Jeep is bringing its old-school Willys trim to the Gladiator, combining subtle historical cues with some trickle-down upgrades. Think of it as a “Rubicon light” package for Gladiator’s entry-level Sport and Sport S trims: It adds useful body protection and chassis upgrades along with a sprinkling of retro stickers.
Adorning Willys edition Gladiators will be a black grille alongside a subtle mix of decals that are reminiscent of what you’d find on an old CJ; but it’s what’s underneath that matters most. Jeep fiends will notice the Rubicon’s rock rails under the cab of the Willys edition below, which protect the bodywork and keep the Gladiator’s relatively long wheelbase from becoming troublesome while sliding over obstacles. Though the Willys edition trim doesn’t include the Rubicon’s delightful 33-inch tires, it does bring an upgraded set of 32-inch BFGoodrich KM2 mud terrains, a fairly well-loved set of civilized knobbies.
Adding to the traction aids is a Trac-lock limited-slip rear differential. Again, not quite the rock-crawling weapon that the upper trims’ electronic locker is, but, in all, the Willys package is a smart and reasonably affordable upgrade over a Sport-trim Gladiator.
The Willys trim adds $1945 compared to a base-model Gladiator Sport, for a total of $36,985 (with destination), and $1160 over a Gladiator Sport S ($40,735 total, with destination). In either case, the juice is worth the squeeze; you’ll get a trickle-down of parts and upgrades that, for the price, is be hard to beat in the aftermarket.