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Old 06-20-2019, 10:55 AM
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Gladiator vs. Wrangler Unlimited - First Take

So after being in a JL Wrangler Unlimited Sport S for almost 18 months and now being in a JT Gladiator Sport S, I've noticed a few differences.

Interior

JT has chrome bezels on the steering wheel, vs. the nice brushed nickel look of the JLU. I highly prefer the JLU version. Not only does the chrome on the JT not match anything else on the Sport trim level, but it also causes more sun glare on bright days.

The seats in the JT seem to have slightly more cushioning and padding, though generally being the same design and look.

The Mopar floor liners for the 2nd row won't work in the JT due to the storage bin under the seat.

The dash cluster display is faster and more responsive, though it has the exact same information and layout. The dyslexic brain-bending is still present in the JT; you must press up arrow to go down in the menu, down arrow to go up. Same with the shifter for the trans. in manual mode...pull down to upshift, push up to downshift. It's maddening and stupid. And I don't care that they do it this way in race cars; this isn't a race car.

The passenger grab handle is blank. In the JLU it is stamped "Wrangler" which is a nice touch. In the JT it's just blank and looks cheap. Why couldn't they stamp those with "Gladiator"?

The $1,295 Alpine system is a disappointment. Yes, it does have a little bit of thump from the sub, but at high volumes (14 and beyond) it begins to rattle and sounds cheap. And, the rest of the system doesn't sound any better than the standard system in the JLU I had. I would have skipped the Alpine system if I could do it over again. Too much money for too little gain.

The way the rear seats fold two ways is very nice. Wrangler seats can't fold up at all, only the seat backs fold down.

Despite having 3 mufflers (ridiculous), the JT seems to be louder in the cabin. I hear more engine note and the acoustics are just very different. The JLU was more quiet despite being a shorter wheelbase with less restrictive exhaust system. Odd. Very odd.

The auto climate control in the JLU is bad. Real bad. I did a series of YouTube videos that showed that the actual interior temperature was sometimes nearly 20 degrees different from the temperature that the climate control was set to. Well, the JT is even worse. On the ride home, I had to set the controls to 62 degrees just to get somewhat comfortable and it was only 82 degrees outside. Not even the heat of summer yet. Why can't Jeep program a climate control system properly? My Nissan Frontier with auto climate was spot-on. Set it to 70 degrees and it stayed nice in the truck year round.

Exterior

The Jeep fender emblem is black on the JT, which I prefer over the chrome one on the JLU.

The JT has a noticeably higher stance than the JLU.

The JT inner wheel-well splash guard on the front is cheap, flimsy material that flops around a lot. This is not the case on the JLU. The JLU fender liners were rigid and worked great. I have no idea why Jeep would change this.

The JLU hard top freedom panels are identical to the JT panels and my Sunrider for Hardtop fit like a glove on the truck.

Driving

It feels like they didn't update the JT steering calibration to accommodate the longer wheelbase. It requires a lot more turn of the steering wheel to go around curves and make turns. This causes the steering to feel "slow" compared to JLU. I wish they would have updated this.

On the local CAT scale, my JLU went 4,200 lbs. and my JT is 4,700 lbs. You can feel the extra 500 lbs. of weight some, but what surprises me is that the 4.10 gears don't seem to make up for the weight penalty like I expected. The JT still feels slower and more sluggish. Perhaps the engine is still breaking in.

Fuel economy so far is quite a bit worse. My bone stock JT is getting worse MPGs than my JLU was getting on a 2.5" lift with 35" mud tires. Ouch. I have no idea why that's the case. The 4.10s in the axles keep the JT in 8th gear more often. I would have expected similar gas mileage but so far there's at least a 2.0 MPG difference between the JT and JLU. Again, the engine in the JT is still breaking in so perhaps it'll get a little better?

Ride quality is noticeably better in the JT. Very smooth and rides softer than the JLU. JLU was stiff and choppy from day 1.

Brakes are noticeably stronger in the JT. The truck stops so well that even the wife commented on it when she drove it.

The coolant in the JT is blueish purple. Not the case on the JLU. Why do they change coolants like underwear?

I love that JT has standard D44s front and rear and they are heavier duty axle tubes than what JLU gets even in Rubicon trim.


Overall a whole lot is familar on the JT, but a whole lot is different. Quite an interesting experience.

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Old 06-20-2019, 11:05 AM   #2
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what real world mpg are you getting?

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https://www.wranglerforum.com/f314/y...i-2192385.html
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Old 06-21-2019, 08:46 AM   #3
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My initial mileage really sucked. Now it is going up pretty fast after a 1000 miles on it. When I first got it with 25 miles on it, I was averaging low 15's and getting better mileage in the city vs hwy.

Have not reset the computer but the last few days the average has steadily climbed to almost 17 in just the last 150 miles.

