All posts in “Cars”

The 2020 Porsche Macan Turbo Represents Maximum Value, Porsche Style

Few phrases crush the automotive soul more than “entry-level compact crossover” — even if that vehicle happens to be wearing a Porsche badge. The Macan is not the lust-inducing Porsche that graces posters on bedroom walls, but the Macan is the company’s most important car  — at least, from a financial perspective. The Macan is the Porsche most people buy (and consequently the best deal to buy used).

The top-tier version is the Macan Turbo, which returns for 2020 with a smaller twin-turbo 2.9-liter V6 and about 34 more horsepower than its predecessor. Now, “Turbo” can be a confusing word in the Porsche world. Almost every modern Porsche employs a turbocharged powerplant, but the company reserves the word to denote the stupid-fast versions of its cars. The Macan Turbo is undoubtedly that, with nearly 200 more horsepower than the base model and a 0-60 mph time as quick as 4.1 seconds when equipped with the Sport Chrono package.

The compact crossover may not deliver the visceral thrill of a 911 Turbo, but it’s still a superb, relentlessly competent vehicle for the driver who may only have room for one Porsche. Even with a price tag approaching six figures, you can still argue it provides solid value.

The Macan Turbo drives like a genuine Porsche

While the Macan exists to make money, it is no afterthought. Porsche engineers built a legitimately great, Car and Driver-10-Best-list-caliber Porsche. The Macan may be a compact crossover, but it embodies the brand’s commitment to making the ultimate driver’s car. Someone thought about everything.

The seats are supportive. The cockpit is an ergonomic wonder. Its three driving modes — Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus — are perfectly tuned. Its compact engine doesn’t exhibit more than a whiff of turbo lag. It’s stable and agile in corners. The launch control is simple, and works over and over again without complaint. And the Porsche Surface Coated Brakes (PCSB), which were a little touchy when introduced in the Cayenne, were absolutely spot-on in this car.

Okay, the exhaust note may be a touch too civilized. That’s the only driving-related complaint I could muster up.

The Macan Turbo offers good value…by Porsche standards

Value and Porsche don’t often appear in the same sentence. The starting prices aren’t cheap, and the brand is notorious for charging extra for things — air suspension, lane keep assist, Apple CarPlay, etc. — other companies offer as standard in their competitive cars. Still, you could consider the Macan Turbo a reasonable deal…at least, within a Porsche context.

The Macan Turbo is the cheapest way to score this level of straight-line performance in the Porsche model tree. A 911, Cayenne or Panamera with 400-plus horses and a low four-second 0-60 mph time will command a price tag north of $100,000. A 414-hp Cayman GT4 starts a hair under six figures, at $99,200. From that perspective, $83,600 to start doesn’t seem so bad.

Porsche would also point out that the Macan Turbo trim includes some pricey items, such as the aforementioned PSCB ($3,140), 20-inch high gloss black wheels ($3,140) and a sport exhaust ($2,930) –all of which would cost a fair amount to add à la carte to a Macan S.

The Macan Turbo has all the buttons

Porsche worked wonders with the performance of the Macan Turbo. But the interior — largely unchanged since 2014 — feels a bit dated to this reviewer. The shifter feels comically large for such an agile and capable car. That’s surrounded by a vast sea of analog buttons and switches. I counted more than 70 buttons, knobs, and switches the driver could adjust — not counting the turn signal and wiper stalks.

It doesn’t feel upscale or aesthetically pleasing; indeed, it can be sort of a nuisance. At one point, I inadvertently turned on the heated steering wheel, had no idea how to turn that off…and ended up pulling over the car and shutting it off to do it because I couldn’t figure out any other way to do it.

Price as Tested: $94,120
Drivetrain: twin-turbocharged 2.9-liter V6, 7-speed PDK dual-clutch automatic, all-wheel-drive
Power: 434 hp, 405 lb-ft torque
Fuel Economy: 17 mpg city, 22 mpg highway
Seats: 5

Porsche provided this product for review.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.
Tyler Duffy

Tyler Duffy is Gear Patrol’s Motoring Staff Writer. He used to write about sports for The Big Lead and The Athletic. He has a black belt in toddler wrangling. He’s based outside Detroit.

