When it comes to midsize pickups that can perform work as well as offer a nice comfy ride, two trucks recently joined the fray: the Ford Ranger and the Jeep Gladiator. Each one earns points in certain areas, but for most people, we suspect the Jeep Gladiator comes out on top.
The Ranger has a more powerful engine and has a higher rating of towing capacity. But, it fails when you compare the two for interior quality and ingenious thinking. The Gladiator has more creative features, making it a bit better than the Ranger. Motortrend compares both trucks and here’s how each one stood up to each other.
Bigger isn’t always better. It’s all in how well thought out the design is. The Ford Ranger has a bigger cargo bed, measuring at 6.0 feet long. The Jeep Gladiator has a smaller bed, that’s only 5.0 feet. However, Gladiator’s cargo area is more versatile. At the front of the bed liner are two strategically placed marks that allow for motorcycles to sit side by side and stay stable during transport.
Plus, the Gladiator’s tailgate is damped and has a mid-open position that enables you to haul longer items when needed. It also comes with more tie-downs for securing your cargo. Some of them are adjustable as well. The Ranger has four tie-down hooks, but they’re fixed and don’t have as much adjustability as the ones in the Gladiator.
Because of the lower price tag, the Ranger looks better on paper. But, again, price doesn’t mean as much when you see what Ford compromised to get there. The Ranger has cheap plastic material for the interior dash and steering wheel, and it has next to no legroom for the rear passengers.
The look and feel of the Ranger’s interior space also disappoints when you compare it to the Gladiator. The Jeep doesn’t have top-of-the-line luxurious materials, but it’s still higher-quality hard plastic and soft padding. It also offers a nice roomier feel overall for both front and rear passengers. While there’s not much legroom for the driver, the rear passengers can still enjoy a long ride with plenty of space for their knees and legs. There are also added storage compartments under the seats giving you more space for stowing items. The Ranger also has storage under the seats, but it’s very limited with how much you can store in them.
The Ford Ranger wins when it comes to towing capacity, but that’s about as far as it goes. The Jeep Gladiator more than makes up for its towing weakness, though, with the fact that overall it’s a more entertaining ride. Yes, both trucks have a problem with road noise, but it’s expected with the Jeep because it’s built like a jeep, so people have a little more forgiveness with the noise. They build the Ranger like a truck, so there shouldn’t be any reason for it to have the road noise that it does.
The Gladiator has a unique design and may bring more interest to potential buyers when you go to resell. The Ranger might gain attention as a work truck, but with its cheap plastic materials, it isn’t likely to hold up to a few years of use.
In the long run, the Gladiator comes out on top as the better choice of the two, provided you choose the automatic transmission over the manual one. The Ranger has its good points, but it doesn’t quite match up to what the Jeep Gladiator brings to the table for a pickup truck. If you’re considering purchasing one of these two trucks, you may want to lean toward the Gladiator’s side.