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2021 Jeep Gladiator

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$33,545 - 43,875 MSRP

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2021 Jeep Gladiator Review

The 2021 Jeep Gladiator has a spacious interior, intuitive tech features, and excellent off-road performance, but it also has a firm ride and a below-average predicted reliability rating. The Gladiator does not have an overall score or ranking because it has not been fully crash tested.

Pros & Cons

  • Great off-road capability
  • Comfortable and roomy interior
  • User-friendly infotainment system
  • High starting price
  • Pronounced wind and tire noise
  • Subpar predicted reliability
  • Unrefined on-road manners

Research & Ratings

The 2021 Jeep Gladiator is unranked in Compact Pickup Trucks due to missing safety data. Currently, the Jeep Gladiator's overall score is not available, though its Critics' Rating, Performance score, and Interior score are based on our evaluation of 19 pieces of research and data.

N/A

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 9.4
Performance: 7.3
Interior: 8.4
Safety:
This model has never been fully tested for safety. As a result, it doesn't have an overall score and cannot be ranked against other compact pickup trucks.
N/A
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

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Is the Jeep Gladiator a Good Truck?

Yes, the 2021 Jeep Gladiator is a fine pickup truck. The Gladiator doubles down on everything that buyers love about the venerable Jeep Wrangler SUV – terrific off-road ability, bold styling, and open-air driving – with the added practicality of a 5-foot truck bed. The Gladiator is offered with gas and diesel V6 engines, and it has plenty of power for everyday commuting. The seats are comfortable, and Jeep’s infotainment system is easy to use. The Gladiator’s payload and towing capacities are among the best in the class as well.

That said, the Gladiator does have its share of drawbacks. The interior is noisy at highway speeds, especially with the standard soft top. The Gladiator’s suspension tends to shimmy and shudder on rough pavement, which can be uncomfortable on longer trips. The Jeep also rates below average for predicted reliability.

2021 Jeep Gladiator Dimensions and Weight

  • Length: 18 feet, 2 inches
  • Height: 6 feet, 1 inch to 6 feet, 4 inches
  • Curb weight: 4,650 to 5,352 pounds
Why You Can Trust Us: 19 Reviews Analyzed

We’ve analyzed 19 Jeep Gladiator reviews, as well as data points like reliability ratings and fuel economy estimates, to help you make the best car-buying decision possible.

This 2021 Gladiator review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which launched for 2020.

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our staff has more than 75 years of combined experience in the auto industry. To ensure our objectivity, we never accept expensive gifts from carmakers, and an outside firm manages the ads on our site.

Should I Buy the Jeep Gladiator?

You should consider the 2021 Jeep Gladiator if you value off-road ability ahead of anything else. The Gladiator is more or less a Wrangler pickup truck, and that’s high praise when it comes to venturing far off the beaten path. On the other hand, there are quieter, comfier, and far more affordable compact pickup trucks for tackling everyday driving, like the Ford Ranger, Toyota Tacoma, and Chevrolet Colorado.

Find a 2021 Jeep Gladiator for sale near you »

2020 vs. 2021 Jeep Gladiator: What's the Difference?

Jeep launched the Gladiator in 2020 as an all-new pickup truck. The main difference between the 2020 and 2021 models can be found under the hood. For 2021, Jeep adds an optional turbodiesel engine that produces 260 horsepower and a hefty 442 pound-feet of torque.

Compare the 2020 and 2021 Gladiator »

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2020 Gladiator review to help make your decision. Also, check out our Best New Car Deals and Best New Car Lease Deals pages to learn about savings and discounts you can find on new vehicles.

How Much Does the Jeep Gladiator Cost?

The 2021 Jeep Gladiator has a $33,545 starting price, which is higher than that of nearly every other compact pickup truck. The price rises to $43,875 for the rugged Gladiator Rubicon trim and climbs to $51,500 for the luxe High Altitude trim.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Jeep dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Jeep deals page.

Jeep Gladiator Versus the Competition

Jeep Gladiator vs. Jeep Wrangler

The Jeep Wrangler is a compact SUV, but it has a lot in common with the Gladiator pickup. Both of these Jeeps have a rugged body-on-frame design, solid front and rear axles, and the same gas and diesel V6 engines, as well as many of the same safety and convenience features. Both also have removable tops, doors, and fold-down windshields.

