2020 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro vs. 2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon - Truck Tug of War

Toyota Tacoma versus Jeep Gladiator: Which can pull the other? That's what we'll find out in this truck tug-of-war battle. The contenders are the Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro and the Jeep Gladiator Rubicon. Both pack extensive off-road hardware, but only one can claim ultimate bragging rights.

In a purely scientific test, we attach both trucks to each other and let 'em rip. The first test has them in 4-Hi. In the second, we put them in 2WD. Can one pull the other? Do either just dig holes? Will we hurt a transmission? Watch to find out.

2020 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro Review

The Toyota Tacoma is the best-selling truck in its segment for a reason. Foremost, it enjoys a long-standing reputation for durability and go-anywhere capability. But it's also smooth, efficient, and easy to get along with on the road.

Off-road is where the Tacoma truly shines and stands above all others, except the Gladiator. The Tacoma has the clearance, gearing and traction to tackle serious terrain, and the brakes and throttle prove to be brilliantly precise and controllable in low-range crawling situations.

The Tacoma's truck bed is ideal. It's made of a composite material that needs no bedliner, and it has an enviable combination of fixed and movable tie-downs. Loading is easy because the tailgate opens low and its bedsides aren't comically tall. The Tacoma's 6,800-pound maximum tow rating does lag behind some others, but the deficit isn't large.

The 3.5-liter V6 engine and six-speed automatic combo earns 20 mpg combined (18 city/22 highway) in 4WD trim and 21 mpg combined in rear-wheel-drive models. Our testing leads us to believe that these ratings are achievable and accurate.

We tested a 2016 TRD 4WD Off-Road for more than a year and averaged 18.6 mpg over 40,000 miles of use. We were able to exceed the highway rating on several road trips, and there are good reasons why our truck may have come up just over 1 mpg short. Our home-base location skews the mix toward city driving, and the TRD Off-Road has knobbier tires and lacks the front airdam that comes on most Tacomas.

Toyota's Tacoma manages to deliver fun in a right-size pickup package. Its TRD off-road packages are the real deal, not sticker packages inflated by marketing hype. The Tacoma is great for those who want the look and feel of an off-roader even if they'll never get it dirty because it's also an easy-driving and dependable pickup truck.

See our full Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro Review: https://www.edmunds.com/toyota/tacoma/2020/

2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon Review

The Gladiator Rubicon is very easy to like. This burly off-road machine does almost anything the ballyhooed Jeep Wrangler can do, but it's also a practical pickup with a useful bed design and healthy payload and tow ratings. Inside, the cabin is nicely trimmed and easy to live with, and its back seat is more spacious than any of its closest rivals.

There's plenty of towing and hauling capability here, too. When appropriately equipped, the Gladiator can tow a class-leading 7,650 pounds. The cargo bed is only available in a 5-foot-long configuration, but it's easy to access and has some useful features such as a special tailgate position that enables you to haul 4-by-8-foot sheets of plywood.

The Rubicon version is able to traverse difficult terrain with ease thanks to features such as lockable front and rear differentials, standard 33-inch all-terrain tires and a disconnectable front stabilizer bar. But even if you're just cruising around town, you can have fun with the Gladiator's removable top and doors. It's the only convertible pickup on the market.

The Rubicon benefits from a well-matched engine and transmission combination, and it has no equal when the pavement turns to dirt. Although its pavement performance is compromised by the same giant tires and solid front axle that make it excel off-road, the chassis is nicely optimized around these necessary limitations.

See our full Jeep Gladiator Rubicon review: https://www.edmunds.com/jeep/gladiator/2020/

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