It’s time to put the new 2020 Jeep Gladiator against the best midsize off-road pickup on the market: the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison.
We catch up with The Fast Lane Truck in Moab, Utah for this off-road performance between a brand new Jeep Gladiator Rubicon and the top-of-the-line Colorado ZR2 Bison. Both are marketed as pickup trucks for the great outdoors, but only one can come away with the title of the best midsize off-road pickup.
Starting with the engines, the Gladiator comes with a 3.6-L Pentastar V6 with 285 hp and 260 lb-ft. Power goes through an 8-speed automatic to all four wheels, although a 6-speed manual is available.
The Bison comes in either a 3.6-L V6 or a 2.8-L Duramax turbodiesel, which is the version that TFLT brought for testing today. It gets 181 hp, 369 lb-ft of torque, and comes mated to a 6-speed manual.
Both trucks have front and rear-locking differentials. Both trucks have fancy suspension, with the Gladiator getting Fox internal bypass shocks and the Bison having Multimatic DSSV spool valve damping shocks. Both have plenty of skid plates, although the Bison’s are made with boron steel and are significantly thicker than the Gladiator’s. This allows the Bison to weather punishment that would otherwise cause a truck owner to cringe.
In the testing of breakover, departure, and approach angles, both pickups got pretty banged up. The Gladiator bent a rear tow hook, while the Bison’s large exhaust picked up a few dings and scratches, not to mention both front and rear skid plates. The difference is that the Bison driver seemed to not care thanks to its armor plating.
The Bison has the superior torque for an off-roader, but neither pickup had any difficulty getting around the rocky terrain. At one point, the Gladiator was forced to go around a large divot that the Bison did not, but the Bison scraped both front and rear skid plates on another rock where the Gladiator did not.
Both pickups certainly earned their off-road cred, but we have to give it to the Bison for its devil-may-care attitude. All that armor plating really does come in handy when traveling over sharp rocks.