2020 Jeep Gladiator vs. 2019 Toyota Tacoma

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 Tacoma.

The Gladiator Overland/Rubicon offers optional SOS Call, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Tacoma doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the Gladiator and the Tacoma 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 almost 2 times as many Jeep dealers as there are Toyota 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 Tacoma’s camshafts. If the Tacoma’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 Tacoma 4x4’s independent front suspension and exposed front driveshafts don’t offer.

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Gladiator has a standard 650-amp battery (700 optional). The Tacoma’s 582-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

Engine

The Gladiator’s 3.6 DOHC V6 produces 126 more horsepower (285 vs. 159) and 80 lbs.-ft. more torque (260 vs. 180) than the Tacoma’s standard 2.7 DOHC 4 cyl. The Gladiator’s 3.6 DOHC V6 produces 7 more horsepower (285 vs. 278) than the Tacoma’s optional 3.5 DOHC V6.

The Gladiator’s 3.0 turbo V6 diesel produces 101 more horsepower (260 vs. 159) and 262 lbs.-ft. more torque (442 vs. 180) than the Tacoma’s standard 2.7 DOHC 4 cyl. The Gladiator’s 3.0 turbo V6 diesel produces 177 lbs.-ft. more torque (442 vs. 265) than the Tacoma’s optional 3.5 DOHC V6.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Gladiator Manual gets better fuel mileage than the Tacoma 4x4 Manual (16 city/23 hwy vs. 17 city/20 hwy).

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 Tacoma doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The Gladiator has almost a gallon more fuel capacity than the Tacoma (22 vs. 21.1 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

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 Tacoma.

Brakes and Stopping

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

 

Gladiator

Tacoma

Tacoma 4x4

Front Rotors

12.9 inches

10.75 inches

12.48 inches

Rear Rotors

13.6 inches

10” drums

10” drums

The Jeep Gladiator has standard four-wheel disc brakes for better stopping power and improved directional control in poor weather. Only rear drums come on the Tacoma. Drums can heat up and make stops longer, especially with antilock brakes that work much harder than conventional brakes.

The Gladiator stops shorter than the Tacoma:

 

Gladiator

Tacoma

 

60 to 0 MPH

129 feet

133 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Gladiator Rubicon’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Tacoma (285/70R17 vs. 265/65R17).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Gladiator has standard 17-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Tacoma.

Suspension and Handling

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 Tacoma doesn’t offer an active sway bar system.

The front and rear suspension of the Gladiator uses coil springs for better ride, handling and control than the Tacoma, which uses leaf springs in the rear. Coil springs compress more progressively and offer more suspension travel for a smoother ride with less bottoming out.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Gladiator’s wheelbase is 9.9 inches longer than on the Tacoma Short Bed Double Cab (137.3 inches vs. 127.4 inches).

The Gladiator’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (53% to 47%) than the Tacoma’s (56% to 44%). This gives the Gladiator more stable handling and braking.

The Gladiator Rubicon handles at .73 G’s, while the Tacoma Short Bed TRD Off-Road Double Cab 4x4 pulls only .71 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

Passenger Space

The Gladiator has 2.8 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Tacoma Double Cab (102.9 vs. 100.1).

Cargo Capacity

The Gladiator has a larger cargo box than the Tacoma Double Cab short bed (35.5 vs. 34.8 cubic feet).

The Gladiator’s cargo box is larger than the Tacoma’s in almost every dimension:

 

Gladiator

Tacoma Access Cab

Tacoma Double Cab

Length (short/long)

60.3”

73.7”

60.5”/73.7”

Max Width

56.8”

56.7”

56.7”

Min Width

44.8”

41.5”

41.5”

Height

33.9”

19.1”

19.1”

Both the Gladiator and Tacoma have bed indentations that accommodate 2x4’s for two-tiered loading, but 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 Tacoma’s (4000 vs. 3500 pounds). Maximum trailer towing in the Toyota Tacoma Access Cab is only 6800 pounds. The Gladiator offers up to a 7650 lbs. towing capacity.

The Gladiator has a much higher standard payload capacity than the Tacoma Short Bed Double Cab 4x4 (1600 vs. 1175 lbs.).

The Gladiator has a much higher optional payload capacity than the Tacoma Long Bed Double Cab 4x4 (1600 vs. 1370 lbs.).

Ergonomics

The Gladiator offers a remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Tacoma doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

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 Tacoma does not have an oil pressure gauge.

The power windows available on both the Gladiator and the Tacoma 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 Tacoma prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The Gladiator’s available front power windows lower with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The Tacoma’s standard power windows’ switches have to be held the entire time to open them fully.

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 Tacoma SR’s standard wipers have no intermittent settings at all, so the driver will have to constantly turn them on and off. The Tacoma SR5/TRD/Limited’s optional manually variable intermittent wipers don’t change delay with speed.

On extremely cold winter days, the Gladiator’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the vehicle heater warms up. The Tacoma doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The Gladiator has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable. The Tacoma doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

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

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