More by Tyler Duffy | Follow on Facebook · Instagram · Twitter · Contact via Email

The Next BMW M3 Might Be Overpowered By Another New 3 Series

<!–The Next BMW M3 Might Be Overpowered By Another New 3 Series • Gear Patrol<!– –>

after all, “i” comes before “m”


By now, we’ve spilled enough virtual ink about the upcoming BMW M3 and M4 to fill a digital Exxon Valdez. The new high-performance versions of the current-generation 3 Series are expected to make their debut sometime in 2020, with the fresh twin-turbo inline-six from the X3 M and X4 M beneath their hoods and a ginormous beaver-tooth grill in front. A so-called “pure” version packing a manual gearbox and rear-wheel-drive will be on offer, as an alternative to the increasingly ubiquitous automatic/all-wheel-drive combo of BMW M products.

But we just learned a twist that made us sit bolt upright in our home office chairs: the new BMW M3 and M4 may not be the most powerful member of the 3 Series lineup.

According to the well-connected folks at Autocar, the beefiest member of the broader 3 Series family — which, BMW’s shifting nomenclature be damned, includes the 4 Series coupes, convertibles and four-door Gran Coupes — will actually be the all-electric BMW i4 due to enter production in 2021 (and pictured above in concept car form). That battery-powered Tesla Model 3 fighter will reportedly crank out a maximum of 523 horsepower — enough to edge out the 503-hp M3 and M4. Thanks to the instantaneous torque of its dual electric motors, it should feel even faster than that output suggests.

Still, the internal-combustion M3 and M4 should remain the enthusiasts’ choices, thanks to the whole package of upgrades the BMW M crew always brings to the table. In the case of the new cars, that will allegedly include more variants than ever; for the first time, the M4 will come in a four-door Gran Coupe variant as well as two-door hardtop and soft-top versions. If this seems liable to create some heavy intramural competition with the M3, keep in mind Bimmer already does this with the M5 and M8 Gran Coupe…as well as with the X3 M and X4 M, and the X5 M and X6 M. If anything, we’re surprised it took this long for BMW to pull this lever.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.
Will Sabel Courtney

Will Sabel Courtney is Gear Patrol’s Motoring Editor, formerly of The Drive and RIDES Magazine. You can often find him test-driving new cars in New York City, cursing the slow-moving traffic surrounding him.

More by Will Sabel Courtney | Follow on Instagram · Twitter · Contact via Email

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The BMW M8 Competition Gran Coupe Is a Sexier, Arguably Better M5

Once upon a time, BMW’s nomenclature was fairly simple: three numbers, with the first signifying the size of the car and the latter two announcing the engine’s displacement, followed by the occasional letter or two to signify body style, drive wheels or specifics about the power supply, like electric assistance or fuel injection. Separate from all those stood the M models, which were even more simple: the 13th letter of the alphabet, followed by the number representing the body style.

Things done changed. These days, BMW’s naming convention is a wild mess of terms. Take, for example, the M8 Competition Gran Coupe. The number 8 might make you think this car is based on the 7 Series, the way the 4 Series is a spinoff of the 3; in fact, however, the 8 Series is based on the midsize 5 Series. The word Competition might make you assume this is a car meant for the race track, but in fact, it’s simply a slightly more powerful, ever-so-slightly sharper version of the potent-yet-luxurious M8.  And “Gran Coupe” may suggests a large two-door, but a quick glance will clearly indicate that this car has four fully-functional doors — and a very large back seat.

So let’s strip away the jargon, and admit what the BMW M8 Competition Gran Coupe really is: a better-looking version of the incredible BMW M5. Which, this reviewer would argue, makes it a better M5…even if it costs an extra $33,000.

The M8 Gran Coupe is quite the looker

BMW’s M8 Competition Gran Coupe occupies a very similar niche to the Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S — the hardcore version of a four-door-coupe variant of a midsize super-sedan. But while the AMG may be ever so slightly harder-edged, as befitting its nominal status as a member of the GT sports car family, the Bimmer has it beat on appearances. The GT 4-Door is handsome, sure, but its front end and rear sometimes seem like they came from two separate cars; the M8 Gran Coupe, on the other hand, boasts a coherent design that’s both elegant and muscular, from its bulging bulldog snout to its taut haunches.

