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2021 Jeep Gladiator vs. 2021 Honda Ridgeline: Which Is Better?

The 2021 Jeep Gladiator offers Jeep capabilities with a pickup bed while the 2021 Honda Ridgeline includes a strong legacy of reliability. Which is better?

Quick Facts 

  • Jeep Gladiator: Functionality of a pickup with the looks of a Wrangler.
  • Honda Ridgeline: Increased capability; new looks.

2021 Jeep Gladiator

2021 Jeep Gladiator

2021 Jeep Gladiator Base Price: $35,040 / Read our 2021 Jeep Gladiator Review 

What we like: A true off-road vehicle; convertible roof; a pickup truck with near class-leading towing capacity.

What we would change: solid axles make a rough ride; boxy interior; plenty of road noise.

Overview: The 2021 Jeep Gladiator offers the functionality of a pickup truck with the look and toughness of a Jeep Wrangler. It is a typical mid-size truck player with four-door body, a five-foot bed and seating for five.

What’s new for 2021: Now available with a diesel engine; full-time 4WD with low range gearing; 80th Anniversary and Willys versions join the lineup.

Features and technology: Every Gladiator comes with four-wheel drive, a five-foot bed, a removable top, and a fold-down windshield. Power comes from a 3.6-liter v6 making 285 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. A 6-speed manual transmission is standard while an 8-speed automatic is also available. A 260 hp 3.0-liter diesel V6 is optional in Sport, Overland, and Rubicon models. Generating 260 hp and 442 lb-ft of torque, it is available solely with an 8-speed automatic transmission. Step up in the lineup from the base Sport model and receive power windows, 18-inch wheels in the Overland. Move to the Rubicon to receive an electronic locking differential, Fox off-road shocks, part-time 4×4, and much more.

What does the future hold: Expect mild refreshes for the next couple of years because the Gladiator is a relatively new vehicle. See Jeep Gladiators for sale near you

2021 Honda Ridgeline

2021 Honda Ridgeline

2021 Honda Ridgeline Standard Crew Cab starting price: $36,000 EST / Read our 2021 Honda Ridgeline Review

What we like:  Quick acceleration from smooth V6 power; refined ride; roomy standard crew cab; multifunction tailgate; in-bed trunk. 

What we would change: Not for deep woods off-roading; FWD tows 3,500 pounds; AWD is 5,000-pound tow-capable.

Overview: The 2021 Honda Ridgeline features one of the smoothest rides in the segment. Some capabilities are less than other mid-sized rigs, but the Ridgeline is a fuel-efficiency leader. Seriously, though, we would feel guilty getting it dirty.

What’s new for 2021: The 2021 Ridgeline is new from the windshield pillars forward. A new Honda Performance Development (HPD) package tarts up the appearance a bit, with flared fenders, a blacked-out grille, and new 18-inch wheels. Small changes inside include a revised infotainment system. 

Features and technology: The Honda Ridgeline is fresh with a restyling for 2021. Power is delivered by an award-winning 3.5-liter 280-hp V6 engine producing 262 lb-ft of torque. This Honda’s standard nine-speed automatic transmission delivers power to the front-wheel-drive system, while AWD is an available option. Ridgeline jumps off the line quickly and scores similar mileage that other mid-sized trucks get from a diesel powerplant.

This truck is well-behaved thanks to its unibody construction with coil spring independent rear suspension. This helps it drive like a car or SUV rather than a body-on-frame truck. That’s also one of the reasons this Honda is less robust off-road than some of its heartier competitors.

Inside an 8-inch touchscreen display along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto bring the party. Specific models can be ordered with an in-bed audio system which will liven up any tailgate party.

What the future holds: Unconfirmed rumors suggest a Ridgeline Hybrid might appear later in 2021 as a 2022 model. Find a 2021 Jeep Gladiator for sale near you

Gladiator vs. Ridgeline: Strengths Comparison

Jeep Gladiator benefits: True off-road capability with a pickup bed behind you

Honda Ridgeline benefits: Car-like ride; very comfortable interior; decent fuel efficiency

2021 Jeep Gladiator vs 2021 Honda Ridgeline: Which is better?

They are almost catering to two different buyers. A Gladiator owner is going to play hard and get it dirty before the day is done, while a Ridgeline owner is thinking of urban or suburban pursuits instead. For all its capability, our choice is the 2021 Jeep Gladiator!

Find a 2021 Jeep Gladiator for sale or Find a 2021 Honda Ridgeline for sale

2021 Jeep Gladiator 2021 Honda Ridgeline
Popular Powertrains
Engine 3.6-liter V6 3.5-liter V6
Horsepower 285 hp @ 6,400 rpm 280 hp @ 6,000 rpm
Torque 260 lb-ft @ 4,400 rpm 262 lb-ft @ 4,700 rpm
Transmission 6-speed manual 4WD 9-speed automatic
Fuel Economy 19 mpg (17 city/22 highway) 22 mpg (19 city/26 highway)
Also Available 3.0-liter Diesel V6; 8-speed automatic 4WD.  AWD
Warranty 3years/36,000 miles 3 years/36,000 miles
Powertrain Warranty 5 years/60,000 miles 5 years/60,000 miles
NHTSA Safety Rating 4 star 5 star
Max Seating Capacity 5 5
Wheelbase 137.3 inches 125.2 inches
Overall Length 218 inches 210.0 inches
Width 73.8inches 78.6 inches
Height 75 inches 70.2 inches
Turning Diameter 44.5 feet 44.4 feet
Headroom, Front 42.8 inches 40.1 inches
Headroom, Rear 42.8 inches 38.8 inches
Legroom, Front 41.2 inches 40.9 inches
Legroom, Rear 38.3 inches 36.7 inches
Shoulder Room, Front 55.7 inches 62 inches
Shoulder Room, Rear 55.7 inches 61.5 inches
EPA Passenger Volume 103 cubic feet 109.7 cubic feet
Payload Capacity 1,109 pounds 1,465 pounds

Mark Elias
Mark Elias
Mark Elias is a writer and photographer specializing in automotive topics ranging from new and used cars to classics and motorsports. His first car was a Matchbox Jaguar D-Type. From there, things have only become larger. During his professional career, he has been a staff photographer for the Associated Press, a contract photographer for Bloomberg News, and a contributor to automotive outlets... Read More about Mark Elias

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