Jeep Fight: What Sets the Gladiator and Wrangler Apart?

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By Brian Normile

Jeep's 2020 Gladiator pickup made its official debut at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show — following rounds of speculation and tons of spy photos — and, yes, it looks like a four-door Wrangler with a pickup bed. (That's not a complaint.) So how different are the two vehicles?

Related: More 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show Coverage

We'll leave the two-door Wrangler out of these comparisons for now, since there isn't a comparable two-door or regular-cab Gladiator at this time.

Basic Measurements

To add the pickup bed, Jeep added almost 20 inches to the four-door Wrangler's wheelbase — the Gladiator's wheelbase measures at 137.3 inches, while a four-door Wrangler's is 118.4. That pushes overall length for the Gladiator out to 218 inches, almost 30 inches more than the four-door Wrangler's 188.4. Width is identical, making it harder to know which one is about to hit you head on: Both are 73.8 inches across regardless of trim.

The Gladiator is slightly taller, however, and its height varies depending on trim and top style — yes, the convertible pickup is back! Soft-top Gladiators are either 76.1 inches tall in Rubicon trim or 75 inches tall in all other trim styles. Hardtop versions are all shorter, although the Rubicon is again taller at 74.1 inches instead of 73.1. For the Wrangler, height measures 73.6 inches regardless of trim or top.

The Gladiator also weighs more. Sport models tip the scales at 4,672 pounds with an automatic transmission; six-speed manual versions shed 22 pounds for a weight of 4,650. The same transmission difference applies to other trims as well. Overland models weigh either 4,742 or 4,720 pounds, and Rubicon models weigh either 5,072 or 5,050 pounds. All weights are with the 3.6-liter V-6 engine.

The four-door Wrangler weighs 4,320 pounds in Sport trim with the turbocharged 2-liter four-cylinder engine and automatic transmission. The same trim with the 3.6-liter V-6 weighs 4,200 pounds with the automatic transmission and 4,215 with the manual. Weights for Sahara models only differ by engine configuration: 4,380 pounds with the turbo four and 4,345 with the V-6. The situation is the same for the Rubicon: 4,485 pounds with the turbo four and 4,455 with the V-6.

Key Off-Road Measurements

Here's where things really get interesting. The Wrangler is one of the best off-road vehicles you can drive right off the dealership lot and onto the trails. What about the Gladiator?

Ground clearance is slightly better for the Gladiator; Sport and Overland trims sit 10 inches above the ground while the Rubicon gets 11.1 inches of ground clearance. On the Wrangler, meanwhile, it's 9.7 inches for Sport models, 10 inches for Sahara trims and 10.8 inches for the Rubicon.

Front and rear overhangs differ as well. The Gladiator has a front overhang of 29.7 inches, a half-inch longer than the Wrangler's 29.2; not much of a difference there. In back, however, the Gladiator has close to a foot more than the Wrangler: 51 inches versus 40.8.

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The extra ground clearance for the Gladiator helps create some solid approach, departure and breakover angles. Approach angles for the Gladiator are 40.8 degrees for Sport and Overland models, and 43.4 for the Rubicon. Breakover angles follow the same pattern: 18.4 degrees for Sport and Overland, 20.3 for Rubicon. Departure angles are also identical for Sport and Overland models at 25 degrees; in the Rubicon, it's 26.

The Wrangler, however, with its shorter wheelbase, length and overhangs bests all of these numbers. Approach/breakover/departure angles for four-door Sport models are 41.4/20.3/36.1 degrees; in Sahara models they're 41.8/21/36.1 degrees; and in the Rubicon, 43.9/22.6/37 degrees.

Towing and Hauling

The Gladiator may not have quite the same abilities to tackle off-road obstacles, but it can certainly carry more goodies to the trailhead or park.

Jeep lists the Wrangler's max towing capacity as 3,500 pounds regardless of trim. Payload capacity for Sport models is 1,000 pounds, 880 for Sahara models and 892 for Rubicons. Gross combined weight ratings — which Jeep calculates at base weight plus max trailer weight plus a 150-pound driver (ha) — are 8,117 pounds for Sport models, 10,836 for Saharas and 11,063 for Rubicons.

The Gladiator is far less single-serving than its SUV sibling and is also available with a Max Towing Package. Towing capacities for the Sport model start at 4,000 pounds with the six-speed manual and 3.73:1 axle ratio. The automatic transmission with the same axle ratio bumps it up to 4,500 pounds. Switching to a 4.10:1 axle ratio — only available with the automatic — increases the max trailer weight to 6,000 pounds. Adding the Max Towing Package — only on the Sport — ups the max trailer weight to 7,650 pounds.