Sweet spot on the Hwy seems to be between 65-70 mph. I drove about 200 miles one day straight into a 30 mph headwind at 75 -80 mph and mpg was dismal but if I slowed down to less than 70 it was much better.
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Old 06-21-2019, 11:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jadmt View Post
what real world mpg are you getting?
The JLU over 16,000 miles averaged just north of 20 MPGs in stock form, and 17.9 MPGs on 35" mud tires, according to my Fuelly.com page (it tracks hand calculations for the user).

The JT is brand new, but so far in stock form it was showing 18 MPG up until I took a 140 mile highway trip last night. Now it shows 19.1 MPG and the low fuel light is on for the first time.

So it appears that there is at least a 1.5 MPG spread, perhaps more, if I compare apples to apples. But, obviously I need a few more tanks to know for sure.

My driving is about 50/50 split between highways and city traffic.
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Old 06-21-2019, 01:46 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WXman View Post
The JLU over 16,000 miles averaged just north of 20 MPGs in stock form, and 17.9 MPGs on 35" mud tires, according to my Fuelly.com page (it tracks hand calculations for the user).

The JT is brand new, but so far in stock form it was showing 18 MPG up until I took a 140 mile highway trip last night. Now it shows 19.1 MPG and the low fuel light is on for the first time.

So it appears that there is at least a 1.5 MPG spread, perhaps more, if I compare apples to apples. But, obviously I need a few more tanks to know for sure.

My driving is about 50/50 split between highways and city traffic.
ok you said quite a bit worse, but to me 1.5mpg for a brand new vehicle does not sound out of line at all.
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https://www.wranglerforum.com/f314/y...i-2192385.html
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Old 06-21-2019, 04:49 PM   #6
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Hereís another first impression... road trip with towing an old Jeep Grand Wagoneer.

https://apple.news/AQO_0jyJQSWWxhBbcQ5dNEQ

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Old 06-23-2019, 09:52 AM   #7
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Thanks for this review. After taking my doors off my JLU I hit the road and the dealer had an overland sitting on the lot so I had to look.
I will probably get another JLU come lease turn in. The bed is just not long enough for my needs. It is and it isnít. I can fit a lot on the jlu, but need the passenger seat to fold forward for longer wood... but I would like a bed for messy loads lol.
I hope the make a longer bed or put. Front folding passenger seat in the front.
I love the Dana 44s and I would love a JT sport with some 33s and a soft top.


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Old 06-23-2019, 10:20 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m998dna View Post
Hereís another first impression... road trip with towing an old Jeep Grand Wagoneer.

https://apple.news/AQO_0jyJQSWWxhBbcQ5dNEQ

.
Would be really awesome if the new Gladiator was towing an original Gladiator.
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Old 06-24-2019, 11:15 AM   #9
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Thanks, helpful info while considering buying a Gladiator.
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Old 06-24-2019, 06:05 PM   #10
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I had a 2015 JKU and I've upgraded to the JT and it really does feel like an upgrade. Aside from all the electronic add ons the car just feels more solidly built. Maybe its the same between the JL and JT (never test drove the JL) I can feel the difference driving and even washing the car between the JK and the JT. The fender flares on my stock JKU felt so flimsy. Everything really feels locked in on the JT.
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Old 06-25-2019, 01:22 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WXman View Post
So after being in a JL Wrangler Unlimited Sport S for almost 18 months and now being in a JT Gladiator Sport S, I've noticed a few differences.



Interior



JT has chrome bezels on the steering wheel, vs. the nice brushed nickel look of the JLU. I highly prefer the JLU version. Not only does the chrome on the JT not match anything else on the Sport trim level, but it also causes more sun glare on bright days.



The seats in the JT seem to have slightly more cushioning and padding, though generally being the same design and look.



The Mopar floor liners for the 2nd row won't work in the JT due to the storage bin under the seat.



The dash cluster display is faster and more responsive, though it has the exact same information and layout. The dyslexic brain-bending is still present in the JT; you must press up arrow to go down in the menu, down arrow to go up. Same with the shifter for the trans. in manual mode...pull down to upshift, push up to downshift. It's maddening and stupid. And I don't care that they do it this way in race cars; this isn't a race car.



The passenger grab handle is blank. In the JLU it is stamped "Wrangler" which is a nice touch. In the JT it's just blank and looks cheap. Why couldn't they stamp those with "Gladiator"?



The $1,295 Alpine system is a disappointment. Yes, it does have a little bit of thump from the sub, but at high volumes (14 and beyond) it begins to rattle and sounds cheap. And, the rest of the system doesn't sound any better than the standard system in the JLU I had. I would have skipped the Alpine system if I could do it over again. Too much money for too little gain.



The way the rear seats fold two ways is very nice. Wrangler seats can't fold up at all, only the seat backs fold down.



Despite having 3 mufflers (ridiculous), the JT seems to be louder in the cabin. I hear more engine note and the acoustics are just very different. The JLU was more quiet despite being a shorter wheelbase with less restrictive exhaust system. Odd. Very odd.



