensive midsize trucks
The Jeep Gladiator gives you a Jeep Wrangler and a pickup truck at the same time. With two vehicles in one purchase, the starting MSRP of $33,565 may not seem too unreasonable. Still, the Gladiator is, at the end of the day, a midsize truck. Compared to other vehicles in its class, Jeep’s latest comes in as one of the priciest.
Although the Jeep brand name typically comes with a higher charge, but Toyota, Ford, GMC, and Chevrolet’s 2021 releases all offer big-name value for a lower cost. The eagerly anticipated Toyota Tacoma starts at just $26,250, although it does come with less rear space and a lower towing capacity.
As a matter of fact, the only midsize truck of 2021 that starts at a higher price point than the Gladiator is the 2021 Honda Ridgeline. Its $33,900 MSRP is slightly higher than the Gladiator’s, but it’s much easier to justify. When taking a look at the standard features across this year’s class, the Gladiator falls short.
The Gladiator provides subpar safety despite staggering prices
Whatever your $33,565 is paying for, it’s certainly not peace of mind. Shockingly, the pricey ride comes standard with none of the safety features present in comparable vehicles. Despite the increasingly popularity of this technology, a baseline Jeep Gladiator is not equipped with automatic emergency braking, blind spot alerts, or forward collision warnings. There aren’t even upgrades available for pedestrian detection or lane navigation assistance.
A glance at Consumer Reports makes the disparity in safety features all the more obvious. The Honda Ridgeline comes with safety technology worlds above the Gladiator, despite a price differential of only a few hundred dollars. In fact, with six standard safety features, the Ridgeline is the most heavily-equipped midsize truck in terms of safety. But even the Ford Ranger and Toyota Tacoma come with more built-in safety — after all, anything is higher than zero.
Chevy’s Colorado and the GMC Canyon fall a bit short as well. Still, their starting price points — both around $26,000 — make the prospect of upgrades easier to swallow.
Consumers must decide if the flashy Gladiator is worth the risk
Of course, the Jeep Gladiator isn’t completely devoid of cool features. The 2021 model comes with the option of an EcoDiesel engine — a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 powerhouse that produces 260 hp and 442 lb-ft of torque. Off-roaders delight in the newfound ability to navigate over rougher terrain with increased ease and less gas consumption. Features like hill descent only add to the fun.
Opting for the gas-powered option increases the Gladiator’s horsepower and towing capacity significantly. In these ways, the Jeep Gladiator lives up to its bold and brave name. But as they say: great power comes with great responsibility. With these giants on the road, safety has never been more important.