The Jeep Wrangler is the most iconic off-road SUV ever produced. With extreme off-road capability, foldable windshield, and removable doors, the Jeep Wrangler allows you to experience adventures like no other.
On the other hand, the Jeep Gladiator, which is a Wrangler with a bed, is a versatile workhorse tamed to cross the meanest paths out there without compromising on daring escapades.
I’m a mechanical engineer with a deep passion for cars and a love for driving manuals. In this article, I will compare the Jeep Gladiator vs Wrangler, check out a few alternatives, and then help you decide which one suits you the best.
Bottom Line Up Front
The Jeep Wrangler is a mid-size SUV designed with off-roading and 4×4 functionality in mind. The Gladiator is a more practical Wrangler with a bed. Although both offer great features, the Wrangler tops the competition in its segment.
Main Differences Between the Jeep Gladiator vs Wrangler
- The most prominent and apparent difference between the Jeep Wrangler and the Jeep Gladiator is the vehicle segment. The Jeep Wrangler is a mid-size, off-road SUV, whereas the Jeep Gladiator is a mid-size truck with a 5-feet bed.
- The 2022 Jeep Wrangler Sport (2-door) starts at $29,995, and the Wrangler Sport Unlimited (4-door) starts at $34,045, whereas the Jeep Gladiator Sport starts at $37,565.
- The Jeep Wrangler offers a fuel economy ranging from 13 to 22 mpg in the city to 17 to 29 mpg on the highway, depending on trim (The hybrid Wrangler trim manages the best overall fuel economy with a combined 49 mpg-e), whereas the Jeep Gladiator offers a fuel economy of 16 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway.
- The Jeep Wrangler offers a maximum tow capacity of 2000 pounds on the 2-door trims and up to 3500 pounds on the 4-door trims, whereas the Jeep Gladiator offers a maximum tow capacity of 7650 pounds.
- The Jeep Wrangler is available in 5 engine configurations, whereas the Jeep Gladiator is only available with two engine types.
- The Jeep Wrangler features a hybrid powertrain option, whereas the Gladiator does not.
- The Jeep Wrangler has a wheelbase of 118.4 inches, whereas that of the Jeep Gladiator measures 137.3 inches.
- The Jeep Wrangler has an overall length of 188.4 inches, whereas the Jeep Gladiator is longer at 218 inches.
- The Jeep Wrangler has a turning radius of 20.4 feet, whereas that of the Jeep Gladiator measures 22.3 feet.
Overall, the Jeep Gladiator as a mid-size truck is longer than the Jeep Wrangler to compensate for the bed length. However, the Jeep Wrangler, with a shorter wheelbase and a broad range of powertrain options, offers greater 4×4 capability.
Key Features of Jeep Gladiator
The Jeep Gladiator combines the 4×4 capability of the Wrangler with the practicality of a truck. It seats five adults and comes with a standard 5-foot bed which allows it to be used as a solid workhorse on challenging terrains.
The Gladiator is available in 10 different trims with a range of add-on options.
For the 2022 model, the Gladiator gets a nine-speaker premium Alpine audio system, navigation, keyless entry, front-facing trail camera, and an 8.4-inch infotainment touchscreen on the Mojave, Rubicon, and Overland trims, while a 7-inch infotainment system now replaces the previously available standard 5-inch touchscreen.
Standard features are scarce, but you still get Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as standard on all trims.
In terms of power, the 2022 Jeep Gladiator features two engine configurations; a 3.6-liter V6 which pumps 260 pound-feet of torque, and 285 horsepower, which comes as standard, and a 3-liter turbodiesel which produces 442 pound-feet of torque and 260 horsepower.
The 3.6-liter V6 can be coupled with a standard 6-speed manual or an optional 8-speed automatic transmission, which will cost you an extra $2000, whereas the 3-liter turbodiesel can only be bought with 8-speed automatic transmission.
Similarly, you will also have to pay an extra $4000 for the 3-liter turbodiesel engine and $2000 extra for its 8-speed automatic transmission.
The 3.6-liter V6 manages a fuel economy of 17 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway with the 8-speed automatic and 16 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway with the standard 6-speed manual.
The 3-liter turbodiesel lands with greater fuel efficiency figures with 28 mpg on the highway and 22 mpg in the city. The standard engine does 0-60 mph in 7.6 seconds, whereas the turbodiesel does the same in 7.3 seconds.
As per National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Gladiator scored a three stars at rollover testing and a four-star in front crash testing.
The Jeep Gladiator is the only truck to hold solid rear and front axles in the midsize segment, which offers outstanding reliability and durability out in challenging terrains. The Gladiator’s Dana 44 axle easily handles tire sizes up to 38 inches, which helps in compensating for the extended wheelbase; however, at points, it still scrapes its bottom.
Overall, the Jeep Gladiator is an appealing midsize truck, with its Wrangler-like off-road capability and versatility. However, it lacks the refinement of a modern truck, as well creature comforts and the latest tech, which are widely available in contending vehicles.
