Welcome to a deep-dive into the much-anticipated 2024 Chevrolet Silverado, a vehicle that brings together heritage and modernity. In the world of heavy-duty, hard-working trucks, the Silverado lineage…
Welcome to a deep-dive into the much-anticipated 2024 Chevrolet Silverado, a vehicle that brings together heritage and modernity. In the world of heavy-duty, hard-working trucks, the Silverado lineage stands tall, and the 2024 model aims to uphold this tradition.
Available in various trims and cab sizes, the 2024 Silverado caters to a range of needs and budgets, with prices starting at an accessible $44,899 and going up to $83,999 for the luxury trim. But what else does this incarnation of the Chevrolet flagship bring to the Canadian market?
Under the Hood: Powertrain Options and Towing Capacity
First, let’s explore under the hood. The Silverado offers a wide range of powertrain options, including a 2.7-litre four-cylinder at 310 horsepower and 430 pounds of torque, a turbodiesel 3.0-litre six-cylinder with 305 horsepower and 495 pounds of torque. A 5.3-liter V8 with 355 horsepower and 383 pounds of torque reflecting its robust capabilities and a 6.2-litre V8 with 420 horsepower and 460 pounds of torque. Of these, the 6.2-liter V-8 engine stands out as the quickest, boasting impressive handling and firm brake feedback.
When it comes to towing capacity, the 2024 Silverado outperforms its rivals such as the Ram 1500 with a maximum towing capacity of 13,300 pounds when equipped with the 6.2-liter V-8 engine this stays competitive with the Ford F-150 which clocks a 14,000-pound towing capacity. This makes the Silverado an ideal choice for those heavy-duty hauling tasks.
Off-Road Capabilities: Exploring the Trail Boss and ZR2 Models
Off-road enthusiasts are in for a treat with the Silverado’s two specialized offerings. The Trail Boss model features upgrades that include a 2-inch suspension lift, 275/65R18 Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac all-terrain tires, a specific steel bumper for better clearance, large tow hooks, Rancho monotube shocks, and a rear Eaton MLocker automatic mechanical locking differential for improved traction. On the other hand, the Silverado 1500 ZR2 brings in 33-inch off-road tires, Multimatic spool-valve dampers, and a distinctive rugged appearance. It can be equipped with either a 420-hp 6.2-liter V-8 or a 305-hp turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six Duramax diesel, paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel drive. Additional off-road enhancements include trimmed front and rear bumpers and a tucked muffler. While not as extreme as some competitors like the Ram 1500 TRX or Ford F-150 Raptor, the ZR2 sits more closely with the Toyota Tundra TRD Pro or F-150 Tremor in its off-road prowess. Adventure awaits with the Silverado, no matter the road conditions.
Technology and Luxury Inside: Infotainment and Safety Features
In terms of updates, the 2024 Silverado comes with a few pleasant surprises. New metallic paint options have been introduced for added visual appeal, alongside an active exhaust system for the 420-hp 6.2-liter V-8 models. The luxurious High Country trim also offers the Midnight Edition, adding a new level of sophistication to this hardworking truck.
Inside the cabin, a range of luxury options are available depending on the trim. An upgraded infotainment system is standard across all models, offering wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a mobile hotspot. Higher trims feature a Google-powered voice assistant and Amazon Alexa integration, keeping you connected wherever your journey takes you.
Safety hasn’t been compromised, with standard driver-assistance technology including forward-collision warning, automated emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and lane-departure warning. Additionally, the High Country trim offers GM’s hands-free driving technology, Super Cruise, further enhancing the driving experience.
Looking Ahead: Warranty, Customer Satisfaction, and the Silverado EV
When it comes to warranty, Chevrolet provides three years or 60,000 kilometers of coverage, and a powertrain warranty covering five years or 100,000 kilometers. Complimentary maintenance is also offered for the first visit, showcasing Chevrolet’s commitment to customer satisfaction.
In addition to the remarkable offerings in the Silverado lineup, Chevrolet is also venturing into the future of automotive technology with the introduction of the Silverado EV. This battery electric full-size pickup truck, set to be manufactured by General Motors under the Chevrolet brand, marks a significant step towards embracing sustainable driving solutions. Introduced in January 2022, the Silverado EV is poised to hit the North American market in the fall of 2023 for the 2024 model year. This exciting addition expands Chevrolet’s commitment to innovation, bringing a new dimension to the Silverado’s legacy of power and performance.
In conclusion, the 2024 Chevrolet Silverado marks a significant evolution of this hard-working, reliable truck. Its wide-ranging capabilities, combined with its updated tech and features, maintain its position as a formidable choice in the competitive pickup truck market. So, whether you’re a long-time Chevrolet fan or new to the brand, the Silverado promises something for everyone, and we’re excited to see where this legacy goes from here.
Need detailed information about the Vehicle Specifications? Uncover all of the new features and Discover the Silverado MSRP & Invoice Price right here
With a line-up that ranges from the robust Laredo 4×4, priced at $55,045, to the luxurious Summit Reserve 4×4, also offered at $77,045, the 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee appeals to a broad audience…
With a line-up that ranges from the robust Laredo 4×4, priced at $55,045, to the luxurious Summit Reserve 4×4, also offered at $77,045, the 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee appeals to a broad audience in the Canadian marketplace. But what makes this vehicle stand out?
Engine: Power Meets Efficiency
At the heart of the 2023 Grand Cherokee is Jeep’s new inline-six engine, aptly named “Hurricane.” This engineering marvel is replacing the old V8 and is expected to deliver between 420 to a massive 500 horsepower in its high-performance version. The familiar 3.6-liter V6, producing 293 horsepower, continues to be a reliable option for base models. The cherry on top is a hybrid powertrain based on a 2.0-liter turbo-four engine that offers a combined output of 375 horsepower. Every powerplant in the lineup is paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission, ensuring smooth and efficient power delivery.
Interior: Luxury Meets Utility
Inside the Grand Cherokee, you’ll find a high-quality interior combining classic elements and modern technology. Quality materials and attention to detail create a luxurious cabin that accommodates passengers comfortably. The standard model comes with two spacious rows of seats, while the optional Grand Cherokee L model features a stretched wheelbase and a third row of seats.
Technology: Intuitive and Up-to-Date
Standard tech includes a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster and an 8.4-inch touchscreen. The Grand Cherokee supports wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, ensuring your devices can easily sync with the vehicle. Additional standard features include a Wi-Fi hotspot, a six-speaker audio system, USB ports, Bluetooth, dual-zone automatic climate control, and push-button start. Jeep has also provided a variety of optional features like a 10.1-inch touch screen, a 10.25-inch passenger-side touch screen, navigation, wireless device charging, a nine-speaker Alpine audio system, and a top-notch 19-speaker McIntosh audio system.
Design: Timeless and Refined
From a design perspective, the 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee stays true to its roots. The exterior design is attractive and functional, with the potential for new color options. Despite having a smaller cargo area than some rivals, with about 37.7 feet of space behind the second row and 70.8 cubic feet total, the SUV remains a practical choice.
Performance: Off-Road and Beyond
The 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee continues to impress with its off-road capabilities. Composed handling and strong performance make it an attractive option for those who crave adventure. However, potential buyers should be aware that with these impressive attributes comes a relatively high starting price.
The 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee offers Canadian drivers a blend of power, luxury, and cutting-edge technology. Despite the high starting price and smaller cargo area, the numerous benefits may tip the scales in favor of this impressive SUV. As always, it’s essential to research, compare, and test-drive to determine if this vehicle meets your needs and preferences.