There are some big differences though. The Gladiator has a sizable 5-foot bed and, in some setups, twice the Wrangler’s towing capacity. On the other hand, the Wrangler provides better off-road ability, thanks to its shorter wheelbase and overall length. It’s also available with a fuel-efficient turbocharged four-cylinder engine that isn’t offered in the Gladiator. The Wrangler’s starting price is lower by about $5,200 as well. Your choice may come down to how much you prioritize the practicality of a pickup.

Compare the Gladiator and Wrangler »

Jeep Gladiator vs. Toyota Tacoma

The Toyota Tacoma tops the Gladiator in a few key areas. The Tacoma has a higher predicted reliability rating and more standard features like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking. The Tacoma’s starting price is lower than the Gladiator’s by about $7,400. Both pickups can tackle serious off-road terrain, though the Gladiator’s solid-axle suspension gives it a big edge over larger obstacles. The Tacoma isn’t perfect: Its base four-cylinder engine is lethargic, and cabin space is a bit snug, but overall it’s the better truck.

Compare the Gladiator and Tacoma »

Compare the Gladiator, Wrangler, and Tacoma »

Gladiator Interior: Roomy, but a Little Boomy

Gladiator Cargo Space

The Jeep Gladiator has a 5-foot bed with fairly low bed rails, making it easy to reach over the sides when loading or unloading cargo. The tailgate can be secured in open, closed, or midway positions, the latter of which helps support longer flat items like 4 x 8 sheets of plywood. Notably, most rivals are available with 6-foot beds in addition to a 5-foot option.

The Gladiator’s payload ratings range from 1,075 to 1,700 pounds.

How Many People Does the Gladiator Seat?

The Jeep Gladiator is a four-door pickup truck with five seats. The front seats are comfortable and supportive, and the driving position provides a commanding view of the road. Outward visibility is good to the sides and rear. The rear seats are similarly comfy. Notably, both rows provide generous headroom and legroom for taller occupants.

Cloth upholstery and manually adjustable front seats are standard. Leather upholstery, heated front seats, and a heated steering wheel are available.

Gladiator and Child Car Seats

The Jeep Gladiator has two complete sets of LATCH connectors for the rear outboard seats and a tether anchor for the rear middle seat.

Gladiator Interior Quality

The Jeep Gladiator has an upscale interior with chunky styling and a variety of hard- and soft-touch plastics that should hold up well over time. Two roof styles are available – a standard soft top and an optional hard top – and both are easy to remove. All models also have removable doors and a fold-down windshield.

The Gladiator’s interior is fairly quiet with the hard top in use, but the soft top contributes to a loud cabin with constant wind and tire noise at highway speeds.

Gladiator Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The Jeep Gladiator comes standard with a 5-inch touch screen, though 7- and 8.4-inch touch screens are available. These displays are user-friendly, easy to see, and within reach. They feature crisp graphics and large icons, and they respond promptly to inputs. There are lots of buttons and knobs on the dashboard for adjusting the audio and climate control settings, so you don’t have to rely on the touch screen for every function. All in all, Jeep’s Uconnect system remains one of the least distracting to use while driving.

The 7- and 8-inch touch screens support Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, allowing users to integrate their smartphone apps on-screen. However, the standard 5-inch screen does not.

  • Standard infotainment features: a 5-inch touch screen, satellite radio, eight speakers, Bluetooth, and two USB ports
  • Available infotainment features: 7- and 8.4-inch touch screens, a navigation system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, HD Radio, and nine speakers
  • Additional standard features: air conditioning, manual windows and door locks, and push-button start
  • Other available features: automatic climate control, power windows and door locks, remote keyless entry, proximity keyless entry, and remote start

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto?

Read more about interior »

Gladiator Performance: Take the Road Less Traveled

Gladiator Engine

The 2021 Jeep Gladiator is available with two engine options: a 3.6-liter gasoline V6 with 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque, and a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 with 260 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque. Both are available with an eight-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel drive, but only the gas V6 is offered with a six-speed manual transmission.

Both of these engines scoot the Gladiator around town and up to highway speeds with sufficient gusto, but the driving experience is different. The gas V6 needs to rev fairly high to get the Jeep moving in a hurry, which doesn’t make for a particularly relaxing drive.

