Video: The 2020 Jeep Gladiator Could Have Gone So Wrong
You know that thing in an action movie where we follow our hero through a rapidly deteriorating setting, and they somehow avoid certain death time and time again? That's what it must have been like for Jeep to develop their first pickup since the Comanche went out of production 27 years ago. You could almost hear enthusiasts yelling at the screen, "watch out for the big boulder of too much truck!" Or "Oh no, there's a man with a not-enough-towing-capacity gun over there!" But by far the most dire fate awaiting Jeep was the Big Cliff Of Making The World's Most Egregious Poser Mobile.
Let's not forget that 1) Jeep culture is rife with questionable aesthetic decisions (I'm looking at you, aftermarket angry-eye grills) and 2) their parent company is FCA, long the most hapless of major automakers (ahem, several bankruptcies, bailouts, and every car they made in the early 2000s). So to pull this off would be no small feat. But we're here to tell you that the Jeep parts make driving a truck better, and the truck parts make a Jeep more practical. The lower cowl and hood of the Jeep front end buck the trend of bloated views out of trucks these days, making it easier to place on the road. The interior space, clever bed, and 4,500 lbs towing capacity make this a super versatile Jeep. And the attention to detail is at the level us sports car fans can only dream about in the modern era.
And, yes, there are compromises here - you'd get more load capacity with a pure truck and better break-over angle with a pure Jeep. But the drawbacks are easily outpaced by the ways each half makes the other better. Most importantly, though, it's *cool*. Maybe some of that shine will wear off after they've sold a hundred and seventy eight quadrillion of these things, but for now, this is the most desirable new truck in recent memory.
We also talked about our experience with the Gladiator in episode 191 of our podcast, available on iTunes, all the other podcast places, and on YouTube: