Trucks & SUVs

The ‘Wicked Wrangler’ Pickup Truck

For 2021, the Gladiator pickup truck gets a cool new edition. The Willys Edition Jeep Gladiator is a formidable off-roading companion with specialized tuning to make this truck an even better 4×4 adventurer. In fact, Andrew Nabors with the DuPont Registry Daily News calls this thing a ‘Wicked Wrangler.’

A special edition Jeep Wrangler Willys on display at an auto show
A Jeep Wrangler Willys edition | Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

“In 1949, the Jeep Willys-Overland CJ-3A started a revolution in recreational vehicles. Now, the Wrangler Willys blazes its own trail with off-road component upgrades and styling that sets it apart.”

Jeep

So, what sets this Jeep Gladiator pickup truck apart from the rest? The 2021 Willys Edition Gladiator is an all-new trim level. Pricing starts near $40 grand for this off-road 4×4 truck. The trails are calling, but is this beast worth the price tag? What is a Willys Edition Jeep?

A Sting Gray 2021 Jeep Gladiator Willys in the middle of a road with a mountain backdrop
2021 Jeep Gladiator Willys | FCA

The Jeep Wrangler Willys Edition

According to Jeep, the Jeep Wrangler Willys Edition returns to the lineup this year. The Jeep Gladiator Willys Edition will take notes and borrow parts from the Wrangler, so we can take a peak at the Willys Wrangler first. The brand offers both the Jeep Wrangler Willys and the Jeep Wrangler Willys Sport.

2020 Jeep Wrangler Willy, is on display at the 112th Annual Chicago Auto Show
The 2020 Jeep Wrangler | Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

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The 2021 Willys Wrangler starts for $34,930. The Willys Wrangler Sport is a stripped-down model that can’t be optioned out like the regular Willys. According to owners on this Jeep Wrangler Forum, the Willys Sport doesn’t have A/C or power windows. It’s bereft of basically any features, but it still crushes off-road.

Off-road 4×4 tuning

This is due to the special tuning that both the Willys Edition Wrangler options come with. Jeep advertises that both models of the Willys Edition Wrangler come equipped with 17-inch gloss black wheels with five spokes. Wrapped around the black wheels are 32-inch Firestone Destination mud-terrain tires.

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This model––like the Willys Gladiator––also has an upgraded rear differential designed for off-road 4×4 fun. Then there are specialized shock absorbers and heavy duty rock rails for additional protection to what the skid plates already provide. Then, as expected, there’s the badging and exterior details that set the Willys Jeeps apart from the rest.

The 2021 Jeep Gladiator

“Gladiator Willys takes inspiration from the very first Jeep Brand truck introduced by Willys-Overland in 1947. Today’s Willys combines heavy-duty Trail Rated component upgrades with classic Jeep Brand styling.”

Jeep

The 2021 Jeep Gladiator gets a Willys trim too. Like its truck-bed-lacking but otherwise corporate twin, the Gladiator gets all the above Wrangler Willys equipment. The mud-terrain tires are BFGoodrich and, of course, can be aired down for added grip off-road.

The Jeep Gladiator is a pickup truck version of the Wrangler.
Jeep Gladiator | FCA

Is it worth it to upgrade?

Jeep shows a MSRP of $39,240. Is it worth it? For some, the badging and off-road tuning may not be worth the price jump. However, there are others who love driving collector’s edition models that stand out. The 2021 Jeep Gladiator Willys Edition maintains its ‘Trail Rated” status. This means every Gladiator offers traction, maneuverability, traction, and a good fording depth. Like the Wrangler, the Willys Gladiator gets the enhanced limited slip rear differential “that offers impressive traction as you tackle off-road terrain.”

Whether upgrading to a Willys model is worth it is entirely up to the buyer. The base model Gladiator MSRP is $33,545 for the 2021 Jeep Gladiator Sport. As with the Jeep Wrangler Sport models, this truck is simple in terms of features. But its primitive design doesn’t necessarily hurt its core purpose. All Gladiator and Wrangler models come equipped for next-level 4×4 off-road driving.