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The 2024 Jeep Gladiator: This distinctive, versatile truck will take you farther into the wild than any of its rivals

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Pros

Formidable off-road ability

Versatile body

Useful as a truck

Cons

No hybrid version

Less enjoyable on tarmac

What’s new?

Styling and feature updates

Diesel engine discontinued

Mojave X and Rubicon X

The 2024 Jeep Gladiator is a midsize truck with remarkable off-road talents, even in its base model. Pricing starts at $37,895.

There’s nothing else quite like a Jeep Gladiator. Most midsize trucks have some off-road ability in their pricier offerings, but the Jeep pedigree is the significant distinction here. Thanks to years of expertise gained from traversing all sorts of challenging terrain, most Jeep vehicles will go further into the wild than virtually any rival, even if it’s a midsize pickup like the Gladiator. This generation of Gladiator debuted for the 2019 model year. It has a traditional body-on-frame construction, so its rugged looks aren’t just for show. This is a highly capable truck as well as an off-road fun machine.

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What’s new for 2024

A slight tweak to the grille is accompanied by a new stealth antenna built into the windshield, plus seven new wheel designs. Every new Gladiator gains a 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen, part of an upgrade that also includes wireless phone integration, improved voice recognition, a set of Jeep Badge of Honor off-road trails loaded into the navigation system (including the famed Rubicon Trail in California), plus the offer of a subscription that accesses more than 3,000 other trails.

Side curtain airbags enhance safety in both rows. Forward collision warning and advanced cruise control become standard starting with the Sport S level.

The 2024 Jeep Gladiator Willys

Stellantis

The range expands with new Mojave X and Rubicon X variants. The most luxurious Gladiator models, they come with 12-way adjustable front seats — the first time powered seat adjustment has been in a Gladiator. They can withstand hosing out the cabin or driving through water. These trucks also have fine Nappa leather seating surfaces, a forward-facing off-road camera, and steel bumpers.

Jeep has stopped offering a diesel engine, but we expect the company’s 4xe plug-in hybrid drivetrain to make it into the Gladiator sometime soon.

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2024 Jeep Gladiator pricing

The 2024 Jeep Gladiator

Stellantis

The 2024 Jeep Gladiator starts at $37,895. That’s for the base Sport trim. The mid-range Sport S trim begins at $41,395. The Mojave and Rubicon trims both start at $52,995 while their respective X models cost an extra $10,000.

Gladiator Sport

$37,895

Gladiator Sport S

$41,395

Gladiator Mojave and Rubicon

$52,995

Gladiator Mojave X and Rubicon X

$62,995

These are manufacturer’s suggested retail prices (MSRP) and don’t include the $1,895 factory-to-dealer delivery fee (destination charge).

For some context, a new-for-2024 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road version starts in the high 30s. The cheapest new Ford Ranger with even slightly comparable abilities would be the XLT with 4-wheel drive and an FX4 off-road package, from around $40K. The Chevrolet Colorado Trail Boss begins in the high 30s, the GMC Canyon AT4 in the mid-40s. The Nissan Frontier Pro-4X kicks off in the low 40s.

Read: 2024 is looking to be a more stable year for car shoppers, experts say

Before buying a new Gladiator truck, check the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price to know what you should be paying. Resale values are strong, but the Tacoma just has the edge.

Power, ride and handling

The 2024 Jeep Gladiator: maximum payload is 1,725 pounds

Stellantis

The 2024 Gladiator employs a V6 engine making 285 horsepower. That’s better than the base engine in the Ford
F,
-0.90%

Ranger and even the one-up-from-base engine in the Toyota
TM,
+0.14%

Tacoma, although both make more torque. However, the Gladiator’s 260 lb-ft is still a decent amount in practice.

Jeep has engineered the Gladiator’s heavy-duty solid axles (front and rear) to withstand the rigors of driving through the wilderness. The Rubicon version is the rock-climbing specialist, with an electronically disconnecting front anti-roll bar for maximum axle articulation. The Mojave is made for the desert, sporting dedicated suspension components supplied by the well-regarded Fox company. In less arid environments, the 2024 Gladiator midsize pickup can drive through water up to 30 inches deep.

In other words, this thing is fantastic off-road. And that has to be the main reason for buying one. Because for all the dune-dashing, mud-sliding positives, there are some street-pounding, tire-sounding negatives. The cabin gets noisy on the freeway. The ride and handling suffer from dealing with large tires and solid axles. And the steering feels vague. If that’s a trade-off worth making, the Gladiator can still be a practical work truck during the week.

