Who’s The Big Off Road Winner – Ranger or Gladiator?


In the market for a smaller truck for off-roading adventures? This year, you’ve got more than just the 2019 Ford Ranger in the newer off-roading trucks and Jeeps market!

The release of the 2020 Jeep Gladiator has turned heads, as these new vehicles recently started rolling off the lots just a few weeks ago.

Which is better for off-roading? Come sit with me a few minutes while we look and see what each truck offers in terms of size, equipment, and other features that are ideal when you want to leave the pavement and hit the trails!

The 2020 Jeep Gladiator

By its very name, Jeep always was and is a favorite vehicle for off-roading, especially when considering the Wrangler.

The new Jeep Gladiator promises Wrangler-like capabilities in pick-up truck style for when you want to go just a little bit bigger.

Here are a few of the specs of the 2020 Jeep Gladiator that are worth learning about and paying close attention:

  • Length and Width – This is the longer of the two vehicles at 218” in length with a wheelbase of 137.3” and a width of 73.8” while it boasts an interior volume of 103 cu. ft with a bed that is 5’ in length.
  • Off-Road Angles – It has great approach/breakover/departure angles that make it pretty versatile considering its length and height. Sport and Overland models are at 40.8/18.4/25 degrees and Rubicons are at 43.4/20.3/26 degrees, with 10” and 11.1” of ground clearance respectively.
  • Engine and Transmission – Available in a 6-speed manual or an 8-speed automatic, the Gladiator comes with a 3.6L V-6 Pentastar delivering 285 HP and 260 lb-ft of torque.
  • Towing/Payload – This Jeep has a max towing capacity of 7,650 lbs and a payload of 1,600 lbs.
  • Axle Ratio – Gladiator Sport, Overland, and Rubicon models are available with either a 3.73:1 axle ratio with the manual transmission or 10:1 with the automatic.
  • Off-Road Equipment – Beyond the basics, the Gladiator Sport model includes heavy-duty Dana axles and the Rubicon model includes wide track axles, front and rear locking differentials, FOX brand shocks, 33” all-terrain tires, and an electronic disconnecting front sway bar.

The 2019 Ford Ranger

A contender in the small truck category, the Ranger offers similar capabilities with slightly different equipment, making this truck another great choice for off-roading depending on the equipment.

These are the basic specs for the 2019 Ford Ranger to consider if you’re looking for a smaller truck to have some fun with:

  • Length and Width – This truck has an overall length of 208” which is 10” shorter than the Gladiator, a wheelbase of 126.8,” and a considerably wider width of 85.8.” The longer bed is 5.6’ in length but has a smaller interior volume of 97.6 cu. ft.
  • Off-Road Angles – Approach/breakover/departure angles are 28.7/21.5/25.4 degrees, with 8.9” of ground clearance.
  • Engine and Transmission – Currently, the Ranger is only available with a 10-speed automatic transmission and a 2.3-liter EcoBoost 4-cylinder engine that delivers 270 HP and 310 lb-ft of torque.
  • Towing/Payload – Coming in slightly lower than the Gladiator, the Ranger’s towing capacity is 7,500 lbs; however, the payload that Ford prides itself on is slightly higher at 1,650 lbs.
  • Axle Ratio – The 2019 Ford Ranger is available with a 3.73:1 axle ratio
  • Off-Road Equipment – The base Ranger is not specifically geared for off-road use, although there is an off-road package that can be added to the 4WD version. It includes steel skid plates, a terrain management system that adjusts the throttle and shift points, plus a Trail Control cruise control option.

Which Is the Better Off-Road Truck?

Looking at the two, it’s obvious that they’re very similar, offering many of the same features and capabilities.

What most reviewers of these vehicles do find is that the Ford, while it can be fun off-road with the added options and a better all-around truck, it is not quite as comfortable on the trails as the Gladiator.

On the other hand, the Gladiator is more capable on the trails but has less bed space and a lower payload, so it’s not quite as useful as a stand-alone truck.

Still, the 2019 Jeep Gladiator seems to be the best of both worlds by offering more off-road dexterity and options while still offering pick-up truck features.

If you’re looking for something that you can have a great time taking from the road to the trail and back again, the Gladiator edges out the 2019 Ford Ranger by being the more off-road equipped, and capable choice!

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