2020 Jeep Gladiator vs 2019 Ford Ranger

2020 Jeep Gladiator vs 2019 Ford Ranger

Last Updated September 10, 2019 | Meghan Drummond
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Not to be outdone by Ford’s decision to bring the Ranger back after an eight-year hiatus, Jeep is bringing the Gladiator back after thirty-two years.

The 2020 Jeep Gladiator’s entrance onto the mid-size pickup scene has many excited. Of course, everyone wants to know how it stacks up against other pickups currently on the market, especially the 2019 Ford Ranger.

Mid-size pickups are a great option for those who want the capability of a pickup and a practical daily driver. They also are desirable for off-roading, since their proportions make them nimbler for overcoming obstacles on the trails.

Though there are an abundance of options from many manufacturers for full-size pickups, the mid-size pickup options are considerably leaner. These two mid-size pickups are exciting for this reason.

Gladiator vs Ranger: Exterior

Gladiator Exterior

The Gladiator looks very much like a Wrangler but is only available as a four-door. Perhaps its most unique feature, the Gladiator features the removable top and doors that the Jeep is famous for. As Jeep proudly boasts on their website, “it’s the only open-air pickup.”

Silver Jeep Gladiator at sunset

Timothy Kuniskis, head of Jeep North America, said that he knew the truck had to “be the width of an ATV and the depth of two dirt bikes.” He went on to say, “These aren’t people who are going to fill the bed with mulch and boulders. It’s not a work truck.”

Looking at the Gladiator, it’s hard to disagree. It’s the type of truck that looks more at home rock crawling than working on a farm.

The Gladiator comes in four trim levels: Sport, Sport S, Overland, and Rubicon.

Dark orange Ford Ranger

Ranger Exterior

The Ranger is available as either an extended cab or a crew cab. If you opt for the extended cab, the truck’s bed is six-feet long, but the crew cab's bed is five-feet, just like the Gladiator’s. Other than that, the Ranger is a much more traditional-looking pickup.

The Ranger has been styled to have a very modern appearance. Ford brought several Rangers to SEMA this year just to show how customizable the vehicle’s appearance is and how it can lend itself to a variety of owners and applications. From four-wheel drive trucks that look like they’ve just been out in the mud to sleek vehicles that would be at home in the city, the Ranger is a truck that is at home in a lot of scenarios.

The Ranger is available in three trim levels, all of which are available in either door option and with or without four-wheel drive.

Gladiator vs Ranger: Exterior
SpecGladiatorRanger
Length 218.0” 210.8”
Width 73.8” 85.8”
Height 73.1” 71.5”
Wheelbase 137.3” 126.8”
Truck Bed Length 5 ft. 5-6 ft.

Gladiator vs Ranger Interior

This is an area where the Ranger and Gladiator are very evenly matched and the most ahead of other pickups in their class. Both vehicles have adapted technology into their interior features in a way that seems natural and anticipates the needs of the driver fairly well.

Both vehicles have a roomy interior volume. The Ranger comes in at a comfy 97.6 cu ft interior volume in the four-door model and the Gladiator at an unheard of 103 cu ft. These are impressive numbers for anyone who has ever wanted to ensure that their backseat passengers have enough space to stretch their legs out.

Interior of a Jeep Gladiator

Gladiator

The Gladiator’s base interior comes in two colors: Black or Heritage Tan, with a third Saddle option available on the Overland or Rubicon packages. Both the Overland and Rubicon have leather-trimmed seats. Even at the base trim level, the Gladiator’s interior looks stylish and modern. The infotainment system’s screen ranges from 7” to 8.4.”

On some models, the Gladiator offers adaptive cruise control as well as forward-collision warning with active braking. These are very useful features that aren’t frequently seen on pickups in this range.

Interior of a Ford Ranger

Ranger

The Ranger’s base model interior is only available in Ebony. For an additional cost, you can change to Premium Ebony Cloth, instead of the standard cloth, or to vinyl. The Lariat Trim level includes either Ebony or Stone colored leather-trimmed seats. The smallest screen size for the Ranger is 4” and the largest is 8.”

The Ranger’s available driver assistance has a lot of features. The Ranger offers pre-collision assist, a lane-keeping system, as well as adaptive cruise control. The Co-Pilot 360 is standard on the XLT and Lariat, and available for an upgrade charge on the XL.

Gladiator vs Ranger: Interior
SpecGladiatorRanger
Interior Volume 103.0 cu. ft. 97.6 cu. ft.
Infotainment Screen Range 7-8.4” 4-8”
Trim Options Sport, Sport S, Overland, Rubicon XL, XLT, Lariat
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto Available Available
ADAS Available Available

Gladiator vs Ranger: Towing and Off-Road Features

The Ranger and Gladiator stack up comparably in terms of both towing capacity and payload. Ultimately, the Gladiator can tow 150 pounds more, and the Ranger can carry 50 more pounds in the truck itself. Rick Bolt, the Ford Ranger program engineer, said, “We made this a serious truck. We expect best-in-class payload when we launch.” These two are currently the best in their class and should be considered serious pickups.

