Jeep Gladiator test: Yesterday a cowboy, today a gentleman

It looks like a well-known Jeep Wrangler from the front but the protagonist of our test today is really a completely new model in our market; the Jeep Gladiator; a 4×4 in true American style that has a spacious double cabin and a large rear box to shoot its length up to almost 5.60 meters.

Yes, the pick-up de Jeep it has returned almost half a century after its disappearance, with all the essence of its predecessors and with more comforts than ever. But what is your goal really? I suspect that let us have a great time. Are you coming to check it out?

El Gladiator de Jeep

The Jeep Gladiator dates back to the 1960s and 1970s but was never sold in Europe. However, this new generation entirely manufactured in Toledo (Ohio) for the whole world, has not been long in coming and is now available in our market in two versions: Launch Edition y Overland. The most curious of all? Is that our test unit has the Launch Edition logo, as it is the variant we tested, but also the Overland inside: Any explanation about it? We have not found it …

Diego RuedaCar and Driver

Be that as it may, this unpublished Wrangler pick up it is as attractive as it is imposing. The first is absolutely indisputable because the Jeep aesthetic allows it to include elements such as the classic vertical grille with rounded headlights and the characteristic seven bands, which have continuity on this huge side where the wheel arches, the running boards or the 18-inch wheels stand out, all dark gray details that stand out in this unit. At the rear, the same thing happens with this great Jeep legend located in the center of the gate or with these square lights with side protectors and LED lighting.

A “medium” size pick-up

But let’s not be fooled; when you have it in front of you, what you really hallucinate with is its size: 5.59 meters long by 1.89 wide and 1.84 high. The wheelbase goes up to 3.48 meters. I am not exaggerating when I say that I have driven cars that are that long!

The interior is exactly the same as that of the Wrangler and therefore shares its defects and virtues with a model that is presented as a perfect affordable alternative to the Land Rover Defender or Mercedes G-Class and therefore, includes the latest comfort items you expect in a real modern car: dashboard with a 7-inch color screen, multimedia equipment with the latest connectivity and a central 8.4-inch screen with apps that you can order as you wish like on your smartphone. The air conditioning with independent controls is appreciated and the good feel of the multifunction steering wheel covered in leather, a material also present in the seats and door handles, not on the dashboard … It looks similar but the touch gives it away.

jeep gladiator launch edition

Diego RuedaCar and Driver

The protective rubber that surrounds the central display it’s because we’re in a 100% hose washable interior, just like the one on the Wrangler. A no less curious detail is that despite the fact that I have said that the entire cabin is identical to that of the Wrangler there is a differentiating detail, yes, no! On the gear lever knob, the silhouette of this Gladiator is engraved. End of differences.

A real box of surprises

The best thing about the interior of the Wrangler is that it is a great box of surprises, with a roof in the front that we disassemble without disheveled, some doors that can also be removed, a windshield that can be folded forward and a cabin that in its part rear can also be disassembled as in fact, it is a hard top.

The box also offers a very interesting canvas cover, which is rolled up and collected in its back area. It is true that we miss a closure as such in it, but in return the non-slip surface of the floor is fantastic and we also have light, fixing elements and even a 230 Volt plug (although with an American socket!). total charge? 613 kilos which is not an outstanding maximum weight but which is not bad and best of all, the possibility of introducing packages up to 1.50 meters long.

jeep gladiator

JeepCar and Driver

The double cabin of the Gladiator offers a remarkable space for two adults, mainly thanks to the fact that the dimensions of length and height are very good. On the contrary, the width is tighter and the backrest is very straight, which reduces comfort. In the central square things get more complicated Despite having a very low transmission tunnel, Jeep has installed a module with two very large drink holders, the ventilation intakes and the window regulators, which leaves a lot of space for the third occupant. But the best thing is the modularity that this rear part offers. The stools fold vertically to insert the packages that you do not want to carry in the box and under them there are also chests to store objects and even … a portable Bluetooth speaker! As it is.

jeep gladiator launch edition

Diego RuedaCar and Driver

Behind the wheel: feel invincible

In motion the Gladiator offers sounds and general sensations that we had already a little forgotten. Its chassis of stringers and cross members, like the 4×4 of all life, and a suspension scheme with two rigid axles, both front and rear, together with shock absorbers clearly oriented to the off road driving, allow the bounces to reach the interior clearly. Some advances are noticeable at the level of driving assistants and safety devices, but with this suspension, a soft and non-communicative steering and a committed aerodynamics, the Gladiator calls for a field!

jeep gladiator launch edition

Diego RuedaCar and Driver

On the highway it is not a comfortable car because of the aforementioned suspension and because aerodynamic noises sneak into the cabin. Curvy roads choke it because of its great weight (2.4 tons) and its dimensions, but on roads the Gladiator transforms and it is that it reveals itself as one of the funniest pick-ups of the moment.


The thrust of the 3.0-liter V6 turbodiesel engine is noticeable and we are talking about 600 Nm maximum torque available between 1,400 and 2,900 rpm, which the 8-speed torque converter transmission handles very well. In this way, when it detects that we are making intense use of the accelerator, it automatically downshifts and lets us speed up the rev range until the cut-off. Then, just press a single button to override the stability control and enjoy the long and controlled spills that this model allows. What a festival! Of course, when we get to steeper areas, we have a second lever with which to activate the 4×4 lock and of course, if things get complicated, we can put the gearbox.

It is not the most capable pick-up, nor the most comfortable, but it is a lot of fun to drive on roads

With a huge ground clearance: 25.3 centimeters, only some angles such as the ventral and the exit limit its use in steep areas and trialeras. The attack is very good 41 degrees, but the two mentioned are 18.5 and 25 respectively. It is a pity that a Rubicon version much more suitable for this use does not arrive in Europe. Here, the range is limited to the Overland and Launch Edition, both with standard items such as lto rear view camera, the 18-inch wheels, the automatic climate control, an Alpine sound system with eight speakers or the aforementioned color screens on the dashboard and the dashboard. In addition, the tested Lauch Edition added a specific exterior decoration, heated seats and steering wheel or a most interesting self-cleaning front camera.

Jeep Gladiator: Ratings

The Jeep Gladiator is the only “medium” pick-up, according to the North American denomination, a giant from our European perspective, of all those offered in our market. This also implies a price of tariff that is too high, 73.300 euros for the Overland 78,800 euros in the case of the Launch Edition that we have analyzed here and whose sale will be limited to a handful of units.

jeep gladiator launch edition

Diego RuedaCar and Driver

It does not matter, if you are looking for a truly differentiating 4×4, both in terms of aesthetics and performance, this one will not disappoint you. Its V6 diesel engine is a marvel of power and its driving is clearly oriented to leisure so that you can not only load in its box surfboards, skis, bicycles, motorcycles, quads or any other accessory for adventure sports that more you like to practice, is that you’re going to have a lot of fun by the way.

In favor: General aesthetics. Amplitude and equipment of the cabin. V6 diesel engine. Off-road driving

Against: Ventral and exit angles for use in trialeras. Road guidance precision.

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Jeep Gladiator test: Yesterday a cowboy, today a gentleman