Looking at the new Jeep Gladiator, you might love it or hate it. Either way, you eventually came to the conclusion that the Gladiator is just a Wrangler with a truck bed. While it might look like that upon first glance, it’s actually so much more. It isn’t the first time Jeep has produced a truck, either.
Gladiator towing and build
The first major difference between the Gladiator and Wrangler is the frame and towing capacity. The Gladiator is built on a completely new frame instead of sharing the base frame with the Wrangler. That’s not the only big difference though, because the rear suspension was borrowed from Dodge to help support the truck bed, it also has a smoother ride.
The Wrangler is capable of towing about 3,500lbs which isn’t atrocious for an SUV. The Gladiator, on the other hand, doubles the towing capacity of the Wrangler with a tow rating of almost 7,700lbs – that’s a pretty big difference. The Gladiator also has a significantly longer wheelbase.
The Gladiator is the first pickup truck we have seen from Jeep in decades, and it brings owners all of the utility we were missing from this already off-road-prepped SUV. The addition of the 5ft truck bed increases the cargo capacity of the Jeep line, making it more sensible and usable for adventures, without losing any of its fun capabilities off the road or climbing up a rocky trail.
Appearance and styling
From the front, you probably couldn’t tell the difference between a Gladiator and Wrangler. In fact, their front fascia is so similar that is it part of the main reason people consider the Gladiator to be nothing more than a Wrangler with a truck bed. The Gladiator shares the same, iconic and boxy body lines of the Wrangler, and the from headlights and grille are identical. If you didn’t know any better, you might have believed that the Gladiator was a custom build where someone just chopped together a Dodge truck with a Gladiator.
The interior of the Gladiator also parallels that of the Wrangler. It also has the same standard trim packages you’ve come to expect from Jeep, starting at the Sport trim with a sticker price of about $34,000 and spanning all the way up to the highest trim level, the Rubicon at $43,875 neither being an unreasonable price for a brand new Jeep considering you can buy a base model Wrangler for $31,800 and the matching Rubicon trim for $42,200.
The Gladiator has just as much off-road capability as the Wrangler does, even with the additional length by adding the 5ft bed. The front seats don’t offer much in way of storage but a small infotainment system allows users to connect to Bluetooth for music and calls. The rear seats fold completely flat for storage when you’re not driving around extra passengers and underneath the rear seats is a fun hidden cubby for some extra storage.
With the Gladiator being the right price and having all of the new amenities we’ve craved from Jeep, it’s surprising that they haven’t been more popular. In fact, Gladiator sales so far have been failing miserably. More than just a truck in Wrangler body panels, the Gladiator has a lot to offer owners.