The diesel V6 provides its peak power at a low 1,400 rpm, and it helps shuttle the Gladiator around smoothly and confidently, even when pulling a trailer. It feels like a better match for the Gladiator. The diesel engine operates quietly for the most part, though it can get clattery at full throttle.

The eight-speed automatic transmission shifts promptly and smoothly when paired with either engine. The six-speed manual is fine for everyday driving, but it’s not especially fun to shift, owing to its long throws and vague clutch engagement.

Gladiator Gas Mileage

The Jeep Gladiator offers some of the best and worst fuel economy in its class. The Gladiator gets an EPA-rated 22 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway when equipped with its diesel engine, which is excellent for a compact pickup truck. Fuel economy drops to just 16/23 mpg city/highway in models equipped with the gas V6 and manual transmission (17/22 mpg with the automatic).

Gladiator Ride and Handling

Modern pickups have grown increasingly more comfortable and enjoyable to drive, but the Jeep Gladiator is one of the outliers that still drives like a truck. Its solid front and rear axles are stiffly sprung, and this causes the Gladiator to jitter and jolt over rough road surfaces, which can be tiresome on longer trips. The Gladiator feels a bit tippy and unsteady around tight turns as well. On the plus side, the brakes slow down the Jeep assertively. The steering is quick too, though it provides minimal feedback.

Gladiator Off-Road Performance

The Gladiator’s solid-axle suspension may hamper its on-road performance, but it pays dividends off-road. It can hold up to serious abuse, yet it flexes gracefully over rocks, bumps, and ruts when driven at low speeds. Four-wheel drive is standard across the lineup, along with skid plates and a two-speed transfer case with low-range gearing, making any Gladiator an off-road champ.

Ultimately, the biggest limitation to the Gladiator’s off-road ability is its extensive length and wheelbase. It’s tougher to squeeze along tight trails than its Jeep Wrangler sibling.

Gladiator Towing Capacity

The Jeep Gladiator has a max towing capacity of between 4,000 and 7,650 pounds. The highest tow rating is achieved with the gas V6 engine, but we suspect most shoppers will prefer the extra torque of the diesel V6 when towing a trailer.

Read more about performance »

Gladiator Reliability

Is the Jeep Gladiator Reliable?

The 2021 Jeep Gladiator has a below-average predicted reliability rating of 2.5 out of five.

Jeep Gladiator Warranty

Jeep covers the Gladiator with a three-year/36,000-mile limited warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

Gladiator Safety

Gladiator Crash Test Results

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the gas-engine 2021 Jeep Gladiator four out of five stars in the frontal crash test and three stars in the rollover test. At the time of writing, the NHTSA has not evaluated the diesel-engine Gladiator.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not crash tested the 2021 Gladiator, as of this writing.

Gladiator Safety Features

Standard advanced safety features:

  • Rearview camera

Available advanced safety features:

  • Rear parking sensors
  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Rear cross traffic alert
  • Forward-facing camera
  • Forward collision warning
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Automatic high-beam headlights

Read more about safety »

Where Is the 2021 Jeep Gladiator Built?

Jeep builds the 2021 Gladiator in Ohio.

Which Jeep Gladiator Model Is Right for Me?

The 2021 Jeep Gladiator is offered in nine trims: Sport, Willys Sport, Sport S, Willys, Overland, 80th Anniversary, Rubicon, Mojave, and High Altitude. The Sport and Willys Sport trims don’t provide many convenience features, so we suggest upgrading to at least the Sport S model if you want Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, or even power windows.

Notably, all trims come standard with a gasoline V6 engine and four-wheel drive. A turbodiesel V6 is optional in every trim except the Mojave.

Jeep Gladiator Powertrain Options:

  • Base engine: 3.6-liter V6 with 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque; starts at $33,545
  • Available engine: 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 with 260 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque; starts at $41,545
  • Drivetrain: four-wheel drive
  • Transmission: standard six-speed manual; available eight-speed automatic

Jeep Gladiator Performance Packages/Options:

  • Limited-slip rear differential ($595)
  • Full-time four-wheel drive ($695)
  • Engine block heater ($95)
  • Splash guards ($150)
  • Black hardtop (prices start at $1,395)
  • Tubular side steps (prices start at $625)
  • Rock sliders ($1,050)
  • Winch-capable steel front bumper ($845)
  • Bed tonneau cover (prices start at $595)
  • Spray-in bedliner ($495)
  • Trailer Tow package (prices start at $350): a Class IV receiver hitch, a heavy-duty radiator, and a trailer mode for the rearview camera
  • Max Tow package (prices start at $1,245): includes the Trailer Tow package plus heavy-duty Dana 44 axles with 4.10 ratios, a limited-slip rear differential, and upgraded brakes
  • Auxiliary Switch Group (prices start at $295): four programmable auxiliary switches
  • Cargo Management Group (prices start at $895): a 115-volt household-style power outlet in the bed, and a lockable rear under-seat storage bin
  • Premium LED Lighting (prices start at $1,295): LED daytime running lamps, LED fog lamps, LED turn signals and parking lamps, LED headlights, and LED taillights
Jeep Gladiator Sport

The base model Gladiator Sport has a $33,545 starting price and comes equipped with a 285-horsepower V6 engine, a six-speed manual transmission, and four-wheel drive. An eight-speed automatic transmission is optional for $2,000. Upgrading to the optional turbodiesel V6 engine costs $4,000, plus the $2,000 required for the automatic transmission.

Standard features include a 5-inch touch screen, satellite radio, eight speakers, Bluetooth, two USB ports, air conditioning, manual windows and door locks, cloth upholstery, manually adjustable front seats, and halogen headlights and fog lights. A black soft top, black fender flares, skid plates, tow hooks, bed tie-down cleats, a Class II tow hitch receiver, a two-speed transfer case, solid front and rear axles, and 17-inch steel wheels with all-season tires are also standard.

A variety of options are available, including leather upholstery, a hardtop, a bed tonneau cover, side steps, rock sliders, a spray-in bedliner, a limited-slip rear differential, an engine block heater, a Class IV tow hitch receiver, and a Max Towing package with a Class IV hitch, a heavy duty radiator, and a taller 4.10 axle ratio.

Jeep Gladiator Willys Sport

The Gladiator Willys Sport starts at $35,245. This trim adds body-color fender flares, "Willys" hood decals, rock rails, a limited-slip rear differential, 17-inch alloy wheels, and 32-inch mud-terrain tires. Most options carry over unchanged.

Jeep Gladiator Sport S and Willys

The Gladiator Sport S starts at $37,835. This trim includes the base model’s standard features plus a 7-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, remote keyless entry, power windows and door locks, automatic climate control, heated side mirrors, body-color fenders, and 17-inch alloy wheels. The Gladiator Willys starts at $39,240 and combines the features from the Sport S and Willys Sport trims.

Most options carry over, in addition to an 8.4-inch touch screen, a navigation system, HD Radio, a nine-speaker stereo, remote start, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, automatic high-beam headlights, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and rear parking sensors.

Jeep Gladiator Overland and 80th Anniversary

The Gladiator Overland starts at $40,395. This trim includes the Sport S model’s features plus 18-inch wheels and side steps. The $41,740 Gladiator 80th Anniversary trim adds an 8.4-inch touch screen, a navigation system, HD Radio, nine speakers, and "80th Anniversary" badges.

In addition to the previously listed options, these trims are also available with a forward-facing camera and proximity keyless entry, as well as LED headlights, taillights, and fog lights.

Jeep Gladiator Rubicon

The rock-crawling Gladiator Rubicon starts at $43,875. This trim includes the Sport S model’s features plus Fox off-road shock absorbers, locking front and rear axles, an electronic sway bar disconnect, 17-inch wheels, 33-inch all-terrain tires, rock rails, black fenders, hood vents, and "Rubicon" decals. Most options carry over unchanged.

Jeep Gladiator Mojave

The desert-oriented Gladiator Mojave costs $43,875. This trim includes many of the Rubicon’s features, but it trades that model’s locking front axle for a higher-riding suspension and "Mojave" hood decals. Most options carry over.

Jeep Gladiator High Altitude

The luxurious Gladiator High Altitude starts at $51,500, and it includes all of the Sport S model’s features plus a hardtop, 20-inch wheels, LED lights, leather seats, an 8.4-inch touch screen, a navigation system, HD Radio, nine speakers, proximity keyless entry, blind spot monitoring, and rear parking sensors. As before, most options carry over.

