Brace yourselves, truck lovers, for an intense rivalry

Jeep kept the enthusiasts waiting for over three decades to launch a new pickup truck. But this year, it finally launched the 2020 Gladiator that has impressed the hell out of everyone. It’s sales figures are not bad either, considering that the truck is slightly overpriced for what’s on offer. There were a lot of apprehensions before the launch as to what kind of customers Jeep will cater to with the Gladiator; with the most popular choice being the enthusiasts. However, Jeep sprung a surprise by launching it in trims that serves a wide variety of people. It all seemed good until Ford decided to drop a bomb on Jeep. News about a Ford Bronco-based pickup truck started surfacing the internet, and it sure garnered a lot of attention. The main reason as to why Gladiator was one of the most anticipated launches of the year because of its rich legacy. But with this new offering from Ford, the Gladiator’s advantage is nullified. However, Ford needs to bring out one hell of a product to trump the Gladiator and all the hype surrounding it. Do you think it could beat the 2020 Jeep Gladiator?

The Ford Bronco Pickup Needs to be a Multi-Purpose Truck

Here's What the Ford Bronco Pickup Truck Needs to Slay the Jeep Gladiator
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I believe the biggest reason for 2020 Jeep Gladiator’s success is the way the truck is designed.

Each trim offers a varied purpose; for instance, the Sport S trim is designed as a work truck as it can tow up to 7,650 pounds and comes with a payload rating of 1,600 pounds. The Sport features the standard 3.6-liter, V-6 Pentastar engine that churns out 285 horses and 260 pound-feet of twist. Pretty basic on the inside, though. The Overland trim, on the other hand, serves well as a daily driver. It comes with all the basic creature comforts, 18-Inch wheels, automatic headlamps, and fog lamps, etc. There’s a seven-inch touchscreen system, and leather-trimmed seats, as well. This trim tows slightly less than the Sport S, but should suffice for people looking at it as a daily driver. The Rubicon is the ultimate off-roader with a host of off-road equipment like 33-inch Falken All-terrain Wildpeak tires and high-clearance fender flares. A Rock-Trac 4x4 System, two-speed transfer case, an electronic sway bar disconnect, locking front and rear differentials, and FOX shocks, are also included.

Jeep Brings The Gladiator To Europe!
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The Gladiator also comes with hundreds of official accessories to choose from. Not to mention, it has access to Mopar’s bible of optional accessories as well.

Fortunately, Ford also has a rich accessory list for every model, but in this case, it needs to up the ante and prove itself to be a more mod-friendly truck.

Since this will be a Bronco at its core, we can expect a lot of the big brother’s features to be available on this. So, if Bronco-based pickup has to compete against the Gladiator, it needs to be as versatile in nature as this Jeep-beast.

The Ford Bronco Pickup Needs to Cater to the Same Consumer Base as the Jeep Gladiator

Here's What the Ford Bronco Pickup Truck Needs to Slay the Jeep Gladiator
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The new Bronco-based pickup truck needs to be focused on catering to the same customer base as the Jeep Gladiator.

Folks shouldn’t look at this new pickup as an alternative to the Ford Ranger.

The Ranger is priced around $25,000, with the top-spec touching $30,000. The new Bronco pickup truck will start around the same price. So, Ford better make sure both the models don’t overlap in terms of price or be so close that people see them as alternatives to each other. There needs to be distinct USPs for both the products to co-exist in the same stable. Automakers these days don’t mind even if the prices of their models overlap as long as the customer buys from the same showroom. But they wouldn’t want that to happen in case of the Ranger and the Bronco-pickup truck. To think of it, perhaps, that is why Ford has been adamant on bringing the Ranger Raptor to the States!

The Ford Bronco Pickup Needs to Be Electrified From Launch

Here's What the Ford Bronco Pickup Truck Needs to Slay the Jeep Gladiator Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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Ford has become the soft target in the truck segment for all major automakers, especially the new electric kids on the block. Rivian and Tesla have announced war on the Blue Oval with their pickup trucks.

The Blue Oval is already working on an electric Ford F-150; so, why not offer the same on the Bronco-based truck?

If it wants to differentiate, they could be in different states of tune. My point is, Ford needs to think out-of-the-box to make sure the truck can squash the Gladiator right from its official debut. Another interesting thing is that the Bronco itself is based on the Ranger’s architecture. So, this is going to be a Ranger pickup-based-Bronco-based-Bronco pickup. Are these architectures versatile enough to accommodate an electric powertrain? There’s no word on that yet, but Ford did have a Ranger EV back in 1997, and it was in production for five years. Connect the dots here, readers!

