Thinking about - er bought - a Jeep Gladiator

Ted

The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted
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For those who've been following all of my various threads (especially about the RV and the vehicle we tow behind it), you might recall that we tow a 1997 Land Rover Discovery behind the RV. We love that car, it's taken us to some beautiful places, and is a vehicle that the kids universally love (they affectionately named it the "adventure car"):

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These old Discos were really good off road vehicles, and really pretty good vehicles overall. They still had a lot of old school suspension that was liked by 4x4 people complete with a locking transfer case (and - most importantly for being flat towed - a transfer case that goes into neutral). Frankly we've taken it places that we probably shouldn't have, and gotten some really weird looks from people on UTVs, and it's done great. It's a lower mile example that's essentially rust-free and the interior is in overall nice shape. The exterior paint and decals are polarizing - people either love it or hate it - but we love it.

The achilles heel of these vehicles was always the aluminum V8, commonly credited with Rover but owes its roots to a 3.5L V8 that Buick originally designed in the 60s. Rover bought the design and then made variations on it, including the 4.0L in this vehicle, the 4.6L found in some Discos and Range Rovers of similar years, and even a 4.3L that was put into TVRs and had some more power to it. As an engine it really is a neat little unit. It's lightweight and would be a great engine in, say, an RX-7 when the Wankel blew up or a Miata. But in the Land Rover it's an old design that tends to be overworked and is outdated. I always knew the issues with these, and a few years ago things got set in motion for doing a diesel swap after thinking about an LS swap as well:


Last summer I attempted to replace the bearings in the engine before our big summer RV trip (where I ultimately broke my wrist). And while doing so I found a lot more wear in the engine - bad bores in the cylinders, some bad wear marks on the camshaft, and, oh right, the bearings really weren't cooperating. On July 4th (the irony still makes me laugh) I determined this British vehicle was giving us yanks the proverbial finger and gave up on it.

The Cat engine swap is still something I want to do and remains in queue. I think it's going to be an extremely cool end result, and when the whole family likes a car, it's best to hold onto it. I have 3 kids who are going to need first cars, and in this household we heavily support cool cars, especially cool first cars. These Discos aren't getting any more common either, and we have plenty of covered space for it (at least outside - it's been taking up valuable real estate in the shop). And while we do have the enclosed trailer and can tow Laurie's Alfa (and motorcycles), the enclosed trailer does make RV travel harder. It's big and it's gotta get stuffed somewhere, which means that wherever we go has to have a place to stuff it. Flat towing is just so much easier. Get where you're going, unhook, and you're done. Park the bus, enjoy.

Over Christmas and at the beginning of the year, especially as we started thinking that it was really worth figuring out a flat towing solution. The "simple" and "obvious" answer would be to attach a tow bar to the front of my Ram since it has a transfer case that goes into neutral. The biggest issue with it is that it's, well, big. Really big. A 1-ton crew cab long bed pickup is very useful but it's not a great daily driver, and a lot of the places we go have parking limitations locally where it's sub ideal. That could all be worked around, but it just didn't feel like a great solution. Which got us thinking more.

My wife gets Wrangler Unlimiteds a lot for rentals. Which, if you pay attention to any RV flat towing a vehicle, is the most popular tow behind for RVs. Some get the standard 2-doors but it seems like you see the 4-door versions everywhere. Although the older ones didn't drive well at all, they've made a lot of improvements recently (also apparently a lot of quality improvements if you look at the various quality surveys). We both liking driving them, and even got one of the 4xe plug-in hybrid variants as a rental at Christmas which we were both surprised at how much we liked. We figured we'd take a look and see what it would actually cost to get one that met our specs.

Then the first thing on the Jeep website was 15% off MSRP on all leftover 2023 Gladiators, and that's before any other negotiating or incentives. Turns out at the beginning of the year there were around 20,000 leftover 2023s (there were about 3,000 leftover 2023 Wrangler Unlimiteds for comparison). Jeep apparently way overproduced on the Gladiators, combined with low demand and a lot of people not really liking them. I don't have production numbers, but it feels like I see about 1 Gladiator for every 10 Wrangler Unlimited out there, although some of that is surely because they haven't been around as long. The more we looked at them, the more we liked a lot of the practicality. It's a small pickup bed but it can still fit my GSA in the back - or the bicycles, or the kids dirt bikes, or Laurie's Triumph. She checked out one at the dealer and found the back seat was roomier than the Unlimited (this is important since the back seat needs to fit our 3 kids across). Although we already have a pickup, another pickup bed seemed like a good option for utility on trips. And while the kids aren't starting driving tomorrow, they're not that far off. The 500 HP Alfa is a poor choice, the Cobra is a "nope", and the Ram isn't a great option either. A lot of reasons that individually we'd work around translated into something that seemed a worthwhile option if the price was right. Oh, and you can still get these things with a manual transmission (something I want to support as much as possible - even though the only engine option with it is the 3.6L Pentastar V6).

