Few groups are more passionate about their vehicles than pickup truck drivers. A good pickup is more than just a way to get around— it’s a constant companion and a testament to a true work-hard, play-hard lifestyle.
This is why it’s so important to really make sure you’re choosing the right pickup for your needs and wants. Drivers interested in a versatile small truck may be exploring the Jeep Gladiator, especially if they want a truck that can hit the trails as well as the town.
Here are four things to know before getting a Jeep Gladiator.
It’s Not Just a Wrangler with a Bed
Yes, the Jeep Gladiator shares lots of sensibilities with the Wrangler SUV — like removable doors and tops, substantial off-roading capabilities, unmistakable Jeep design cues, and many interior cabin features.
But sharing certain similarities doesn’t mean they’re essentially different versions of the same vehicle. Case in point: The Gladiator is approximately three feet longer than the Wrangler, and heavier as well — which is hardly a surprise considering it features a five-foot cargo bed.
As Motor Authority points out, the Gladiator actually shares a rear suspension setup more closely with the Ram 1500 than with the Wrangler.
The towing capacities are wildly different too, with the Wrangler ranging from 2,000 – 3,500 pounds and the Gladiator capable of up to 7,650 pounds depending on the configuration. Most Gladiator trims clock in at a standard 4,000 – 4,500 pounds of towing capacity. Similarly, the Gladiator’s potential payload tops out at 1,700 pounds while the Wrangler can go up to 1,351 pounds depending on the model. So, drivers interested in hauling heavy toys should take heed.
The takeaway? There is overlap between the Gladiator and Wrangler, which are both unquestionably Jeeps, but there are a lot of differences too. It’s a disservice to both to say the Gladiator is just a Wrangler with a cargo bed.
It Has Serious Off-Road Capability
The Jeep Gladiator has earned its stripes — or, more accurately, its badge — for tackling trails. The Trail-Rated or Desert-Rated badge means it has passed a series of tests determining it fit to excel in tough conditions, like crawling rocks or cruising sand dunes.
There are many specific features that contribute to the Gladiator’s off-road readiness, including but not limited to:
- 4×4 systems
- Water sealing
- Ground clearance
- Wheel articulation
- Rock rails
- Fox shocks
The 2022 Gladiator Model Year Got a Tech Upgrade
As important as what’s going on outside is, of course, what’s going on inside. The 2022 Gladiator got some welcome tech upgrades, making a 7-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto standard.
You Will Be Tempted to “Make It Your Own”
Any Jeep Gladiator owner will warn you about the extreme temptation to keep modifying the vehicle to make it increasingly unique to your personality and preferences. In fact, this is a popular topic on forums — many drivers describe that undeniable tendency to keep buying special parts and upgrades over time to fully customize your Jeep. Luckily, or maybe unluckily for your future bank account, there’s a wide world of exciting aftermarket parts out there to explore.
Some popular modifications include changing out the headlights, floormats, truck bed cover, seat covers, off-road equipment, wheels, bumpers, and more.
Doing your homework on any truck you’re considering, including the Gladiator, will help you make the most out of your vehicle. There’s a lot to know about performance, capability on and off the paved road, technology, comfort, safety, and design — these basic things to know about the Gladiator barely scratch the surface of understanding an action-packed pickup truck model.