On a list of “go-anywhere” models, Jeep is usually at the top. But in terms of predicted reliability, this American car brand usually ranks toward the bottom. Say the reliability factor is most important to you; which Jeep would you pick?
What’s the most reliable Jeep?
Consumer Reports recently updated its list of the most reliable car brands. Overall, the Jeep brand ranked mid-pack in 2020. As CR said, Jeep has an interesting story this year. The company’s Gladiator truck didn’t have many issues this year. It’s officially a recommended choice by CR. The org gave the Gladiator an excellent predicted reliability score; the Grand Cherokee came in second with an average rating.
CR’s ranking may come as a surprise to some, given that there are numerous forums dedicated to Gladiator problems. And when you consider that the Gladiator is based on the Wrangler, that only makes things more curious. The Wrangler still has a below-average score because of steering and suspension related problems, deeming it one of CR’s most unreliable midsize SUVs of 2020.
Which is the best Jeep Gladiator to buy?
Jeep’s Gladiator may seem like an oddball of a pickup truck, but it has a few things going for it. The Gladiator gets credit for its decent driving dynamics on-road and exceptional performance off-road. Plus, its long trunk bed makes it more versatile than the Wrangler.
The Gladiator comes with a 285-hp, 3.6-liter V6 engine, and a six-speed manual transmission. An eight-speed automatic is available. What’s new for 2021 is that a turbodiesel V6 has joined the lineup. As with other Jeeps, the Gladiator is also available with four-wheel drive to optimize performance.
Many critics, including CR, recommend going with the Gladiator’s Sport S trim, a step up from the entry-level Sport model. The Sport S has an MSRP of $36,745. It adds remote keyless entry, automatic headlights, power windows, and locks, plus a locking tailgate. CR also suggests upgrading with the Active Safety group package to get blind-spot monitoring, rear-cross traffic warning, and rear parking sensors.
There’s also the available Forward Collision Warning group package, which includes full Speed forward-collision warning and adaptive cruise control. Additionally, the Gladiator offers one of the best infotainment systems around too. Standard infotainment features include a user-friendly 5-inch touchscreen and Bluetooth. The available 7-inch and 8.4-inch touchscreens have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.
What’s wrong with the Jeep Gladiator?
While CR recommends the Gladiator, it’s not without flaws. CR took points away from the Gladiator’s overall performance due to its clumsy handling and excess wind noise from the cabin. Some might find it hard to access this pickup because of its high step in, but the grab handles make things easier.
And what have owners complained about most, you might ask? Well, some owners have reported frustrating problems with its steering and with its transmission. There are currently four NHTSA safety recalls associated with the 2020 model. They relate to potential issues with Gladiator’s rear-drive shift, clutch components, backup camera, and seat belt retractor. However, there aren’t a significant amount of complaints according to the NHTSA’s data.