I have a small obsession with Jeep and I have for years now, as a European when I would see a Jeep Grand Cherokee I’d have a split opinion, one was that it was too big and ridiculous for our finely tuned European roads, with the second being that I’d only want the V8 version which would drink petrol faster than my Grandmother drinks her cider.
Sorry Nan, secrets out but I still love you.
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Once I moved here to Mexico, the size and petrol issue wasn’t the same, now the Jeep line of cars seem to small compared with any other SUV you can purchase for the same price and similarly under powered by comparison, especially because there is nothing more powerful than the V6 available.
In order to gain a little suspense, i think it’s best I begin with the history of this Jeep pickup which is the first of the Gladiator marque since 1988. Like the new Gladiator which is based on the current Wranger the original 1963 Gladiator was based on their Wagoneer SJ platform which was available just your typical pickup truck. This platform had an incredibly long life and ran for 26 years, even giving way to being the first of the civilian cars which were converted for military use instead of the other way around.
This truck ran from 1963 until 1988 and had a variation of uses and engines, it was used as a regular pickup and later as a camper among other things, it also went from just offering a straight six and to having a roaring 5.4 liter V8. It was a utility vehicle the same as say a Chevrolet Silverado or something else in that category, only it was smaller.
This leads me on to the reasons I really want a Jeep Gladiator but I strongly believe buying one is a terrible idea and I’m going to start with the bad so I can end with the good because I truly, honestly and really, love this pickup.
Let’s start with the obvious, it’s a pickup truck however you can’t get the bed in a configuration more than 5ft, which I know is more than enough for it’s competitors as this is a mid range pickup however if you wanted a pickup which would carry a serious amount of weight you can get the entry level Dodge Ram for the same price (more or less) as the Jeep Gladiator and that is a far more capable truck. Even better you could purchase a Toyota Tacoma which is in this Mid-Size Pickup range and will cost you less, however as I will touch on later, it’ll still be a Tacoma.
The second point is power, which more or less carries over the same point as the previous one, this truck only comes in a V6 configuration which is not extremely powerful. It’s more than enough for the LA trust fund baby trying to show off to his friends with his cool looking truck. However if you’re like me and occasionally overload your truck or use it to tow all of the print versions of the Drivetribe posts you’ve carried for the next year to post to friends because you’re basically Jeremy Clarkson if things hadn’t worked so well, then an entry level Dodge Ram would have been more powerful and capable also.
The engine isn’t that bad at all, it is a a 280 bhp 3.6 Liter Pentastar V6, which will tow a good amount, 3200 kg while carrying 770 kg. It just won’t stand up against something in the full size pickup range which you could pick up for similar money. Also its 0-60 time is 7.2 seconds, not exactly quick.
In terms of comfort, if you’re tall, this car isn’t for you as the seat can’t be adjusted enough and unless you’re keeping the roof off the entire time it’s not going to have the head room for anyone over six feet. On top of that the materials and the design is built for someone who would use it as if it was a Land Rover Defender, everything is waterproof and ready for serious off road action, which leads me to my next point which is that there are a million other more capable off-road vehicles that you could buy in this price range, especially if you’re willing to buy something that is 3-4 years old.
Now please disregard everything I said above, the reason being that there are a tonne of other options in its class and its price range that make much more sense to buy. If your accountant or anyone for that matter has advised you to buy this truck they need to be fired or shot immediately. This pickup should be bought for the same reason someone buys a sports car after a long divorce, it makes you feel amazing.
Starting with the looks, it looks about $20,000 more expensive than it is, this thing is absolutely stunning and I think if they ever make another Jurassic Park and this vehicle is not included I will personally run the director over in one of these purely for the Fox News irony factor. It is hard not to turn your head when one of these comes by.
Following on from the looks, is the cool factor, which is obvious from the outset and it’s the reason you should buy one. The Jeep Wrangler is the same, it’s a perfectly usable SUV, however you can take the roof off and drive it like you were an ongoing character in the O.C. back when that show was great! It wasn’t great? Really? Seth was….oh it doesn’t matter, it’s a very cool car.
The new Jeep Gladiators grill has slightly widened slots in it to allow for better air flow while towing, the spare tire is mounted underneath the chassis and other than that, it looks exactly the same as the Wrangler, which is good.
THE UGLY TRUTH
Residuals. Finally there is one area where this truck actually makes sense. They hold their value reasonably well compared to their competitors and this means if you had a midlife crisis and bought one now they would still have the same value in three years as the surgical procedure that made your wife leave you for Pedro the guitar instructor, causing this mid life crisis in the first place. Most of your money.
Also let’s be honest, someone who needs a full size pickup won’t even look at this and someone who needs a mid-size pickup, will go for a cheaper option. This truck will be bought for how cool it is. Nothing more. It is essentially, a jack of all trades and a master of fun.