Ford Authority

Ford Is Benchmarking The Jeep Gladiator Rubicon

A white Jeep Gladiator Rubicon was just spotted outside Ford’s test facility in Dearborn, Michigan, indicating that Ford is currently conducting benchmark tests on the rival FCA product. The midsize pickup’s presence provides further evidence that the Blue Oval brand is prepping a forthcoming next-gen Ford Bronco pickup truck model variant.

For those who may be unaware, rumors have been swirling that in addition to SUV and crossover model variants, known as the “regular” Bronco and “baby” Bronco respectively, Ford will also offer a midsize pickup model variant of the iconic Bronco nameplate, similar to the product cadence for the Jeep Wrangler and Jeep Gladiator.

Last month, we covered a recent Ford patent that appeared to show a convertible truck aimed at the Jeep Gladiator. The patent included details on removable doors that could be stored, and how they are better than what Jeep has on offer.

While the vehicle in the patents shows what appears to be the Ford Ranger, the new Ford Bronco pickup will likely offer removable doors and a removable roof as well, similar to the Jeep Gladiator. What’s more, the Ford product includes provisions that make the top easier to remove and install for a single person.

Indeed, Ford is looking to target all possible pickup truck demographics after departing the car segments here in the U.S. While Ford already offers a successful line of full-size trucks with the F-Series, as well as the popular Ford Ranger for the midsize segment, the new Bronco pickup will offer a new look and an overarching focus on off-roading lifestyle to help set it apart from the Ford Ranger, much like how the Ford Bronco SUV will set itself apart from the similarly sized, but differently positioned Ford Edge.

Details will likely include a body-on-frame construction, with production taking place at Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne.

We’ve caught Ford testing various contemporary Jeep products before, including the standard Jeep Wrangler, so it’s highly likely we’ll continue to see rival products like the Jeep Gladiator show up around Ford’s test facilities as development on the new Ford Bronco continues.

As such, make sure to subscribe to Ford Authority for more Ford Bronco news and around-the-clock Ford news coverage.

Jonathan is an automotive journalist based out of Southern California. He loves anything and everything on four wheels.

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  1. GaryB

    I feel the same way about the Jeep gladiator as i do the yamaha Niken – a niche collectible. Dont really see any clear advantage or a marketable demand for their features. Especially when it comes to performance vs price tag. No need for a bronco pickup when you have a ranger, besides styling. Im sure itll cost 10k more than a ranger too

    1. Scott

      … Gary, you wrote exactly what I was thinking, man!! To a “T”!!
      I don’t know why Ford is hell-bent on mimicking Jeep. Like you say, Jeep is a niche. It’s a
      group of 23 year olds living at home, going through lake water on the weekend. Or, if they
      live close to Arizona, a desert run to 7-11. Let ’em have their toy. Just build a Ford, and
      no need to look in the rearview mirror..

      1. Nate

        They are mimicking Jeep because Jeep is selling so damn many vehicles. That “niche” is massive and just keeps on printing money for FCA.
        23 year olds aren’t buying a $48,000 Sahara while living in their mom’s basement.
        Their mom is buying it and driving it to work and the mall.

        1. GaryB

          I’m not saying i haven’t seen a bunch of those gladiators driving, because i have. I’m saying i don’t quite see the point of them from a performance standpoint. The regular jeeps are much more capable off road (departure angle and length of vehicle primary focus), and the pickup portion of the gladiator cannot compare to traditional pickups. Very low payload and towing, and extremely low power and torque, yet it costs as much as a ford raptor. I agree with you that the vehicle is most likely used to go shopping at the mall and sams club/costco. its not going to be towing horse trailers & rvs, carrying gravel or bulk building supplies back home, carrying dirtbikes in the bed (too short), and definitely not spinning up rooster tails off road (only 260 lb ft). its just a cool looking city truck

          1. Herman

            The Gladiator stacks up well enough with other midsize trucks. Power is competitive with others at 285hp and 260ft lbs, not to mention its getting the 3.0 diesel shared with the Wrangler and Ram. Also 7650 lbs towing is very class competitive. It just happens to be more off-road capable than any other vehicle in its class. I think A Bronco truck would do very well. Chances are if your hauling horse trailers or bigger RVs regularly, youd step up to a half ton.

            1. GaryB

              Rubicon Gladiator towing capacity is 4,000 lbs. Less than a toyota highlander. 285 hp and 260 lb-ft isnt going to drag 7650 lbs up mountains at highway speeds. you can get a base tacoma with the same power and better gas mileage & payload capacity for half the price of the gladiator. If someone wants to spend +50k for a good offroading truck, they may as well get a raptor with a lift kit. No offroading jeep owner drives theirs around stock. Price for performance, the Gladiator is underperforming for its price point. An overpriced novelty.


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