The ideal work truck will have the perfect balance between performance, comfort, and price. One possible work truck that many people overlook is the Jeep Gladiator. MotorTrend recently test drove the Gladiator and made some interesting observations about its potential as more than an off-roader. Here’s what their experts had to say.
About the Gladiator
The Jeep Gladiator has a 3.6-liter V6 engine with 385 hp. and 260 lb.-ft. of torque. It comes with either a six-speed automatic transmission or eight-speed automatic, and an estimated fuel rating of 16 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway.
MotorTrend noted that the Gladiator rides and drives much like any other Jeep vehicle. However, they did note that it was somewhat smoother than the Wrangler.
The Gladiator’s five-foot-long cargo bed is optimized for hauling. For example, it comes with four fixed tie-downs, which make it easy to secure items. Adjustable tie-downs that slide onto the bed’s railing may also be added for even greater security.
The bed itself contains a spray-on liner with molded tire tracks. These tracks allow you to better align motorcycles or dirt bikes next to one another. The Gladiator’s tailgate is dampened for easy raising and lowering, and can even be opened halfway when you are hauling longer items.
Towing and Payload Capabilities
Your towing and payload capabilities will vary based upon whether you are driving a manual or automatic Gladiator. For example, one with a manual transmission will have a payload of up to 1,600 pounds, as compared to 1,105 for trucks with an automatic transmission.
What the automatic transmission lacks in payload it makes up for in towing capacity. A Gladiator equipped with a manual transmission is capable of hauling 4,000 pounds, but that increases to 7,650 pounds for models with an automatic transmission.
Interior and Storage
A work truck should be comfortable but not luxurious, and the Gladiator strikes the perfect balance between the two. Its interior features are a mixture of hard plastic with leather-like materials as accents. Accordingly, it lacks the cheap appearance that is common with other work trucks. But it’s not so outlandish that you will worry about things getting dirty.
The vehicle’s features will make getting to and from your worksite enjoyable. Technology such as the 7″ touchscreen and Uconnect infotainment system are easy to use, and provide excellent visibility in a variety of lighting conditions.
Storage is an important factor when considering a work truck. In the Gladiator, you’ll find a removable storage box conveniently tucked away underneath the back seat.
Noise not a Factor
With its folding soft-top roof, you can expect some noise inside the cabin. However, the amount of noise you experience is much less than you would expect. In fact, MotorTrend compared the amount of noise produced by the Gladiator to that made by the Ford Ranger. In doing so, they claimed that the Ranger was nearly as noisy as the Gladiator. Accordingly, if you were concerned that a Jeep would be too loud as a work truck, you may not actually have anything to worry about.
When buying a work truck, the choice often comes down to which vehicle is the best buy for your money. Although it costs more than the Ford Ranger, MotorTrend claimed that the Gladiator is a better value. They stated it has “good light truck capability and superior build quality” along with “the versatility and adventurous charisma that make Jeeps so fun.” If you have previously thought that a Jeep may not make a good work truck, perhaps you should reconsider your thinking and test drive a Gladiator.