And, well, it was a really good deal and the price was right. We found one that was what we wanted. Among the various options/trim levels the Mojave seemed to be the one to get. Compared to the Rubicon, the Mojave is more designed for "higher speed desert off-roading", and with that has some extras like a beefier frame, beefier suspension components, beefier steering knuckles, and an extra inch of ride height (also the tires are a bit further out, although that matters less). The Mojaves all have orange trim, and among the color options we saw the green looks best with it. We were fine with a cloth interior, but did want the cold weather package (heated seats and heated steering wheel), and of course a manual transmission. The towing package was also desired, less for actual towing and more because of the versatility of a hitch. We found one that also had the LED light package (not something we would've ordered, but it is really nice) and we negotiated in the dealership adding a spray-in bedliner. We also wanted a soft top, specifically because it'll be easier to remove and drive around with the open air on our RV trips, a lot of which are in places where the best views are looking up, not out the windows. End result, 25% off MSRP. I'm pretty happy with that.

And so I present, our 2023 Jeep Gladiator:

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[continued below due to the limit on how many characters I can put in a single post]
 
We ended up buying it out of state and drove it about 600 miles home last weekend where it was below 0F most of the drive. I was expecting to hate my life after 600 miles of driving a soft top Jeep in a day. Did I mention the headwind for most of it? But the Jeep proved a remarkably competent highway vehicle, and kept the interior warm. I was even driving with a t-shirt and jeans most of the way without needing anything warmer. I tend to run warm, but that's impressive in about any vehicle. It's not our pick of cars for a highway trip, but at the end of the drive home we were both surprised at how comfortable it was. Our backs weren't hurting, I wasn't exhausted or even really all that fatigued.

This past week we've been driving it and really enjoying the thing. Laurie's Alfa is still a better road car and a way more fun driver, as you'd expect. My Ram has more utility and can haul bigger things, again, as you'd expect, and it's my preference for a long highway trip - it's more comfortable and the diesel just has the right power band. But the Jeep is a nice daily driver, easier to park, warms up quickly in this cold weather (without things like having to double clutch on upshifts because the transmission fluid is thicker than molasses). I figure it will be my primary 4-wheeled driver on days when I can't take the motorcycle. The kids hate the color (that's their problem) but are overall really liking it as well.

Complaints? Well of course I've got a few things I'd change - a surprise to no-one. The Punster V6 is a poor fit for this in just about every way, and was my last choice of drivetrains. Unfortunately it's also the only choice with the manual, so pick your poison. The engine isn't necessarily a bad one and, to my surprise, sounds pretty good at higher revs. The catch is that its torque peak is at 4800 RPM, horsepower peak at 6400 RPM, and both of those are way too high for the application. Below 3,000 it's truly gutless and you have to rev it to get power. Yet it's also geared pretty tall, and so on the highway you have about zero passing power. With 11.3:1 compression and tuned for regular unleaded, I'm guessing that the timing is severely retarded at low RPM and high loads, which leads to ridiculously poor fuel economy. The cold weather, winter blended fuel, and headwinds didn't help, but we were getting about 13 on the drive home at 72-75. That's not a typo. Yes I know I could've gone slower.

The transmission is decent and shifts surprisingly well in this cold weather, I'm sure it has exceedingly thin fluid in it (probably ATF). But, as is the case with any modern manual, the shift knob is heavily isolated from the transmission and so it's pretty rubbery and you can't feel the gears at all while shifting. B&M makes a solid shifter that I may upgrade to at some point, they have the same thing for the transfer case - reviews are good. It's still a pretty polar opposite shifting experience to my Ram.

The clutch operation is also polar opposite of the Ram. It's a feather light clutch and engages shortly off the ground. But the engine also has a very light rotating assembly and virtually no flywheel weight. Normally I like this combination, but it's not particularly well suited to a vehicle at this weight. I've gotten used to it but I did stall it a few times when first driving it, and I just about never stall manual transmissions. Incidentally, I'm guessing this is why they had a clutch recall (which had to be completed before we could take delivery), because I'm guessing a lot of people end up raving the thing too high and slipping the clutch too much to prevent stalling.