Explore the Grand Cherokee MSRP & Invoice Price over here
Dive into Factory Incentives, Lease Rates, and Finance Rates over here
Looking for exhaustive information on Vehicle Specifications? Find them here
Land Rover has just pulled the wraps off its third-generation Range Rover Sport (compare it to the current Range Rover Sport here), and while its styling is purely evolutionary to the point that nobody…
Land Rover has just pulled the wraps off its third-generation Range Rover Sport (compare it to the current Range Rover Sport here), and while its styling is purely evolutionary to the point that nobody could possibly mistake it for anything other than a more aerodynamically refined Range Rover, it certainly looks good, while exterior improvements, including flush glazing and powered pop-out door handles, a hidden waist rail finisher, and a laser-welded roof, help deliver a slick drag coefficient of just 0.29.
“The exceptional New Range Rover Sport sets new standards as the ultimate sporting luxury SUV, building on seventeen years of unique customer appeal,” said Thierry Bolloré, Chief Executive Officer, Jaguar Land Rover. “It is the latest embodiment of our vision to create the world’s most desirable modern luxury vehicles, effortlessly blending new levels of sustainability with the signature qualities that have made Range Rover Sport so popular.”
New mixed-metal platform architecture makes body structure 35 percent stiffer
Under the Sport’s sleek skin is an all-new rear-wheel drive-biased MLA-Flex mixed-metal platform architecture that provides up to 35 percent more torsional rigidity than the previous model.
“Land Rover’s pioneering flexible MLA architecture and the latest chassis systems come together to deliver the highest levels of dynamism we’ve ever seen on Range Rover Sport,” said Nick Collins, Executive Director Vehicle Programmes, Jaguar Land Rover. “Integrated Chassis Control governs the comprehensive suite of innovations, co-ordinating everything from the latest switchable-volume air suspension system to our Dynamic Response Pro electronic active roll control. The result is the most engaging and thrilling Range Rover Sport ever.”
Upgraded air suspension joins all-wheel steering for best-ever handling
The new platform aids cornering capability, high-speed stability and overall handling feel, plus all trims feature Dynamic Response Pro, which minimizes roll thanks to a 48-volt electronic active roll control system that’s capable of applying up to 1,400 Nm of torque across each axle, whereas the standard Dynamic Air Suspension system, with switchable volume air springs, provides twin-valve active dampers for “ultimate agility, control and composure,” says Land Rover in their press release.
What’s more, a Stormer Handling Pack combines Dynamic Response Pro, All-Wheel Steering, and an Electronic Active Differential with Torque Vectoring by Braking and Configurable Programs. Thanks to as much as 7.3 degrees of rear-wheel steering, the all-wheel steering system promises a compact car-like turning circle as well as the type of on-road agility normally found in a much smaller vehicle.
No shortage of conventional and hybrid power units available globally
Such agility and stability will be important considering all the power available in top-tier trims, but Land Rover has yet to announce exactly which powertrains will be available to the Canadian market.
Globally, the Sport will be offered with a 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder Ingenium engine in four states of tune. Both entry-level versions, dubbed P360 and P400, boast 48-volt mild-hybrid designs, and while we can’t be sure if either will make it across the Atlantic to our port of entry, we can be certain that all three mild-hybrid six-cylinder diesel engines, named D250, D300 and D350, won’t be sold here.
Two plug-in hybrid drivetrains provide up to 113 km of EV range
A more likely base engine in our market is the P440e, which incorporates an electric motor powered by a 38.2-kWh battery for a total of 434 net horsepower and a claimed zero to 100 km/h acceleration time of 5.8 seconds. Alternatively, or possibly offered as an option, a higher output version of the same engine gets the P510e moniker due to its larger 105kW electric motor, which along with the same 38.2-kWh battery provides net output of 503 horsepower and a standstill to 100 km/h sprint time of 5.4 seconds.
Both full-hybrid power units provide up to 113 kilometres (70 miles) of zero local emissions EV range in optimal conditions, or an expected real-world range of 88 km (54 miles), which, says Land Rover, is “enough for most owners to complete up to 75 percent of journeys on electric power.” Additionally, the two plug-in hybrid power units allow for up to 740 km (460 miles) of combined gasoline and electric range, making long uninterrupted road trips easier, plus you’ll be doing less damage to the environment than the previous model (and many competitors) thanks to CO2 emissions rated at just 18g per km.
Ultimate performance is still available by opting for a twin-turbo V8 or upcoming EV
If you like your Range Rover Sport with unadulterated V8 power, rest assured the redesigned gen-3 version won’t disappoint. This said the current model’s 5.0-litre supercharged V8 will not be available any longer, instead replaced by a new 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged mill that promises even stronger performance in non-SVR trim.
As it is, Land Rover’s press release gave no mention of the Sport’s SVR upgrade package, so it will most likely be a late arrival. Instead, the only V8 mentioned makes 523 horsepower, which is up 5 hp from the current blown V8’s 518 ponies, and capable of a spirited 4.3-second dash from standstill to 100 km/h when launch control is engaged.
Of course, these output and performance numbers are still shy of the SVR’s 575-horsepower engine, so only time will tell if a more potent version of the twin-turbo V8 makes the cut for the top-line SVR variant, or possibly if the all-electric model, set to arrive for model-year 2024, receives the revered designation.
Range Rover Sport’s off-road capability second to none
All powertrains come standard with an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission and Intelligent All-Wheel Drive featuring Land Rover’s award-winning Terrain Response, the latter now incorporating a road-focused Dynamic Mode alongside an updated Configurable Terrain Response system designed to tackle all types of off-road conditions, plus an innovative new Adaptive Off-Road Cruise Control system designed to improve off-road capability while reducing driver fatigue when on the trail.
“New Range Rover Sport’s advanced chassis dynamics feed into its immense capability away from the tarmac, utilizing its hardware and software to full effect,” said Rory O’Murchu, Vehicle Line Director, Jaguar Land Rover. “It is the first vehicle to feature our new Adaptive Off-Road Cruise Control, which has been engineered to help drivers focus on steering the vehicle by providing consistent and comfortable progress across rough terrain.”
New Range Rover Sport to improve interior beyond the current model
While some might find it hard to fathom a higher quality, more refined mid-size luxury utility than today’s Range Rover Sport, Land Rover promises improvements at every level.
While materials are said to upgraded, the focus has been more toward environmental friendliness than perceived quality. Its sustainable alternatives to leather, for instance, are dubbed Ultrafabrics and made from recycled polyurethane, plus finished in new Duo Tone colourways. Land Rover also makes available a unique textile trim option, which extends to the dashboard and door detailing. This said, Premium grained Windsor or even more supple Semi-Aniline leathers will still be on the menu, as will hardwoods, aluminum accents and more, but special Moonlight Chrome interior trim is new.
Land Rover goes big with digital displays
Ahead of the driver is a very sizeable 13.7-inch digital driver’s display, while the similarly large and curved Pivi Pro infotainment system incorporates standard wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, plus a 3D surround overhead camera. Both systems also come with standard Software Over The Air updates, while Alexa is now part of the standard setup in all Land Rover vehicles.
“Living with the New Range Rover Sport couldn’t be easier thanks to its suite of connected technologies,” said Alex Heslop, Director of Electrical Engineering, Jaguar Land Rover. “Our award-winning Pivi Pro infotainment is at the heart of the experience and its haptic, curved floating touchscreen provides intuitive control of the vehicle systems. To help drivers maintain their focus, embedded Amazon Alexa voice AI is on hand, so customers can keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel while doing anything from setting the navigation and placing calls to selecting media sources.”
Additional standard Range Rover Sport features include a new set of high-performance Digital LED Headlights with Adaptive Front Lighting for seeing around corners, while new Low Speed Manoeuvring Lights improve visibility in parking lots and other closed, confined areas.
