This Jeep Truck Could be a Hybrid Competitor for the Ford Lightning

In the world of one-upmanship, we see a new Jeep truck offered that could be the right hybrid competitor for the new Ford Lightning.

The Ford is built on the F-150 platform to be a fully-electric half-ton truck, but Jeep isn’t quite ready to go all-electric just yet. Even so, the new Jeep Gladiator 4xe could be the truck you want to drive when you’re ready for an adventure in the wilderness. If you’re looking for off-road fun and you want hybrid efficiency, the Gladiator is the truck for you.

It’s Not Quite Apples and Bananas

The old saying is to compare apples and oranges, but both of those are round fruits, making them somewhat similar. A dissimilar comparison would be apples and bananas, which have extremely different shapes, tastes, and ways to eat them. The Gladiator and Lightning are more like apples and oranges with fuel-saving technology to give you a way to avoid using as much fuel as you normally would, but that’s about as far as the similarities can go. Once you get away from the fact that these two vehicles aren’t gas-powered trucks, you’ll find serious differences.

The Ford Lightning is an all-electric truck. You are limited to the driving range of the battery pack that’s included in this truck. The Ford is also a full-size, half-ton truck which means it has the strength needed for work that has to be done every day. You won’t have to put gas in the Ford, but you will have to keep an eye on the driving range and battery life before you have to stop for the day and let this truck recharge before starting out again in the morning.

On the other hand, the Gladiator is a Jeep truck that does things differently. In the 4xe version, you’ll have a hybrid powertrain, which means you are using gasoline sometimes and aren’t limited to the range of the electric power system. This Jeep is also a midsize truck, not a full-size model, which means you have a smaller truck that’s not quite as powerful as the Ford. Thankfully, as long as you take along some extra fuel, you can keep on driving the Gladiator for as long as you want on the roads and trails.

Getting Specific About the Jeep Truck

Confirmed for the 2022 model year, the Jeep Gladiator 4xe will arrive at dealers just as fast as they can be produced. This new hybrid truck is expected to be powered by the same powertrain we see in the new Wrangler 4xe. That means it should have a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and an electric motor attached to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The battery pack for the electric motor is a 17-kWh model to give you a system output of 375 horsepower and 470 lb.-ft. of torque.

Can the Hybrid Gladiator Tow a Load?

One of the reasons we love the Gladiator is the fact that it takes all the off-road goodness of the Wrangler and gives us a truck form. The Wrangler is rated to tow some gear, but we’ve looked at the Gladiator as the Jeep truck that can get things done since it arrived on the scene. The hybrid version of this truck is expected to keep the towing and payload numbers that we admire with the gasoline version. This means you can expect this model to tow up to 7,650 pounds and offer a payload of 1,700 pounds to help you get things done.

The Range and Charging of the 4xe

The charging time and range of the hybrid Gladiator have not been released yet. Even so, we can surmise they will be similar to the Wrangler 4xe. For the hybrid Wrangler, the estimated range with a full battery pack and tank of gas is 370 miles. This results in 22 city/28 hwy mpg for the driving distance. The Gladiator 4xe is heavier and might not return the same numbers, but they should be pretty close.

Charging the 4xe battery pack takes about 12 hours using a 120-volt outlet at home. That number is reduced to two hours if you use a Level 2 charger, which can easily be set up at your home. Because this truck has both gasoline and electric fuel supplies, you’ll never run out of driving range and can certainly enjoy an amazing drive when you take this truck out on the roads or to the trails.

Circling Back to the Ford

The idea of this comparison was to put the Jeep truck against the Ford Lightning. While these two vehicles use different powertrains, they both have a specific purpose. Trucks are made to get work done, and both can do that. If you want to compare numbers, the Ford Lightning has a maximum payload capacity of 2,000 pounds and towing of 7,700 pounds. These numbers are achieved with the standard range battery pack.

If you choose the bigger battery pack, your driving range increases, but something strange happens to the payload and towing numbers. While the towing number does go up to 10,000 pounds, the payload capacity drops to 1,800 pounds with the larger battery pack. This change could be due to the extra weight of the batteries. Regardless, you can see that the Ford and the Jeep trucks are similar in the work numbers we often look at with trucks.

Which Truck is Right for You

When you look at the Ford Lightning and the Jeep Gladiator 4xe side-by-side, you’ll quickly realize they are extremely different. The Jeep truck has an off-road look that makes you know it’s a truck you should take out on the trails. The Ford appears to be ready to haul some lumber, pull a trailer, and help you get your job done. Both of these trucks are capable; the decision of whether to avoid gasoline entirely or allow a fuel-sipping gasoline engine to aid in your driving experience is entirely up to you.