Jeep Gladiator Sport vs Sport S

Jeep Gladiator Sport vs Sport S

Last Updated August 8, 2023 | C.J. Tragakis

The Jeep Gladiator Sport and Sport S are the most affordable of the four trim levels, but still offer tons of equipment and capability. Whether you're looking for a work truck, daily driver, recreational weekender, or serious off-roader, the Gladiator can do it all. In fact, the Sport and Sport S trims are the way to go if you want to have the highest towing and payload of all Gladiators, not to mention other trucks in the class.

If you're trying to decide between these two variants, you've come to the right place. While the Gladiator Sport offers a pure, no-frills experience, you still get loads of standard features that you'd expect from any modern vehicle plus some that you wouldn't. With that said, there are a few areas where the Sport cuts costs that might be a dealbreaker for some drivers. For an extra few thousand dollars, the Sport S model will give you some added features that undeniably give you more convenience and comfort. Plus, the Sport S trim opens up the opportunity to add a number of additional packages that are packed with extra features and options. But is it worth the price of admission over the Sport level? This guide will show you all the differences between the two trims so that you can decide which one is best for you.

Jeep Gladiator Sport vs Sport S Similarities

The Sport and Sport S, as their names might imply, are probably the most similar of the four Jeep Gladiator trim levels. Apart from some nice-to-have features that aren't immediately noticeable, these two vehicles share the same chassis, engine, transmissions, interior, and colors (10 in total). All trims feature the same 4-door cab and 5-foot bed and come standard with the black Sunrider soft top.

The Sport and Sport S both have the same underpinnings so you won't lose out on any off-road capability by choosing one over the other. You get the Command-Trac® Part-Time 4WD System with both, and 17" wheels mounted with all-season tires; all-terrain tires are an option that comes with the Trac-Lok® Anti-Spin Rear Differential option. You can select either one with the standard 6-speed manual transmission or pay extra for the 8-speed automatic, both mated with Jeep's workhorse 3.6L Pentastar V6. A diesel engine will be available later down the road. Both trims come with Heavy-Duty Dana 44 axles, front and rear.

Plus, unlike in previous Wrangler generations, both the Sport and Sport S trims come standard with air conditioning!

Both trims can add the Trailer Tow Package or the Max Tow Package with 4.10 Axle Ratio. The latter is required to get the maximum advertised towing and payload capacities, of 7,650 lbs and 1,600 lbs respectively. Both trims can also tack on the Auxilliary Switch Group and Smoker's Group packages. However, as we'll see, there are several more packages that are only available on the Sport S and higher trims.

Safety features like a back-up camera, electronic stability control, trailer sway control, and hill start assist are all included standard. As we'll see below, most of the notable features that the Sport trim lacks come down to convenience...most notably power locks, windows, and mirrors.

Jeep Gladiator Sport vs Sport S Differences

With the Sport S trim commanding an additional $3,200 in terms of starting MSRP, there are a number of features that it adds or replaces to the set-up of the Sport trim.

Jeep Gladiator Sport vs Sport S Exterior

The easiest ways to differentiate the Sport and Sport S trims of the Gladiator at a glance are to look at the wheels and the rear windows. The Gladiator Sport has steel wheels with a black finish, while the Sport S rides on aluminum wheels with a more traditional silver finish. On base Sport trims, the rear side door and rear windows are clear (non-tinted), though the Deep Tint Sunscreen Windows can be added as a $495 option. The Sport S trim comes with these rear tinted windows standard.

On the inside, the Sport S stands out slightly with a nicer steering wheel that is leather-wrapped. However, both the Sport and Sport S get steering wheel-mounted audio controls, so you don't lose out on any functionality. The other dead giveaway that a Gladiator is a Sport trim is the lack of window switches in the middle of the dashboard. Since it has manually-operating crank windows, that space is instead used for a small open storage area. The Sport S has switches for all four windows in the middle, highlighted by a nice-looking metallic trim.

Jeep Gladiator Sport vs Sport S Interior Dashboard

The table below shows a direct comparison of the areas where the Sport and Sport S trims differ in terms of standard equipment and features.

Jeep Gladiator Sport vs Sport S Standard Features Comparison
SpecJeep Gladiator SportJeep Gladiator Sport S
Windows Manual Crank Windows Power Windows with 1-Touch Down (Front-Only)
Door and Tailgate Locks Manual Door Locks, No Tailgate Lock Power Door and Tailgate Locks with Keyless Entry
Side Mirrors Manually-Adjustable Side Mirrors Heated Power Side Mirrors
Rear Quarter and Rear Windows Untinted Clear "Solar Control" Glass Deep-Tinted Sunscreen "Glass"
Wheels 17" Black Steel Wheels 17" Silver Aluminum Wheels
Headlights Base Halogen Headlights with Fog Lights Automatic Halogen Headlights with Fog Lights
Steering Wheel Base Steering Wheel Leather-Wrapped Steering Wheel
Security System Sentry Key® Theft Deterrent System Sentry Key® Theft Deterrent System and Alarm System