Indeed, in spite of the extra nine inches of length, the Gran Coupe can be confused with the regular two-door 8 Series at a glance from certain angles. I found myself stealing over-the-shoulder looks at it more than once when walking away, and I clearly wasn’t alone in finding it appealing; while driving through New Jersey, a couple guys in a McLaren took after me for a spell in order to check out the Bimmer (punctuated with a hearty thumbs-up).

Like the M5 Competition, the M8 Comp GC is a great drive

The M8 Competition Gran Coupe is a genuine delight of a driver’s car. Not just in the ballistic-missile sense you’d expect of a large, uber-powerful German luxury sedan, either; it’s actually fun at real-world speeds. The steering is miles better than the M850i’s, with an immediacy and natural nature that, if not quite the equal of electric power steering masters like GM and Porsche, comes close. Pitch it through corners like a Miata, and it feels like it’s having a ball in a way you don’t expect from a car of this size and power.

But the 617-horsepower engine is a wonder, too. Between the mighty horsepower that manifests up high in the rev range and the 553 lb-ft of torque that comes on as early as 1,800 rpm, the twin-turbo V8 hits like Mjolnir. At one point, I found a winding stretch of desolate back road, so I hammered it, zipping back and forth from legal to extra-legal speeds over and over again. The push left me wowed…then I realized I’d been accidentally left it in fourth gear the entire time. Let it shift for itself, and in the most aggressive mode, the transmission clicks off gears exactly where you want when tearing up a back road. Granted, you can’t hammer it for too long at a single go — 0 to 60 mph comes in three seconds or less if you launch it — but the fun lies in doing it over and over and over again.

And in case you’re wondering: yes, like the M5, the M-tuned all-wheel-drive system lets you switch to rear-wheel-drive if you want to hoon around. I made donuts. It was delightful.

It’s worth taking the time to get to know the settings

These days, most cars of the M8’s sort of performance ilk offer up preset drive modes that control their many adjustable systems — throttle mapping, suspension, exhaust, etc. — as one. Not BMW. Like other M cars, the M8 Competition Gran Coupe makes you pick and choose individually between manual and automatic shift modes, three levels of shift speed, two levels of steering weight, two levels of brake feel, two levels of exhaust noise, three suspension stiffness settings, three levels of engine responsiveness, and three different power distribution choices (4WD, 4WD Sport and 2WD). Most of them are controlled through the iDrive screen, not via buttons — though the shift speed is shifted via rocker buttons on the shift lever.

If this sounds like a lot to deal with every time you jump into the car, well, it is. That’s why BMW gives the car two bookmark buttons: red tabs on the steering wheel labeled M1 and M2 that are a couple inches from your thumbs when at 9 and 3. Each can be programmed with its own combo of all those features, enabling you to create your own personal presets.

What BMW doesn’t tell you is that there’s also, effectively, a third preset: the most conservative settings for all of the above, which it returns to every time you hop in. Default mode, which I took to calling “M0,” is generally fine for most commuting; even with everything set to Comfort or Efficient, it’s hardly slow or numb. I made M1 a moderately aggressive setting and M2 a full-blown attack mode, but the beauty of BMW’s system is that you can tweak them as you want: a street mode and a track mode, an urban mode and a country mode, a city mode and a highway mode, etc.

And once you start fiddling around with the car’s setup, you realize just how many features can be adjusted as you see fit. The active safety features, like blind spot alert and emergency automatic braking, can be adjusted to different levels of sensitivity and saved as an Individual mode (which, blessedly, the car does not default out of upon restart). The delightful optional Bowers & Wilkins stereo, the colors of the mood lighting, even the gesture control that lets you control the infotainment with a wave of your hand — they can all be adjusted to your exact wants. It’s a level of control that rewards those willing to get to know their car properly…and when you’re getting a car this remarkable, you absolutely should do that.

