Jeep fans have been clamoring for a pickup ever since the company introduced the Gladiator concept at the 2005 North American International Auto Show.
Their enthusiasm was well-warranted as the concept was stunning and Jeep had a long history of building pickups including models such as the J10, Comanche and CJ-8 Scrambler. While pickups were slowly phased out after Chrysler’s purchase of AMC, the Gladiator marks the brand’s return to the segment.
We wanted to see how the model stacks up to the competition – which includes the Chevrolet Colorado, Ford Ranger, Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma – and whether or not it can live up to the hype. As a result, we’re spending some time with a well-equipped Gladiator Sport.
While the truck starts at $33,545, our tester stickers for $51,115. Featuring over $16,000 in options, the Gladiator has the $3,200 Customer Preferred Package which adds 17-inch aluminum wheels, power windows, power side mirrors and a security alarm. Other niceties include a leather-wrapped steering wheel, tinted rear windows, automatic headlights and illuminated vanity mirrors.
On the technology front, there’s the 7.0-inch Radio Group which includes a 7.0-inch Unconnect 4 infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The package also includes air conditioning, automatic climate control, SiriusXM satellite radio and a 7.0-inch digital display in the instrument cluster.
Other tech features include the Active Safety Group which adds blind spot warning and rear-cross path detection as well as LED taillights and a ParkSense rear parking assist system. The model also has adaptive cruise control and a forward collision warning plus system.
Notable options include a three-piece hardtop, an Alpine premium audio system and the Cold Weather Group which adds a heated steering wheel, heated front seats and a remote starting system. There’s also a spray-in bedliner, a tonneau cover and the Cargo Management Group which adds trail rails and a 115 volt outlet in the bed.
Since trucks are designed for towing, the model also sports the Max Towing package. It adds heavy-duty Dana 44 axles with 4.10 gearing, a Class IV receiver hitch, an upgraded cooling system and a beefier alternator.
Power comes from a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine that produces 285 hp (209 kW / 289 PS) and 260 lb-ft (353 Nm) of torque. In our tester, it is connected to an eight-speed automatic transmission and a standard four-wheel drive system. This enables the truck to return an EPA-estimated fuel economy rating of 17 mpg city / 22 mpg highway / 19 mpg combined.
We’re working on our review right now, but feel free to ask us anything about the Gladiator in the comments below. We’ll be answering a handful of the most popular and interesting questions in a later article.