The transmission doesn't have a granny 1st gear or a crawler gear like you'd see in most pickups, and it's geared more like a standard 6-speed would be in a passenger car. This mainly means that low range ends up becoming a necessity for a lot of off-roading as I'd predict, and the Mojave has a 2.72:1 low range transfer case, as opposed to the 4:1 that's found in the Rubicon (more tuned towards rock crawling).

Not having power seats doesn't really bother me, but since my wife and I switch back and forth it is a bit less convenient to have to manually change everything rather than hit a button and have the seat, mirrors, etc. all move where they're supposed to. #firstworldproblems

For now, the Land Rover has the oil pan back on it and will be pushed outside under one of the shop overhangs until I get to it. The good part is that I have a lot of other things still on the engine that can be taken care of in the shop before I move forward on pulling the old 4.0 out of the Land Rover and swapping the diesel in. For now, I'll get the bus done, the RX-7 fully track worthy, finish up the Cobra, and generally keep moving forward on projects.
 
I always liked them, and seeing the modified ones around here(bigger tires and lifted usually) look even better.
 
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I always liked them, and seeing the modified ones around here(bigger tires and lifted usually) look even better.

That was one of the things we did like about the Mojave vs. the others. That extra inch (and 33" tires as opposed to the standard ones - I think they're 30s or 31s) does look a lot cooler.

Our first destination after picking it up we parked next to a Gladiator Sport. Ours looks cooler. :)
 
Ted, I stalled our Wrangler a handful of times until I got the knack. The Turbo diesel and manual would have been excellent. But not offered.
 
Ted, I stalled our Wrangler a handful of times until I got the knack. The Turbo diesel and manual would have been excellent. But not offered.

I would've paid the uncharge for the diesel if it could've been had with a manual. Else, I would've been happy with the 2.0L 4-cylinder. The power band on that suits the Jeep much better - we've had several of those in rentals.
 
Good to read that jeep is finally getting their s*** together in the quality department.

Several years ago I watched a show on the History channel. You know, "half funny individual travels the world in search of [insert item]", and this time the item was coffee beans.

One of the vehicles used was a quad cab, pickup bed jeep with a diesel and manual transmission - LONG before anything like that was offered in the US. I saw that and said "now that I would own".

A friend I used to work with moved across the country. Last time I talked to him he was driving a diesel jeep of some kind (I don't have the decoder ring for the names). He seemed happy with it, but it was still brand new.
 
I've always liked these and 25% off makes it much more attractive. At sticker price it's just too expensive. I am with you, the V6 is a horrible application in these. Even the slightest hill requires a down shift on the freeway. One of my good friends had a Mojave but traded it for a Rubicon. Main reason is he tows a small travel trailer and the Rubicon is geared better for that purpose. I test drove a 2 door Wrangler when they first came out and it was hard to keep in my lane on the highway. I heard they made a fix the following year and every Wrangler Unlimited I've had as a rental since then felt normal. The Turbo 4 is a better fit but it sounds like a tractor. The 4xe is probably ideal but the price is bonkers. Stellantes has really inflated the prices of their products but it seems like discounts are starting to come back. They are definitely more refined feeling on the inside than you'd expect.
 
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As I'm sure you already know from your previous towing adventures, make sure the dang thing is in neutral! At least once a year our fire department gets called for a vehicle fire from a Jeep (its always a Jeep) being towed behind an RV because they didn't. Eventually the transmission or transfer case overheats and burns it up.
 
I'm really curious to hear about your experience. We had a rental 4DR Wrangler Sport in Utah over Thanksgiving 2020. They gave us the option of a Gladiator, but when I peeked inside, it looked smaller than the Wrangler, so we went with the Wrangler. We took that Wrangler to places they really didn't intend for a street-tired no-lift Jeep to go and it did really well (I credit the driver skill as a contributing factor :D). As we're trying to get outdoors more, the 03 Wrangler that we have just isn't big enough for us, so we (99.9% me) are trying to decide what the best platform is going forward. Part of me wants to build out another Jeep - either Wrangler or Gladiator - but I'm not convinced they have the performance that the older Jeeps had. Part of me wonders if they have gone away from the "bullet proof, take any beating Jeep durability" to more of "soccer moms need more cupholders and purr like a kitten" focus.
 
Good to read that jeep is finally getting their s*** together in the quality department.
Stelantis management has been pushing a corporate wide improvement in quality across all their brands, which of course includes Jeep. We own three Stelantis vehicles between my Ram (a 2017), Laurie's Alfa (2022) and now the Gladiator. The Ram has been a good vehicle overall but it's the 1-ton truck so you'd expect that. The Alfa had an abysmal reputation for reliability. However the 2023 JD Power initial quality survey (which is based on 2022 vehicles) showed it jump 23 spots to #3 overall. That's right - Alfa Romeo #3 in initial quality for all makes sold in the USA.