The auto climate control in the JLU is bad. Real bad. I did a series of YouTube videos that showed that the actual interior temperature was sometimes nearly 20 degrees different from the temperature that the climate control was set to. Well, the JT is even worse. On the ride home, I had to set the controls to 62 degrees just to get somewhat comfortable and it was only 82 degrees outside. Not even the heat of summer yet. Why can't Jeep program a climate control system properly? My Nissan Frontier with auto climate was spot-on. Set it to 70 degrees and it stayed nice in the truck year round.



Exterior



The Jeep fender emblem is black on the JT, which I prefer over the chrome one on the JLU.



The JT has a noticeably higher stance than the JLU.



The JT inner wheel-well splash guard on the front is cheap, flimsy material that flops around a lot. This is not the case on the JLU. The JLU fender liners were rigid and worked great. I have no idea why Jeep would change this.



The JLU hard top freedom panels are identical to the JT panels and my Sunrider for Hardtop fit like a glove on the truck.



Driving



It feels like they didn't update the JT steering calibration to accommodate the longer wheelbase. It requires a lot more turn of the steering wheel to go around curves and make turns. This causes the steering to feel "slow" compared to JLU. I wish they would have updated this.



On the local CAT scale, my JLU went 4,200 lbs. and my JT is 4,700 lbs. You can feel the extra 500 lbs. of weight some, but what surprises me is that the 4.10 gears don't seem to make up for the weight penalty like I expected. The JT still feels slower and more sluggish. Perhaps the engine is still breaking in.



Fuel economy so far is quite a bit worse. My bone stock JT is getting worse MPGs than my JLU was getting on a 2.5" lift with 35" mud tires. Ouch. I have no idea why that's the case. The 4.10s in the axles keep the JT in 8th gear more often. I would have expected similar gas mileage but so far there's at least a 2.0 MPG difference between the JT and JLU. Again, the engine in the JT is still breaking in so perhaps it'll get a little better?



Ride quality is noticeably better in the JT. Very smooth and rides softer than the JLU. JLU was stiff and choppy from day 1.



Brakes are noticeably stronger in the JT. The truck stops so well that even the wife commented on it when she drove it.



The coolant in the JT is blueish purple. Not the case on the JLU. Why do they change coolants like underwear?



I love that JT has standard D44s front and rear and they are heavier duty axle tubes than what JLU gets even in Rubicon trim.





Overall a whole lot is familar on the JT, but a whole lot is different. Quite an interesting experience.
"The JLU hard top freedom panels are identical to the JT panels and my Sunrider for Hardtop fit like a glove on the truck".

Bestop must be thrilled about this.





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Old 06-25-2019, 08:50 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by clos0791 View Post
"The JLU hard top freedom panels are identical to the JT panels and my Sunrider for Hardtop fit like a glove on the truck".

Bestop must be thrilled about this.





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I'm waiting to see the price on the full soft top before getting the Sunrider. For $100 more having the full convertible would be worth it.
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Old 06-26-2019, 02:06 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aqualungs View Post
Thanks for this review. After taking my doors off my JLU I hit the road and the dealer had an overland sitting on the lot so I had to look.
I will probably get another JLU come lease turn in. The bed is just not long enough for my needs. It is and it isn’t. I can fit a lot on the jlu, but need the passenger seat to fold forward for longer wood... but I would like a bed for messy loads lol...

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.

...messy loads - that why I just bought a trailer that I pull behind the JK. Simple is better. Our local Jeep dealer has 10 or more Gladiators lined up...for some reason they are not selling. I've yet to see one around here in the wild.
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Old 06-27-2019, 10:52 AM   #14
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@WXman - Thanks for the very detailed thoughts. Good stuff.
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Old 06-28-2019, 07:21 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Ba-Ba-Black Jeep View Post
.

...messy loads - that why I just bought a trailer that I pull behind the JK. Simple is better. Our local Jeep dealer has 10 or more Gladiators lined up...for some reason they are not selling. I've yet to see one around here in the wild.
Day before yesterday I saw a white one and then coming home from work a black one was spotted. Both looked bone stock and not very appealing.
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Old 07-01-2019, 09:45 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by WXman View Post

The coolant in the JT is blueish purple. Not the case on the JLU. Why do they change coolants like underwear?

I know that they had problems/concerns over cooling with the JT, and had to make some design tweaks away from the JL in order to attempt to address the problem. Possibly, changing coolants is one of those tweaks (though, I never seen it specifically mentioned).
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Old 07-08-2019, 10:18 PM   #17
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I'm liking the JT. Though IMHO it only looks good with a slight lift and bigger wheels. Where the JL looks good stock.
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Old 07-12-2019, 08:32 AM   #18
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More and More

Starting to see the JT more and more lately on the road. Also see more of them at the dealerships I pass. As stated, I agree they look better lifted but I have not seen one of those yet outside of pics on the net.
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Old 07-15-2019, 02:29 PM   #19
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I don't think the JT has a higher stance than a JL Rubicon in stock form does it?
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Old 07-19-2019, 10:36 PM   #20
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The JL Rubicon comes with a factory 2" lift and 33 inch tires. Is this also true of the Gladiator Rubicon?

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