All Range Rover Sports also include deployable door handles with proximity sensing, soft door close and the ability to unlock when approaching, while Automated Walkaway Lock is also part of the standard package.
Plenty of features set the Range Rover Sport apart from competitors
Back inside, unique Range Rover Sport highlights include a Cabin Air Purification Pro system to clean the cabin environment, featuring PM2.5 filtration and nanoe X technology that goes so far as to reduce odours, bacteria and allergens, even airborne viruses as small as SARS-CoV-2. Additionally, a separate nanoe X unit gets fitted to the second row to provide more consistent air quality in both seating areas. An advanced CO2 Management function lets occupants purify the cabin ahead of a journey too, or alternatively while on the way.
The new Range Rover Sport’s Meridian Signature Sound System, on the other hand, incorporates the latest in Active Noise Cancellation technologies, plus up to 29 integrated audio speakers provide superb sound quality, some of which are hidden behind the textile of the rear doors and four others cloaked within the headrests to allow for “personal sound zones,” says Land Rover. The system incorporates a new subwoofer too, powered by a 1,430-watt amp.
Advanced driver safety also includes off-roading features
Standard advanced driver safety and convenience features include automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, traffic sign recognition, a driver-attention monitor and adaptive cruise control, while front and rear parking sensors are also included. Unique to Land Rover, a special Wade Sensing feature helps when fording rivers, plus ClearSight Ground View and Manoeuvring Lights further enhance the Range Rover Sport’s off-road experience.
On the options list are 22-way power-adjustable, heatable and ventilated memory seats up front, featuring massage function and winged headrests. These flagship seats also provide a 31-mm increase in legroom and 20 mm of extra knee clearance, improving comfort and support whether on the road or trail.
Later this year, Land Rover will start producing the new 2023 Range Rover Sport at its Solihull manufacturing plant in the UK. By that time, or shortly before, we can expect an announcement about Canadian-market features, trims and pricing information, plus the ability to pre-order.
Globally, the new Range Rover Sport will be available in S, SE, HSE and Autobiography trims, plus a First Edition trim will be offered through its first year of production, boasting a “specially curated specification,” said Land Rover.
New Range Rover Sport Revealed (0:59):
New Range Rover Sport (15:14):
New Range Rover Sport Challenge with Jessica Hawkins (1:57):
Story credits: Trevor Hofmann
Photo credits: Land Rover
You’ve mostly likely heard of the CX-5, Mazda’s popular compact crossover SUV, and maybe you’ve even taken notice of the little CX-3 subcompact crossover, not to mention both models’ larger CX-9…
You’ve mostly likely heard of the CX-5, Mazda’s popular compact crossover SUV, and maybe you’ve even taken notice of the little CX-3 subcompact crossover, not to mention both models’ larger CX-9 mid-size seven-passenger utility. If you’re really car savvy you’ll also know that Mazda offers the sporty CX-30 between the CX-3 and CX-5, not to mention the new MX-30 electric crossover that’s sized similarly to the CX-30, but were you aware the new compact CX-50 is on its way?
If you’re CX-confused right about now we’ll understand, because the independent Japanese automaker hasn’t exactly tiptoed lightly into the crossover SUV sector, even having a long-discontinued model (in our market) dubbed CX-7 to its credit. So far, all CX models (including the lone MX-30) have been for pavement and light-duty off-road use only, but Mazda is changing things up with the new 2023 CX-50, and beefing up the brand’s styling while they’re at it.
New CX-50 offers plenty more SUV for many more dollars
Ushering in a new look for Mazda’s SUV lineup, the CX-50 joins the CX-30 in previewing an entirely new naming scheme for Mazda’s SUV lineup, which will eventually be followed by the two-row CX-70 and three-row CX-90 mid-size models. The compact CX-50 is sized similarly to the current CX-5, yet it’s priced higher at $37,900 in base GS-L trim, making it $7,700 pricier than today’s base CX-5. Likewise, the CX-50 GT will start at $42,850, which makes it $3,900 more expensive than the equivalent 2022 CX-5 GT AWD.
For that we can expect even more premium finishings and features, plus, as noted earlier, the ability to venture farther off the beaten path than its more city-centric sibling. Some standard 2023 CX-50 GX-L features include LED headlamps, 17-inch alloy wheels, a rear rooftop spoiler, a 7.0-inch driver’s display, a 10.25-inch Mazda Connect infotainment touchscreen with wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, a dual-zone automatic climate control system, heatable front seats and a heated steering wheel rim, a 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, leatherette upholstery, a panoramic glass sunroof, and a powered rear liftgate. Additionally, standard driver assist systems will include emergency front braking, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keep assist, rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, and automatic high beams.
GT and Meridian Edition trims should be popular
The CX-50 GT further adds adaptive cornering headlamps, a head-up display system, an auto-dimming rear view mirror, a 360-degree surround parking camera, ventilated front seats, a powered front passenger seat, leather upholstery, premium audio, a navigation system, wireless phone charging, and rear emergency braking.
Later this year, Mazda will also offer a CX-50 Turbo Meridian Edition, featuring exclusive 18-inch rims on all-terrain rubber, beefier headlight and rocker panel protective cladding, and available “outdoor-specific” accessories. We can expect pricing for this model to arrive closer to its availability.
Longer and leaner CX-50 provides an athletic stance
While some literature claims the CX-50 as a mid-size model, in North America it will be considered a compact as it’s only slightly larger than our current CX-5 and shares the compact model’s transverse platform underpinnings, which also gets utilized by the even smaller CX-30 and fourth-generation Mazda3. All in all, the CX-50 measures 4,719 mm (185.8 in) long with a 2,814-mm (110.8-in) wheelbase, plus it’s 1,852 mm (72.9 in) wide and between 1,613 and 1,623 mm (63.5–63.9 in) tall, depending on the trim.
This makes the CX-50 169 mm (6.6 in) longer than the CX-5, with 116 mm (4.5 mm) of added wheelbase for significant growth from nose to tail, but it’s only 10 mm (0.4 in) wider, the key measurement when comparing compact to mid-size models. What’s more, even at its tallest the CX-50 is a considerable 57 mm (2.2 in) lower than the CX-5, which helps make it appear longer, leaner and thus, sportier.
CX-50 performance and fuel economy should remain similar to the CX-5
Whether it actually feels sportier off the line will be another story, being that the CX-50 utilizes the same standard 2.5-litre Skyactiv-G four-cylinder engine as the CX-5, rated at an identical 187 horsepower and 186 lb-ft of torque, although it comes standard with fuel-saving cylinder deactivation. It also features the same six-speed automatic transmission and standard i-Activ all-wheel-drive system, yet the CX-50 weighs in at 1,681 to 1,772 kg (3,706–3,907 lbs), depending on trim, a weighty 176 to 113 kg (388–249 lbs) more than the lightest and heaviest CX-5.
In GT Turbo trim, the CX-50 will receive the CX-5’s optional 2.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine capable of 256 horsepower and 320 lb-ft of torque, and thus should help minimize any performance differences, although take note that engine output is reduced to 227 hp and 310 lb-ft when running 87-octane regular unleaded fuel.
Standard “Mi-Drive” system includes Off-Road driving mode
The 2023 CX-50 GT Turbo will start at $45,350, and like the other trims will receive various standard “Mi-Drive” driving modes including Sport, Off-Road and Tow settings, while the CX-50’s trailering capacity is average for the class at 907 kg (2,000 lbs) when fitted with the naturally aspirated engine, but up to 1,587 kg (3,500 lbs) with the turbo.