You can (justifiably) debate the usefulness of any JD Power ranking, and the benefit of initial quality. But it is an indication that they've made improvements in the right direction. Our Alfa has only been to the shop for schedule services and overall has been trouble-free. Not what we expected.

In that same vein, the Gladiator was ranked #1 in initial quality for midsized pickup trucks. So, we'lls ee how it holds up. I'm told that at the very least that Pentastar V6 is supposed to hold up pretty well, even if it's a poor fit for the application and gets terrible gas mileage (in part because it's a terrible fit).

Several years ago I watched a show on the History channel. You know, "half funny individual travels the world in search of [insert item]", and this time the item was coffee beans.

One of the vehicles used was a quad cab, pickup bed jeep with a diesel and manual transmission - LONG before anything like that was offered in the US. I saw that and said "now that I would own".

A friend I used to work with moved across the country. Last time I talked to him he was driving a diesel jeep of some kind (I don't have the decoder ring for the names). He seemed happy with it, but it was still brand new.

If it's the US model it would be the Ecodiesel. I don't know a bunch about that, but as I understand it it's basically an Italian diesel engine. The specs on it are good, I've seen mixed reviews on quality but most first hand accounts are pretty positive. As with any modern diesel, the emissions equipment is generally the biggest problem on reliability.

As I'm sure you already know from your previous towing adventures, make sure the dang thing is in neutral! At least once a year our fire department gets called for a vehicle fire from a Jeep (its always a Jeep) being towed behind an RV because they didn't. Eventually the transmission or transfer case overheats and burns it up.

Oh yes, very aware of best practices for flat towing. I will say that the neutral in this is a bit less positive than it is in the Land Rover. In the Land Rover when you put the transfer case in Neutral, you can move the lever back and forth like a standard H-pattern manual transmission to confirm it's in Neutral. This one you can't do that, you then have to put it in gear and make sure you don't hear any noises. I can see where problems are more possible but I'm not concerned about it.
 
I'm really curious to hear about your experience. We had a rental 4DR Wrangler Sport in Utah over Thanksgiving 2020. They gave us the option of a Gladiator, but when I peeked inside, it looked smaller than the Wrangler, so we went with the Wrangler. We took that Wrangler to places they really didn't intend for a street-tired no-lift Jeep to go and it did really well (I credit the driver skill as a contributing factor :D). As we're trying to get outdoors more, the 03 Wrangler that we have just isn't big enough for us, so we (99.9% me) are trying to decide what the best platform is going forward. Part of me wants to build out another Jeep - either Wrangler or Gladiator - but I'm not convinced they have the performance that the older Jeeps had. Part of me wonders if they have gone away from the "bullet proof, take any beating Jeep durability" to more of "soccer moms need more cupholders and purr like a kitten" focus.

I think that the "They don't make 'em like they used to" tendency is strong. That said, I see a lot of these sorts of newer vehicles taking on some pretty significant off-road areas in some of the off-road shows I watch, and they actually do really well. Fuel injection is a huge bonus for off-roading compared to carburetors that may not deal with articulation angles well.

Like I said, we did in part choose the Mojave because of some of the beefier components out of the box compared to the Rubicon. The marketing material is that they did it so it would handle the heavier impacts from high-speed desert running. However when I see rock crawling and some of the insane angles and forces that those people put on stuff, I don't see that being any easier. The Rubicon has aluminum steering knuckles while the Mojave has cast iron, as an example. Basically the way we saw it was it's easier to bolt the Rubicon stuff to the Mojave than vice versa.

It's got Dana 44s front and rear which, while they may not be Dana 60s, 1-tons, or deuce and a half axles, are still pretty decent especially if you update the axle shafts. Lots of options there. Out of the box from what I can read I can put on 37s without a lift (maybe adding a leveling kit). The departure angle isn't great with the pickup bed but relocating the spare tire to the bed instead of underneath it helps a lot with that. Like anything, it depends on what you want to do, but I fail to see why this isn't a good starting point, having the benefit of not being a 40 year old Jeep built to 40-year-ago quality standards as set forth by AMC/Chrysler/whoever owned them back then.
 
I just bought a new Gladiator this past fall and I'm pretty happy with it. I went for the absolute base model Sport with minimal electronics, it even has hand cranked windows! Just less to fail. The only thing I couldn't get that I really wanted was the manual transmission, but they're pretty much unavailable with the recall (and the fix for the problem is pretty much "fix it knowing it'll break again after the warranty expires." But the 8 speed automatic is really a pretty good transmission.
 
