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Jeep based the Gladiator on the Wrangler, only lengthening the wheelbase and tacking on a 5-foot bed for the new pickup truck. That means the Gladiator inherited the Wrangler's weaknesses, but it has many likable traits as well.
Drawbacks of the 2021 Jeep Gladiator
You'd expect a Jeep to provide impressive handling since the company designs off-road vehicles. Instead, you get slow steering whether off-road or driving on the streets.
According to Consumer Reports, even on a test track, you’ll need a lot of arm strength to control the truck and it takes corners poorly. It’s also tough for the driver and front passenger to get in or out of the Gladiator.
You won't be able to sit comfortably in the driver's seat because of its flat design and the lack of a left footrest. You'll also constantly rub against the door's hinges.
Jeep placed the Gladiator's window controls in an odd spot under the center screen. Operating them from this hard-to-reach area is the only way to remove the vehicle's doors.
While you can opt for a soft or hardtop, neither of them silences the wind noise when you drive at highway speeds.
Some consumers reported drivetrain problems that crop up just months into ownership, as reported by CarComplaints.com. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) received 11 reports of passenger side rear axle seal failure resulting in leakage of axle fluid onto the brakes, which could cause brake failure.
What's good about the Gladiator?
The Jeep Gladiator has its good points too. Its rear suspension comes from the Ram 1500, also a part of its family tree. It provides a more comfortable ride than the Wrangler, especially when off-roading.
The Gladiator’s 3.6-liter V-6 engine offers superior acceleration and good towing capacity. In terms of fuel efficiency, it doesn’t beat out the Cherokee with 31 mpg on the highway, but it rivals other trucks on the market. It offers the same fuel economy on the highway as Ford or Dodge trucks at 23 mpg.
You'll also get a roomy cabin. You can sit upright while driving, rather than low to the floor like other compact trucks.
The truck's infotainment system and driver-assist features are easy to use. You can add option packages to access adaptive cruise control, blind-spot warning, and forward-collision warning.
The Jeep Gladiator provides a damped tailgate that slowly lowers to make it safer to use. For 2021, you can now get a full-time four-wheel drive with any trim you choose.
Is the Jeep Gladiator worth it?
The Gladiator is on the more expensive side, and you have to pay extra for advanced safety features. If you’re looking for more affordability, you might want to shop around for other trucks. If you’ve got your mind set on a Gladiator, Consumer Reports recommends going for the Sport S package.
The Sport S gets you automatic headlights, power windows and locks, a locking tailgate, and remote keyless entry. The optional Active Safety Group will add important safety features, including blind-spot warning, rear parking sensors/assistant, and rear cross-traffic warning. It’s also worth getting the Forward Collision Warning group for automatic emergency braking and all-speed FCW.
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