Why did the Jeep Gladiator Land in Last Place?

The 2020 Jeep Gladiator has officially landed in last place. But maybe it doesn’t deserve to be there. The U.S. News ranked midsized pickup trucks from best to last, and the Gladiator is at the bottom in 7th place. It’s listed below the Chevy Colorado and 2019 Nissan Frontier. So, let’s take a look at why the Jeep Gladiator ranked so poorly. 

The Jeep Gladiator ranked in last place

Other Jeep trucks like the Comanche and Willy-Overland had Jeepers dreaming of a new Jeep Wrangler with a pickup bed. However, the Jeep Gladiator is might be a disappointing answer to that call for a variety of reasons. 

The first major disappointment is with its steep price. The Jeep Gladiator starts around $33k, and higher trim options can quickly increase costs to $43k. But on a positive note, the base model comes with tons of goodies, including standard 4×4.

The base price of $33k sets the Gladiator on the higher-priced side for midsized trucks. The Toyota Tacoma, for example, only starts at $26k and arguably much more capable due to its shorter wheelbase that helps it crawl over rocks more easily.

Also, paying that much for the Jeep Gladiator feels risky due to its low-reliability rating. J.D. Power only gave the Gladiator 2 ½ out of five stars for predicted reliability. 

However, we are still waiting to see its overall score. The safety tests haven’t been performed yet. But, as far as we currently know, the Jeep Wrangler has terrible safety scores, so the outlook isn’t too great. 

Another reason why the Jeep Gladiator ranks last is because it has a sluggish engine. However, it has a 3.6-liter V6 engine that provides 285 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. That’s a lot!

According to Edmunds, the Jeep Gladiator accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in about 8.5 seconds, which they say is a little slow for a midsize truck. The steering is also slow and vague. The Chevy Colorado can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in about 6.8 seconds.

Depending on which option you choose, the Jeep Gladiator can tow between 4,000 to 7,650 pounds. So, being a little slow to accelerate doesn’t mean it lacks power.

How the Jeep Gladiator Rides 

The Jeep Gladiator is built for off-roading, which it can do well, especially if you go with the Rubicon trim option. However, that also means that the ride is equipped for handling off-road conditions instead of a smooth ride on the pavement.

Therefore, many drivers have experienced the bumpy ride that the Gladiator has to offer. It’s not like the Honda Ridgeline that has a unibody frame and a much smoother ride, but these two trucks serve different purposes.  

Drivers also complain about inconsistent steering that’s frustratingly unresponsive. Because the Gladiator is susceptible to crosswinds, you have to continually adjust the steering wheel to stay in your lane on the highway. 

The Jeep Gladiator is also known for having a very loud cabin. It doesn’t have triple-paned glass or noise reduction materials in the cabin as other trucks have. But it also serves as the only convertible truck at the moment.

On top of all that, the Jeep Gladiator has long gears that seem to lag while shifting. The truck appears to have trouble getting up to speed between 2nd and 3rd gear and also feels strained when towing light loads against the Ford Ranger. 

If you want a truck for off-roading that you can take the doors off of, then the Gladiator is for you. Otherwise, there are trucks with lower prices and smoother ride quality.