Red Jeep Gladiator off-roading

Gladiator

Even the base model of Gladiator comes with off-road capacity. Every trim level of the Gladiator comes with four-wheel-drive and solid front and rear axles. The Sport Trim level includes heavy-duty Dana 44 front and rear axles.

The Gladiator’s Rubicon package, much like the Wrangler’s, includes some incredible off-road equipment. The Rubicon trim level includes lockable wide track axles, an electronic disconnecting front sway bar, FOX shocks, and 33” all-terrain tires. With the Rubicon package, you can also opt to add the TrailCam off-road camera, a valuable addition for anyone who navigates difficult terrain.

Dark orange Ford Ranger off-roading

Ranger

The base Ranger doesn’t have any equipment specifically geared to off-roading. At its base level, the Ranger is a rear-wheel-drive pickup with independent front suspension. There are numerous options to add equipment, from all-terrain tires to an electronic-locking axle ratio. However, at any trim level, you can add an off-road package to a Ranger with four-wheel drive.

The off-road package includes a lot of impressive off-road equipment, some of which is not easily added aftermarket. Steel skid plates cover the fuel tank, transfer case, and front differential.

Perhaps the Ranger’s most unique off-road feature though is its terrain management system. The terrain management system has four modes geared toward specific types of terrain that one might encounter while off-roading. While in one of those modes, the Ranger will adapt throttle tip-in and shift points to accommodate the road conditions. The Ranger also has the option for Trail Control, which Ford advertises as like an off-road cruise control.

Gladiator vs Ranger: Towing and Off-Road Features
SpecGladiatorRanger
Towing Capacity 7,650 pounds 7,500 pounds
Payload 1,600 pounds 1,650 pounds
Approach Angle 40.8 Degrees 28.7 Degrees
Departure Angle 25 Degrees 25.4 Degrees
Breakover Angle 18.4 Degrees 21.5 Degrees
Ground Clearance 10” 8.9”

Gladiator vs Ranger: Engine and Transmission

The Ranger only comes in one transmission, a ten-speed automatic, while the Gladiator’s base transmission is a six-speed manual with an upgrade option to an eight-speed automatic.

The Ranger’s 2.3L EcoBoost engine achieved the EPA rating of best-in-class, rated at 22 mpg combined, 20 mpg city, and 24 mpg highway for the 4x4 version. Though the Gladiator has a 3.6L V6 Pentastar, engine power is another area where the Ranger and Gladiator are nearly evenly matched. The Gladiator comes out ahead in terms of horsepower: 285 hp to the Ranger’s 270 hp; however, the Ranger wins the torque competition, with 310 lb-ft in comparison to the Gladiator’s 260 lb-ft.

Gladiator vs Ranger: Engine and Transmission
SpecGladiatorRanger
Engine 3.6L V6 Pentastar 2.3L EcoBoost
Horsepower 285 hp 270 hp
Torque 260 lb-ft 310 lb-ft
Transmission six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic ten-speed automatic

Video Comparison

In this video from CJ’s Off-Road, Matt compares the Ranger and the Gladiator and gets hands on with both. It’s one thing to see the specs and features as they line up, but it’s quite another to find out what the steering wheel responsiveness feels like, or what additional minor features have been added to both pickups.

It is important to note that these are not directly comparable models. The Ford Ranger is an XLT package, and the Gladiator is a Rubicon. Consequently, the interior features of the Gladiator outstrip the Ranger’s in many regards because of the difference in trim packages.

But in terms of how they sit, how easy it is to reach into the bed, and how storage is accessible, it’s great to get a hands-on opinion.

Which is Right for You?

Overall, these two pickups are very evenly matched, though they’ll likely appeal to different customers. Todd Eckert, Ford Truck group marketing manager, sees the Ranger owner as “an urban dweller who drives his truck to work—not for work—and uses it to play on the weekend with his toys.” The Ranger, with its fuel efficiency and sleek look, is a vehicle that can be driven to a day job and then be loaded up with kayaks or bikes.

Ford Ranger tows a boat

The Gladiator’s impressive size allows it to appeal to people who enjoy off-roading but have other outdoor hobbies that require a little more storage capacity than has been available in the Wrangler. The Gladiator is almost certainly going to be a better off-roader than the Ranger, especially for those who purchase the Rubicon trim package. But is it the type of vehicle you can also drive to the office? Time will tell.

Jeep Gladiator Towing

Either way, it’s great to see these two American icons re-entering the mid-size pickup arena. Both have a lot of great features to commend them, and both are certain to find a loyal and excited customer base.

Sources: Outside | Jeep | Ford | Autoblog | CNet | Motortrend Image Credit: Ford | Jeep

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2020 Jeep Gladiator vs 2019 Ford Ranger

The 2019 Ford Ranger and 2020 Jeep Gladiator are two of the most exciting mid-size pickups. Both are returning to the market after a long hiatus, and we couldn't be more excited. Here’s how these two pickups stack up against each other, spec for spec. Though these two pickups have a lot in common, there are some key differences that make them uniquely suited for different drivers.