I just bought a new Gladiator this past fall and I'm pretty happy with it. I went for the absolute base model Sport with minimal electronics, it even has hand cranked windows! Just less to fail. The only thing I couldn't get that I really wanted was the manual transmission, but they're pretty much unavailable with the recall (and the fix for the problem is pretty much "fix it knowing it'll break again after the warranty expires." But the 8 speed automatic is really a pretty good transmission.

There were two versions of the recall - the software "fix" that I don't think did much, and then the new clutch. Mine has a new clutch which is supposed to last longer. But it also has the manufacturers warranty and there's also a "lifetime powertrain warranty" for the first owner, which includes the clutch. So, I'm not too worried about it.

I agree, though, as far as autos go, that 8-speed is pretty good.
 
I rented a new Gladiator back in September and really liked it. The smiles per gallon ratio was quite high. Nice interior, solid handling, pretty good all around. Congratulations on the purchase!
 
Is it too early to discuss an LS swap?

Of course not! :)

Although they offer the 392 Hemi in the Wrangler Unlimited (along with the 2.0L Turbo 4) they only offer the Pentastar and the Ecodiesel in the Gladiator.

An aluminum LS would be a good option - not that much weight gain for a much better suited powerplant. But, this will also be staying (mostly) stock for a while. I'll probably replace these stock 33" tires with 35s or 37s when they wear out. Depending on how we use it it may get a gear swap. I've already ordered a steel front bumper, primarily because that makes for an easy way to hook up the tow bar.
 
I'll probably replace these stock 33" tires with 35s or 37s when they wear out. Depending on how we use it it may get a gear swap.
Put on 37s and you're gonna want a gear swap.

I haven't driven a Gladiator with the manual, but with the 8 speed auto the Pentastar is a pretty good match. I was pleasantly surprised to find that my Gladiator's 0-60 time is better than my old 280Z, which was considered no slouch back in the day. And the handling was far better than I expected... I sold my old CJ5 when I started making frequent 100 mile highway drives.
 
I always wanted a 2 door Wrangler. Dammit, you reminded me, and now I'm on Autotrader.

But seriously, congrats. Gladiator never quite appealed to me, but I can see how it would be a great fit for certain missions. And the name is marketing genius.
 
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I had a Gladiator as a rental back in November. Not my kind of vehicle, but I have friends that love them. I found that it did not do well on the highway in high winds. At least the one I was driving didn't. The rental place offered it to me again my last trip. I asked for something else. I'm sure you'll have fun with it though.
 
There have been quite a few articles over the past 6 months talking about the glut of Gladiators on dealer lots. Production over-estimated the total demand for the product, after it initially was debuted. Most every person who wanted one now has one, and there doesn't seem to be a ton of people cross-shopping the Gladiator with other mid-size trucks (probably due to how high-priced they were). So now Jeep is having to drop prices pretty drastically in order to move inventory. I don't personally love the looks of the Gladiator just because the proportions always seem "off", but it's a solid vehicle. I will say that the newer Wranglers and Gladiators handle/ride a TON better than the variants from the 90's and prior. Those ride like absolute dump trucks, and are about as noisy and uncomfortable as can be. I still miss the ol' 4.0L I-6 though, very distinct start-up/starter whine.
 
I had a Gladiator as a rental back in November. Not my kind of vehicle, but I have friends that love them. I found that it did not do well on the highway in high winds. At least the one I was driving didn't. The rental place offered it to me again my last trip. I asked for something else. I'm sure you'll have fun with it though.

I should definitely clarify that it surprised us how well it did on the highway... for a soft top Jeep. A normal car driving the way this one does would be met with far more criticism. But, as @SoonerAviator just posted, they're orders of magnitude better than earlier ones, and are at the point where you can legitimately use one as a normal vehicle (as well as off-road).
 
There have been quite a few articles over the past 6 months talking about the glut of Gladiators on dealer lots. Production over-estimated the total demand for the product, after it initially was debuted. Most every person who wanted one now has one, and there doesn't seem to be a ton of people cross-shopping the Gladiator with other mid-size trucks (probably due to how high-priced they were). So now Jeep is having to drop prices pretty drastically in order to move inventory. I don't personally love the looks of the Gladiator just because the proportions always seem "off", but it's a solid vehicle. I will say that the newer Wranglers and Gladiators handle/ride a TON better than the variants from the 90's and prior. Those ride like absolute dump trucks, and are about as noisy and uncomfortable as can be. I still miss the ol' 4.0L I-6 though, very distinct start-up/starter whine.