As for fuel economy, the CX-5 may not offer greater relief at the pump unless the 2023 model receives some transmission updates, because the current cylinder-deactivated all-wheel drive model is rated at 9.8 L/100km in the city, 7.9 on the highway and 9.0 combined, compared to the CX-50’s claimed estimate of 9.7 L/100 km city, 7.9 highway and 8.9 combined. Yes, you read that correctly. The new CX-50 is thriftier on fuel than the much lighter CX-5. Let’s see how these two come out in the wash, so to speak, because the CX-50 really should go through slightly more fuel, unless its longer, lower shape allows for big aerodynamic improvements on the highway.
New U.S.-built CX-50 to arrive in May
All said, the 2023 CX-50, which will be built on a separate line alongside the 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross at the new Mazda Toyota Manufacturing joint-venture plant in Huntsville, Alabama, will go on sale in May of this year. The new plant will be capable of building up to 300,000 units per year, split between the two automakers.
Introducing the first-ever Mazda CX-50 | Mazda Canada (1:25):
Introducing the First-ever Mazda CX-50 | First Look | Mazda USA (1:42):
The First-ever Mazda CX-50 | For Collectors of Rare Experiences (0:15):
The First-ever Mazda CX-50 | Beautifully Capable (0:15):
The First-ever Mazda CX-50 | Every Road Is an Invitation (0:15):
Story credits: Trevor Hofmann
Photo credits: Mazda
Think back to 2008. It’s not a year everyone will remember fondly, due to the housing crisis that was followed up by a short-erm financial freeze, plus numerous banking bailouts, and reasonable fear…
Think back to 2008. It’s not a year everyone will remember fondly, due to the housing crisis that was followed up by a short-erm financial freeze, plus numerous banking bailouts, and reasonable fear of economic woes ahead, but on the positive it was also an Summer Olympic year, held in Beijing, China (déjà vu all over again), and while that subject might be too political for some to dwell upon in an automotive story, 2008 was also the year that Conservative leader Stephen Harper eked out a minority up here in Canada, and Barack Obama was victorious south of the 49th. Even more momentous, it would take another month for Bitcoin to be introduced in January of 2009.
Why all the references to a past that’s now hardly recognizable from today’s world? Because that’s when Toyota’s full-size Sequoia SUV received its last major update. The first-generation Sequoia lasted a rather lengthy seven years, incidentally, and received its redesign with the advent of the second-gen Tundra, but today’s model, which will be replaced later this year, needed to wait a lot longer for its redesigned Tundra donor platform to arrive.
Amazingly, the first-generation Venza was new that year too, as was the tiny Scion iQ (remember Scion?). The iQ’s been off the market for seven years already, and, after a three-year hiatus the Venza was wholly renewed for 2020, but the Sequoia soldiered on unchanged. It’ll be 14 years old when it arrives later this year as a 2023 model, but from what we can see here, the long wait has not been in vain.
After all, it looks similar to the new Tundra that’s received plenty of praise for its brash, bold styling, or at least its headlamps and the basic outline of its grille do. The new Sequoia’s grille is more restrained, and I think the better for it. It pulls cues from the Tacoma, of course, as well as the latest RAV4, no bad thing either, while sharing visual ties to the Highlander and new Corolla Cross as well. We can guess this look hints at the new 4Runner’s design approach too, an even more important SUV from a sales perspective, and one we’ll see in redesigned form soon.
This said there’s nothing radically unexpected about the new Sequoia’s styling. It appears rugged and tough, yet clean and refined, while all the time being respectful of Toyota’s SUV lineage. The hood domes nicely at centre, and either features cool looking matte plastic, vent-like garnishes on its outer rear edges when upgraded to “TRD PRO” trim, complete with trim designation, or gets a smaller chromed “i FORCE MAX” engine plaque in the same spot for other models. Additional visual separation includes some chrome embellishment down each side of the new top-tier Capstone trim line, brightening the new Sequoia’s deeply sculpted flanks, while the SUV’s upright rear design certainly shouldn’t offend any traditional SUV lover’s tastes.
Speaking of the trims, a total of five include TRD Off-Road, Limited, Platinum, TRD Pro and just-noted Capstone, the latter initially introduced with the new Tundra, and representing a more luxurious level above Platinum. First, congrats to Toyota for coming up with something more original than Limited and Platinum to designate fanciest trim, and second, this model really does appear to deliver on its near-premium promise.
The Sequoia Capstone provides a black and white motif inside, with plenty of higher-quality semi-aniline leather throughout, while Toyota has even improved soundproofing. Those familiar with the outgoing Sequoia will already know its most luxurious Platinum variant lacked some its rivals’ refinements, especially for an SUV in the $80k range. Pampering won’t be a problem in the new 2023 version, however, even in lesser trims that will likely go up in price from their current model’s $70k starting point.
In the U.S., this new Sequoia effectively replaces the full-size Land Cruiser that was discontinued, so it had better deliver at a high level and be fully capable off-road. Certainly, Lexus’ redesigned LX, which once again is based on the Land Cruiser, will toe the line as far as full-size luxury utes go, but just like some wristwatch buyers would rather wear a dive watch bearing the famed Seiko name than lesser-known Grand Seiko (which is respected more for dressier timepieces), yet still want similar levels of finishing and movement accuracy/quality and are willing to pay premium prices for it, there are SUV buyers who’d more proudly own a Toyota-badged utility than one gussied up in Lexus duds. To that end, the off-road-oriented SUV industry is as much about heritage and respect as it is utility, but isn’t necessarily turned on by premium badging.
The i-Force Max engine noted a moment ago was also introduced with the Tundra, but in the pickup truck it’s an option, and with the Sequoia it comes standard. Interestingly, it’s a 3.5-litre V6 hybrid drivetrain, so, just like Toyota did with the aforementioned Venza and their newest Sienna minivan, it’s hybrid or the highway, so to speak. Of course, there may be additional options moving forward, but more likely a pure electric variant than anything without electrification. As it is, the Sequoia’s mill makes a substantive 437 horsepower and 583 lb-ft of torque, and feeds its power down to all four wheels through a 10-speed automatic transmission, which includes the usual Eco, Normal and Sport drive modes.
The actual hybrid component is a generator motor positioned between the internal combustion portion of the drivetrain and gearbox, a tried and tested solution, so we should expect much improved fuel economy along with Toyota’s already legendary hybrid reliability and longevity.
With each trim basically set up with the same drivetrain capabilities, performance differences will come down to suspension options, whether optimized for handling and comfort or off-road prowess. All should provide enough stability and manoeuvrability to keep the engine power in check on fast-paced curving roadways, however, achievable via a combination of improved chassis design and rigidity, plus a new independent front suspension design and new rack-mounted electronic power steering system, which is said to enhance feel. A more advanced multi-link rear suspension has also been added to the mix, plus Sequoia owners can option their rigs out with an adaptive variable suspension setup, which adds Comfort, Sport S, Sport S+ and Custom settings to the Drive Mode Select system’s menu, and a height-adjustable air suspension with load leveling, which is especially helpful when lifting heavy items into the cargo area.
Also impressive is the new Sequoia’s 9,000-lb (4,080-kg) towing capacity. This is almost 22-percent more than the current model, and therefore allows for much larger camp trailers and boats, which is a key reason that buyers buck up for larger utilities in the first place. Along with its upgraded tow rating, the Sequoia will utilize features shown first with the new Tundra when choosing its Tow Tech Package, such as Trailer Backup Guide that makes it easier to reverse with a trailer, and Straight Path Assist that, via the steering system, helps keep the trailer straight when backing up. Additionally, the power mirrors now include automatic extensions for seeing around the sides of wider loads.