Pros & Cons of Jeep Gladiator
- Reliable and durable.
- Designed for extreme terrains.
- Muscular and appealing design.
- More expensive than competing trucks.
- Lacks refinement.
- Only available with a 5-foot bed.
Key Features of Jeep Wrangler
The Jeep Wrangler comes in as the most popular, midsized, 4×4 SUV. Not only does it excel in providing hardcore off-roading capability, but also adds fun and enjoyment with its foldable windshield and removable top and doors. It also features a range of optional add-ons and a wide variety of after-market kits.
In terms of power, the Jeep Wrangler comes with a variety of powertrain options, which appeals to customers to pick the engine according to their power requirement.
A total of 5 powertrain options are available on the Jeep Wrangler, with a maximum tow rating of 3500 pounds. Some engines can be opted with a 6-manual transmission, while others are exclusively available with an 8-speed automatic.
The most powerful engine available on the Jeep Wrangler is a 6.4-liter Hemi V8 which pumps out 470 pound-feet of torque and 470 horsepower. This engine pulls the Wrangler from stationary to 60 mph in a staggering 4.2 seconds, but at the cost of a dreadful fuel economy of 17 mpg on the highway and 13 mpg in the city.
Next on the engine lineup is a 3.6-liter V6 which produces 260 pound-feet of torque and 285 horsepower with a 0-60 mph acceleration time of 6.9 seconds and a fuel economy of 23-25 mpg on the highway and 17-20 mpg in the city.
A 3.0-liter V6 turbodiesel is available for people demanding extra torque; with 260 horsepower and 422 pound-feet of torque and a 0-60 mph acceleration time of 7.5 seconds, this engine provides plenty of torque with a decent fuel economy of 26-29 mpg on the highway and 21-22 mpg in the city.
For users with low power requirements, a 2.0-liter inline-four turbo is present, which makes 295 pound-feet of torque and 270 horsepower. This engine manages a fuel economy of 24 mpg on the highway and 21-22 mpg in the city with a 0-60 mph acceleration time of 8 seconds.
For people looking for great fuel economy on the Jeep Wrangler, the 4xe trim is available, which features a 2.0-liter inline-four turbo plug-in Hybrid powertrain.
This trim provides an impressive fuel economy of 20 mpg on gas and 49 mpg-e on hybrid power. Power output is also great at 470 pound-feet of torque and 375 horsepower, with a 0-60 mph acceleration time of 6.8 seconds.
Whether it is power you require, torque or fuel economy, these powertrain options allow you to select the one which is best suited to your demands.
The Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 is the Wrangler trim everyone wants. Boasting a 6.4-liter Hemi V8, this beast roars to life as soon as you hit the pedal. With 470 pound-feet of torque and 470 horsepower, the Rubicon 392 does 0 to 60 in 4.2 seconds.
The Rubicon 392 is designed to take on all sorts of terrain challenges; with 2-inch FOX aluminum shocks and a 3.73 rear axle ratio, the Wrangler delivers 100% performance off-road as well as on the street.
Not impressed? Upgrade it to the Xtreme Recon package to equip the Rubicon 392 with 35-inch all-terrain tires, a 4.56 axle ratio, and a reinforced swing gate.
This increases the overall ground clearance to 12.9 inches, significantly altering the approach, break-over, and departure angles to 47.4, 26.7, and 40.4 inches respectively, and the water fording limit to 33.9 inches. The Wrangler Rubicon 392, when coupled with the Xtreme Recon package, nails every off-roading endeavor.
In summary, the Jeep Wrangler is one of the greatest mid-sized off-road SUVs on the market.
Pros & Cons of the Jeep Wrangler
- Numerous customization options.
- Reliable and durable.
- Top-level off-road capability.
- Range of powertrain options.
- Great resale value.
- Drive not as refined competing SUVs offer.
- Noisy cabin.
- Base-model lacks features.
Other Alternatives to Consider
The Jeep Gladiator and Jeep Wrangler are great 4×4 vehicles, however, there are also other models in these segments you can consider buying. Since the Wrangler is a mid-sized SUV and the Gladiator a mid-sized pickup truck, we will check out some of the leading vehicles in both of these segments.
In the mid-sized pickup truck segment, we will have a look at the Toyota Tacoma and the Chevrolet Colorado.
The Chevrolet Colorado is a mid-size pickup truck that combines worthy off-road performance with modern road manners. Moreover, it also features a range of engine and trims configurations, allowing you to pick the Colorado of your choice; from basic workhorse to extreme off-roading, Colorado has it all.
There are three engine configurations available with Colorado; a 2.5-liter inline-four which makes 181 pound-feet of torque, and 200 horsepower, a 2.8-liter inline-four turbodiesel, which makes 369 pound-feet of torque and 181 horsepower, and a 3.6-liter V6 which produces 275 pound-feet of torque and 308 horsepower.
