Jeep Gladiator Rubicon
Four Wheeler|November 2021
Second report: Many days of dirt
JERED KORFHAGE

Since our initial report, our long-term ’20 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon has seen a lot of dirt. The truck joined us on the 2021 Four Wheeler Overland Adventure, and that was only the beginning. We got extensive seat time in the Gladiator on all sorts of trails between Arizona and northern California, as well as stints on the interstates and the usual around-town tasks. Here’s what we found.

Backing the Gladiator’s 3.6L Pentastar V-6 is the Aisin D478 six-speed manual transmission. While we were excited to drive one of the few trucks available today with a manual transmission, we found ourselves sometimes longing for the quick, smooth shifts of the eight-speed slushbox. Rowing the shifter was never an issue but the friction point was notably later in the stroke. We also found that releasing the clutch at idling speeds (like the fast-food order line) sometimes produced shudders and shakes that we hadn’t experienced since our teenage days learning to drive stick. However, these instances diminished as we piled on the miles. Our last manual-transmission-related gripe is about space for the driver’s left foot. After a few hours on the highway, it was difficult finding a comfortable place for our size 11 boot underneath and around the clutch pedal. Thankfully, there’s one Gladiator-specific fix for this—the removable doors.

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