Some additional features include standard heated front seats and a standard heatable steering wheel rim, Toyota’s proprietary breathable Softex leatherette, a panoramic sunroof, 18-inch wheels, and the TSS 2.5 suite of convenience and safety features.
An available 14-inch centre touchscreen improves the Sequoia’s digital experience, including a Panoramic View Monitor that makes parking easier, especially with a trailer, while a digital display rearview mirror is also available, as is a fully digital and very colourful driver’s display.
As for the Sequoia’s cabin layout, it comes with three rows including a bench for the second row, but can be optioned with second-row captain’s chairs. Additionally, the third row can slide back and forth up to 150 mm (6.0 in), plus provides reclining backrests, while Toyota provides a unique parcel shelf in the cargo area that covers those seatbacks when folded down, resulting in a totally flat load floor. For hauling taller items, the parcel shelf can be fitted back into the floor, or alternatively it can be raised higher to act as a cargo cover. Smart.
While it might take some time for the new Sequoia to catch on, Toyota is probably looking to its loyal 4Runner, Highlander, and to some extent, Tacoma owner base to fill order books. While news about the new 2023 Sequoia will create some excitement, the nameplate isn’t strong enough to pull many conquest buyers away from the big three, despite having been around since 2001. Toyota just hasn’t updated it enough to create any kind of long-term growth, and certainly hasn’t marketed much, other than featuring it on its retail website.
The result has been slow, but steady sales. The 418 units sold into Canada through 2021 was less than half of its all-time Canadian high of 912 deliveries in 2010. The numbers remained just above or just below 700 per year until 2018, before dipping downward over the last few years. In case you were wondering, the Nissan Armada, which is the Sequoia’s most obvious challenger, only sold 413 units in 2010, yet, due to a major second-generation redesign (that’s really a global-market Patrol, the full-size Land Cruiser’s main rival in other markets), saw its deliveries rise to a high of 1,435 units in 2018, before falling down to Sequoia levels for the last three years.
Of course, neither set of numbers would cause a carmaker to invest the necessary money to develop and market an all-new model, which should make us Canadians grateful to our friends south of the border that have 10 times the purchasing pool. To be clear, while we were selling just over 400 Sequoias here in Canada, the U.S. market delivered 22,815. Even that number would have to increase to make a business case viable, but there’s a lot of potential upside when looking at the rest of the full-size SUV market.
Last year it totaled 21,999 units in Canada and 388,294 in the U.S., and General Motors walked away with almost three quarters of Canada’s full-size SUV deliveries, at 15,307 units, plus a staggering 275,421 new buyers in the States. GMC’s Yukon was number one in Canada’s market with 8,338 examples sold, its two body-style line beating both the Chevy Tahoe (4,590) and Suburban (2,379) by a wide margin, while Ford’s Expedition ended up second from a model perspective, with 4,878 individual deliveries. While all this is good for GM and Ford, the new Sequoia could slice off a larger section from that lucrative pie.
Helping Toyota’s cause is the highest retained value in the Canadian Black Book’s “Full-size Crossover-SUV” category, plus the top podium in the “Large SUV/Crossover” category for Vincentric’s Best Value in Canada Awards. The Sequoia also topped J.D. Power and Associate’s 2021 Initial Quality Study, which doesn’t hurt matters. It almost makes a person want to buy the outgoing Sequoia, which is still available with factory leasing and financing rates from 2.99 percent. Check out CarCostCanada for details, plus find out how accessing dealer invoice pricing could you save thousands off retail, plus remember to download their free app from the Apple Store or Google Play Store.
The new Sequoia will be available this summer, with orders starting sooner. Contact your local Toyota dealer for more info.
2023 Toyota Sequoia Overview | Toyota (7:07):
2023 Toyota Sequoia | Undeniable Capability, Unmistakable Presence | Toyota (2:17):
Story credit: Trevor Hofmann
Photo credits: Toyota
Ford has been on a roll lately, winning two of last year’s North American Car, Truck and Utility Vehicle of the Year (NACTOY) awards, with its redesigned F-150 winning best truck and Mustang-Mach-E…
“We’re thrilled and honored to earn both Truck and Utility of the Year from the NACTOY jury for the Ford Maverick and Bronco, especially among such a strong field of competitors,” stated Kumar Galhotra, president, Americas & International Markets Group, Ford Motor Company. “But we’re also proud because these awards are well-deserved recognition for the tremendous amount of work, focus and energy our teams have invested in designing, engineering and building exciting vehicles for our customers. This also reflects the overwhelming reception we’ve had from our Maverick and Bronco customers alike.”
To earn this highest honour, the Civic edged out the redesigned Volkswagen Golf GTI and Golf R, which are basically the same car in different trims (there’s no longer a regular Golf for 2022), plus the stunning new Lucid Air electric luxury sedan, a recent competitor to the Tesla Model S and Porsche Taycan.
“The Honda Civic has long set the standard by which other compact cars are measured and this all-new Civic raised that bar in every conceivable way,” said Michael Kistemaker, assistant vice president of Honda national sales, American Honda Motor Co., Inc. “We’re especially proud for the Civic development team in Japan and our production associates at our plants in Greensburg, Indiana and Alliston, Ontario where the 2022 Civic Sedan, Hatchback and Si are built.”
Where the new Civic gets a dramatic styling update, its other changes are more evolutionary than revolutionary, which was a smart choice for a car that outsells every competitor most months, but the two new Fords are completely new additions to the domestic brand’s lineup, and necessary considering they no longer sell many cars. The Bronco goes head-to-head with the Jeep Wrangler as a serious 4×4-capable off-roader, while the Maverick is forging into an entirely new car-based compact pickup truck segment, only shared with Hyundai’s new Santa Cruz.
The Maverick beat the Santa Cruz in the final NACTOY showdown, as well as the larger Rivian R1T electric truck. It comes standard with a hybrid drivetrain, is available with a potent turbo, decent fuel economy, and features some smart cargo carrying innovations.
The Bronco didn’t have an easy fight in its SUV category either, with the all-new Genesis GV70 and pure-electric Hyundai Ioniq 5 challenging. While none of these specifically compete against each other in real life, they all excel in the sport utility sector, and only one could be the winner.
“This year’s group of semi-finalists includes some of the most interesting and innovative cars, trucks and utility vehicle candidates in recent memory,” said NACTOY President Gary Witzenburg, “and a larger number of new trucks than we’ve seen in many years. And it features more electric vehicles than we’ve ever seen, all of which our jurors will continue to test and evaluate prior to our next vote.”
More than 50 automotive journalists from the U.S. and Canada took part as jurors in this year’s NACTOY awards. To qualify, a vehicle needs to be completely new or significantly updated for the current model year. All finalist evaluations are based on design, driver satisfaction, innovation, performance, safety, technology, and value.
Let’s get this right out in the open: Toyota needs to build a production version of the Compact Cruiser EV Concept as soon as possible. This thing would sell like avocado toast, even if it’s not capable…
Let’s get this right out in the open: Toyota needs to build a production version of the Compact Cruiser EV Concept as soon as possible. This thing would sell like avocado toast, even if it’s not capable of wandering off-pavement, but of course, plenty of automakers, such as Rivian with its new R1S SUV and R1T pickup truck, plus GMC with its reborn Hummer EV line (that will soon offer both body styles as well), are proving that electrics are very capable off-road, so there’d be no reason to worry about being relegated to tarmac when behind the wheel of this tiny Toyota.