Price as Tested: $150,300
Drivetrain: 4.4 liter twin-turbo V8, eight-speed automatic, all-wheel-drive
Power: hp, torque
Fuel Economy: 15 mpg city, 21 mpg highway
Seats: 5, but 4 in comfort

BMW provided this product for review.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.
Will Sabel Courtney

Will Sabel Courtney is Gear Patrol’s Motoring Editor, formerly of The Drive and RIDES Magazine. You can often find him test-driving new cars in New York City, cursing the slow-moving traffic surrounding him.

More by Will Sabel Courtney | Follow on Instagram · Twitter · Contact via Email

For Singer Vehicle Design, Every Detail on a Classic Porsche Is Truly Important

This story is part of our Summer Preview, a collection of features, guides and reviews to help you navigate warmer months ahead.

A little more than a decade ago, “Singer” didn’t mean much to gearheads. The nerdiest among them might have known it as the surname of a talented Porsche engineer whose friends called him Norbert, but generally speaking, it brought to mind sewing machines, not speed machines. Accelerate to 2020, though, and “Singer” has become shorthand for the créme de la créme of automotive restoration and modification.

You can thank Singer Vehicle Design founder Rob Dickinson for that.

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“We’re fascinated by making something as good as it can be,” Dickinson says. “I think the fact that we’ve watched this idea that began in the corner of a workshop ten years ago find a home across the world is testament to the importance of that mission.”

Singer Vehicle Design rebuilds and restores — or, as Dickinson puts it, “reimagines” — Porsche 911s. While the company keeps many specifics close to the vest, it’s willing to admit that it’s worked on about 150 vehicles since 2009. Every Singer is whipped up from an example of the generation of Porsche 911 known as the 964, manufactured from 1989 to 1994.

While every Singer-customized car is still legally (and clearly) a Porsche, each one shares about as many pieces with its original self as the Six Million Dollar Man. Once an owner brings his or her old Porsche 964 to the company’s California shop, it’s then stripped down to its bones and remade piece by piece with upgraded components. The body panels are subbed for carbon fiber; the trim nickel-plated; the vinyl dashboard reupholstered in woven leather that’s designed to pay homage to an original Porsche pattern. Even the engine is yanked loose and transformed into one of Singer’s blueprinted masterpieces, ranging from 3.8 to 4.0 liters and delivering up to 390 hp.

From start to finish, a restoration takes about two years to complete. The company’s motto is “everything is important,” and it’s no empty slogan.

The lines say “Porsche 911,” but the attention to detail proves it’s something special.

Given the time, cost and depth of personalization that goes into making each Singer-customized Porsche 911, Dickinson and his team welcome client feedback throughout the process.

“The relationship Singer has with their customers is the most special relationship of a high-end brand,” Singer client Drew Coblitz says. Singer enables soon-to-be-owners to work closely with the company as the car progresses, making them feel more like proud parents than customers. “The process [of working] with [Singer’s employees] wound up being almost as much fun as when the car [was] finished,” Coblitz adds.

Almost being the operative word. Coblitz’s dark blue car, which he describes as “the café racer version of a Singer,” was finished last year, complete with custom dark nickel trim and fog lamps for spotting the deer that dot the roads where he lives outside of Philadelphia. A ride through those farmlands demonstrated not just how meticulously built the company’s modified 911s are, but how engaging they are to drive; they respond with a directness and connection to the occupants that few cars — new or old — can match.

Pictures can’t capture the quality handiwork of Singer’s interiors.

And while its roots may lie with cars of the past, Singer’s future is poised to be bright. The company has already expanded into watchmaking, and is working with renowned racing supplier Williams on a new varietal of customized Porsche 911 that’s lighter, faster and more advanced than the machines Singer has been rehabbing for the last 10 years.

“The Singer philosophy is to distill the essential elements of an experience like driving — what makes a car deliver an emotional connection, whether it’s visually or dynamically,” Dickinson says. “Our work in the future will be built on insisting that all these elements are recognized and preserved, so that truly engaging, jewel-like machines are around for a long time yet.”

