What Makes the Jeep Gladiator Special?

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Pickup trucks are among the hardest-working and trustiest vehicles around. If you have ever owned or leased a pickup truck, you’ve probably used it from everything to hauling garden and home improvement supplies to something like bringing your weekend warrior equipment to the lake for the long weekend.

With the Gladiator, Jeep added another mid-size pickup option into the mix. And, while it can certainly do “normal truck” things like hauling and towing, it has a few special tricks up its sleeve as well.

Perhaps the most obvious unique characteristic of the Gladiator is that it looks like a Wrangler that’s been stretched out a bit and joined with a five-foot cargo bed. The two models definitely have some classic Jeep design cues in common, but there’s more to the Gladiator than just being a glorified Wrangler.

Keep reading to learn more about what makes the new Jeep Gladiator special.

Jeep Gladiator: Cargo & Performance Capabilities

Cargo & Performance Capabilities

Some of the first questions drivers have when evaluating a pickup truck are: “How powerful is it?” and “How much can I tow?” These are great questions essential to getting to know a truck.

The Gladiator can tow up to 7,650 pounds when properly equipped, putting it at the top of the class for gas-powered mid-size trucks. Four-wheel-drive Gladiator models can handle up to 1,700 pounds of payload weight when properly equipped as well — again putting this truck at the top of its mid-size competitors.

One key reason why the Gladiator far exceeds the Wrangler’s towing and payload capabilities is because the former actually has a wheelbase 16 percent longer than the latter does along with a reinforced suspension. Of course, the Gladiator then sacrifices some of the Wrangler’s nimble nature on the trails in exchange for the larger, tougher frame. Which one is a better fit for you depends on where your priorities lie.

As for what’s under the hood, the standard gas engine is a 3.6-liter V6 but the 2021 model year introduced a 3.0-liter V6 EcoDiesel engine into the mix with a combined fuel economy of 24 miles per gallon.

Jeep Gladiator: Off-Road Rated, Too

Off-Road Rated

What really sets the Jeep truck apart from most other pickup trucks is its ability to be Desert and/or Trail Rated, depending on which trim level you choose.

In particular the Rubicon comes with the kind of off-road features we have previously only seen in the Wrangler — like electronic locking differentials to help boost torque and traction when crawling rocks, rock rails and high-performance shocks.

Desert dwellers and fans of sand will be enthralled with the Mojave trim level, which is chock full of features specifically designed for dune blasting and going fast.

Even Gladiator drivers who have no immediate plans to hit the desert dunes or the mountain trails can enjoy the fresh air on their faces, though. With both soft-top and hard-top offerings, along with available half doors, drivers can practically feel like they’re one with nature while cruising down the street. Drivers can also opt for the full open-air experience by removing the doors altogether.

At the end of the day, the Gladiator combines some elements of a rugged pickup truck built to tow and haul with some elements of the off-road Wrangler. What’s clear is that it’s not just a typical pickup, nor is it an SUV.

It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but drivers can rest assured there’s really nothing else like it on the road. Perhaps a better question than what makes the Gladiator special is, well, what doesn’t make it special?

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