Dimensions in mind, or at least those visibility apparent being that Toyota has given us very little to go on so far, the Compact Cruiser EV Concept might have more in common with Suzuki’s original Samurai or that brand’s more recent subcompact Jimny SUV than the near mid-size FJ Cruiser or the original FJ40 it’s spiritually emulating. We do know that it doesn’t share the FJ Cruiser’s body-on-frame chassis or anything else from that go-anywhere utility, other than some styling cues, a version of the original FJ40’s (and FJ Cruiser’s) Sky Blue exterior paint, and the “TOYOTA” lettering on the similarly narrow grille.
Where the 2006–present (discontinued in North America after 2014) FJ Cruiser may have preceded a number of would-be peers, particularly Ford’s reinvented Bronco (and Bronco Sport) and Land Rover’s completely reimagined Defender, the Compact Cruiser EV Concept appears destined to electrify its retro off-roading class if produced. Unfortunately, however, we can lump Compact Cruiser EV Concept electric motor and battery specs into our zero-knowledge base.
As far as we can tell, this SUV is more of a design study, but being that today’s Toyota rarely misses out on an opportunity to cash in on a good idea (unlike General Motors that sadly chose to apply its legendary Blazer nameplate to a two-row, mid-size grocery getter instead of a retrospective K5-style Blazer that could’ve easily been built off the back of its full-size Tahoe, the tiny Land Cruiser-like BEV will most certainly get the green light.
It’s part of Toyota’s new “Battery EV” strategy, introduced online on December 14, 2021 (see the video below), in which “Toyota wants to prepare as many options as possible for” their “customers around the world,” stated the automaker’s president, Akio Toyoda during the presentation.
The namesake brand introduced 17 concepts as part of the program, of which most body styles and capabilities currently available with traditional internal combustion power were represented, from crossover-like family haulers to sports cars, SUVs, a pickup truck, and vans, the wide spectrum of potential offerings showing that Toyota isn’t about to give up any market share, or brand heritage, in its quest to go electric.
Likewise, the presentation showed off seven Lexus EVs in various shapes and sizes (see the gallery for more), and hinted at six more hidden behind in the shadows. Altogether, the Japanese automaker plans to “offer 30 BEV models across the Toyota and Lexus brands, globally” by 2030, “with more on the way” after that. Due to so many models in the planning stages, and a promise to provide “BEVs in all segments, including sedans, SUVs, K-Cars, commercial vehicles and other segments,” there’s certainly a place for this Compact Cruiser EV Concept.
The little SUV is all angles and edges, with obvious styling cues pulled from classic FJs and the more recently updated FJ Cruiser, plus a number of design details from other Toyota models, including the current RAV4 TRD Off-Road (available in a similar Cavalry Blue for 2022 and even closer Blue Flame colour in 2021), the 4Runner TRD Pro (available in a cool Voodoo Blue back in 2019), the Tacoma TRD Pro (unfortunately no longer available in Cavalry Blue), and the new 2022 Tundra pickup truck (with a colour palette that offers nothing even remotely similar, but the old one did).
While the hood scoop appears inspired by similar ones on the FJ Cruiser or recent Tacoma/Tundra TRD Pro models, the rectangular LED headlamps are closer to the new 2022 Tundra, whereas the chunky C-shaped driving lights are more distinctive still, at least to Toyota. The tiny concept also takes everything that previously made the FJ Cruiser look rugged up a notch, with a beefier front skid plate embellished by blazing red tow hooks, plus four of the most aggressive matte-black fender flares ever imagined for this size of 4×4. Toyota’s FT-4X Concept was a recent example of similar styling, and was no doubt inspiration for this new BEV as well.
Fortunately, the Compact Cruiser EV Concept’s designers were more practical with its body style than those behind the FJ Cruiser, with full-size, traditionally front-hinged rear doors for easier to the back seat, while the cargo area appears to be nice and upright, which is ideal for loading in as much gear as possible.
As it is, Toyota hasn’t revealed a single rear exterior image or any photos of the interior either, so therefore details about the powertrain, and the platform underpinning this new SUV, are unknown as well.
Media Briefing on Battery EV Strategies (Presentation / with subtitles) (25:51):
Story credit: Trevor Hofmann
Photo credits: Toyota / Lexus
About a decade into my automotive journalism career, and a bit more than 10 years ago, in 2010, there were a grand total of nine competitors in the compact-to-mid-size pickup truck segment. Jeep’s new…
About a decade into my automotive journalism career, and a bit more than 10 years ago, in 2010, there were a grand total of nine competitors in the compact-to-mid-size pickup truck segment. Jeep’s new Gladiator wasn’t part of the picture back then, but Chrysler Group LLC’s Dodge Dakota was, although due to a misguided DaimlerChrysler redesign that took it from one of the best-looking pickups in the class to one of the least appealing trucks ever, combined with a cheap, plasticky interior, it was struggling near the bottom of its category in sales and was phased out soon after.
Fast-forward to 2021 and there’s just six rivals competing in this category, including one from the newly-minted Dutch-formed Stellantis N.V. that, via its Jeep division, is once again back to making great looking trucks. Without purposely trying to tick off Toyota Tacoma fans, I think the new Gladiator is the most alluring pickup in the mid-size segment, but I can understand why this serious off-roader only finds a narrow niche of hardcore enthusiast buyers.
It’s priced much higher than most of its rivals, after all, with a 2021 window sticker starting at $49,315 (plus freight and fees) before growing to $64,405 in top-line High Altitude trim. Incidentally, when configuring the same trim at CarCostCanada, which shows the starting price at $53,315, it comes out to an identical $64,405 when adding the requisite $9,295 CPOS PKG and $1,795 Customer Preferred Package 24N, while combining all of the most expensive options on either configurator will push the fully-loaded price well past $80k.
Some of these extras include the $7,395 3.0-litre EcoDiesel V6, or $345 to $445 in exterior paint options, as well as thousands more in additional equipment if you so choose, such as $1,520 for dual tops including a black Sunrider soft top and body-colour Freedom Top 3-piece modular hardtop; $1,450 for an Advanced Safety package featuring Advanced Brake Assist, Forward Collision Warning Plus with Active Braking, and automatic high beams; a $995 Cargo Management Group with a Trail Rail system, including a 240-amp alternator (up front 220 amps), a 400-watt inverter, an 115-volt auxiliary power outlet on the outside, and lockable rear under-seat storage, a $525 Trailer Tow package with a class IV receiver, heavy-duty engine cooling, and trailer hitch zoom for the backup camera, plus more.
My $56,315 Rubicon trimmed tester sits in the middle from a pricing standpoint, and like the High Altitude can be had with the upgraded EcoDiesel, albeit adding this feature automatically ups the ante by $1,795 for an eight-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission that comes standard with the top-tier Gladiator. It’s the same price if replacing the standard six-speed manual attached to the as-tested gasoline-fed base 3.6-litre V6, while Jeep will also be happy to provide you with $995 worth of 17-inch polished black alloys, plus $295 for a set of 285/70 BSW M/T tires (although the standard All-Terrains should be just fine for most), not to mention $1,495 for Black or Dark Saddle/Black leather seat upholstery (with unique Rubicon and Utility Grid designs), etcetera.
There’s still no sign of a forthcoming Dakota (or 1000) from Dodge, er, Ram (the latter thanks to a separate Ram Truck Division spin-off in 2010), so the glory days of Chrysler group (or Ram) selling 12,000-plus units per year in this class, like the Dakota did in 2004, might be some ways off. As it is, Ram’s most affordable 1500 Classic starts at just over $37k in base Regular Cab two-door, 4×2 Tradesman trim (plus you can get more than $10,000 off of that price in discounts at the time of writing), which is about the same as a base Tacoma, and while it’s filling the same void Ford tried to with its F-150 and GM temporarily did with its Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra, both rivals came scurrying back to the smaller, more affordable mid-size truck market so as not to lose out. Ford is even re-entering a re-emerging compact truck segment, it’s new Maverick soon going up against Hyundai’s Santa Cruz, so time will tell whether competitive brands take the bait, as clearly one size does not fit all.