A version of this story originally appeared in a print issue of Gear Patrol Magazine. Subscribe today.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.
Will Sabel Courtney

Will Sabel Courtney is Gear Patrol’s Motoring Editor, formerly of The Drive and RIDES Magazine. You can often find him test-driving new cars in New York City, cursing the slow-moving traffic surrounding him.

More by Will Sabel Courtney | Follow on Instagram · Twitter · Contact via Email

This Classic Ford Bronco Is Vintage SUV Perfection, and You Could Have It

<!–Could This Be the Vintage Ford Bronco of Your Dreams? • Gear Patrol<!– –>

we’re also green, but with envy


Restoring and modifying old Ford Broncos has become extremely popular. That popularity is the reason Ford opted to revive the SUV, dormant since the mid-1990s. There are many exquisite Bronco builds out there. But few will look as stunning as this 1973 Bronco that just popped up for auction on Bring a Trailer.

The Bronco is a custom rebuild by Illinois-based Maxlider Brothers Customs. The seller says it was a custom project and not one of their package builds. The Bronco has a 347ci V8 Stroker crate engine from Blueprint Engines, which puts out 415 hp and 415 lb-ft of torque. That engine is paired with a five-speed manual transmission. The new powertrain has about 4,000 miles on it since the build.

That paint job is a fetching Norway Green, a variant of the British racing green that will be the best color option on just about any car. The interior strikes the perfect balance, being clean and premium-looking but not to the point where you would have an aneurysm if your dogs get in there.

Bidding for the 1973 Bronco is already up to $45,000, with a couple of days remaining and multiple bidders coming in hot. So don’t expect it to go cheap. But if your frame of reference is an exquisite custom Bronco from Icon 4×4 or Gateway, it could still end up being a relative bargain.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.
Tyler Duffy

Tyler Duffy is Gear Patrol’s Motoring Staff Writer. He used to write about sports for The Big Lead and The Athletic. He has a black belt in toddler wrangling. He’s based outside Detroit.

More by Tyler Duffy | Follow on Facebook · Instagram · Twitter · Contact via Email

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One of the Best SUVs of 2020 Might Be About to Get a Cool Off-Road Version

<!–The Kia Telluride Could Soon Add an Off-Road X-Line Trim • Gear Patrol<!– –>

to make you want one even more


When it comes to crazy automotive sales successes of 2020, few vehicles can come close to Kia’s Telluride SUV. It was one of our favorite new vehicles of 2019. It just took home the 2020 World Car of the Year award. In fact, Kia dealers sell Tellurides off so quickly, that its internal nickname is the “Selluride.”

Now, in news that will likely cause buyers’ ears to perk up even more, there may be a more rugged-looking off-road version coming soon.

Recently, CarBuzz talked to Kia’s director of corporate communications James Bell, who confirmed that a new update to the Telluride is coming. He did not give details, but did say that we can expect it to be “more of an image play than up-marketing it” — i.e. pushing into the luxury realm, along the lines of the just-announced, not-for-America Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy. Based on that statement and others past CarBuzz expects it to be an “X-line” off-roading trim. Picture more of an off-road appearance package like the VW Atlas Basecamp, rather than an actual expansion of al-terrain capability that would let it go after Jeep or Toyota.

Going the adventure route with the Telluride would make sense. Off-road-slash-overlanding is one of the hottest trends in the automotive world; heck, Kia was basically already aiming for that market by naming the Telluride after a Colorado ski town. Vehicles at the launch were fitted with roof racks, bull bars and snorkels to suggest their capabilities; it was only later when it became apparent that Kia was in fact offering a great-driving, de facto luxury SUV at a mass-market price point.

If the rest of Telluride sales are anything to go by, Kia’s only issue with the Telluride X-Line may be producing them quickly enough.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.
Tyler Duffy

Tyler Duffy is Gear Patrol’s Motoring Staff Writer. He used to write about sports for The Big Lead and The Athletic. He has a black belt in toddler wrangling. He’s based outside Detroit.

