There comes a time in every car guy’s life when he has to accept the fact that Jeeps are pretty darn cool. Driving a 2023 Jeep Gladiator for the first time was that moment for me.

The 2023 Gladiator is ugly, noisy at high speeds, and it gets pushed around a lot in the wind. That said, it was probably the most fun I’ve ever had in a truck.

My full review of the 2023 Jeep Gladiator Sport

The fact that I paid out of my own pocket to rent the Sport model you see in these pics means that this is going to be one of the most honest (and blunt) 2023 Jeep Gladiator reviews you’ll ever read. I have no sponsors to cower to, and nobody I need to impress. These are my pure / unfiltered thoughts.

Scott driving a 2023 jeep gladiator
“Oooohhh. I get it now.” Yeah, it took me a while to realize how much fun a Jeep can be. I’m a little slow, OK?

First impressions

Honestly? I find the Gladiator to be one of the ugliest vehicles on the road. That said, “ugly” can be a virtue. The fact that it looks like no other pickup truck is a good thing. I consider it to be so different (and so ugly) that I can’t help to appreciate how much of an ugly duckling it is. It’s so ugly that it’s cool. Makes total sense, right?

White 2023 jeep gladiator sport
That’s an ugly unique lookin’ truck! Fingers crossed that the puddles underneath it aren’t the reason why I got such a good deal on the rental agreement…
2023 White Jeep gladiator rear 3/4 view
Dat a** (is kind of ugly IMHO).
2023 jeep gladiator front end details
Ain’t no mistaking this for anything else but a Jeep (unless you’re five years old and everything is a Lamborghini).
White 2023 jeep gladiator sport with black roof
I hate it! I mean…I love it! At the very least, I never had to worry about trying to find it in a crowded parking lot.
2023 white jeep gladiator pictures

The interior

Those of you who read my list of Jeep Gladiator pros and cons have already seen me praise the interior (to the point where you may have assumed that I have been a lifelong Jeep fanboy).

2023 Jeep gladiator gray interior
The interior of the 2023 Gladiator isn’t going to win any design awards, but it has earned a place in my heart. I like it.

I appreciate the ruggedness and overall simplicity. I like the fact that the entire interior is made up of materials that can be hosed down and wiped off. It looks like a truck, it feels like a truck, and absolutely none of it is frilly (or luxurious). It’s exactly what a Jeep interior should be IMHO.

2023 jeep gladiator climate control knobs and buttons
THANK YOU for the climate control buttons and knobs that can be operated while wearing gloves (or while inebriated – not that I condone such a thing).
2023 jeep gladiator interior and dashboard
Nope. I don’t think you are going to have to worry about your 5 year old identifying this as a Lambo interior instead of a 2023 Gladiator interior. This dashboard is 100% Jeep.
2023 jeep gladiator rear seats
Speaking of opinionated 5 year olds, they are going to love the snot out of this backseat area. It’s plenty room enough for anyone under 6 feet tall IMHO.
2023 jeep gladiator overhead light and speakers
Make no mistake about it – the interior of this thing is extremely utilitarian. ‘Burley’ is perhaps a better word to describe some of the hard plastic and exposed fiberglass.
2023 jeep gladiator steering wheel
The steering wheel (and gauge cluster) is simple, clean, and organized. If only parts of the exterior had some of the same attributes…
2023 jeep gladiator infotainment and Apple CarPlay
Good news: it supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto! Bad news: the fact that it doesn’t take up the entire screen is maddening.
Scott sitting in the driver's seat of a 2023 jeep gladiator
“The f**k is this button for?”
2023 jeep gladiator interior detail pics

Driving impressions

The 2023 Gladiator (Sport Edition) is easily one of the most ‘easy to live with’ trucks that I’ve ever driven. Steering feel is light (maybe a bit too light), and it’s as easy to drive as a 2017 Kia Forte. Outward visibility from the driver’s seat is OK. The only major blindspot (the one that really ticked me off) was over my left shoulder. 

Driving a 2023 jeep gladiator through the woods POV
Zoom zoom! Wait…wrong brand. All you need to know is that driving a 2023 Gladiator is easy as driving a small economy car.

Perhaps the thing that impressed me the most when driving 2023 Gladiator was how well it handled rough roads. Compared to the 2021 Toyota Tacoma (for example), the Gladiator glides over bumps without feeling like the rear end is on the brink of losing traction. It feels planted and smooth on nearly all surfaces.

Looking over the hood while driving a white 2023 jeep gladiator down a two lane road
I’m not saying that this is almost as much fun to drive as a 2016 Corvette Stingray, but… it’s almost as much fun to drive as a 2016 Corvette Stingray.
Driving a 2023 jeep gladiator on the freeway
To be clear, this thing is nowhere near as fast as a Corvette (nor does it handle as sharply). All I’m saying is that I like being able to drive over dead bodies without feeling anything.

The engine and transmission

The 3.6 L V6 in the 2023 Gladiator is rated at 285 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. My opinion? It’s not enough. It felt plenty powerful enough to maintain higher speeds, but getting up to speed is the problem. Pulling away from stoplights feels lethargic. Merging onto the interstate feels scary.

2023 jeep gladiator 3.6 L V6 engine
What you can’t see in this picture is my other hand giving this 3.6 L V6 the finger as I fine-tune the composition.
2023 jeep gladiator hood open
The unfortunate thing about all of this is the fact that there is very little room under the hood for a nitrous kit or turbos (two things it desperately needs).

Storage and utility

Even though the Gladiator is technically a pickup truck, it features one of the smallest pickup truck beds on the market. This isn’t the truck for anyone who needs to carry large / bulky things on a regular basis. A 4 x 8 sheet of plywood? Forget about it.

2023 jeep gladiator bed with tailgate open
Well isn’t that cute? Good luck fitting a snowmobile (or more than four dead bodies) in the bed of the 2023 Gladiator.

It’s worth mentioning that the towing capacity (7,700 lbs) is fairly decent for a truck of this size. It certainly doesn’t feel strong enough to be able to pull that much weight – but I’ll take their word for it.

2023 jeep gladiator tow hooks
These tow hooks are sure to come in handy (when getting yanked out of the mud by your buddy in his lifted F450).

Off-road capabilities

As you can see, the Gladiator in these pictures is the base spec. It’s the lowest tier ‘Sport’ model, which features street tires (245/75R17), and tame (street tuned) suspension. That said, it was still incredibly capable of veering off the pavement and getting into situations that would pretty much destroy lesser midsize SUVs.

2023 jeep gladiator sport 17 inch tires and wheels
You’d be surprised how well these 17 inch street tires handle curbs and rocks. No comment about the dead bodies.

Gas mileage

Maybe it’s because it’s shaped like a brick, but I found the gas mileage to be nothing short of horrible with the 3.6 L V6. I averaged a measly 19 miles per gallon over the span of two days – which was shocking considering how I basically drove it like a pansy.

2023 white Jeep gladiator filling up with gas
Glug glug glug. Drink up, good buddy. It’s a good thing that I like you, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to put up with your horrible gas mileage.
Scott standing behind a white 2023 jeep gladiator
“FU for being so horrible on gas!”

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