Back to sales, the Tacoma reigned supreme at the top of this segment with a grand total of 16,946 deliveries in 2020, which despite all the hardship last year was its best year ever. The combination of General Motors trucks came second with an 11,678-unit tally, the Colorado earning 6,648 new buyers and the Canyon totalng 5,030, although the Ranger is really the second-place brand at 10,840 units. The Gladiator’s respectable 4,481 sales total puts it fifth on the 2020 calendar year list, just ahead of the Ridgeline’s 3,369 deliveries, leaving the market dregs to the outgoing Frontier that only managed 1,355 sales.
While last place is never good, at least Nissan had some mid-size pickup sales in 2020. As of Q2 this year, the Frontier found zero buyers, or more likely the Japanese brand’s dealers managed to sell the last remaining examples before the new year started. The new 2022 model should remedy this problem quickly when it arrives later this year, but it will nevertheless be attempting to win back once-loyal fans that have long given up on the brand due to the previous Frontier’s seemingly never-ending lifecycle.
At least the Tacoma looks to be on track with 7,349 deliveries over the first two quarters of 2021, while the two GM trucks are doing fairly well too, resulting in 6,239 sales over the same half-year period (split up into 3,295 for the Chevy Colorado and 2,944 for the GMC Canyon). As for Jeep, it sent a reasonable 2,075 Gladiators down Canadian roads (and trails) during Q1 and Q2 of this year, while the almost as pricey Ridgeline only managed 1,582 deliveries during the same six months, despite what appears to be shaping up to be a very strong year in the Canadian mid-size pickup truck sector, shown by 23,467 total sales so far (excluding any Q3 figures).
It’ll need to be strong to surpass last year, however. The mid-size pickup segment sold a total of 48,669 units throughout 2020, which was not only surprising considering the tumultuous year we all experienced, but also when factoring in that the last time we saw numbers this high was back in the late aughts and early teens when Ford was blasting $15-20k-something Rangers out into the market by the bucketful (the retail on a base Ranger was $13,999 back in 2011, plus they offered zero-percent financing), and we had so many other players trying to keep up, Mazda even selling its B-Series variant, and Suzuki trying to purvey an equatorial version of GM’s trucks (I actually went to the U.S.-only launch of the 2006–2009 Mitsubishi Raider too, a Dakota based truck that never made sense to bring here… or there for that matter, evidenced by its scant four-year run).
The Gladiator is all Jeep, however, and not just in name, which in fact came from the 1962-1971 Gladiator that was made famous (to us older folks) in the TV series Daktari. Even more so than that original Gladiator, and therefore more similar to the 1986–1992 Comanche that was obviously derived from the 1984-1990 Cherokee, few will make the mistake of judging Jeep’s latest truck for evolving from anything other than a JL-series Wrangler. It’s an assumption that’s true of its powertrains, drivetrains, chassis and most everything else, despite plenty of body panels that differ.
Obviously, the box is unique, and suits the classic Jeep’s look perfectly, but some might not notice that the brand widened the front grille slats to better cool the engine when towing, the mid-size pickup capable of 3,469 kilos (7,650 lbs) on the hitch and 771 kg (1,700 lbs) on the bed, compared to the Wrangler Unlimited’s max trailer weight of 1,587 kg (3,500 lbs) and total payload of 453 kg (1,000 lbs). Throw a short-bed truck camper on the back of that, or even better, a carbon-fibre C-Class RV-style setup from GEO-Cab or EarthRoamer, not to mention a specially equipped off-road trailer from any number of suppliers, and the Gladiator will happily take you to your new home-away-from-home off the grid.
Any of the Gladiator’s trims would do well for such purposes, as all are capable of getting you and your family just about anywhere. Of course, the aforementioned top trims, which also include the Mojave, are most suitable, my Rubicon-equipped version ideal for tackling all types of wilderness treks thanks to front- and rear-axle electric lockers (the wide heavy-duty axle up front from Dana) and an electronic disconnecting front sway-bar, not to mention Jeep’s Command-Trac part-time, shift-on-the-fly 4×4 system, a 43.4-degree approach angle, 20.3-degree breakover angle, and 26-degree departure angle, the only one (that I could find specs for) mostly better being the Mojave that’s good for 44.7, 20.9, and 25.5 degrees respectively.
Both Gladiator trims compare well against the four-door Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon, by the way, with the latter achieving a slightly better 43.9-degree approach angle and 22.6-degree breakover angle, but then again, the SUV’s 37-degree departure angle is massively better, while the two-door Wrangler Rubicon manages a 44-degree approach angle, 27.8-degree breakover angle, and (once again) a 37-degree departure angle.
Of course, I went mud wrestling to find out how the Gladiator performed in its element first-hand, and it was easily up to the task in a local 4×4 hotspot (that’s sadly been closed off since). Of all the 4×4 pickups I’ve taken through this course, the Gladiator Rubicon was at least on par with Chevy’s Colorado ZR2 and felt easier to negotiate through the rougher sections than every stock Tacoma, while it’s much more capable than all others listed above. It climbed up and crawled down steep rock-strewn embankments without breaking a sweat, managed deep sand without a moment’s notice, and casually waded through deep puddles that actually came up over the hood (just like the ZR2), as if it was on a lazy Sunday stroll, finding grip everywhere, while the suspension actually remained comfortable.
An available front camera system, dubbed TrailCam, allows visibility of obstacles in front and to the sides when off the beaten path, plus Jeep also provides an “Off-Road Pages” section within the Apps menu of the Gladiator’s Uconnect infotainment system that monitors vehicle status, such as ride height, pitch and roll (if equipped), transfer case settings, and the Selec-Terrain traction management mode. Both are really useful features, and wholly unique to Jeep.
The Gladiator’s 3,487-mm (137.3-in) wheelbase, which is 479 mm (18.8 in) longer than the Wrangler Unlimited’s and spans 1,027 additional mm (40.4 in) over the base Wrangler, didn’t pose a problem, at least where I was travelling, but probably would around some of the rock abutments I experienced when coaxing a Wrangler Unlimited down the Rubicon Trail, or winding that longer SUV through some of the massively treed forests I’ve negotiated locally on the West Coast, these even making the Unlimited more challenging to operate than the regular-wheelbase Wrangler. Still, as far as pickup trucks with useful beds go, the Gladiator is absolutely brilliant off-road.
Stuffed under its classic latched hood, Chryco’s 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 is plenty potent for everything I asked it to do, thanks to 285 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque, but I’d sooner have the 3.0-litre EcoDiesel V6 for the sake of four-wheel twist, fuel economy, and therefore, the ability to go further into the bush without worrying about bringing along as many extra Gerry cans of fuel. Still, that decision might only make sense to diehard off-roaders, because the chance of paying off more than $7k worth of engine upgrades for savings of about 10 cents per litre at the pump and maybe 10 percent more range, will take many years of ownership and an odometer spinning well into six figures.
I’ve tested the diesel in an absolutely wonderful near-full-load Wrangler Unlimited Sahara that I’ll be reviewing soon, and I must say I was impressed with its similar thrust of 260 horsepower, and much stronger 442 lb-ft of torque. The Gladiator is not available with the Wrangler’s base 2.0-litre turbo-four, however, which might make a suitable companion for those not needing to haul heavy loads, and could potentially get the price down to commoner levels. The engine makes more torque than the base V6 at 295 lb-ft, while its power is a bit stronger than the diesel at 270, but Jeep obviously felt the four-banger’s expected take-rate wouldn’t make for a good business case, so the Gladiator’s fuel economy option can’t truly be considered an economical choice from a financial perspective.