More by Tyler Duffy | Follow on Facebook · Instagram · Twitter · Contact via Email

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This Is the Best New Car Lease Deal You Can Find Right Now

Leasing a car involves many steps, but one of the more infuriating ones can be balancing out how much of a down payment you should drop versus how much you want to pay every month. One of the biggest draws of a lease is that they usually offer a lower payment than buying a car outright, and you can drop that even further by putting money down at the start — but you’d be far better off investing that chunk of change instead, and besides, doesn’t spending $2,000 or more at once feel like it somewhat defeats the purpose of trying to save money on a car?

Luckily, right now, Honda is offering one hell of a sweetheart lease deal on one of its best cars where you don’t need to sweat that decision at all. This May, you can snap up the delightful Honda Civic Hatchback Sport for a lease of $260 per month — and $0 down. In fact, you don’t have to even make a payment for the first month.

The Sport variant of the Civic Hatchback is, in our expert estimation, the sweet spot in the lineup. It comes with the more powerful 1.5-liter turbocharged inline-four, an eight-speaker, 180-watt stereo with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality, truly keyless entry (the kind where you can leave the key fob in your pocket all the time), a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and of course, cool-looking 18-inch wheels and dual central exhaust pipes.

It’s also one of just three Civic Hatchbacks you can still buy with a six-speed manual transmission (the other two being the more expensive Sport Touring and Civic Type R). The lease deal on Honda’s website says it applies to Sports equipped with the CVT automatic, but it’s at the very least worth asking your Honda dealership if they’d honor it on a six-speed Sport, as the manual makes it one of the most involving drives for the price. (If you can find one, that is; Cars.com lists just 81 manual examples on sale across America, versus more than 1,500 automatics.) Still, the CVT is no penalty; it’s one of the better examples of the breed, and it does offer paddle shifters for faux manual shifting.

The lease deal gives qualified buyers lessees 12,000 miles per year in their Civics for 36 months before they have to return the car to Honda. (If you go over, you’ll have to pay $0.15 per mile, which isn’t so bad.) If you’re truly in love with the car at that point and don’t want to give it back, you can buy it from Honda in May 2023 for $15,255.10.

As CarsDirect found, Honda is also offering similar, unadvertised deals on the LX and EX versions of the Civic Hatchback for $250 and $270 a month, respectively. Of those two, the EX presents a compelling alternative, especially if you’re not interested in even trying to find a manual gearbox; that extra $10 a month means you also score a power driver’s seat, satellite radio, dual-zone automatic climate control, a moonroof, heated seats and side-view mirrors, and other handy accoutrements.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.
Will Sabel Courtney

Will Sabel Courtney is Gear Patrol’s Motoring Editor, formerly of The Drive and RIDES Magazine. You can often find him test-driving new cars in New York City, cursing the slow-moving traffic surrounding him.

More by Will Sabel Courtney | Follow on Instagram · Twitter · Contact via Email

Toyota Basically Admitted America Is Getting a Sweet Hot Hatch

<!–Toyota Basically Confirmed Americans Will Get a Hot Hatch • Gear Patrol<!– –>

with a six-speed manual transmission


Mercedes-Benz has AMG, BMW has M, Audi has Audi Sport. Now, Toyota is building Gazoo Racing into its performance vehicle arm. The GR Supra, as the BMW-co-developed sports car is formally known, debuted last year; then, back in January, Gazoo put out a spectacular-looking GR Yaris hot hatchback that’s bound for other markets besides the United States. Still, we aren’t expected to go entirely without, as reports have suggested Americans will be receiving a GR-branded hot hatchback of their own based on the Corolla. Now, Toyota has essentially confirmed that to the world.

Pop over to the company’s website right now, and you’ll find that Toyota has created a “GR Hot Hatch” page in the upcoming vehicles section . The page cites the existence of the GR Yaris, and notes that “perhaps its time the U.S. got a Toyota hot hatch to call its own. One that continues to push the boundaries of performance. And one that can only come from Toyota Gazoo Racing.”

The page references the turbocharged three-pot engine putting out 268 horsepower, which suggests that it will probably be the new hot hatch’s engine. (The GR Yaris, it should be stated, uses a six-speed manual, which we hope will also make it to the U.S. car.) It also notes the GR Yaris’ all-wheel-drive system, which suggests that will probably be included too. Taking the idea of the Yaris but making it a little bigger to suit American tastes seems like a pretty sensible idea.