The towing capacity is rated at 3500, 7700, and 7000 pounds, respectively.
With so many configurations to choose from, the Chevrolet Colorado provides the best value for money.
The Toyota Tacoma is one of the best-selling mid-sized pickup trucks in the market. Equipped with a 2.7-liter inline-four geared to a 6-speed automatic, it produces 180 pound-feet of torque and 159 horsepower.
A more powerful 3.5-liter V6 is also available, which makes 265 pound-feet of torque and 278 horsepower. This V6 can also be selected with a 6-speed automatic transmission.
Although Tacoma lacks modern refinement, it offers an exceptional resale value and class-leading durability, which is its key feature. The Tacoma can tow a maximum of 3500 pounds, has a quiet cabin, and is available in several trims.
For serious off-roading, the Tacoma TRD Pro trim is available, which adds a 1-inch suspension lift, Fox shocks, and all-terrain tires. Overall, the Toyota Tacoma is a great mid-sized pickup truck.
Getting on to mid-sized SUVs, we have the Toyota 4Runner and Ford Bronco as competitors to the Jeep Wrangler. Let’s see what they have to offer.
The Toyota 4Runner has made its reputation for being a capable, long-lasting SUV. Besides being durable, it has proven to be very capable off-road as well. The 4Runner, as a mid-sized SUV, comes with a 5-seat arrangement. However, you can also opt for additional rear seats, which increases the overall seating to 7.
In terms of powertrain options, you get no choice; a 4.0-liter V6 comes as standard with an old-school 5-speed automatic transmission. The tow rating is set at 5000 pounds, which is enough to haul small to medium trailers, but the fuel economy is terrible at 19 mpg on the highway and 16 mpg in the city.
The 4Runner offers decent technology and a satisfactory crash rating. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has awarded it an overall rating of 4 out of 5. It gets eight airbags, adaptive cruise control, LED head, rear and fog lights, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a premium JBL audio system.
For people seeking off-road adventures, the 4Runner TRD Pro is a great option. Similar to the Tacoma TRD Pro, the 4Runner TRD Pro packs all-terrain tires, tuned front and rear Fox shocks, aluminum skidplates, rear-locking differential, mud flaps, multi-terrain drive modes, low-speed cruise control, hill-brake hold, and TRD badging.
The 4Runner may not offer class-leading tech, but it maintains its reputation as a solid mid-sized SUV.
The Ford Bronco was reintroduced in 2021 as a competitor to the Jeep Wrangler.
The Bronco packs the latest driver-assist features, which the Wrangler lacks; evasive steering assist, emergency braking, hill start assist, pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, rear cross-traffic alert, and front automatic emergency braking, makes the Bronco much safer than the Wrangler.
Moreover, the Bronco has a tow rating of 3500 pounds, which goes all the way up to 4500 pounds on the Bronco Raptor trim.
The Ford Bronco can be bought with any of the three powertrain options; a 3-liter twin-turbo V6 which makes 440 pound-feet of torque and 418 horsepower, a 2.7-liter twin-turbo V6 which delivers 315 horsepower and 410 pound-feet of torque, or a 2.3-liter turbo which produces 275 horsepower and 315 pound-feet of torque.
Unlike the Wrangler, no diesel powertrain is available here. In comparison to the Wrangler, the Bronco offers a roomier cabin and a larger cargo space. It also offers removable doors and top, but no foldable windshield.
Although the Ford Bronco comes with a range of modern features, its noisy cabin prevents it from being used as a daily driver.
Question: Does Gladiator have More Space than Wrangler?
Answer: The Gladiator has more space. While the Jeep Gladiator offers a total space of 35.5 cubic feet in its 5-feet bed, the Wrangler only has 31.7 cubic feet of volume behind the rear seats.
Question: Does Gladiator have More Legroom than Wrangler?
Answer: The Gladiator and Wrangler both have the same legroom.
Question: Why do Wranglers Hold Value?
Answer: The Wrangler is an iconic vehicle that not only provides extreme off-roading capability but also represents a lifestyle, which is why it holds a great resale value.
The Jeep Gladiator and Jeep Wrangler both have similar characteristics. While both can be taken across beaten terrains, the Wrangler will ace the route with its short wheelbase. Similarly, the Gladiator will prove more practical to people in need of a bed.
Overall, the Wrangler is the leading vehicle in the mid-sized, off-road SUV segment, whereas the Gladiator falls behind in the mid-sized pickup segment due to its limited features and bed length.
The Wrangler is a fine choice for people who want to enjoy off-roading with their doors and top removed; it provides an experience like no other. However, if that is not the case, then the Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro is a better option.
The Gladiator, on the other hand, is the only pickup truck that can handle terrain like a roofless Wrangler. If that is what you want, then go for it. Otherwise, the Colorado or Tacoma will serve you much better.