I agree that the proportions of the Gladiator do seem "off" and it generally doesn't look entirely right. I think some of that has to do with expectations of whta a Wrangler looks like (and even though this isn't a Wrangler, that is what people think of with a similar looking Jeep) and the rest has to do with parts bin engineering vs. really designing a vehicle to meet certain criteria.

For us, it works out. And it also makes me wonder if, in a couple decades time, these won't end up being higher value because they will have ended up being produced in lower numbers and thus be rarer. Not that I'm buying this for an investment, but it's an interesting thought.

I also agree, I really liked the personality of the 4.0L I6. It was a great engine in these Jeeps, got similar (bad) fuel economy, and had better low end torque. It's an engine mismatched to the application.
 
There have been quite a few articles over the past 6 months talking about the glut of Gladiators on dealer lots. Production over-estimated the total demand for the product, after it initially was debuted. Most every person who wanted one now has one, and there doesn't seem to be a ton of people cross-shopping the Gladiator with other mid-size trucks (probably due to how high-priced they were). So now Jeep is having to drop prices pretty drastically in order to move inventory. I don't personally love the looks of the Gladiator just because the proportions always seem "off", but it's a solid vehicle. I will say that the newer Wranglers and Gladiators handle/ride a TON better than the variants from the 90's and prior. Those ride like absolute dump trucks, and are about as noisy and uncomfortable as can be. I still miss the ol' 4.0L I-6 though, very distinct start-up/starter whine.
Trying to rational a niche vehicle like these is a lost cause. I mean the Tacoma is probably the worst modern vehicle in existence to drive yet they are still best sellers. Personally I think the Gladiator is better in every way compared to a Tacoma. The problem is they are compromised in an effort to keep the "Jeep" in it yet in stock form they aren't that great off road due to the long wheel base and overhangs. They are decent commuters but at their price point a Colorado/Canyon is better. If you want a top town off roader a Wrangler is just the better option. As you mentioned, the people that wanted a Wrangler with a bed have gotten theirs until a significant refresh comes out.
 
I agree that the proportions of the Gladiator do seem "off" and it generally doesn't look entirely right. I think some of that has to do with expectations of whta a Wrangler looks like (and even though this isn't a Wrangler, that is what people think of with a similar looking Jeep) and the rest has to do with parts bin engineering vs. really designing a vehicle to meet certain criteria.

For us, it works out. And it also makes me wonder if, in a couple decades time, these won't end up being higher value because they will have ended up being produced in lower numbers and thus be rarer. Not that I'm buying this for an investment, but it's an interesting thought.

I also agree, I really liked the personality of the 4.0L I6. It was a great engine in these Jeeps, got similar (bad) fuel economy, and had better low end torque. It's an engine mismatched to the application.
I think my issue on the appearance is just with the bed. Something about the bed rail height seems short, and the space between the cab and rear wheel arch is smaller than a typical truck. Most of that is just trying to fit the wheelbase constraints I'm sure, but it just looks funny. Either way it's a great fit for a Toad though. I bet you guys will have a blast with it.
 
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I think my issue on the appearance is just with the bed. Something about the bed rail height seems short, and the space between the cab and rear wheel arch is smaller than a typical truck. Most of that is just trying to fit the wheelbase constraints I'm sure, but it just looks funny. Either way it's a great fit for a Toad though. I bet you guys will have a blast with it.

Those have been my exact notes as well. The styling that people associate with Jeeps and the scaling/sizing requirements that come with a midsized pickup just don't work all that well together. That said, it's remarkably functional.
 
I have wanted a Jeep since I was very young. But as I get a little older I find I don't like them as much as I used to.

In Alaska the Jeep, any model, was a fun vehicle. In the summer.

Come the snow, Jeeps were the first vehicles to get stuck, and the coldest to be in. Since summer only last 100 days, It didn't make sense to me to have one.

My experience, Jeeps do fine in mud, not so well in snow. I should mention I am talking about off road snow and unplowed, unpaved roads. Plowed and well groomed paved roads are no problem.

Here in NM I watched in a older Wrangler try to get up a about 6% paved road with packed snow and ice. He had aggressive all terrain style street tires, 31X10 I believe. He just sat there spinning all 4 wheels. Because of a 90 degree turn right before the hill, he could not pick up speed to help get up the hill.

I had highway tread Michelin tires on my GMC 2500 4WD. I hooked him up to my tow strap and pulled him up the hill.

During the last winter storm here, I had to use 4WD in my truck to get in and out of the driveway. My wife, however, had no problem in her Outback...:blush:
 
I think the Gladiator looks great. But the functionality puzzles me a bit. A truck is a hauling machine first, a passenger vehicle second. Every now and then a manufacturer tries to reverse the formula by building a passenger vehicle with external hauling capability. Some have been niche successes but none have lasted.

