The 2021 Ford Ranger is a well-rounded truck that offers a smooth, capable powertrain, with a powerful turbocharged engine. It’s a great value in the compact pickup class. Let’s compare it to the 2021 Jeep Gladiator.
New for 2021, the Ford Ranger offers four new colors – cactus gray, carbonized gray, cyber orange and velocity blue. It comes in two bed lengths with either an extended cab with a 6-foot bed or a crew cab model with a 5-foot bed. The crew cab model seats up to five people and comes with four full-size doors, while the extended cab provides seating for four passengers and has two smaller half-doors. Both models offer comfortable cabins with available heated seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. The Ranger comes in three trims, with available Ford Ranger Appearance Packages: XL, XLT, and Lariat. The Base Ranger XL has a starting price of $24,410 and ranges to a starting price of $32,500 for the Lariat.
The 2021 Jeep Gladiator features a nice interior with a functional design, cloth upholstery and a Manual 6-Way Driver Seat. Leather Upgrade by Mopar®, heated front seats, and a heated steering wheel are available. It seats five people, with a 60.3 inch Bed Length on all trims. The Jeep Gladiator is available in twelve total trims: Sport, Sport S, Willys, Willys Sport, Overland, Freedom, 80th Anniversary, Rubicon, Mojave, High Altitude. There are two limited edition trims: California Edition (only available through a California dealer) and Texas Trail (only available through a Texas dealer). The Sport trim has a starting price of $33,565 and ranges to a starting price of $51,765 for the High Altitude trim.
The Ford Ranger is strong and powerful enough to move you confidently on your next adventure. There is enough power to make the Ford Ranger move swift, yet offer a smooth ride. You will get a turbocharged 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine that generates 270 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque, and is paired with a class-exclusive 10-speed automatic transmission. A new Tremor off-road package is now available for 2021 that includes an off-road tuned suspension, special off-road tires, a locking rear differential, skid plates, a terrain management system, and crawl control. When properly equipped with an optional tow package, the 2021 Ford Ranger can deliver a 7,500 pound tow rating and a best-in-class maximum payload of up to 1,860 pounds. It has an estimated fuel rating of 21/26 mpg city and highway with rear-wheel drive and 20/24 mpg with four-wheel drive.
The Jeep Gladiator has a standard 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine that gives you 285 horsepower, with 260 pound-feet of torque; and works great to get you around town. The optional 3.0L V6 Turbo Diesel Engine with Start Stop is available on all trims excluding the Sport and Mojave. The High Altitude and 80th Anniversary trims are equipped with an 8-Speed Automatic 850RE Transmission. All other trims come with a 6-Speed Manual Transmission. The Sport, Sport S, Willys, Willys Sport, Overland, and Freedom trims all deliver a towing capacity of 4,000 lbs. The 80th Anniversary, Rubicon, and Mojave trims all have a towing capacity of 4,500 lbs, while the High Altitude can tow up to 6,000 lbs. The Gladiator gets an estimated 17 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway.
Safety and Technology
Ford offers plenty of available features, including one of the most user-friendly infotainment systems in its class. Top safety features on the Ford Ranger include standard forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking, available blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and available adaptive cruise control. The base XL trim comes standard with an infotainment system that includes a four-speaker AM/FM audio system, a single USB port, and a Wi-Fi hotspot. The XLT or Lariat model will feature an 8.0-inch touchscreen, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability, and SiriusXM satellite radio. A navigation system and a 10-speaker Bank & Olufsen sound system is an upgraded option.
The Gladiator comes standard with a ParkView Rear Back-up Camera, and Trailer Sway Damping. Available active safety features include ParkSense® Rear Park-Assist System, Adaptive Cruise Control/Fwd Collision Warning Plus, and Blind-Spot and Cross-Path Detection. All Gladiators come with one of the following intuitive infotainment systems: Uconnect® 3 with 5.0-Inch Touchscreen Display, Uconnect® 4 with 7.0-Inch Touchscreen Display, or Uconnect 3 with 5" Display. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay come standard on most trims; as well as eight speakers, two USB ports, and Bluetooth.
The 2021 Ford Ranger and the Jeep Gladiator deliver almost everything a buyer wants in a compact pickup truck. They are both capable and easy to drive, though if you want the Gladiator’s automatic transmission, you will have to pay extra or get one of the upper level trims. The Ranger offers better gas mileage, while the Gladiator excels off-road.