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Payload and towing

Since this is a truck, let’s look into its working credentials. The maximum payload is 1,725 pounds, and the top towing figure is 7,700 pounds. That compares quite well against a 4-wheel-drive Ford Ranger, one of the more capable contenders with a payload capacity of 1,755 pounds and a tow rating of 7,500 pounds.

Fuel economy

The 2024 Gladiator achieves 19 mpg regardless of transmission in mixed city-highway driving.

Well-considered interior

Manual locks, hand-crank windows, single-zone air conditioning, and manually adjustable front seats are some of the really basic features of the most affordable Sport trim. Then again, this is meant to be a washable interior, hence the removable carpets and the drain plugs.

Accommodations become slightly less sparse this year with the arrival of a 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen, bigger than anything offered in the Gladiator before. And engineered to still be visible when the roof is down and the sun is reflecting off it. The dash also receives some soft-touch plastics, plus an AMPS bracket for mounting electronic accessories.

This crew cab setup provides abundant occupant space. Rear legroom is 38.3 inches, among the best in the midsize pickup class. There are plenty of places to put drink containers and phones. There’s also storage behind and beneath the rear seats.

Also see: The cars, trucks, EVs and SUVs with the best resale value for 2024

Convertible exterior

The 2024 Gladiator has a new grille. It still has seven slots, because of course it does. What Jeep hasn’t? But comparing this year’s model with last year’s, those slots are a little shorter. Jeep has also incorporated a stealth antenna into the windshield, because the previous freestanding one could get snagged on branches while off-roading. There are several new wheel designs to help freshen the overall appearance. And a new gray color, Anvil, is added to the paint choices.

Although it’s a midsize pickup truck, the Gladiator has various removable bits, like the doors and roof. Oh, and the windshield folds down. It’s easy to stop and smell the sagebrush while out on the trail. If you had your heart set on a go-anywhere pickup and your better half wanted a fun convertible, well, here’s the solution — all those attributes in one vehicle.

The Gladiator has a 4-door crew cab and a 5-foot cargo bed. Less visible, though equally welcome, is under-body protection for the fuel tank and transmission transfer case.

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Favorite features

Removable doors and roofJust like the Wrangler, the Gladiator has detachable parts, so occupants can be more at one with nature. Half-doors are also available, enabling better vision when off-roading than their standard counterparts.

Three-position tailgateHalfway between open and shut is this extra setting, held in place by the tailgate’s cable. Items that are just a bit longer than the truck bed’s five feet can still be made to fit, thanks to this detail.

Corning Gorilla Glass windshieldTougher and more scratch-resistant than the regular windshield, this is great for anyone planning to take their new Gladiator into the wild. It’s optional in the base Sport trim and standard elsewhere.

Removable Bluetooth speakerWith this option, the party can be anywhere the 2024 Gladiator truck can reach.

Sunrider Flip TopThere’s a choice of optional hard tops for the 2024 Gladiator, but this one includes a soft-top opening section for the front row.

Forward-facing off-road cameraThis wide-angle camera can be a big help in getting to grips with the trickiness of the terrain.

Engine and transmission

With the diesel engine being dropped, the only form of propulsion in the 2024 Gladiator is a 3.6-liter V6 making 285 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. A 6-speed manual transmission is standard, with an 8-speed automatic available as an option.

Four-wheel drive with high/low gearing is standard. The basic system is standard in the Sport, Sport S, and Mojave models, and a full-time version is available. The Rubicon has its own 4-wheel drive setup developed to excel in rock climbing.

Also see: Here’s everything you need to know about the updated 2024 Jeep Wrangler

3-year/36,000-mile warranty

Jeep’s new-vehicle warranty lasts three years or 36,000 miles, whichever happens first. Powertrains are covered for five years or 60,000 miles. This is typical among mainstream manufacturers.

Safety ratings

The Gladiator hasn’t exactly covered itself with glory in crash tests. It’s a mixed bag of Good and Marginal scores from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) hasn’t fully tested the Gladiator but gave it three stars out of a possible five for rollover protection and four stars for frontal impacts. Perhaps the new standard side curtain airbags will improve matters if these agencies re-test the Gladiator. Jeep also says it has made structural improvements for better side impact protection.

KBB’s car review methodology.

This story originally ran on KBB.com.

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