The Ford Bronco Pickup’s Success Could Depend on How the Bronco SUV Fares Against the Wrangler

Here's What the Ford Bronco Pickup Truck Needs to Slay the Jeep Gladiator
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We know that 2021 Bronco will be going up against the Jeep Wrangler. The Bronco was one of the best off-road SUVs from the 1960s to 1990s. A few test mules of the 2021 Bronco have been spotted with heavy camouflage, but they look nothing like the official teaser image that Ford has officially revealed. This teaser shows a very boxy-side of the Bronco, unlike the test mule. According to a leaked e-catalog, the 2021 Bronco will be powered by a 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine under the hood. The same mill is found in the Ranger as well, and if it was a plug-and-play scenario, the Bronco with this engine could make 270 horses and 310 pound-feet of torque. This engine is mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission, and, I believe it could take care of the power duties in the base trim of the Bronco.

2019 Ford Ranger specifications
Engine 2.3-liter EcoBoost 2.7-liter EcoBoost
Horsepower 270 HP 335 HP
Torque 310 LB-FT 380 LB-FT
Fuel economy city/highway/combined 21/26/26 combined 19/26/21
Transmission 10-speed automatic 8-speed automatic

The other engine options could include the 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine and a 5.0-liter, V-8 engine. The Bronco pickup might feature just the EcoBoost V-6 twins, since the Jeep has a single Pentastar V-6 mill in the Gladiator that sends the power to all the wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox, but an eight-speed automatic transmission is available as option. Jeep has focused on low-end torque and a broad torque range on the Gladiator; so, don’t judge it for its mediocre power figures on paper. A V-8 Bronco pickup? I don’t think so. Two reasons for this, one being the costs will shoot up, secondly, if the Bronco gets it, there won’t be any differentiating factors in this department. Also, the Bronco will most likely come with removable roof panels, and we can expect the same from the Bronco-based pickup truck. Even the Wrangler and the Gladiator have them, so it’s certainly a must.

Jeep Gladiator - U.S. specifications
Type and Description 60-degree, V-type, liquid-cooled
Displacement (cu. in. / cc) 220 cu. in. (3,604 cu. cm)
Bore x Stroke 3.78 x 3.27 (96 x 83)
Valve System Chain-driven DOHC, 24 valves and hydraulic end-pivot roller rockers
Fuel Injection Sequential, multiport, electronic, returnless
Construction Aluminum deep-skirt block, aluminum alloy heads
Compression Ratio 11.3:1
Power 285 HP @ 6,400 RPM
Torque 260 LB-FT @ 4,400 RPM

Ford must use its truck lineage and ‘Bronco’ moniker’s heritage to its advantage

You Can Get a Fully Licensed, Brand New 1966-1977 Ford Bronco if You're Willing to Pay for it
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Ford has been sitting on the truck-throne for over four decades now, and there seems to be no stopping it. If you go by these records, Ford definitely has the potential to topple the Gladiator if it strategizes well. For instance, Ford could make it a heavy-duty truck by using the tech from the Super Duty lineup. The distinct chassis on that lineup allows for higher towing and payload capabilities. They are built using high-strength, military-grade, aluminum alloy that shaves off a few hundred pounds while maintaining the structural integrity. This is just one of a hundred aspects that the Bronco-based pickup could borrow from the other trucks present in the stable. When you mix the best things to create a product, it can surely blow the competition out of the water.

And, as I mentioned in the intro, Ford can use the ‘Bronco’ moniker to its advantage.

The Bronco name was synonymous with butch, abusive vehicles that could take anything thrown at them. This essentially nullifies Gladiator’s legacy as both stand on the same ledge. If Jeep can up the ante and Ford whole-heartedly gives its best, we will have a heated rivalry to talk about five years later. What else, do you think, could Ford do to slay the Jeep Gladiator? Let us know in the comments section below.

Further reading

2020 Jeep Gladiator Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2020 Jeep Gladiator.

Here's What the Ford Bronco Pickup Truck Needs to Slay the Jeep Gladiator Exterior Exclusive Renderings Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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Read our full speculative review on the 2020 Ford Bronco.

Sidd Dhimaan
Associate Editor and Truck Expert -
Sidd joined the team in 2017 as an intern and in less than a year he earned a full-time position as an associate editor and junior automotive expert. He is currently our pickup truck expert and focuses his attention on heavy-duty and off-road vehicles.  Read More
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