2022 Jeep Gladiator

By March 15, 2022

The Jeep Gladiator blends off-road ability and style with a 5-foot cargo bed and an open-top configuration. It’s utilitarian and useful, but also a lot of fun.

Updates for 2022 include a 7.0-inch touchscreen that’s newly standard on most versions, plus wider availability of an 8.4-inch upgrade display.

The Gladiator comes in a host of models, all with the same crew-cab and 5-foot bed configuration. V-6 engines take either gas or diesel, and all versions are four-wheel drive.

Fuel economy comes in at 16 mpg city, 23 highway, 19 combined with the gas engine and the automatic gearbox. Manual versions are rated about the same. The turbodiesel is more frugal at 21/27/24 mpg, according to the EPA.

Jeep makes automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warnings, and active lane control optional on most versions of the Gladiator. Crash-test ratings are incomplete, with only a few tests administered so far.

Model Lineup

The Gladiator comes in a wide range of trim levels, each with its own personality. Just one body style is offered, however: a crew-cab with a 5-foot bed.

At $36,910, the just-the-basics Gladiator Sport comes with air conditioning and a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but that’s about it. You’ll pay extra for alloy wheels, power windows and locks, and a trailer hitch.

The $39,310 Sport S adds the power features buyers are likely to expect, and it opens up the ability to add more optional equipment. Altitude and Willys trim packages add special styling elements, while the $45,000-or-so Overland opens up dressier interior trim including leather upholstery.

Rubicon and Mojave versions build more capability into an already properly rugged package. The $48,620 Rubicon dials back to about a Sport S level of creature comforts but throws in a suspension lift, 33-inch tires, wider axles, disconnecting sway bars, a lower-range transfer case, and differential locks. The Mojave runs about $300 more and features a few upgrades underneath to allow for high-speed trail running.

Optional equipment varies by trim, with packages bundling features such as heated seats and steering wheel plus safety tech including automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control.

Exterior

The Gladiator draws heavily from the Jeep Wrangler, except with 19 inches of additional length and an open bed behind the cab. Jeep offers the Gladiator only in four-door crew-cab configuration, with a choice of fabric or removable composite hard tops, the latter of which can be optionally painted to match the body.

The Gladiator brims with character and retro appeal, albeit with enough modern touches to not look like a relic. Base Sport models are simple enough with their unpainted fender flares and steel wheels. The more you spend, the dressier your Gladiator can be – though the wide range of special editions helps break the lineup into palatable bites.

Rubicon and Mojave models have beefier fender flares that can accommodate tires as big as 35 inches without an aftermarket lift.

Interior

Again, if you’ve been in a Wrangler, you know what to expect with the Gladiator. The big step to climb aboard, an upright dash, and over styled panels – plus those removable doors and roof – mean you’re in nothing but a Jeep.

A 7.0-inch touchscreen now comes standard, though an 8.4-inch display is optional. Add leather and the Gladiator can feel somewhat luxurious, though removable carpets and floor drain plugs mean it can be gently hosed out after a day – or a week – of exploring.

Manual front seats offer good head room. Compared to the Wrangler, the Gladiator has an extra three inches of rear-seat room, a boon for those who want to use their Jeep as a carpool machine

The 5-foot bed is on the small side, though Jeep offers various covers, bed liners, and a power outlet.

Driving Impressions

The Gladiator offers a choice of gasoline or turbodiesel V-6 power. Most trucks leave the Toledo, Ohio, factory with the 3.6-liter gasoline V-6, which churns out 285 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque via either a 6-speed manual or, optionally, an 8-speed automatic transmission. The turbodiesel puts 260 hp and 442 lb-ft of torque to the wheels through the automatic gearbox.

Four-wheel-drive is standard, either a part-time setup or an optional system with an automatic mode suitable for use on any kind of terrain. Rubicons include a special 2-speed transfer case and a 4.0:1 low-range ratio.

Neither version is especially quick on the road, but they come into their own for low-speed loping or mud-bogging off-road. In both, throttle response has been tuned to be less snappy to help prevent these trucks from digging into dirt.

Mojave and Rubicon trucks are massively capable, with different off-road suspensions intended for either speed (Mojave) or rock-bashing (Rubicon). Tow ratings vary from 4,000 to 7,650 pounds, depending on the trim level and configuration.

Final Word

It may not be the best at cargo utility or comfort, but the Jeep Gladiator brims with character and offers unbeatable off-road ability – plus a removable top.

 

—By Andrew Ganz, with driving impressions from The Car Connection

You must be logged in to post a comment Login