Which Gladiator Top Is Right for Me?

The Jeep Gladiator is offered with two roof styles: a standard soft top and an available hardtop. Each has its perks and drawbacks.

The Sunrider soft top is the more convenient option. It only takes a minute or two to lower or raise the top, and the process can be completed without help from another person. To lower the top, simply remove the cloth panels at each c-pillar, slide the rear window out of its channel, and undo the two latches behind the sun visors. The top folds up onto itself, but it sits behind the rear headrests and remains visible to passersby. It’s not the most elegant setup, nor is it the quietest. A fair amount of road and wind noise filters in, even with the top up.

The three-piece Freedom hardtop is the more secure option. It does a better job of muffling exterior noise when in use, and its fiberglass construction provides an extra level of protection for occupants and possessions. The trade-off is that it takes longer to remove and – unlike the soft top – it can’t be stored conveniently inside the Gladiator.

To remove the hard top, unlatch the two front panels – one above the driver seat and the other above the front passenger seat – then loosen the eight bolts that attach the rear panel to the Jeep. It’s possible for one person to lift off the rear panel, but it’s far easier with two. If you are by yourself, you can at least easily remove the two roof panels over the front seats for some open-air driving; these panels are small enough to be stored in the vehicle.

Which Gladiator Model Is Best for Towing and Hauling?

The Jeep Gladiator Sport with the gas V6 engine, automatic transmission, and Max Towing package is the best option for towing a trailer. At least, it is on paper. This model boasts the Gladiator’s top towing capacity of 7,650 pounds. Likewise, the Gladiator Sport with the gas V6 and manual transmission is the best option for hauling heavy cargo in the bed. This model offers the truck’s top payload capacity of 1,700 pounds.

In the real world though, we suggest opting for the Gladiator’s turbodiesel V6 if you plan to tow or haul on a regular basis. The diesel models may have lower towing and payload capacities – a max of 6,500 and 1,325 pounds, respectively – due to the limitations of the cooling system, but this engine’s extra torque makes pulling heavy loads much easier.

Which Gladiator Model Is Best for Off-Roading?

Each of the Gladiator models has what it takes to venture off road and back, thanks to standard equipment like a four-wheel-drive system, a two-speed transfer case with high and low-range gearing, and solid front and rear axles that articulate nicely over obstacles. That said, some trims are more capable than others.

The Gladiator Rubicon is the best of the bunch for low-speed rock-crawling. It features grippy 33-inch all-terrain tires, locking front and rear differentials, an electronic disconnecting sway bar, and an extra inch of ground clearance (up from the standard 10 inches). It also boasts steep approach and departure angles – 43.4 and 26 degrees, respectively – allowing the Rubicon to climb obstacles without dragging or scraping a bumper.

On the other hand, go with the Gladiator Mojave if high-speed desert driving is what you’re into. It packs heavier-duty Fox shock absorbers and a mighty 11.6 inches of ground clearance for soaking up punishing landings.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Jeep dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Jeep deals page.

See 2021 Jeep Gladiator specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2021 Jeep Gladiator is a no-brainer if you’ve ever wanted a Jeep Wrangler pickup truck. The Gladiator is a star off road, it can tow and haul lots of cargo, and its open-air driving experience provides a welcome respite to the everyday grind. The trade-off is that the Gladiator costs more than almost all of its compact pickup truck competitors while providing fewer standard features and a less comfortable ride in day-to-day driving. It’s worth a look, though shoppers with a tighter budget may find greener pastures with the Ford Ranger, Toyota Tacoma, or Chevrolet Colorado.

Don't just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "We'll go out on a limb and proclaim this to be Jeep's best diesel pickup ever. It isn't without its drawbacks." -- Car and Driver
  • "Jeep's new Gladiator truck has been a long time coming. … Fortunately, after a lengthy test both on- and off-road in Northern California, I can tell you it was definitely worth the wait." -- CNET (2020)
  • "The 2020 Jeep Gladiator's extra length will surely filter out hardcore Jeep purists, but it retains more off-road capability than we expected while adding real pickup functionality. As for midsize-truck owners who always wanted a Jeep, they stand to gain more turnkey off-road performance plus a back seat that can carry actual adults. In the end, the 2020 Jeep Gladiator looks to be a runaway success." -- Edmunds (2020)
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