Jeep appears to be preparing a plug-in hybrid alternative for Gladiator’s engine bay, however, based on the Wrangler Unlimited’s new 4xe model, which will also make a difference at the pump thanks to an estimated 4.8 Le/100km combined city/highway in the SUV. That model represents a $6,900 bump over the equivalently-equipped V6-powered Wrangler Unlimited Sahara, mind you, which probably makes it a better long-term financial bet when compared to the diesel variant, if most of your driving occurs over short distances. This said, its non-electrified fuel economy, which is how you’d be driving it on a road trip due to full-EV range that’s merely 40 km, is 11.7 L/100km combined, which is only slightly better than the regular Wrangler Unlimited Sahara’s 12.2 L/100km combined rating.
While we’re on the theme of fuel economy, the Gladiator’s base V6 is rated at 14.3 L/100km in the city, 10.4 on the highway and 12.6 combined when hooked up to its six-speed manual, or 13.7 city, 10.7 highway and 12.3 combined with its eight-speed automatic, while the diesel is good for a claimed 10.8 L/100 city, 8.5 highway and 9.8 combined.
The Gladiator’s smooth off-road suspension translates into decent on-pavement comfort too, at least for this class, but while its longer wheelbase means that it tracks better than a Wrangler on the highway, it needs more small steering adjustments than one of its less 4×4-oriented competitors when doing so. I suppose this is a small price to pay for its amazing off-road capability. Still, I found it enjoyable and relaxing at freeway speeds, stable and safe feeling through tighter curves, plus it’s a good size for city traffic.
Its cabin is an enjoyable place to while away the time as well, especially if you already like the Wrangler’s classic, retrospective take on interior design. It features body-colour surfaces in key areas, such as the inside door surrounds and above the head as part of the roll bar structure, while my Rubicon’s dash facing was covered in a metallic red composite, also used for the differential bias switch. Matching red stitching can be found throughout the cabin for a sporty look, the front seats even getting embroidered “RUBICON” branding on their backrests, albeit black was my tester’s dominant shade, with both rows covered in optional leather as noted earlier (base Rubicons receive premium cloth).
The Gladiator features all the same improvements in materials quality and design as the current Wrangler, which was last fully updated in 2018. This means my tester boasted a stitched leatherette dash-top, soft-touch, padded door uppers that continue right down to the tops of the even plusher armrests in one single piece, plus a comfortable centre armrest in leather.
All of the Gladiator’s switchgear is excellent, much of it rubberized with nice big, notchy rims that could easily be used with winter gloves, while Jeep even includes a flip-up lid on the centre stack exposing an auxiliary plug, a USB-A charging/connectivity port, as well as a more up-to-date USB-C port. The front seats and steering wheel rim are three-way heatable, to therapeutic levels no less, plus a large interface for the dual-zone automatic climate control system makes maintaining chosen temperatures easy.
In-car electronics include a 7.0-inch infotainment touchscreen between the two middle vents on the top of the centre stack, and while it’s slightly smaller than average (you’ll need to move up to top-line High Altitude trim to get the 8.4-inch display) the fully-featured Uconnect system comes with most everything an owner could want. Along with the aforementioned Off-Road Pages, my Rubicon’s featured an accurate, easy to use navigation system, fully redundant climate controls that provide nice, big pictographs for selecting ventilation preferences and even let you set the heatable steering wheel and seat warmers, while the audio page includes the usual AM/FM radio selections, plus satellite radio and Bluetooth streaming, all played through an eight-speaker stereo with good sound. You can adjust the backup and forward camera angles from the centre display too, plus the mirror dimmer, which is connected to one of the industry’s new higher-end classic-style frameless mirrors that runs flush to the edges.
Ahead of the driver is a clean, nicely organized primary instrument cluster with analogue gauges to each side of a large 7.0-inch, customizable, full-colour multi-information display, this doubling for the temperature and fuel gauges as well. It’s as close as it gets to a fully digital gauge cluster while remaining mostly analogue, something I don’t think the Gladiator (or Wrangler) needs, nor many of the two models’ fans probably want.
I have to say the driver’s seat was comfortable, necessary for a vehicle that will more than likely be used for overcoming big, bumpy obstacles, but adjustment is purely manual. Again, this wasn’t an issue for me, and makes sense for this type of truck, with even the loftily priced High Altitude receiving the same six-way manually adjustable driver’s seat (featuring seat height) with two-way manual lumbar support, plus just four-way adjustability for the front passenger.
The rear seats are well designed for good comfort and support too, even for the lower back, plus plenty of leg, foot, elbow, shoulder, and headroom comes standard. A large, wide centre armrest can be folded down in the middle, incorporating the usual dual cupholders, although the bigger bottle holders on the backside of the front console do an even better job of holding drinks. Just above these is a three-prong household-style 115-volt power source, plus overtop this is a compact interface housing two USB-A and two USB-C charging ports. The side window switches hover just above, while two big air vents keep rear passengers warm or cool depending on the season. Additionally, an intricate pattern of webbing can be found on the backside of each front seat.
The rear seats fold down to make a large, wide carpeted cargo shelf, and also flip upwards for taller items, the latter position revealing a handy storage box system with integrated dividers underneath.
Speaking of boxes, my tester had a covered bed, but it was easy to unlatch and roll forward out of the way. The inner tailgate, sidewalls and floor were nicely finished with a spray-in liner, which looked durable and therefore capable of lasting the test of time. The tailgate folds down easily, by the way, while I found the bed wasn’t too difficult to jump onto thanks to exposed bumpers with grippy surfaces. Of course, corner steps like those found on GM’s trucks would’ve been even more helpful, but that has more to do with my aging body than anything you may need to worry about (for now).
As for problem areas, the proximity-sensing locks were a bit frustrating, and this wasn’t the first time I’ve had similar challenges with Chrysler group vehicles. It simply wouldn’t lock with the exterior door handle button every time I tried, and therefore needed multiple pressings before locking. I’m guessing this isn’t a common issue with others, or the Gladiator wouldn’t be getting such major praise from owners in J.D. Power’s most recent 2021 Initial Quality Study (IQS), which ranked it number one in their “Midsize Pickup” category. The entire Jeep division managed to finish seventh amongst mainstream volume brands in that study too, which is a significant improvement over previous years, but get this, the Ram truck brand was number one overall, while Dodge was second. The folks at Auburn Hills (and Windsor) have obviously been working hard to address past problems, so kudos to them for this impressive result.
There’s so much more I could say about the Gladiator, but I’ve got to leave something for you to discover. It really is an impressive mid-size pickup truck, and like all Jeeps, a very capable 4×4, plus it’s hardly short on style, features and refinement, from the outside in. As noted earlier, it won’t be as easy on your pocketbook as some of its rivals, both initially at purchase and at the pump, but this should pay off when it comes time to sell, or at least that’s the case with the Wrangler that currently sits on top of its “Compact SUV” category in the latest Canadian Black Book 2020 Best Retained Value Awards, as well as the Vincentric Best Value in Canada Awards for 2021.
As far as getting a deal goes, CarCostCanada is reporting up to $2,684 in additional incentives on new 2021 Gladiator models, while their average member savings were $2,000 at the time of writing. That’s the most aggressive incentives program available to mid-size truck buyers right now, so well worth checking out. Be sure to learn exactly how CarCostCanada’s affordable membership works as well, including how dealer invoice pricing can help you save thousands when purchasing any new vehicle, plus remember to download their free app from the Google Play Store or Apple Store, so you can have all of their valuable information with you exactly when you need it.