Jeep Gladiator vs. Toyota Tacoma

By

Automotive Editor

Willis is a freelance writer based out of Philadelphia. Born and raised in Colorado, he graduated from Williams College. When he's not writing about cars or the outdoors, he spends his time rock climbing or reading with his two cats.


, Automotive Editor - July 2, 2021

The Toyota Tacoma is America’s bestselling mid-size pickup truck. In the Jeep Gladiator, it has a new challenger. Jeep isn’t known for their pickup trucks, but the Gladiator builds on the Wrangler’s wide appeal and brings Jeep capability in spades.

So which is the better truck? Here's a brief comparison of some of the key specs and features that can help you decide which one is worth the money.

See a side-by-side comparison of the Jeep Gladiator & Toyota Tacoma »

What the Gladiator Gets Right

There’s no denying it — the Gladiator has personality. From the front it looks like a Wrangler, which isn’t a bad thing, and the squared-off cab and bed complete the image. The Tacoma isn’t bad looking, but the Gladiator has more charisma. The Gladiator also shares the Wrangler’s removable roof, which is a winning party trick.

The Gladiator starts with a gas V-6, but it’s now available with a 3.0-liter turbodiesel. The diesel offers bounteous torque and strong efficiency, with an EPA rating of 24 mpg combined. The Gladiator’s maximum towing capacity of 7,650 pounds exceeds the Tacoma’s by 850 pounds.

Finally, the Gladiator is more livable when carrying more than two passengers. With 38.3 inches of rear leg room, the Gladiator offers nearly six inches more than the Tacoma. On road trips, it makes a difference.

What the Tacoma Gets Right

Despite similarities in size and power, the Tacoma’s starting price sits about $8,000 below the Gladiator’s. That’s a substantial chunk of change, especially when you consider that a base Gladiator doesn’t even include power windows or locks.

The Tacoma includes both, and more to boot: every Tacoma rolls off the line with standard safety tech like automatic emergency braking, automatic high beams, and adaptive cruise control. On the Gladiator, these features are hidden away in costly packages.

Jeep is known for their off-roading prowess, but the Tacoma is no slouch — TRD trims match the Gladiator in trail-readiness. For the price of the cheapest Gladiator, you could buy a Tacoma TRD Off-Road with Bilstein shocks, hill descent control, and a locking rear differential.

Elsewhere in the lineup, the Tacoma offers multiple bed and cab configurations (the Gladiator is stuck with one). The Tacoma’s base V-6 is nearly as powerful as the Gladiator’s gas powertrain, and the Tacoma is more efficient.

Compensating With Character

The Gladiator gets brownie points for its passenger space and turbodiesel option, but in most other metrics, it’s losing this battle. The Tacoma is cheaper, more versatile, and a much better value.

The Gladiator’s saving grace is its Wrangler-inspired charm. For those who want their piece of Americana, nothing else will do.

We’ll still take the Tacoma, though.

Our Verdict: Toyota Tacoma

The price difference is too great to ignore. The Tacoma is aging, but it’s still a remarkably capable truck. Compared to the Gladiator, it’s an excellent value — just don’t plan on carrying four too often.

Take a closer look at the Jeep Gladiator »

Take a closer look at the Toyota Tacoma »

Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

Willis is a freelance writer based out of Philadelphia. Born and raised in Colorado, he graduated from Williams College. When he's not writing about cars or the outdoors, he spends his time rock climbing or reading with his two cats.


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