Jeep Gladiator Rubicon: Yes, you will be entertained…

Maybe not by my video, but by the Jeep Gladiator certainly.

The Jeep Gladiator has been a long time coming. It’s finally here though, and it’s as good as we’d hoped it would be!

It’s also… expensive. This one we’re testing? It’s a Rubicon version and costs around $56,000. That’s a ton of bucks for a Jeep truck. But this is intensely capable, subjectively cool, and can do Jeep stuff AND truck stuff. Win-win.

[Disclaimer: Jeep tossed us the keys to the Gladiator and included a tank of fuel.]

14 Comments

  1. Agree that the look/proportions seem awkward at first, but that it is growing on me, with one exception as per my usual rant. The Non-Rubicon trim versions with skinny all-season tires look terrible, even worse than on the Wranglers. Factory Sport trim wheels Jeep wheels have to be the cheapest low use auto part on eBay.

    1. I feel the same about the proportions– I, too have grown accustomed to the look. And I agree with your feelings on the stock tire type (all-seasons), but not the width. I’m personally tired of seeing Wranglers wearing foot-wide 35s on Rockstar rims. They ruin the already jittery ride, numb the steering, and give the merely-adequate V6 even more weight to deal with. My BIL’s Unlimited certainly looks the part now that it’s taller and wearing big boots, but his truck was much more fun to drive before modification. My old CJ-7 would have ran circles around him on or off the road.

      If I’m lucky enough to pick up a used Gladiator in a few years, I’m going with old-school mud-terrain pizza cutters on steelies.

      1. The crazy negative offset wheels are bad, but I still think one size up in diameter from what the Rubicon gets is close to ideal.

  2. “Only 285 horsepower”…eh. That would be a weak commercial truck, but this is still a passenger vehicle? I struggle to see past what looks like high school project quality all over the place though, here is an example:

    https://i.ibb.co/qr1fySF/What-Is-This-Crap.png

    I know, nobody expects a FCA product to be…well-made. but that’s really no excuse here.

    1. The price of this truck is hugely inflated due to image and capability. Keeping that in mind, I think the fit and finish is respectable. My personal observation is that the JL/JT build quality is significantly improved over that of the JK, which itself was vastly better than the TJ.

    2. For reference, in the same Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep showroom, for less money, you can get a Ram 1500 with nearly 400hp (and lots of people do, there’s 4 in my apartment garage with less than 150 units). Even the V6 Ram, using the same Pentastar, is still up 20hp over the Gladiator.

      1. Well, the cheapest Gladiator is actually $50 less than the cheapest Ram 1500 4×4 V6. The V8 adds another $1500. And regardless, the Ram is nowhere near as capable off-road. However, it is arguably a better “truck”.

        That said, I agree that the Gladiator Rubicon’s premium price would be better justified if it had a Hemi under the hood.

        1. You’re the best kind of correct, technically correct. I was mostly going off the healthy supply of DS Rams (the “Classic”), which might be slightly higher MSRP (I’ll admit I thought you could get cheaper), but have far more incentives, and less additional dealer markup. It was mostly just to contextualize how it could be “only” 285hp.

          Also, having just taken a normal JL Wrangler (Unlimited) out for a quick spin, even with the improvements over the JK, I don’t feel compelled to drive it hard enough to benefit from the extra power (70mph on the highway feels a little fast). The Gladiator’s extra wheelbase might help with stability, where it feels necessary, but it’s moreso just surprising that FCA, who’s proven willing to jam any Hemi, anywhere it might fit, didn’t think to make the JL/JT as Hemi-compatible.

          1. Ok, on a re-read, my response sounds pretentious. I really only fact-checked prices because I was surprised that a V8 Ram might actually compare with a Gladiator. In truth, anyone who really wants to do legitimate truck things would be foolish not to buy the Ram. Anyone who wants an off-roader (with a large, open trunk) should buy the Jeep. Both are technically pickups, but they focus on different things.
            I’m not a fan of the Pentastar V6. It’s a decent engine for a car, but in an off-roader I want an engine built for broad torque delivery, not horsepower. When the lb-ft are less than the hp, there’s a problem. This thing may not necessarily need a V8, but it at least needs an I-6.

  3. I wish they offered a 2 door version; the few that I’ve seen in the wild look very long. Visually as long as some 90s longbed full size pickups

        1. Doors (and seats) add weight– about 400-500 lbs compared to a RCLB. Also worth noting is that the standard Gladiator is about 400 lbs lighter than the Rubicon trim. That’s still pretty heavy, though. GMC’s Canyon Denali Crew Cab 4×4 is probably only 4500 lb.

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