Look. I’ll save you 10 minutes of your life and tell you this: the pros of the Jeep Gladiator (nearly any model) far outweigh the cons. Even if you don’t consider yourself to be a diehard truck person.
Visibility from the drivers seat is excellent. Steering is very light, and it’s very easy to drive. Getting things in and out of the bed won’t be an issue (no matter how scrawny you are).
It’s also a bit of a pain in the ass to park in tight spots, so proceed with caution if your lifestyle is more urban than suburban.
Pros and cons of the Jeep Gladiator (all model years)
I need to preface this list by saying that I am not a truck guy at all. Small / nimble sports cars are my jam. With that out of the way, let’s just get into it:
- The Gladiator is easily one of the most unique small trucks on the market. It’s perfect for anyone who wants to stand out in a crowd.
- It’s as easy to drive as a small car. In other words, it doesn’t take a lot of strength to maneuver – you can steer it with your pinky.
- The view of the road (from the drivers seat) is commanding AF. You can see a lot from way up there.
- Speaking which, despite the thick pillars, outward visibility (in all directions) is pretty good.
- Wind (and road) noise on the freeway is annoying – even with the hardtop.
- Being so boxy means that it gets pushed around a lot in the wind. It’s a handful at higher speeds!
- I like how simple the interior is – it’s almost as if you could spray it down with a fire hose not have to worry about messing up anything up.
- The bed may be small, but it’s low enough to allow for getting things into (and out of) it without straining your back.
- Even in its most basic form (without any options), it’ll drive over curbs and rough terrain without any issues at all. It’s zombie apocalypse ready.
- It’s every bit a Jeep that a Rubicon or Wrangler is. The Gladiator is not a pseudo-truck built on a standard car frame.
- The bed is a little small for pickups / trucks in this size category. Basically, the Gladiator isn’t for you if you need to haul a lot of bulky items.
- Gas mileage will be atrocious (no matter which engine option you spring for). The Gladiator is a very heavy truck, and it’s going to use a lot of gas when driven at least halfway normally.
- Build quality is so-so. The interior of every Jeep Gladiator that I’ve driven (no matter how new or old it was) rattled like my old 1983 Pontiac 6000.
- Stepping up into the Gladiator will be a challenge for anyone under 6 feet tall. There’s basically no graceful way to do it.
- Rear seat space is a bit cramped. Adults sitting back there may not be all that comfortable, but the kids should be fine.
- It’s a lot bigger than it looks! You’ll realize this the first time you try to wedge it into a small parking space.
- Always go for the biggest engine size possible! The Gladiator is a heavy beast, and the base engines just aren’t powerful enough to get it moving (or pulling) like a real truck should IMHO.
- It’s very long. You’ll need to be very careful taking tight corners to avoid clipping everything and anything in your path.
- It’s obscenely expensive. I’ve tried to explain why Jeeps are so expensive in the past, but pricing for the Gladiator makes no sense to me.
Two very good reasons why you should buy one
I’m not even a truck guy, and I can think of a million reasons why you need a Jeep Gladiator in your life. Here are the top two (IMHO anyway):
1. It drives a lot smaller than it actually is
It’s big enough to do most everything a full-size pick up should do, but small enough to daily drive without cussing (not much anyway). I still remember the very first time I drove a Gladiator. I approached it feeling apprehensive about how freakin’ big it was, but all of that melted away within the 1st mile. I’ve never driven a pickup truck this easy to drive.
2. It’s ready for anything
You can take it anywhere (and probably do anything in it). Whether you need to cross a flooded road or bomb across a deep ditch, the Gladiator can handle it with ease. Even the base model! It’s tough, rugged, and ready for anything. Especially combative / defensive daily driving.
Two very good reasons why you should not buy one
Just as easy as it was for me to tell you why you should get a Gladiator, it’s also pretty easy for me to tell you two reasons why you might not want one:
1. It’s a big fat pig
Seriously. It’s a lot bigger than it looks! The Gladiator is as long as many full-size trucks – and I can tell you from experience that it’s going to be a pain in the butt to park in tight spots. This probably won’t matter if you live way out in the country, but you city folk need to be aware of how much space it takes up.
2. Build quality is questionable
I’m not saying that the Gladiator is a pile of junk or anything, but let’s just say that it’s not the most well built truck on the market. Even when brand new, it rattles and makes noises you would expect from cheap lawn equipment. This isn’t the vehicle for you if you demand precision and finesse.