Overland models are only available with the 3:73:1 axle ratio. Manual-transmission models have a max trailer weight of 4,000 pounds and automatics can pull up to 6,000 pounds. Rubicon models, with the standard 4.10:1 axle ratio, can tow 4,500 or 7,000 pounds depending on manual or automatic transmission.

Related: 2020 Jeep Gladiator Brings Adventure to Mid-Size Class

Payload capacities also differ depending on trim, transmission and axle ratio. Manual Sport models with the 3:73:1 ratio can carry the most payload at 1,600 pounds. Automatic 3.73:1 and 4.10:1 Sport models can carry 1,105 pounds. Adding the Max Towing Package ups carrying capacity to 1,535 pounds.

Overland models can carry either 1,140 or 1,120 pounds with the manual or automatic transmissions. Rubicon models can carry 1,200 pounds with the manual transmission and 1,160 pounds with the automatic.

Using the same formula as the Wrangler, GCWR ratings for Sport models are 9,100 pounds for manual-equipped 3.73:1 models, 9,650 for automatics. The 4.10:1 models can handle either 11,100 pounds or 12,800 with the Max Towing Package. Overland models have a GCWR or 9,100 or 11,100 pounds in manual or automatic configurations. Rubicon models are rated at 10,000 or 12,450 pounds with the manual or automatic. graphic by Paul Dolan; manufacturer images


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If only that 3.0 diesel were known to go a quarter million miles like the Jeep straight 6 engine was. It really hurts a brand to bring out a failure even if they fix it up eventually. I personally wouldn’t buy any other mid size truck on the market...

New Jeep Gladiator cost $35k between $45k.

Unlike the 4-door Wrangler, you can't sleep in the Gladiator's box...

218 inches long plus a 6' 4" bed option from the RAM1500, ie additional 16" overall, would still fit in a 235" standard garage. Sleep as long as you like.

Barely fit. That U shaped horizontal 20' long piece of sheet metal on roll up garage door would rub the rear bumper for sure. Probably could replace the U shaped with a piece of 20' x 1.5" x 1/4" long solid flat cold rolled steel.?

It's the same yuppie vehicle for liberals that h a t e our nation!


medication is available. And get a thesaurus while you're at it.

@ papajim,

Only a L iberal responds in the manner you just did!

Craziest thing I ever heard; "yuppy liberal nation haters" . My US Marine Colonel drives a Wrangler. My friend that was a Blue Angle drives a Jeep. I love my country and love my Jeep. Oxi, you obviously have a very small mind and need to stay in your encampment before the FBI comes to take your stockpiled weapons away.

Interesting, You can see the cost cutting in the rear doors. To cheap to make a different door for the pickup that is straight so they use the back doors from the Wrangler which have the angle for the wheel wells. Looks funny since the wheel wells are about two feet rearward on the pickup.


medication is available. And get a thesaurus while you're at it.

Posted by: papajim | Dec 1, 2018 4:37:58 AM

that is the same as the pot calling the kettle black you phucking hypocrite

I take a lot of meds but my mind is sharp as a razor, and as for a thesaurus (I've never needed one).

So Mr Drools, admit it. Until you looked it up you thought a thesaurus was some kind of prehistoric lizard, didn't you...


I love Government Motors.

Government First.


“ @papajim,

Only a L iberal responds in the manner you just did!

Posted by: oxi | Dec 1, 2018 9:35:27 AM “

Not that I defend PapaJoke....

But a Liberal buys a Toyota

Its pretty awesome Jeep came out with something that can tow quite a bit of weight, but I wonder if the traditional jeep fans will like this or not. Only time will tell...

Add some Jeep bed boxes for your Rifles and poles. Perfect ranch hunting vehicle. Angler rig to the beach or Ranch pond,river.

You are correct I don’t know what it is, i didn’t come to a truck site worried about a thesaurus, get topic you phucking hypocrite

I would say 2 of the most interesting differences have to do with the axles of the non-Rubicon models. All JTs get front and rear Dana 44s, while the JL has smaller axles. Further, the HD tow package offers the same gears and wider track (helps with tire rub) as the Rubicon.

Jeep did a great job on this. I think that if the goal was a winning compromise of Wrangler capability with pickup utility, then they met that goal. There’s already a bigger aftermarket for this platform than any other midsize pickup out there.


Every make has its liberal followers and every make has their 0% liberals!

With Toyota, the Tacoma and Tundra are 0% liberal!

@ papajim,

Government first? You are a globalist, 1984 liberal follower!

Sorry, but LIBERTY comes first and that means LESS government in our lives and LESS taxation, something liberals are opposite of because they speak in the same voice, no dissent like N a z i's!

