Jeep loves to talk about its off-road heritage. And it has the goods to back the claims of boulder-bashing prowess that it makes.
That said, most utility vehicles spend most of their time on pavement. And sometimes, the tradeoffs made for off-road capability aren’t worth it.
Jeep sent me a desert-running rig, and I took it to the grocery store.
Let’s back up a bit. Jeep introduced the Gladiator Mojave at the 2020 Chicago Auto Show, with the intent of this trim being meant for blasts across the desert, while still being as capable as any Gladiator, if not more so, on a rocky trail.
I was all set to join others in the automotive media on a junket to drive the Mojave, almost certainly in the actual desert, in Southern California this spring. Then the world shut down.
Having watched The Hunt for Red October last night, your author knows all too well what can happen when two superpowers engage in a game of brinkmanship. He’d also like to see Montana.
Having enjoyed years of nearly complete dominance in the true off-road SUV market in America, Jeep now finds itself in a battle against a vehicle no consumer has yet laid eyes on: the Ford Bronco, due for a public unveiling on Monday. On Saturday morning, Jeep decided to crank that newfound rivalry up to “11”, teasing a future product with a monster engine.
There’s plenty of things Americans can’t get their hands on these days — hand sanitizer, inexpensive front-drive coupes, and a predictable future, to name a few — but those dreaming of the chance to drive a four-door convertible pickup powered by a compression-ignition engine haven’t long to wait before seeing their wish granted.
As many assumed Jeep would, the off-road brand is adding the 3.0-liter diesel V6 to its Gladiator engine roster for 2021.
Reborn Ford Ranger Closing in on No.2 In Segment, but Overall Midsize Truck Market Share Is Stalling
The arrival of a reincarnated Ford Ranger in 2019, along with the debut of the Jeep Gladiator, caused midsize truck market share to climb to a 13-year high in America’s pickup category. In fact, over the span of six years, midsize trucks nearly doubled their share of America’s truck market.
The primary cause of those market share gains, the new Ranger, ended its abbreviated first sales year on the midsize podium roughly 33,000 sales back of the Chevrolet Colorado.
In the early days of 2020, however, the Ford Ranger is running nearly dead even with the Colorado. But no longer is the Ranger driving the midsize pickup truck market forward. The segment’s share of the truck market is backsliding.
Jeep is recalling 33,237 Wranglers and Gladiators equipped with manual transmissions because the clutch plate can overheat and fracture. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) recall report, the callback encompasses all Wranglers sold with a third pedal from the 2018-2020 model year, with the same being true for the 2020MY Gladiator.
Jeep dealers are now discounting Gladiator models by as much as $9,000, indicating demand for the Wangler-based pickup has seriously cooled off. Considering the insane markups we saw at launch, that’s not much of an insult.
Now that Fiat Chrysler only reports sales on a quarterly basis — an obnoxious trend sweeping through the industry like a plague — we don’t know how many Gladiators leave dealer lots month-to-month. It looks like the pickup averaged a hair above 5,000 U.S. deliveries every thirty days in 2019. That’s a far cry from the midsize pickup segment leaders, but it was also the first year of Gladiator production.
With oodles of character, legitimate off-road capabilities and higher-than-average pricing, it’s also a bit of an odd duck. While interesting designs can occasionally be too much for a (sometimes large) subset of shoppers, pricing can make or break a car’s sales prowess. Some are of the mind that Jeep expected too much from consumers and that these lofty discounts are proof.
The midsize pickup truck market was once thought dead, particularly in the wake of seemingly unstoppable sales in the full-size class. But after General Motors brought forth updated generations of the Chevrolet Colorado and the GMC Canyon a few years ago, Ford brought the Ranger back to North American shores, realizing that it couldn’t sit on the sidelines, joining the Japanese stalwarts – the Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier. Now midsize pickup market isn’t just heating up, it’s starting to catch fire.
