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The modern Jeep Gladiator was first introduced to the world in 2019. This marked the first time that Jeep offered a pickup truck since the early 1990s. The Gladiator offers the same kind of off-road prowess as Jeep's Wrangler, but with more versatility. The Gladiator is a four-door truck that can accommodate up to five people. There is ample room in the cargo bed too. If you're wondering why you should choose a Gladiator over any other mid-sized truck, read on to find out.
What's New for 2021?
The biggest addition to the new 2021 Gladiator is the option for a diesel-powered engine. The 3.0-liter Ecodiesel V6 will be able to produce 260 horsepower. It will also produce a best-in-class 442 pound-feet of torque. The engine will feature Variable Geometry Turbo Technology and be paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission system.
Top 10 Reasons to Buy a 2021 Jeep Gladiator – The Pros
1. The Ability To Go Anywhere
The best reason to choose a Jeep Gladiator over other mid-size trucks is its ability to go anywhere. The Gladiator has Jeep's 4X4 system for superior traction. Over 11 inches of ground clearance and an armored under-body allow the Gladiator to crawl over rocks, logs and other debris.
A heavy-duty suspension system and various traction-control systems further enhance this truck's off-road capabilities. The Gladiator proudly has Trail Rated and Desert Rated badges for its ability to go over trails or through sand. The Gladiator can even ford water that's up to 30 inches deep.
2. Hauling and Towing Capabilities
The Gladiator has best-in-class towing from a gasoline engine. With the right trim level and setup, you can have a Gladiator that can tow 7,650 pounds. The Gladiator can also haul a payload of up to 1,700 pounds in its truck bed. An Integrated Trailer-Brake Controller and rear-view camera further enhance the truck's towing abilities.
3. The Open-Air Jeep Experience
The 2021 Jeep Gladiator is the only convertible truck on the market. The roof and doors are removable for the ultimate open-air driving experience. Various soft and hard tops are available depending on your trim level. If you like to get close to nature, this is the best way to do it while in a vehicle. Keep in mind, the Jeep Gladiator can also take you just about anywhere so you can enjoy the view.
4. Plenty of Passenger Space
The Jeep Gladiator has a larger back seat than most mid-sized trucks in its class. There is ample room for five people in the Gladiator with plenty of head, leg and elbow room for every seat. In total, the Gladiator offers around 103 cubic feet of volume space for the driver and passengers.
5. Strong Engine Performance
You will get strong engine performance no matter what powertrain option you choose for your Jeep Gladiator. The base engine is a 3.6-liter V6 that can produce 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. The previously mentioned diesel engine can crank out 260 horsepower and more torque than any other truck in this class. Either way, you will have plenty of power for towing, hauling and rock crawling.
6. Classic Jeep Exterior Styling
Jeep has a distinctive style that hearkens back to the says when a Jeeps only existed for military service. In 2021, some may consider this a retro style. It's kind of boxy. It's rugged and tough looking. It makes the Jeep Gladiator look like something that could still be used as a military vehicle. Modern pickup trucks keep getting more modern with smoother, rounder lines. The Gladiator thankfully eschews this trend and keeps with the iconic Jeep styling.
7. An Attractive Interior
The interior of the Jeep Gladiator isn't complicated, but it is attractive. It has a basic and clean design. You get comfortable bucket seats up front. The dashboard and instrument cluster is well designed, modern and sleek looking. Most trim levels come in black or tan which are both classic Jeep colors. The infotainment system screen gives the Gladiator a modern, high-tech feel.
8. Impressive Modern Infotainment System
Speaking of that infotainment system, the Gladiator gets the Jeep Uconnect setup. You will get a 7-inch or 8.4-inch HD, color, touchscreen display depending on the trim level and options that you choose. At the top-tier level, you will also get a navigation system. Bluetooth technology allows for easy streaming of music, connecting of smartphones and hands-free calling. A premium Alpine sound system lets you enjoy your favorite music with amazing audio quality.
9. Plenty of Options for Customization
One thing that Jeeps aren't short on is options and features. There are a lot of ways that one can customize their Jeep Gladiator. From the exterior paint colors and interior colors to the multiple engine choices, the possibilities will seem endless. There are a total of nine different trim levels and special models. Jeep also offers several different packages so you can equip the Gladiator more for towing, off-road performance or for comfort and convenience.
10. High-Tech Safety Features and Equipment
Every Jeep Gladiator is built with a high-strength steel frame. This adds a level of protection for the driver and passengers in the event of a collision. There is also a Forward-Collision Warning system with Active Braking to help you to avoid accidents in the first place. A Blind-Spot Monitor helps you to be more aware of your surroundings. Rear Cross-Path Detection and a Rear-View Camera let you know what's behind you at all times. Jeep's Parksense Rear-Park Assist makes backing up easier than ever.
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Reasons Not to Buy a 2021 Jeep Gladiator – The Cons
1. It's Not as Good as a Wrangler on Trails
The larger size of the Gladiator means it's not quite as nimble as the Wrangler on off-road trails. If off-road fun and rock crawling is your main reason to purchase a Jeep, the Gladiator may not be the best choice. The Gladiator does make up for this by being the more versatile vehicle between the two Jeeps. The truck bed adds a whole lot of utility.
2. The Poor Fuel Economy
A Jeep Gladiator with the 3.6-liter V6 engine only gets around 16 miles-per-gallon in the city and 23 miles-per-gallon on the highway. The diesel engines fare a little bit better with a rating of 28 miles-per-gallon on the highway. Still, no matter which engine you get, the Jeep will be expensive at the gas pump.
3. Steering and Handling Could Be Better
The steering and handling for the Jeep Gladiator are a bit disappointing. There is a kind of vague, loose feeling to the steering dynamics. Interestingly, the steering feels a bit better and more precise when driving over off-road terrain. Jeep does well in this category with its other vehicles. Hopefully, this will be improved upon for future models.
How It Stacks up To the Competition:
2021 Jeep Gladiator vs 2021 Ford Ranger
The Ford Ranger, like the Gladiator, was once discontinued and then recently made a comeback to Ford's lineup. The Ranger was once highly prized by off-road enthusiasts. The latest models still have good off-road performance. The upcoming Raptor models of the Ranger should be even better. They're no match for the Jeep Gladiator in this category though.
The Ranger comes in at a lower base price than the Gladiator. It has a more comfortable interior with more modern amenities too. The Gladiator can actually tow more with the right setup. A Ranger can be had with a slightly longer truck bed. For better off-road performance and its classic, rugged Jeep styling, the Gladiator wins out here.
2021 Jeep Gladiator vs 2021 Chevrolet Colorado
The latest Chevrolet Colorado has a lot going for it. It can be configured as a comfortable road vehicle filled with convenience features and luxurious seats. The ZR2 models are off-road beasts and almost give the Jeep Gladiator some real competition in this category. It's a really capable work vehicle to boot.
The Jeep does, however, still edge out the Colorado when it comes to off-road performance. It also offers something no other truck does with its removable top and doors. For off-road fun, nothing is going to beat out the Gladiator except perhaps another Jeep vehicle like the Wrangler. The under-body armor and suspension system alone make the Gladiator more robust and therefore more capable over the roughest terrain.
The 2021 Jeep Gladiator presents something truly unique in the mid-size truck category. Nothing else in its vehicle class is quite like it. It's the only convertible truck on the market at the time of this article's completion. Few vehicles can match the off-road performance of the Gladiator. It's also a versatile and practical truck that's suitable for work, play or daily commutes to the office. For the adventurous driver, it really doesn't get much better than the Gladiator.
• Why buy a 2020 Jeep Gladiator? w/ pros vs cons