We need less government and a government that respects the Constitution and Bill of Rights!


this site is dedicated to trucks. Please act like it. Your sermons are wasted on a cracker like me.

I see FIAT decided to re-use the rear door from the wrangler instead of having a new fuller door. That's pretty cheap. There's a huge blank spot that just looks like they forgot something.

@ papjim,

I win!

Win. You win what? Your Tacoma has NOTHING on this Jeep truck. The Jeep will crush Tacoma sales. C-R-U-S-H

VERY DISAPPOINTED - no extended cab with a longer bed - tired hearing about this as a "lifestyle" vehicle - oh brother - just provide a bed longer than 60 inches!!!

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@ papajim,

I win against you and your l iberal h a t e agenda like all liberals who h a t e our nation!

Tacoma is the industry best midsize truck. This Jeep is a yuppie vehicle at best, not gong to be a huge seller! Get real, l iberal!


So, your generic toilet paper outsells mine? Big deal. The Tacoma is toast.

Consumers have something better than a A-B choice now.

Soon there will be a new Nissan truck too. Consumers will have a A-B-C-D choice list.

Your liberal/conservative riff makes you sound like an illiterate clown. Everybody but you already knows it.

@oxi--All those liberal GIs during WW II that drove Jeeps. Jeep is about the most American vehicle on the road and Jeep evokes very deep feelings of patriotism. You wouldn't know a real liberal if you tripped over them.

@ Jeff s,

According to liberal logic, that war was r acist against Germans and Japanese! Liberals do not care about the past, that is why liberals equate Obama doing more for our nation than George Washington. That is how pathetic liberals are, they place their petty issues ahead of our nation, that is flag, Liberty and the Bill of Rights for starters!

Liberals are destroying this nation!

The Soviets did not use Jeeps, so your argument is rather shallow considering most of WWII was fought between Berlin and Moscow, or do you not read history much?

@ papajim,

November sales numbers show Tacoma up 22% again!

This yuppie Ridgeline Jeep pickup will not push the sales envelope much, thus customers will buy other small pickups because they trust those smaller pickups to get work done!

"Your liberal/conservative riff makes you sound like an illiterate clown. Everybody but you already knows it."


Amen, you assessment of oxi is on target.

No one is going to buy this ugly thing. It's a piece of crap.

@ Jeff s,

Only a h ateful liberal goes behind the back to make comments because you are a typical progressive that seeks more government over our lives!

The Soviets did not use Jeeps, so your argument is rather shallow


By dumb luck you've stumbled onto a topic that I've studied for more than 20 years. You are right, the Russians did not use Jeeps.

The Russian army used bolt action 30 caliber rifles and leather boots. If the German forces in the east had not been so misled by their idiot commanders in Berlin, they would have sent millions more Russian soldiers to the grave. Germany's vast superiority in weapons, cavalry and training was utterly wasted by politicians who didn't know which end of the horse to put the saddle on.

German soldiers held on to photos of their families in hopes of someday seeing them again. The Russian soldiers knew there was no hope---their officers were ordered to shoot them if they showed the slightest weakness in battle.

Kind of like the latest Tacoma. Overwhelmed by the competition and holding no hope.

Weak offroad, weak on the boulevard and pathetic on the highway.

@ papajim,

So why were Tacoma sales up 22% in November again?

So much for the competition and Tacoma's do well off-road, hence the largest aftermarket segment for any mid-sized truck!

I hope you read that the Allies first victory was on October 28, 1940 and it was by a nation you would never think of as claiming the first victory!

Sorry Oxi, but a single month of Tacoma sales hardly qualifies as a trend. If your % increase figure is based on beating last November's number, it ain't that big a deal.

Your WW2 story regards a couple of third-tier players and the win by the Greeks while nice subject-matter for an annual remembrance day in those parts, does not really rank alongside the fierce battles of that era.

The fact that Nazis got hung up fighting in Cypress (or was it Crete?) the following year meant that Hitler's eastern invasion got off to a late start and spelled doom for hundreds of thousands of top Wehrmacht enlisted men and field commanders. Even today you find K98s that were Russian captured in those battles at gun shows. That was a battle of some consequence!

@ papajim,

You do realize Tacoma sales are up throughout 2018!

The small Greek victory in 1940 delayed the German invasion plans into Russia enough to make the brutal Russian winter lay havoc upon German units later on.

H itler had to send precious units to the Balkans (Serbia was on our side while Albanians were not) as a result of this Greek victory and that took enough time to delay this Russian invasion. That by in itself is one of the major turning points of the war in Europe. Battle of Stalingrad being the single most important and then Normandy landings and so forth

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