The 2021 Jeep Gladiator Struggles With 3 Major Drawbacks

The 2021 Jeep Gladiator is receiving some excellent reviews. Also, the Jeep Gladiator Mojave was a runner up for the North American Truck of the Year. The Gladiator certainly has shown its strengths, but the 2021 model also has some weaknesses. 

The 2021 Jeep Gladiator has three issues to consider 

First of all, what’s new for the 2021 Jeep Gladiator? Not much, actually. The Gladiator is still pretty new. The 2021 model is part of the first generation that was introduced in 2019. It just isn’t time for a mid-cycle refresh yet. 

2021 Jeep Gladiator driving through the mountains
2021 Jeep® Gladiator Rubicon | Jeep

However, the 2021 Gladiator did get a new diesel engine. The 3.0-liter V6 diesel engine pumps out 260-hp and 442 lb-ft of torque. Also, full-time four-wheel drive is now offered with each model along with Engine Start-Stop technology. Now let’s address its problems. 

1. The Gladiator is expensive 

The base model Jeep Gladiator has an MSRP of about $33,565. The 2021 Toyota Tacoma, which is the Gladiator’s biggest off-roading rival, has an MSRP of about $26,250. So, the Gladiator costs about $7,315 more to get started in the base model.

Also, the Gladiator is a midsize truck. The 2021 Ford F-150 base model has an MSRP of about $28,940, and it’s a full-size truck. But please consider that the Jeep Gladiator offers more with its base model. It offers standard 4×4, a larger cab, and more. Rivals are generally pretty basic with smaller cab sizes and you have to pay to upgrade to 4×4.

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The Jeep Gladiator Rubicon trim has an MSRP of about $43,895. We are happy to see it priced under $50,000. The Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro has an MSRP of about $44,175. So, the off-roading trims are better matched. 

But these prices may vary because they are listed before the dealership markups, and destination fees have been added in. Also, high demand and limited stock can increase prices even more. 

2. The 2021 Gladiator is thirsty 

According to Edmunds, the 2021 Jeep Gladiator has a subpar fuel economy. The gas-powered Gladiator only gets an EPA estimated 17 mpg in the city and up to 22 mpg on the highway. This is pretty weak, but it’s not the worst. 

2020 Jeep Gladiator Overland towing a trailer
2020 Jeep Gladiator Overland towing a trailer | Jeep

The 2021 Ford Ranger is an example of one of the most fuel-efficient midsize trucks. But it only gets an EPA estimated 21 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway.

This doesn’t feel like much of an advantage but makes a difference based on how long your commute is. If you spring for the EcoDiesel Gladiator, you can get up to 22 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. 

3. The 2021 Jeep Gladiator is big 

This last issue is pretty subjective because the size of the 2021 Jeep Gladiator has its pros and cons. For example, it’s wide. As a result, it has the largest backseat in the segment. This is great for passengers and storage. 

Jeep Gladiator Mojave side
Jeep Gladiator Mojave side | FCA

The Gladiator is 19-inches longer than the Wrangler, so it may not be as easy to maneuver around town. The Gladiator also has a longer wheelbase. While this helps to provide a smoother ride, it can hamper off-roading efforts. 

Having a shorter wheelbase like the Wrangler or Tacoma can enhance the break-over angle, and ability to maneuver around tight turns while off-roading. The Gladiator has a long rear overhang that can scrape the terrain and has been called too wide for some off-roading trails.