2021 Tacoma driving on a dirt road


  • For ease turning in tight spaces, the Tacoma has a smaller turning radius and shorter overall truck length.
  • You get more off-roading specific features with the Tacoma TRD Off-Road or TRD Pro for less than the Gladiator off-roading models.
  • Even if you're not into off-roading, the Tacoma SR5 4x2 Access Cab V6 can tow more straight off the lot.

If you're looking for the thrill of traversing a mountainside or splashing through mud puddles, the Tacoma and Gladiator have what it takes.

Off-Roading and Towing

When you're traversing boulders and steep descents, size matters. The Tacoma takes the advantage with a total length of 212.3 in. compared to the Gladiator's 218 in. total length. Plus, you can take tighter turns with a 40.6-ft. turning circle standard with the Tacoma. The Gladiator takes a larger loop with a 44.5-ft. turning circle.

If you're looking for sheer towing power, the Tacoma SR5 4x2 Access Cab V6 has a max towing capacity of 6,800 lbs., a payload of 1,525 lbs., and a starting MSRP of $31,335. The most the Gladiator can tow without additional equipment is 6,000 lbs. Only the most expensive High Altitude model can handle this feat, but it will cost you significantly more with a starting price of $51,765. Plus, you can only haul up to a 1,120-lb. payload.

One of the other differences between these two trucks is torque. While horsepower offers speed, torque offers brute strength. With 265 lb.-ft. of torque, the Tacoma SR5 4x2 Access Cab V6 is capable of towing more. The Gladiator High Altitude has 260 lb.-ft. torque in comparison. Plus, the Tacoma has Trailer-Sway Control (TSC), which applies brake pressure and manages engine torque to maintain control of the trailer.

As mentioned before, one thing both of these trucks are made for is off-roading. However, the Tacoma has earned a name for itself as an off-roading icon, having been around for over 20 years. When you choose the Tacoma TRD Off-Road 4x4 or TRD Pro V6, you can expect features like an electronically controlled locking rear differential, Multi-Terrain Select (MTS), and Crawl Control (CRAWL), and an off-road tuned suspension will keep you prepared. Comparatively, only the Gladiator Mojave 4x4 has a standard E-Locker Rear Axle. You can get Off-Road Plus Mode and off-roading suspension with shock absorbers on the Rubicon and Mojave. However, it will cost you.

Tacoma driving fast on a two lane road


  • Both trucks come with scheduled maintenance and roadside assistance plans, however Toyota covers more.
  • Based on reviews from Kelley Blue Book, the Tacoma has proven that it's a good investment that can offer a good resale value.
  • For the last 16 years, the Tacoma has been at the top of the midsize pickup category.

To keep your truck performing at its best, regular maintenance and upkeep is important.

Years of Tacoma Heritage

All newToyotas come with a factory-scheduled maintenance plan called ToyotaCare. This includes engine oil and filter changes, tire rotations, fluid inspections/adjustments, multi-point inspections, and more. Plus, ToyotaCare lasts for two years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first. Recently, Jeep has announced Jeep Wave® Customer Care; however, it only covers three oil changes and tire rotations during the first 36 months of ownership.

Both trucks offer 24/7 roadside assistance as well. Toyota's 24/7 Roadside Assistance lasts for two years and unlimited mileage and includes battery jump-starts, lockout protection, emergency fuel delivery, tire service, towing, and winching. The roadside assistance program for Jeep customers is through Mopar® and covers jump-starts or towing to the nearest FCA US LLC dealer, and it’s applicable for the term of the manufacturer's warranty period of 5 years or 60,000 miles, whichever comes first.

If you're looking for a vehicle that has a trophy case filled with awards, the Toyota Tacoma has full shelves. The Tacoma has been awarded the Best Resale Value: Midsize Pickup Truck for 11 years in a row (2010-2020) by Kelley Blue Book® KBB.com. Additionally, the Toyota brand itself also won the Best Resale Value Award: Top 10 by Kelley Blue Book®'s KBB.com. That means if you do decide to change trucks in a few years, you can get your money's worth. It's no wonder that the Tacoma has been America's best-selling midsize pickup for the last 16 years. The Gladiator is slightly newer to the truck market and hasn't won any Kelley Blue Book® awards.

2021 Tacoma parked in the mud


  • Both vehicles have advanced active safety features; however, you'll have to pay more to get them with the Gladiator.
  • The Tacoma also has the added safety that comes with the Star Safety System™ like Traction Control and Smart Stop Technology® (SST).
  • You can get available Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert (RCTA) starting on the Tacoma Sport.

Vehicles like these are made to explore. But which vehicle has more standard active safety features to help keep you safe while you explore the world around you?

Standard Safety Features

For all-over coverage, every Toyota Tacoma model comes with a safety suite called Toyota Safety Sense P (TSS-P). TSS-P includes: a Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection (PCS w/PD), Lane Departure Alert (LDA), Automatic High Beams (AHB), and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC). The Gladiator requires the Adaptive Cruise Control/Fwd Collision Warning Plus Package for more advanced active safety features. Available starting on the Sport S, drivers get Advanced Brake-Assist, Automatic High-Beam Headlamp-Control, and Full-Speed Forward-Collision Warning Plus. Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop and Enhanced Adaptive Cruise Control are only available on certain configurations. This package costs an additional $795, and it doesn’t come standard on any Gladiator model.

All models of the Tacoma also come with the Star Safety System™. This includes Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC), Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA) and Smart Stop Technology® (SST). The Gladiator has some comparable features like Electronic Stability Control but lacks a whole suite of features comparable to the Star Safety System™.

Know what's happening when you're changing lanes with the Tacoma Sport, which has available Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert (RCTA). This safety feature comes standard on the Tacoma Limited and TRD Pro. The Gladiator only has Blind-Spot and Cross-Path Detection standard on the High Altitude. You can also get this feature on the Sport S with the Jeep® Active Safety Group Package for an additional $995.

Conclusion: Tacoma vs Gladiator

Both the Tacoma and the Gladiator offer great performance and plenty of safety features that help make hauling cargo easier and off-roading even more fun. The Tacoma stands out with its standard safety features, its reputation for reliability, and its performance-enhancing features.

  • The Tacoma is available with your choice of 33 possible model configurations.
  • Active safety features are available on both vehicles, but only the Tacoma offers them standard so there's no extra cost.
  • The Star Safety System™ on the Tacoma offers added safety features, like Traction Control and Smart Stop Technology® (SST).
  • Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert (RCTA) is available on the Tacoma, starting with the TRD Sport trim.
  • The Tacoma scheduled maintenance plan and roadside assistance plan cover more than the plans that come with the Gladiator.
  • The Tacoma has a smaller turning radius and shorter overall truck length that enhance maneuverability in tight spaces.