The Gladiator transforms the iconic Wrangler into a pickup truck, using a longer wheelbase and adding a 5-foot bed. Not surprisingly, it shares many of the Wrangler's strengths and weaknesses. But where the Wrangler falls short of modern SUV standards, the Gladiator pulls it off as a competitive small truck with a unique character.
The distinction here is that the Gladiator competes in a class dominated by lackluster competitors, and it also has a couple of key advantages. Most significantly, it uses a rear suspension derived from its corporate cousin, the impressive Ram 1500. That gives the Gladiator a better ride than the Wrangler and rivals such as the Ford Ranger and Toyota Tacoma. And the Gladiator carries over Jeep-caliber off-road skills.
The only engine for now is a 3.6-liter V6 mated to either a six-speed manual or a smooth eight-speed automatic transmission. Matched with the automatic, the Gladiator has some serious oomph and decent towing capacity. Fuel economy is not stellar, but it is on par with competitors.