Jeep Gladiator vs Nissan Frontier Comparison: The Work-Life Balance

Jeep Gladiator vs Nissan Frontier Comparison

Be honest with yourself: why are you really shopping for a mid-sized pickup?

Jeep and Nissan have put out two very different left-fielders in the shape of the Gladiator and Frontier, respectively. The former bolts a bed onto the back of the Wrangler, a model that has only grown in popularity in the age of the SUV. Meanwhile, after being the butt of many jokes for being so old it needed to tie an onion to its belt, the Frontier has joined the modern world with a thorough revamp for 2022.

What we have here is a mullet of a comparison: one half business, one half party. Can one of these mid-sizers woo us over to its side? Managing editor Mike Schlee and I spent a week with both to find out.

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2021 Jeep Gladiator EcoDiesel Review: No Apologies

Logic is probably not an off-road enthusiast’s strongest suit. 

If you and I looked at a steep incline littered with large boulders we wouldn’t think much of it. But an off-road enthusiast will likely jump in their Jeep Wrangler and bet you $10 they can make it to the top. Not only that, they are willing to sacrifice road manners, ride comfort, and sound insulation in favor of removable panels, high departure and approach angles, and a general lack of aversion to heading into the great unknown.

Nothing in the current car landscape is as unapologetically off-road biased as the Wrangler and now, the Gladiator lineup. It is clear who the Gladiator is geared towards. But the trouble is, off-road enthusiast or not, a Wrangler-based pickup is an enticing prospect. And the 3.0-liter diesel motor adds the one thing the Gladiator lacked: copious amounts of low-down torque. It will certainly give the off-roading crowd something to be excited about, but does the new diesel motor make the Jeep Gladiator more road-friendly and easier live with? 

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Detailed Specs

Price / $38,775 - $54,475
Engine / 3.6-liter 6-cylinder / 3.0-liter turbo 6-cylinder diesel
Power / 285 hp / 260 hp
Torque / 260 lb-ft / 442 lb-ft
Transmission / 6MT / 8AT
Drivetrain / 4WD
Fuel Economy (city/hwy) / 16–22 mpg / 22–28 mpg
Cargo Capacity / 35.5 cu ft

Our Final Verdict

Jeep Gladiator

3.4
Performance 7.0
Features 7.0
Comfort 6.0
Quality and Styling 8.0
Value 6.0