There are some individual options that can only be added to the Sport S and are not available at all on the Sport:

  • Wireless Bluetooth Speaker
  • Alpine Premium Audio System
  • Soft-Top Window Storage Bag
  • Hard Top Headliner
  • Dual Top
  • Premium Sunrider Top
  • Side Steps

There are also some package groups that can be selected on the Sport S, but not on the Sport:

  • Radio Group with 7" UConnect Infotainment
  • Convenience Group (Garage Door Opener and Remote Start)
  • Cold Weather Group (Heated Front Seats and Steering Wheel)
  • Jeep® Active Safety Group (Blind Spot and Cross-Path Detection, ParkSense® Rear Park-Assist System, LED Taillamps)
  • Adaptive Cruise Control/Forward Collision Warning+ (with Advanced Brake Assist)
  • Cargo Management Group with Trail Rail System (Lockable Rear Underseat Storage, Bed Tie-Downs, Bed-Mounted 115V Outlet)

That sums up the differences between these two Gladiator trims. They feature the same exact performance, off-road capability, and even look very similar. But the Sport S adds a few more technology and convenience features, for a price. So, which one is right for you?

Which One to Pick: Jeep Gladiator Sport vs Sport S

There are two primary factors to consider when trying to choose between the Sport and Sport S Gladiator trims. It really boils down to how much you're willing to spend, and what you'll actually be using the truck for.

If you will be using the Jeep Gladiator as a dedicated work truck or off-roader, the Sport trim might be just what you're looking for. You lose absolutely no performance or capability by going up a trim level to the Sport S, and in fact, both the Sport and Sport S will give you higher maximum towing and payload capacity than the two upper trim levels, the Overland and the Rubicon. Plus, there's just something special and Jeep-like about a 4x4 with manual crank windows! At its essence, the Gladiator Sport is about giving you everything you need in a Jeep and nothing you don't.

However, the Sport S level gives you some "want-to-have" items in addition to the basics. If you'll be using your Gladiator as a daily driver, it's hard not to recommend spending the extra cash for the features and creature comforts that the Sport S offers. Plus, if you want to add one, some, or all of the extra package groups, you'll have to select the Sport S anyway. Just keep an eye on your budget! If you option it out to match your wishlist, the Sport S might just provide the best balance of value and added features in the whole line-up.

It is also worth at least checking out the two top trims if you're able to make it work financially. If you're looking for a more luxury-focused trim, check out the Gladiator Overland. It offers leather-trimmed seats and other niceties that will give you a more pleasant experience, on or off-road. On the other hand, the venerable Gladiator Rubicon offers the most "out-of-the-box" off-road capability to take on any terrain. No matter which trim you choose, this Jeep truck is a blank canvas that is ready to be tailored to suit your lifestyle. CJ's has thousands of parts to help make it happen, so shop our selection today to find the upgrades on your wishlist.

Though the technical specifications between the Sport and Sport S are almost identical, check out the table below for full details and to get an idea of the Gladiator's overall capabilities and performance.

Jeep Gladiator Sport vs Sport S Specs Comparison
SpecJeep Gladiator SportJeep Gladiator Sport S
Starting MSRP $33,545 $36,745
Horsepower + Engine 285 hp 3.6 liter V6 285 hp 3.6 liter V6
Torque 260 lb-ft 260 lb-ft
Transmission 6-speed manual or 8-speed automatic 6-speed manual or 8-speed automatic
Ground Clearance 10.0 inches 10.0 inches
Max Towing Capacity 7,650 lbs 7,650 lbs
Max Payload Capacity 1,600 lbs 1,600 lbs
Length 218.0 inches 218.0 inches
Width 73.8 inches 73.8 inches
Height 75.0 inches 75.0 inches
Wheelbase 137.3 inches 137.3 inches
Curb Weight 4,672 lbs/4,650 lbs (auto/man) 4,672 lbs/4,650 lbs (auto/man)
Off-Road Angles (Approach, Breakover, Departure) 40.8°, 18.4°, 25.0° 40.8°, 18.4°, 25.0°
Fuel Capacity 22 gallons 22 gallons
MPG 19 combined/17 city/ 22 hwy (automatic) 19 combined/16 city/ 23 hwy (manual) 19 combined/17 city/ 22 hwy (automatic)19 combined/16 city/ 23 hwy (manual)
Bed Length 60 inches 60 inches
Top Speed 110 mph (governor limited) 110 mph (governor limited)

Image Credit: Jeep

Sources: 2020 Jeep Gladiator Brochure, Jeep

This article was researched, written, edited, and reviewed following the steps outlined in our editorial process. Learn more about CJ's editorial standards and guidelines.