Gladiator Willys Vs. Rubicon: A Comprehensive Comparison

When it comes to off-road vehicles, few brands have the reputation and lineage of Jeep. From the battlefields of World War II to the rugged trails of the modern wilderness, Jeep has been a symbol of strength, endurance, and adventure. 

In this detailed comparison of Gladiator Willys and Rubicon, we’ll take you on a journey to explore their unique features, pros, and cons.

A Brief Comparison Table

FeatureGladiator WillysRubicon
Off-Road CapabilitiesCommand-Trac 4×4Rock-Trac 4×4, Locking Differentials
Design and StylingHeritage-inspired, Willys DecalAggressive, Modern Design
Interior FeaturesStandard Cloth Seats, Basic InfotainmentLeather Options, Advanced Infotainment
Performance and SuspensionStandard SuspensionSpecialized Suspension, Enhanced Shocks
PriceMore AffordablePremium Price

The Gladiator Willys: A Tribute to Heritage

Gladiator Willys
Gladiator Willys

The Willys name has a special place in Jeep’s history, dating back to the iconic Willys MB military vehicles of World War II. But what makes the Gladiator Willys stand out?


  • Heritage Design:

The Gladiator Willys carries forward the classic Jeep design with its unique grille, military-inspired accents, and retro appeal.

  • Affordability:

It’s priced to be more accessible, making it a great entry point for those new to the Jeep world.

  • Performance:

With Command-Trac 4×4, the Willys offers solid off-road capabilities.


  • Limited Features:

Compared to the Rubicon, the Gladiator Willys may have fewer advanced off-road features and luxuries.

  • Suspension:

No, Willys doesn’t have the Rubicon suspension, which may limit its capabilities on the toughest terrains.

Also Read: Differences Between Adams 1310 And 1350 Driveshafts.

The Rubicon: A True Off-Road Warrior


Named after the legendary Rubicon Trail, the Rubicon is designed to conquer the most challenging terrains. Let’s delve into what makes this Jeep so special.


  • Unmatched Off-Road Capabilities:

With its Rock-Trac 4×4 system, locking differentials, and sway bar disconnect, Rubicon is a beast on the trails.

  • High-Quality Interiors:

Inside the Rubicon, you’ll find a range of luxuries and conveniences, from leather seats to advanced infotainment systems.

  • Iconic Presence:

Owning a Rubicon is more than just having a vehicle; it’s a statement of adventure and freedom.


  • Price:

The Rubicon comes at a premium price, which may not be suitable for all buyers.

  • Fuel Economy:

With its powerful performance, you might find the Rubicon a bit thirsty at the pump.

Key Differences Between Gladiator Willys and Rubicon

The distinction between Gladiator Willys and Rubicon is more than just a matter of style or price. Let’s delve into the key differences that set these two Jeep models apart.

Off-Road Capabilities

Gladiator Willys

The Gladiator Willys offers a solid off-road experience with its Command-Trac 4×4 system. It’s designed for general off-roading and can handle most trails. However, it lacks some of the more advanced features found in the Rubicon.


The Rubicon, on the other hand, is engineered for extreme off-roading. Its Rock-Trac 4×4 system, locking differentials, and sway bar disconnect allow it to traverse the most challenging terrains. The Rubicon’s suspension is also more advanced, providing better ground clearance and articulation.

Design and Styling

Gladiator Willys

The design of the Gladiator Willys pays homage to Jeep’s military heritage. With retro elements, such as the unique Willys hood decal and specific wheels, it’s a nostalgic nod to the past while maintaining modern aesthetics.


The Rubicon carries a more aggressive and contemporary design, reflecting its rugged capabilities. The heavy-duty fender flares, red tow hooks, and distinctive badging make it stand out as a modern off-road warrior.

Interior Features

Gladiator Willys

The interior of the Gladiator Willys is functional and attractive, but it may lack some of the luxuries found in the Rubicon. Standard cloth seats, basic infotainment system, and essential conveniences provide a more straightforward cabin experience.


Inside the Rubicon, you’ll find a more refined environment with available leather seats, advanced infotainment options, and high-quality materials. The Rubicon’s cabin is designed for both comfort and style, offering a range of customizable features.

Performance and Suspension

Gladiator Willys

While the Gladiator Willys is capable of off-road adventures, its suspension and performance features are more aligned with everyday driving and light to moderate trails. The absence of Rubicon’s specialized suspension system is a noticeable difference.


The Rubicon is all about performance on the toughest trails. Its specialized suspension system, enhanced shock absorbers, and heavy-duty axles ensure it can tackle obstacles that might be challenging for the Willys.

Price and Value

Gladiator Willys

A significant advantage of the Gladiator Willys is its affordability. Offering a blend of heritage, style, and performance, it provides a valuable entry point into the world of Jeep without breaking the bank.


The Rubicon’s price reflects its status as a premium off-road vehicle. With its superior capabilities, luxurious interior, and iconic status, it offers a complete package for those seeking the ultimate off-road adventure.

Also Read: Differences Between Fort Knox Locks And Proven Industries Hitch Locks.

Why is a Rubicon better?

“Better” is subjective, but the Rubicon offers more advanced off-road capabilities, a luxurious interior, and a strong brand presence. However, it comes at a higher price point compared to the Gladiator Willys.

The choice between Gladiator Willys and Rubicon ultimately boils down to personal preference, budget, and off-roading needs. If you’re drawn to heritage, affordability, and a blend of modern performance, the Gladiator Willys might be the Jeep for you. But if you’re looking to conquer the toughest trails and value luxury alongside performance, the Rubicon stands ready for the challenge.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the difference between Rubicon and Willys?

The Rubicon is tailored for extreme off-roading with advanced features, while the Gladiator Willys emphasizes heritage and affordability, with strong but somewhat limited off-road capabilities.

What is the Willys package on Gladiator?

The Willys package on Gladiator is a tribute to Jeep’s military history, incorporating retro design cues with modern performance features.

What is special about the Jeep Willys package?

The Jeep Willys package celebrates the brand’s heritage, offering unique design elements that hark back to the iconic Willys MB, while still providing the off-road capabilities Jeep is known for.

Does Willys have Rubicon suspension?

No, the Gladiator Willys does not include the Rubicon’s specialized suspension system.

Why do they call Jeeps Willys?

The name “Willys” comes from Willys-Overland Motors, the company that originally produced the military Jeeps during World War II.


The Gladiator Willys and Rubicon represent two distinct approaches within the Jeep family. Whether you are drawn to the nostalgic charm and affordability of the Willys or the unbeatable off-road prowess and luxury of the Rubicon, understanding these key differences can guide you to the perfect vehicle for your adventures.

In the end, both Gladiator Willys and Rubicon uphold the Jeep tradition of strength, versatility, and freedom. The choice is yours, and the trails are waiting. Which Jeep will be your companion on the journey?

Clayton S. Johnson

Well, I am Clayton who writes, manages, and does overall stuff for this website. I live somewhere in Stone Mountain, Georgia, and used to have a full-time job. But the pandemic taught me to do more do with my life. So, I quit my job and travel a lot! Since I have tons of time now, I write about all the stuff I have done, used, and have first-hand experiences.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. denis

    i own a farm my life brings to some bush and hay fields dirt road and hwy

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