Chevy Avalanche
Ford Explorer Sport Trac
Honda Ridgeline
El Camino
 
I think the Gladiator looks great. But the functionality puzzles me a bit. A truck is a hauling machine first, a passenger vehicle second. Every now and then a manufacturer tries to reverse the formula by building a passenger vehicle with external hauling capability. Some have been niche successes but none have lasted.

Chevy Avalanche
Ford Explorer Sport Trac
Honda Ridgeline
El Camino
Funny thing is, excluding the Ridgeline all the rest are making a comeback in a way. They were just ahead of their time. The new EV Silverado has the Avalanche mid gate. The Sport Trac is essentially what every midsize truck is now. The El Camino is the Ford Maverick. The Avalanche was an amazing vehicle that is really the ideal every day truck. Problem was at it's launch people either wanted a truck to do truck things, or an suv to do suv things. Now everyone wants a truck to do everything which is what the Avalanche was. I bought a used Cadillac EXT and to this day has been my favorite vehicle. It rode amazingly and could be configured for any need. Drop the mid gate and keep the cover on for hauling lumber or drywall. Remove the cover and haul dirtbikes. I put my dirty gear inside one of the bed boxes and used the other side as a cooler. I could take my kayak places without needing to tie it down or worry about it getting stolen. I once hauled a big piece of furniture by dropping the mid gate and taking out the back glass with the tailgate up. The Cadillac had the load leveling rear suspension and 6.0 so it towed much better than your average 1/2 ton yet rode as good as an SUV.
 
My experience, Jeeps do fine in mud, not so well in snow. I should mention I am talking about off road snow and unplowed, unpaved roads. Plowed and well groomed paved roads are no problem.
Much of that is the tires. Jeeps tend to have AT Tires. The operator thinks the aggressive tread will make it effective on snow. But if the rubber compound is formulated for summer, it will get rock hard in winter and have no grip.

Trucks and SUVs tend to have all-weather tires. A Jeep with all weather tires will be just as effective as any 4WD truck with comparable equipment (locking diffs, etc).
 
I have wanted a Jeep since I was very young. But as I get a little older I find I don't like them as much as I used to.

In Alaska the Jeep, any model, was a fun vehicle. In the summer.

Come the snow, Jeeps were the first vehicles to get stuck, and the coldest to be in. Since summer only last 100 days, It didn't make sense to me to have one.

My experience, Jeeps do fine in mud, not so well in snow. I should mention I am talking about off road snow and unplowed, unpaved roads. Plowed and well groomed paved roads are no problem.

Here in NM I watched in a older Wrangler try to get up a about 6% paved road with packed snow and ice. He had aggressive all terrain style street tires, 31X10 I believe. He just sat there spinning all 4 wheels. Because of a 90 degree turn right before the hill, he could not pick up speed to help get up the hill.

I had highway tread Michelin tires on my GMC 2500 4WD. I hooked him up to my tow strap and pulled him up the hill.

During the last winter storm here, I had to use 4WD in my truck to get in and out of the driveway. My wife, however, had no problem in her Outback...:blush:

I have no experience with Alaska, and minimal experience with Jeeps in snow. That said there is definitely a question of weight, tire choice, and some other dynamics within that. The theory I've always heard is that a heavier vehicle with skinnier tires will do better in snow since it'll push through the snow and end up getting better traction. Jeeps tend to be lighter and have bigger tires which work against that, and those tires tend to be more ATs rather than anything intended for snow use. So far, I've been surprised how well this Jeep is doing in snow (which we've had a lot of).

My best winter vehicle of all time was my 3000GT VR-4 (all wheel drive). I kept a separate set of wheels with studded snow tires on them, which were 235s instead of the 255s it ran on the stock wheels. That thing was a lot of fun in that weather.

I think the Gladiator looks great. But the functionality puzzles me a bit. A truck is a hauling machine first, a passenger vehicle second. Every now and then a manufacturer tries to reverse the formula by building a passenger vehicle with external hauling capability. Some have been niche successes but none have lasted.

Chevy Avalanche
Ford Explorer Sport Trac
Honda Ridgeline
El Camino

The wants of consumers often have more to do with appearance and image than with practicality, hence why so many Wrangler mall crawlers are sold. Nowadays you're seeing a ton of F-150s with the mini-bed, which I think is actually shorter than the bed I have in the Gladiator. I think the mid-sized crew cab pickups with a simialr bed length end up meeting the needs of most buyers better.

My wife had an Avalanche when we met. I really never liked how that thing drove but she loved it. I far prefer how the Jeep drives although the Avalanche was a better highway vehicle.
 