As for when we’ll see such a car — well, Toyota titled the page “2021 Toyota Hot Hatch,” though obviously, all automotive timelines are up in the air at the moment with the ongoing pandemic. Car and Driver reported a starting price of about $30,000. That price and power output should put it in direct competition with Volkswagen’s new Mk8 GTI. Expect the new hot hatchback to be one of our most anticipated drives of 2021…or 2022..or whenever we can get our hands on it.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.
Tyler Duffy

Tyler Duffy is Gear Patrol’s Motoring Staff Writer. He used to write about sports for The Big Lead and The Athletic. He has a black belt in toddler wrangling. He’s based outside Detroit.

More by Tyler Duffy | Follow on Facebook · Instagram · Twitter · Contact via Email

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Acura NSX, a pair of 2 Series Gran Coupes and a time machine | Autoblog Podcast #628

In this week’s Autoblog Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore is joined by West Coast Editor James Riswick and Road Test Editor Zac Palmer. This week, they’re driving a 2020 Acura NSX, two versions of the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe (M235i and 228i) and the updated 2020 Honda Civic Si. Then, the gang gets to talking about what they’d drive in 1975 and 1985, along with plenty of other tangents. Finally, they wrap it up with news about the upcoming 2021 Acura TLX Type S and the fate of this year’s Woodward Dream Cruise.

Autoblog Podcast #628

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The Next Ford Ranger Might Be Getting More Powerful in an Unusual Way

<!–The Next Ford Ranger Could Be a Powerful Plug-In Hybrid • Gear Patrol<!– –>

but will Ford let us have it?


Ford is hard at work on the next generation of its Ranger midsize truck, which is due to arrive for the 2022 model year. (Whether it arrives in America at that time, though, is up for debate.) A new report from the Aussie site CarExpert lists the purported engine options available for the new Ranger outside of North America, including a powerful plug-in hybrid — which seems like the one most likely to come to the United States.

The plug-in-hybrid would be a 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, which we assume would be based on the four-pot engine of the same size in the current Ranger. The hybrid would produce a combined output of 362 horsepower and 502 lb-ft of torque — numbers would blow away any current engine in the midsize segment. In fact, it would give the Ranger more torque than any current full-size truck other than the F-150 Raptor.

No pick-up trucks currently offer a plug-in hybrid powertrain, but the Ranger wouldn’t be alone in having one by the time it arrives, if the rumor is true. The 2021 Ford F-150 that’s expected to debut later this year will all but certainly have a PHEV version of its own, one that may well be more powerful than any other engine in the truck. If so, the idea that the Ranger’s beefiest heart would be a plug-in hybrid seems like a little less of a stretch.

The other two engines listed by CarExpert were a twin-turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder diesel and the turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 diesel used in the F-150, neither of which we expect to come to the U.S. All three engines would use a 10-speed automatic transmission.

While that plug-in hybrid Ranger sounds badass, as with the Ranger Raptor, Ford could ultimately decide it’s not right for us in the U.S. After all, the Ford F-150 is not just America’s best-selling vehicle; it’s a crazy-profitable one, with an average transaction price of $51,000. Ford has a strong incentive not to mess with those F-150 sales by making the cheaper Ranger too appealing.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.
Tyler Duffy

Tyler Duffy is Gear Patrol’s Motoring Staff Writer. He used to write about sports for The Big Lead and The Athletic. He has a black belt in toddler wrangling. He’s based outside Detroit.

More by Tyler Duffy | Follow on Facebook · Instagram · Twitter · Contact via Email

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Suddenly, There Are Amazing Deals on the Toyota Supra

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biggest incentive on any Toyota


Toyota has been offering some unprecedented deals on cars that almost never see discounts. Earlier this month, we saw great deals on the Tacoma. Now, over Memorial Day, Toyota is providing strong incentives to move its halo sports car: the GR Supra.

