2020 Jeep Gladiator vs. 2019 Honda Ridgeline

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

To allow off-road and deep snow capability, Four-Wheel Drive is standard on the Gladiator. But it costs extra on the Ridgeline.

Both the Gladiator and the Ridgeline have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available collision warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

There are over 2 times as many Jeep dealers as there are Honda dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Gladiator’s warranty.

Reliability

A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the Gladiator’s engine. A rubber cam drive belt that needs periodic replacement drives the Ridgeline’s camshafts. If the Ridgeline’s belt breaks, the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

The Gladiator has a solid front axle with a floating power axle for durability that the Ridgeline 4x4’s independent front suspension and exposed front driveshafts don’t offer.

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Gladiator has a standard 180-amp alternator (220-amp - Gladiator optional and 240 optional). The Ridgeline’s 150-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Jeep vehicles are better in initial quality than Honda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Jeep 17th in initial quality. With 6 more problems per 100 vehicles, Honda is ranked 23rd.

Engine

The Gladiator’s 3.6 DOHC V6 produces 5 more horsepower (285 vs. 280) than the Ridgeline’s 3.5 SOHC V6.

The Gladiator’s 3.0 turbo V6 diesel produces 180 lbs.-ft. more torque (442 vs. 262) than the Ridgeline’s 3.5 SOHC V6.

Fuel Economy and Range

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Gladiator’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Ridgeline doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The Gladiator has 2.5 gallons more fuel capacity than the Ridgeline (22 vs. 19.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Jeep Gladiator higher (5 out of 10) than the Honda Ridgeline (3). This means the Gladiator produces up to 16.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Ridgeline every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

The Gladiator offers a manual transmission for better acceleration, control and fuel economy. The Ridgeline doesn’t offer a manual transmission.

An eight-speed automatic is available on the Jeep Gladiator, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Ridgeline.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Gladiator’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Ridgeline:

 

Gladiator

Ridgeline

Front Rotors

12.9 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13.6 inches

13 inches

The Gladiator’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Ridgeline are solid, not vented.

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Gladiator Rubicon’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Ridgeline (285/70R17 vs. 245/60R18).

Suspension and Handling

The Gladiator has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Ridgeline’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The Gladiator Rubicon has an active front sway bar, which helps keep it flat and controlled during cornering, but disconnects at lower speeds to smooth the ride and offer greater off-road suspension articulation. This helps keep the tires glued to the road on-road and off. The Ridgeline doesn’t offer an active sway bar system.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Gladiator’s wheelbase is 12.1 inches longer than on the Ridgeline (137.3 inches vs. 125.2 inches).

The Gladiator’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (53% to 47%) than the Ridgeline’s (57.6% to 42.4%). This gives the Gladiator more stable handling and braking.

Passenger Space

The Gladiator has 2.7 inches more front headroom, .3 inches more front legroom, 4 inches more rear headroom and 1.6 inches more rear legroom than the Ridgeline.

Cargo Capacity

The Gladiator has a much larger cargo box than the Ridgeline (35.5 vs. 33.9 cubic feet).

The Gladiator has bed indentations that accommodate 2x4’s for two-tiered loading to help accommodate diverse loads; the Ridgeline doesn’t offer two-tiered loading. The Gladiator also has indentations to separate the cargo box into three different sections length-wise.

Payload and Towing

The Gladiator’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Ridgeline’s (4000 vs. 3500 pounds). Maximum trailer towing in the Honda Ridgeline is only 5000 pounds. The Gladiator offers up to a 7650 lbs. towing capacity.

The Gladiator has a higher standard payload capacity than the Ridgeline (1600 vs. 1465 lbs.).

Servicing Ease

The engine in the Gladiator is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Ridgeline. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because there are no rear spark plugs and the accessory belts are in front.

Ergonomics

The Gladiator’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge – which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The Ridgeline does not have an oil pressure gauge.

The power windows available on both the Gladiator and the Ridgeline have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Gladiator is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Ridgeline prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The Gladiator’s speed-sensitive wipers speed up when the vehicle does, so that the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed of the wipers. The Ridgeline’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

The Gladiator’s optional power mirror controls are mounted on the door for easy access. The Ridgeline’s power mirror controls are on the dash where they are possibly hidden by the steering wheel and are awkward to manipulate.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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