The mid-size pickup truck is basically a more versatile version of the popular Jeep Wrangler. It tows more than its SUV counterpart, and its longer wheelbase helps it ride better, too. Still, the truck requires regular steering inputs when cruising on the highway to keep it from straying, and it’s not as easy to maneuver on the trails as the smaller Wrangler. Along with a strong V-6 and a standard stick-shift transmission, the Gladiator offers a torque diesel engine option with 442 lb-ft.
The Sport S is the perfect canvas to create our ideal Gladiator. It comes standard with the 285-hp V-6 and a manual transmission. We’d also choose the all-terrain tires and anti-spin rear differential for improved traction when the blacktop ends, and we’d add the side steps to make getting in out and easier. We’d also select the three-piece hard top for its ability to quickly open up the roof. Inside, we’d add the headliner for better noise and temperature insulation and upgrade to the larger 8.4-inch touchscreen, because it adds navigation and is more sophisticated than the standard 5.0-inch unit.