2020 Jeep Gladiator vs. 2020 Ford Ranger: Compare Trucks

January 24, 2020
2020 Jeep Gladiator, 2018 LA Auto Show

2020 Jeep Gladiator, 2018 LA Auto Show

Mid-size pickup buyers have big decisions to make. 

The 2020 Ford Ranger and 2020 Jeep Gladiator are relatively new mid-size trucks available to buyers after a nearly decade of mid-size pickup delinquency from both Ford and Jeep-parent Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. 

The two trucks go about their business in very different ways, although they both nearly arrive at the same score. The 2020 Ford Ranger nets a 5.0 TCC Rating overall, which is skewed by base trims that offer few creature comforts but a (relatively) low starting price. The 2020 Jeep Gladiator nets a 5.2 TCC Rating overall, although safety scores haven’t yet rolled in. (Pickups usually rank toward the bottom in crash-test scores and lack critical safety features that passenger cars may have.) The Gladiator was tipped as the 2020 North American Truck of the Year, which is hardware the Ranger lacks. 

In the end, our nod goes to the Gladiator for its rugged nature and boxy looks. It won’t be ideal as a workaday truck, the Ranger is better for that, but full-sizers are a better tool for that anyway. And how much you’re willing to spend on your truck makes all the difference here. 

MORE: Read our 2020 Ford Ranger and 2020 Jeep Gladiator full reviews

2020 Ford Ranger FX2

2020 Ford Ranger FX2

2020 Ford Ranger FX2

2020 Ford Ranger FX2

2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon Launch Edition

2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon Launch Edition

2020 Jeep Gladiator

2020 Jeep Gladiator

Style and performance

The Gladiator is unmistakable as a Jeep, thanks to its boxy body and Wrangler-replica looks from the cab forward. The Gladiator part only comes at the back half, where the bed rides on a frame that is19 inches longer than the Wrangler. It’s not revolutionary, but it’s a classic look and the doors come off—how can we complain?

The Ranger, by contrast, strikes out on its own compared to the rest of the Ford F-Series pickups. It has a smoother shape with a rounder nose, andtwo big “RANGER” badges stamped into the snout and bed—just in case anyone’s wondering. 

Our preference for the Gladiator’s flair is evident by our score: 8 vs. the Ranger’s 6. But we admit that the Gladiator’s brick-in-the-wind shape isn’t exactly new for Jeep. 

2020 Jeep Gladiator

2020 Jeep Gladiator

The Gladiator is powered by a 3.6-liter V-6 that makes 285 horsepower teamed to an 8-speed automatic transmission or a 6-speed manual. Four-wheel drive is standard on all pickups, and a part-time system works well to scramble up just about any hillside. Like the Wrangler, the Gladiator can get extreme off-road hardware such as locking differentials, chunky tires, and disconnecting sway bars, but the much longer wheelbase means it’s not as nimble off-road as the Wrangler. Approach and departure angles are especially problematic. A 3.0-liter turbodiesel is coming for the Gladiator, which is likely to stretch the Jeep’s range on long trips. 

The Ranger is powered by a perky 2.3-liter turbo-4 that makes 270 hp and is paired to a 10-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel drive is standard, although four-wheel drive is a popular upgrade. The turbo-4 is up to the task of propelling the pickup in every instance; it’s a suitable V-6 replacement in just about every way and can chirp the tires on the way out of the parking lot. 

The Gladiator and Ranger earn similar scores for performance for the same reason: they’re not great on pavement. The Ranger’s soft suspension wallows around corners, the Gladiator’s too nervous in a straight line. Both trucks ride on ladder frames and have pickup bona fides such as lockers and available low-range gearboxes, but that hardware doesn’t enhance their rides on the street. 

2019 Ford Ranger

2019 Ford Ranger

2019 Ford Ranger

2019 Ford Ranger

2020 Jeep Gladiator

2020 Jeep Gladiator

2020 Jeep Gladiator

2020 Jeep Gladiator

Comfort, safety and features

Mid-size pickups have replaced many SUVs and daily drivers thanks to their rugged looks and open beds. The Ranger outpoints the Gladiator in interior comfort thanks to a comfortable front seat and room in crew-cab models for up to four adults. The Gladiator, which is only available as a four-door pickup, also has room for four adults with a bigger back seat than the Ranger, but the front seat isn’t as comfortable and the small rear doors are compromised by the bed. 

The Ranger crew cab’s 5-foot bed matches the Gladiator’s 5-foot bed, but extended cab Rangers offer a 6.5-foot bed for better hauling. Adults won’t easily fit in the back of extended cab Rangers, however. 

The Gladiator hasn’t yet been fully crash-tested by safety agencies. The Ranger has, but its scores are lacking. Ford makes automatic emergency braking standard on all pickups, while Jeep charges extra for the life-saving tech. Neither situation is ideal, so we’ll call it a wash. 

Optional extras make both pickups competitive with shoppers, depending on what they’re looking for. The Ranger has the Gladiator beat on value, but the Gladiator has the Ranger beat on extras. 

2019 Ford Ranger

2019 Ford Ranger

Base Rangers cost about $25,400, and four-wheel drive crew cabs cost just over $31,000 without features. They’re spartan with an AM/FM radio, Bluetooth connectivity, a 4.2-inch display and power features, but compared to the base Gladiator, it’s a steal. 

The base Gladiator Sport costs $34,500 and it’s a stripper. We mean, roll your own windows down. Power features, keyless entry and a hardtop all cost extra. 

For about $40,000, a Ranger has just about everything we’d ask. A Gladiator Rubicon clears out the room at more than $50,000.

We’d be happy with both, but we’d tip our cap to the Gladiator for its expressive looks that beg to be taken into the wild. 

Summary

5.2
Expert Rating
The 2020 Jeep Gladiator pairs everything we love and hate about the Wrangler with a useful pickup bed.
5.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Ford Ranger mid-size pickup is a willing companion to weekend adventures. It’s our worst best friend.

Styling

8.0
Expert Rating
If you like the Wrangler’s looks, you’re probably on board with the 2020 Jeep Gladiator.
Read More
6.0
Expert Rating
The Ranger skips pretense and heads straight into our good graces.
Read More

Performance

5.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Jeep Gladiator excels off-road, but it comes up short on pavement.
Read More
5.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Ranger’s small turbo-4 is up to the task, but the ride seems less confident.
Read More

Comfort & Quality

5.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Jeep Gladiator is spacious, but it’s a big step to climb aboard.
Read More
6.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Ranger nails the pickup basics: bed in the back, room in the cab for up to four.
Read More

Safety

We’d like to see more active safety gear standard, but the 2020 Jeep Gladiator is par for the course.
Read More
3.0
Expert Rating
Poor crash-test scores don’t help the 2020 Ranger’s safety scorecard.
Read More

Features

5.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Jeep Gladiator range stretches from basic to less basic.
Read More
6.0
Expert Rating
Options abound for the mid-size 2020 Ranger, but they can stack up quickly.
Read More

Fuel Economy

3.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Jeep Gladiator is rated at 19 mpg regardless of configuration.
Read More
4.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Ranger is fuel-efficient among mid-size pickups.
Read More

MSRP

from $33,545
from $24,110

Invoice

from $32,972
from $23,387

Fuel Economy - Combined City and Highway

19
18

Engine

Regular Unleaded V-6, 3.6 L
Intercooled Turbo Regular Unleaded I-4, 2.3 L

Drivetrain

Four Wheel Drive Read Full Specs
Rear Wheel Drive Read Full Specs
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