Head to Head: Jeep Gladiator Rubicon vs Ford Ranger Raptor
They cost the same but which gives more off-road bang for your buck? The Jeep Gladiator Rubicon or the Ford Ranger Raptor?
We brought you the first Aussie drive of the all-new RHD Jeep Gladiator Rubicon a week ago but now we thought we’d take a closer look… and see how Jeep’s all-new “lifestyle” off-roader ute stacks up against its obvious competitor the Ford Ranger Raptor.
We’ll start with the obvious one: price. The Gladiator Rubicon has a list price of $76,450 plus on-road costs while the Ranger Raptor will set you back $76,490 plus on-road costs. Yep, there’s just $40 between the two, so the actual difference will come down to whether you can wrangle a better driveaway price out of a Ford dealer or a Jeep dealer.
Petrol or diesel
The next thing to think about is whether you want a petrol lifestyle ute or a diesel one.
The Jeep Gladiator Rubicon is a petrol-only affair. It has a 3.6L V6 engine that makes a claimed 209kW of power and 347Nm of torque, mated exclusively to an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The Ranger Raptor is only available with a diesel engine and a 10-speed auto; it’s a 2.0-litre bi-turbo-diesel that makes a claimed 157kW of power and 500Nm of torque.
While both the Gladiator and Ranger are built on separate chassis architecture, the Jeep has live axles front and rear and coil springs all round, while the Ranger Raptor has a live axle rear with coils and an independent front with coils. The Rubicon scores trick Fox 2.0 shock absorbers that provide an impressive ride, while the Raptor has long-travel coils up front and a Watts linkage and long-travel coils at the rear with position-sensitive Fox Racing internal-bypass shock absorbers.
The Rubicon is equipped with front and rear locking differentials for the ultimate in off-road traction as well as a front electronic disconnecting sway bar for maximum axle articulation in undulating terrain. It also has Jeep’s Rock-Trac Active On-Demand II 4×4 system, with a 4:1 low-range reduction and Dana 44s with a 4.1:1 axle ratio for an overall crawl ratio of 77.2:1. On the electronic front, the Rubicon scores an Off-Road+ Button; when activated in high-range it tailors vehicle operation to suit high-speed sand driving and when activated in low-range it tailors it to suit low-speed rock crawling.
The Ranger Raptor comes with a standard rear diff lock and a traditional part-time 4×4 system. While it can’t match the Rubicon for front wheel travel, it’s locking rear diff, effective traction control system, ample ground clearance and good rear wheel travel combine to make it an impressive off-road performer. Overall low-range reduction is 47.6:1 in first gear, which isn’t bad but is no match for the Rubicon. The Raptor has a Terrain Management system with six modes (Normal, Sport, Grass/Gravel, Snow/Mud, Rock and Baja).
Standard equipment on the Rubicon includes 17-inch alloy wheels with 255/75R17 BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain KM3s, a forward-facing TrailCam off-road camera, a tyre pressure monitoring system and more. The Raptor also gets 17-inch alloys, but with 285/70R17 BFGoodrich All-Terrain KO2 tyres.
Capacities and dimensions
Despite their generous dimensions, and large tubs, neither the Rubicon nor the Raptor are designed as heavy load haulers. The Rubicon has a 620kg payload and 2721kg towing capacity while the Raptor a 748kg payload and 2500kg towing capacity.
While both vehicles are around the same overall length, the Rubicon’s wheelbase is 268mm longer than the Raptor’s, but not at the expense of ramp-over angle (25.1° and 24° respectively… at least according to their respective spec sheets). The Rubicon has a significantly better approach angle but less departure angle.
The Raptor wins hands down when it comes to touring range thanks to its efficient 2.0L turbo-diesel engine, and you can expect to get more than 900km out of a tank compared to the Rubicon’s range of just 620km or so.
Both vehicles have a pretty decent wading depth, although the Raptor once again pips the Rubicon with an impressive 850mm compared to 760mm.
Both vehicles have a dual-cab pick-up body but they are very different to each other. The Ranger Raptor’s body follows the typical dual-cab ute rulebook while the Jeep designers ripped that rulebook up and threw it out the window. Like the JL Wrangler on which it’s based, you can remove the roof of the JT Gladiator in sections, and you can take the doors off… and you can fold down the windscreen – it doesn’t get any better than that for throwing out rulebooks!
Both vehicles offer generously sized cargo beds but limited payload capacity of 620kg for the Rubicon and 748kg for the Raptor.
How do they drive?
Well, we’ve driven both the Jeep Gladiator Rubicon and Ford Ranger Raptor separately, and even compared the Raptor with a Wrangler Rubicon, but you’ll have to wait until next month for a full back-to-back comparison of Gladiator Rubicon and Ranger Raptor, so stay tuned to Unsealed 4X4 and check out the spec below.