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AAA World Article

Jeep Gladiator

If your idea of a party is to take your toys out to play in the middle of nowhere, then the new 2020 Jeep Gladiator is the pickup for you.



If your idea of a party is to take your toys out to play in the middle of nowhere, then the new 2020 Jeep Gladiator is the pickup for you.

         While other trucks can handle the occasional off-road excursion, the midsize Gladiator’s beefier hardware means no pickup is better in the dirt. The top-of-the-line Rubicon model that I drove scrambled up steep, rocky outcroppings and over deeply rutted muddy trails with aplomb. It’s safe to say that this vehicle can take you anywhere you want to go.

         What’s surprising about a pickup with this level of off-road capability is that it’s equally at home on the pavement. A nicely tuned suspension delivers better ride quality than you might expect and handling that inspires confidence.

         The interior has room for four good-sized adults. Out back, the five-foot steel bed is big enough to hold standard four-by-eight sheets of plywood with the tailgate lowered to its ingenious halfway down position. More than 200 accessories make it possible to haul everything from dirt bikes to kayaks with ease.

         Figure in an available soft top plus a fold-down windshield and removable doors, and you have an open-air pickup with unparalleled party and business possibilities.

Strengths

  • The only convertible pickup on the market
  •  Rubicon model’s supreme off-road capabilities
  • Healthy maximum towing capacity of 7,650 pounds

Weaknesses

  • Price tag can soar past $50,000 with options.
  • Capability would be wasted on buyers who never go off-road.
  • Cabin is noisy at cruising speeds with the soft convertible top.

Bottom Line

After a 27-year absence, Jeep reintroduces one of the few pickups that’s as fun as it is practical.

Pricing

Base Price: $35,040

As Tested: $51,340

Safety

NHTSA: Not yet tested

IIHS: Not yet tested

MPG (city/highway)

16/23 (V6/manual)

17/22 (V6/automatic)

Interesting Technology

Available front-facing off-road camera (with washer nozzle); Off-Road Plus button optimizes drivetrain for everything from sand-slinging to rock-crawling.

Also Consider

Ford Ranger; Toyota Tacoma


This article originally appeared in the July/August 2019 edition of AAA World.

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