With the announcement of the all new Gladiator, Ford seems to be facing fierce competition from Jeep in the midsize pickup truck segment. In previous years, there was less debate on which manufacturer to turn to when in need of a reliable American pickup, but now Jeep seems ready to give Ford a run for its money.
Visibly based off of the Wrangler, the new (and larger) Gladiator is Jeep's answer to those looking to add some more cargo capacity to their Jeep. Its rival? The all new 2019 Ford Ranger. Although both these cars are competing for the same niche, they couldn't be more different. In this article we will offer a comprehensive comparison of the two cars through all relevant criteria, making the purchasing decision based on personal needs an easy one. Enjoy.
8 Exterior Design
If you're a fan of Jeep's timeless and rugged good looks, you'll love the Gladiator. Trademark to the Jeep brand, it comes optioned with no top, a black soft top, or a black hard top. Perhaps better suited to more adventurous drivers, the "no top" option will render the Gladiator roofless, as well as completely doorless, along with a foldable windshield. Although it shares many components with the Wrangler, the new Gladiator features a larger front grille and a more massive frame. Compared to the Ranger, it is actually eight inches longer, despite having a smaller rear bed.
Although still aesthetic and refined, the new Ranger model did not exactly reinvent the wheel when it comes to the design. The Gladiator may offer more ground clearance in comparison to the Ranger, but the Ranger compensates with a larger rear bed as an option. And while it may not offer the visual distinguishment of the Gladiator, some may still count its sleek linear design with metal bumpers and large headlights a benefit.
7 Interior Design
Depending on whom you ask, the Ranger has a more beautiful and more luxurious interior than the Gladiator. But, it's also a more common one. The Gladiator, on the other hand, takes up a more adventurous approach with its colored trim and playful interior design.
For the front passengers, the Ranger is definitely the more comfortable and roomy option. However, rear passengers will have a much better time in the Gladiator as it offers four inches more legroom than the largest Ranger along with a removable top option for those warm sunny days.
Ford cites the baseline model Ranger as a four-seater, with an option for five seats. This is not the case with the Jeep which comes baseline with five seats and more sitting room on the rear bench. Both vehicles come standard with additional useful features such as climate control, foldable rear seats, and productivity displays.
6 Bed Size
Both the Gladiator and the Ranger come standard with a solid five-foot rear bed. However, the Jeep falls behind due to its shorter bed walls, which result in only 35.5-cubic-feet of bed volume as opposed to Ford's 43-cubic-feet.
For customers looking for extra usability, Ford also offers a six-foot bed option, bumping the total volume up to an impressive 51.8-cubic-feet.
Both manufacturers have made sure their pickups deliver sufficient power to the ground. The Gladiator (left) features a 3.6L V6 that delivers 285 horsepower to all four wheels standard, while the Ranger's (right) only option is the 2.3L turbocharged inline four-cylinder that produces 270 horsepower. However, while the Gladiator's larger engine will produce slightly more horsepower it will fall behind on torque, producing only 260-lb-ft versus Ranger's efficient turbocharged 310-lb-ft.
Transmission is another concern. The Gladiator may win the favor of many with its standard six-speed manual (with an optional eight-speed automatic), while the Ranger's only transmission option is the 10-speed automatic.
The Gladiator comes standard with a 4x4 drive, which is not the case for the Ranger. However, both have a solid rear axle and capable suspensions. Albeit, the Ranger's independent front suspension will offer it a slight edge in sharp steering, however, the Gladiator's stiffer suspension and larger ground clearance will make it more ideal for off-road scenarios.
3 Fuel Economy
Jeep's larger engine comes with a larger fuel tank — 22 gallons of it. Unfortunately, it also swallows a lot more fuel than the Ford. In the city, the Jeep Gladiator will do 16 miles per gallon, 23 miles on the highway, and 19 miles combined. This is by no means a bad economy, but it's not a particularly good one either.
On the other side is the Ford Ranger with an impressively high gas mileage. Its 2.3L will do 21 miles per gallon in the city, 26 on the highway, and 23 combined. This makes it one of the most (if not the most) fuel economic cars in its class.
2 Towing Capabilities
In this category, Both the Gladiator and the Ranger seem to offer certain advantages, depending on whether you consider the car's towing or carrying capacity more important. When it comes to towing, the Gladiator is a clear winner (but not by much); it can tow up to 7650 lb versus Ranger's maximum of 7,500 equipped with the tow package. However, the Ranger takes the cake in terms of carrying capacity. Its six-foot bed option combined with a maximum load of 1,860lb, as opposed to Gladiator's 1,600lb maximum, means it can both hold more volume and support more weight.
In the price compartment, Ford has a clear advantage. The base model Ranger comes at $24,300, and those looking to purchase a more budget-friendly quality pickup need look no further. On the other hand, the Gladiator arrives from the factory action-ready, with a standard six-speed transmission and four-wheel drive that will set you back at least $33,545 for the base model.
However, buyers looking to buy a reliable 4x4 pickup will realize the price difference between the two is not so large, as opting for the 4x4 version Ranger will lower the initial price gap considerably.