That said there is definitely a question of weight, tire choice, and some other dynamics within that.

Correct, proper tires for the road conditions definitely can make a difference. I have always thought a light weight vehicle would not be the best choice on packed snow and ice. I think the weight of my truck was an advantage. Packed snow and ice provide better traction than plain ice, but wide tires on a light weight vehicle seem to be at a disadvantage.

In Texas one day I was doing 20 on an black ice road when a Jeep with Colorado plates passed me at about 35. I watched him enter the next curve, but he went straight off the road and into the ditch. Another person that thought 4WD was king of the ice road. :lol:
 
Correct, proper tires for the road conditions definitely can make a difference. I have always thought a light weight vehicle would not be the best choice on packed snow and ice. I think the weight of my truck was an advantage. Packed snow and ice provide better traction than plain ice, but wide tires on a light weight vehicle seem to be at a disadvantage.

In Texas one day I was doing 20 on an black ice road when a Jeep with Colorado plates passed me at about 35. I watched him enter the next curve, but he went straight off the road and into the ditch. Another person that thought 4WD was king of the ice road. :lol:

Back in college my first car was a 1982 Jaguar XJ-S V12. Considered a horrible car in snow. I passed lots of Jeeps in ditches, while I never had a single issue. While I suspect the Jaguar had a significant driver upgrade compared to many of those Jeeps, it also had a limited slip rear and good all season tires (not winter, but still had a good snow rating and good tread). The tires were 225 width as I recall. Not wide at all by today's standards for a 4,000 lb car.

Actually my '69 Fleetwood Series 75 with a 472 also did quite well in snow. Fairly skinny tires and a 6,000 lb car. It was hilarious to pack my whole hall in it and then do donuts in the parking lot.
 
Correct, proper tires for the road conditions definitely can make a difference. I have always thought a light weight vehicle would not be the best choice on packed snow and ice. I think the weight of my truck was an advantage. Packed snow and ice provide better traction than plain ice, but wide tires on a light weight vehicle seem to be at a disadvantage.

In Texas one day I was doing 20 on an black ice road when a Jeep with Colorado plates passed me at about 35. I watched him enter the next curve, but he went straight off the road and into the ditch. Another person that thought 4WD was king of the ice road. :lol:
Also has to do with weight distribution over the drive wheels. In the old days I used to go to home depot every winter, buy 500 pounds of bagged sand, and place it over the rear axle in my RWD Chevy S-10. Never had a problem getting around in Mass and Colorado Springs.
 
Much of that is the tires. Jeeps tend to have AT Tires. The operator thinks the aggressive tread will make it effective on snow. But if the rubber compound is formulated for summer, it will get rock hard in winter and have no grip.

Trucks and SUVs tend to have all-weather tires. A Jeep with all weather tires will be just as effective as any 4WD truck with comparable equipment (locking diffs, etc).

Yeah, any vehicle equipped with those giant mud tires is treacherous in snow or ice.
 
My CJ5 with mud or AT tires did very well in the snow. It never got stuck in deep snow, but its short wheelbase meant you had to be careful on hard packed snow. My new Gladiator hasn't seen enough snow yet for me to have an opinion.

I think the Gladiator looks great. But the functionality puzzles me a bit. A truck is a hauling machine first, a passenger vehicle second. Every now and then a manufacturer tries to reverse the formula by building a passenger vehicle with external hauling capability. Some have been niche successes but none have lasted.

The majority of pickups are bought by people who rarely if ever haul anything that wouldn't fit in the back of a SUV... and most Jeeps are purchased by people who never take them off the pavement.

My Gladiator is my daily driver, I use it to haul lumber and building materials when needed (including 4X8 sheets of plywood with the tailgate locked halfway down), I can get into the woods on rough forest roads (like to the cabin in the winter), I can open the convertible top on nice days, I like the way it looks, and I like the way it drives (it handles like I expect a Jeep to handle), and it's still civilized on the highway (unlike my CJ5). But for a person who doesn't want all those things there are probably better choices.
 
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The majority of pickups are bought by people who rarely if ever haul anything that wouldn't fit in the back of a SUV...

Plenty of posers driving lifted diesel 4x4 F250's to accounting jobs, to be sure. But also plenty of farmers, ranchers, carpenters, HVAC, yard guys, commercial fishermen, etc using them mainly as a tool for work. Which demographic is the majority probably depends on where you live. The first market wouldn't exist without the second.

The Gladiator market is probably just what you described. Hard core weekend warriors (hence the name) who sometimes do light work. Seems perfect for that.
 
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