To see if they’re up to the task of some good ‘ole classic four-wheelin’, I took part in an event that rounded them all up — well, nearly all of them — at the Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area in Eastern Pennsylvania for a day to test their off-road chops.
Although they may not seem quite as imposing as the larger full-size pickups, these midsize brutes offer plenty of capability. Their smaller footprint also allows for easier maneuverability around tight trails. So a bunch of us auto journalists gathered up all the contenders in the most off-road-biased specification to duke it out for off-roading superiority: The Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison, Ford Ranger FX4, Jeep Gladiator Rubicon, and Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro.
Jeep and AM General are joining forces to build a military-spec pickup, drafting the Gladiator into active duty. Though we suppose this is more of a reunion than a team-up, as both companies (and their most iconic models) owe their existence to Kaiser Jeep and Willys — if you go back far enough.
Called the Gladiator XMT (Extreme Military-Grade Truck), the concept exists so AM General can address its need for a new light tactical vehicle. Apparently impressed with the civilian model’s off-road prowess and tow ratings, the manufacturer reached out to Fiat Chrysler to see what could be done with the 4×4. The duo plan to shop the XMT around to militaries around the world, but claim their chief concern remains its suitability for those marching (er… driving) under the American flag.
It’s Fix-it Friday, apparently, and the ailing vehicle news hasn’t stopped rolling just yet. You’ll see.
Over at Fiat Chrysler, it seems the only thing capable of stopping the mighty Jeep Gladiator is its manufacturer, which just issued a stop-sale order to prevent new pickups from leaving the lot and potentially dropping their driveshafts.
Today’s truck trio includes three very expensive rigs that aren’t likely be used for hauling duties or any other truck-type responsibilities. And that’s a good thing, because they’re loaded up on equipment and leather, and covered in nice metallic paint. Which nice truck gets used as kindling? Let’s find out.
The Jeep Gladiator, a vehicle seven-slot aficionados spent decades begging for, is now on sale, offering buyers a pickup, sedan, off-roader, and convertible, all wrapped in one unmistakable vehicle.
This being a truck, prices naturally range from somewhat reasonable ($35,040 after destination for a base Sport) to exorbitant, but those not looking for a long-term commitment might find that leasing a Gladiator will give them — by far — the best bang for their buck. Thank sky-high residual values.
Every year, the Easter Jeep Safari treats us to a batch of Fiat Chrysler’s finest off-road concepts and breathes a little fun into the auto industry.
While assuredly a marketing ploy, it’s one of the most enjoyable (and something this author eagerly waits for every spring). This year’s marketing proved a little more heavy-handed, thanks to the presence of Jeep’s all-new Gladiator, but no less palatable. Jeep is bringing six models to Moab for 2019 and every one comes with a truck bed and loads of accessories Mopar cannot wait to sell you via the Jeep Performance Parts catalog.
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- Jeff S Adam on Rare Classic Cars has a new purchase a 1968 LTD Brougham just over 9k original miles. He really finds some gems.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZK8R-LhM1LM&ab_channel=RareClassicCars%26AutomotiveHistory
- Jeff S @Lou_BC--Diamonds are not really rare DeBeers dominates the diamond market and created the market with advertising starting in the 1930s thru the 40s. Before that time diamonds were for the most part considered for the wealthy and diamond wedding rings were not that common. Go back 100 years and most women wore wedding bands made of gold, silver, or other metals. DeBeers dominating the diamond market also controls the supply of diamonds keeping the prices higher by restricting supply. Sound familiar? Oil companies have learned to restrict supply of oil as well.https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/diamond-de-beers-marketing-campaign
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- Jeff S Arthur and I might be in the minority but we miss cars like this. We will never see cars like this again and it is what it is. I did like driving my mothers 72 Sedan Deville and her 84 Chrysler 5th Avenue with leather interior and Boise Dolby stereo along with some of the other luxury cars I drove from this era. At least I got to experience them and if I want more I can always read Corey's well written articles and watch Adam on Rare Classic Cars.