In one corner you have the Wrangler, about which terms like “iconic,” and “storied” are regularly, and duly, bandied about.
In the other, you have the Gladiator, which derives from the Wrangler but has real distinctions that many adore but polarize others.
So, if you’re in the market, how do you decide between Gladiator and Wrangler? It’s a Jeep conundrum.
The Jeep Gladiator
Ever since Jeep quit making the Comanche pickup truck around three decades ago, there arose a pitched clamor for a truck iteration of the beloved Wrangler. Jeep finally answered that demand a few years ago with its Gladiator unveiling.
In addition to real pickup utility, the ride offers the exquisite off-road prowess you’ve long expected from Jeep. As with Wrangler, the Gladiator’s roof and body panels can come off, making off-road play similarly fun.
Gladiator ups the ante, though, with its ability haul and to tow 7,650 pounds, a combination that no other pickup truck can claim, by the way.
Powered by a 3.6-liter V8 powerplant that produces 285 ponies and 260 pound-feet of torque, the 2022 Gladiator offers a six-speed manual transmission, although you can get an eight-speed automatic.
Gladiator has 19.4 more inches than does the Wrangler between front and rear wheels, improving ride and handling.
While the Gladiator is not exactly a pure pickup, the elongation offsets a key advantage that other trucks had on the Gladiator and provides backseat riders with plenteous legroom, to boot.
The Gladiator and Wrangler do have similar interiors, although the former’s is more luxe. On its face, that’s a plus, right?
Well, some Wrangler purists still pine for the spartan cabins of Wranglers of old, so there’s that. In other words, in some camps, less is more.
Further, the Gladiator offers a bunch of high-tech amenities as standard, along with high-quality suspension systems, plus a heated steering wheel and front seats.
In all, if you require a workhorse that excels at negotiating rugged terrain, the Jeep Gladiator may be the ride for you. It’s a 4X4, truck, and convertible combined – a whale of a triumvirate.
Seriously, what hasn’t been said about this vaunted 4X4 whose ancestors did yeoman’s work during World War II? When it comes to off-road capability, the Wrangler simply stands alone.
However, when sized up against the Wrangler, the Gladiator’s bulk, longer wheelbase and rear overhang and lower breakover angle make the Wrangler a better off-roader. But that’s a very high bar.
For many decades, the Wrangler has provided the opportunity to capably explore the wide open rugged terrain.
It can get through up to 30 inches of water, has 10.9-inch ground clearance, and has a 44-degree approach angle. None too shabby.
You do have plenteous choices when it comes to selecting a Wrangler since there’s a variety of models and special editions.
For example, the Rubicon trim comes with sturdy skid plates that prevent underbody issues. You also get terrific shock absorbers that help smooth out the bumpiest of rides, and front and rear locking differentials that boosts torque and keep your wheels at the same speed.
And compared with the Gladiator, the Wrangler is probably better as a daily driver, owing to its smaller size and consistent off-road ability.
However, while the Wrangler can unstick pals on trails, it isn’t crafted for industrial-strength towing, as is the Gladiator. That may or may not be important to you.
So, how to decide between Gladiator and Wrangler? In many ways, it makes for a challenging decision, since the two vehicles have strong similarities, owing to their shared lineage.
But there are enough differences that can help you choose. It all depends on your lifestyle and how you envision yourself using your vehicle.
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