Cars Direct found two options available for 2020 Supra buyers. Customers can opt for 0-percent APR financing over 60 months or a $3,500 cash incentive — the largest cash-on-the-hood payout Toyota is giving on any vehicle right now. Toyota also adjusted its lease formula for the Supra; the change brings the monthly payment more in line with its sibling, the BMW Z4, when it had been as much as $150 more last year. The offers expire June 1, 2020.

Why is Toyota making the Supra cheaper? There seem to be two logical reasons. One: Toyota is updating the Supra for 2021, with more horsepower for the six-cylinder and a cheaper four-cylinder option. Those changes are all but sure to render the 2020 version less desirable.

Two: Toyota is anticipating a major sales and profit hit during the global pandemic. The Supra, an impractical two-seater sports coupe, is the sort of purchase buyers would definitely be inclined to put off in less favorable times.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.
Tyler Duffy

Tyler Duffy is Gear Patrol’s Motoring Staff Writer. He used to write about sports for The Big Lead and The Athletic. He has a black belt in toddler wrangling. He’s based outside Detroit.

More by Tyler Duffy | Follow on Facebook · Instagram · Twitter · Contact via Email

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The 2020 Volkswagen Jetta Shows Sedans Still Have Plenty of Life Left

The Volkswagen Jetta has a simple origin story. The compact, practical Mk1 Golf was a major hit in the 1970s, but not everyone was crazy about the hatchback body style. So, VW made a sedan version for the 1980 model year — the Jetta. It became a great cheap value car for young professionals, students and stick-shift-wielding German car enthusiasts on a budget alike, and has been a sales mainstay for VW ever since. If you grew up in the burbs, you likely knew at least one sibling, friend or classmate who drove a Jetta…if you didn’t drive one yourself.

VW debuted the current seventh-generation Jetta, which rides on the modern MQB platform, for the 2019 model year. It brings more distinctive style, updated tech, and a slight increase in size. I spent a week with the fully-loaded SEL Premium trim; I can’t say the Jetta offers the most engaging driving experience ever — I drove the legendary VW GTI just before, which may have biased my opinion — but it’s still a solid, composed little sedan. It refreshes a classic formula, and offers a substantial upgrade over its predecessor. And it’s easy to see why, even in a brutal market for sedans, Volkswagen still sold more than 100,000 of them last year.

The Jetta looks more sophisticated than the previous generation

Style may be the biggest change buyers notice with the Jetta. Unlike the bland sixth generation, this car actually has some. VW gave the new Jetta a bolder grille and sharp creases down the length of the body. It demands to be looked at…to the extent one would look at a budget sedan.

The interior feels clean and benefits from VW’s new digital instrument display, if you’re into that sort of thing, and the latest infotainment module. My two-year-old initially mistook it for “Baba’s car” — my dad drives a 2016 Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan — which didn’t feel entirely off base.

VW did apparently cut some corners. The Jetta carries over some switchgear and the same steering wheel VW has been using for ages. And if you start feeling around in areas you would only touch while searching for cheap plastic…you will find cheap plastic. But if you don’t review cars for a living, you won’t notice either of those things.

The Jetta drives well enough, even if it’s not that sporty.

The Jetta delivers a softer driving experience than the Golf. It employs the same torquey 1.4-liter 147 horsepower four-pot engine, but it’s not a tightly wound corner carver like the Golf or GTI. The Jetta has a decent amount of pop at low-speed driving, and I can admit I had a little fun manually shifting the slushbox and pretending it was the six-speed (available on the base and R-line trims). It’s not as spirited when trying to pass on the highway, though.

The main trouble for the Jetta is that the excellent Honda Civic exists in the same price range, starting just under $20,000. And, if you want spirited driving, it’s not that much of a jump to the excellent 205-hp Civic Si.

This VW makes a strong case for the survival of the sedan

Cheap subcompact crossovers have become a hot segment. The Jetta makes a strong case for those buyers to part from the herd and buy a good old-fashioned sedan. The Jetta starts at $18,896, about $1,000 cheaper than a Ford EcoSport and more than $2,000 cheaper than a Chevy Trax. The Jetta offers a substantially more polished driving experience; plus, it gets better fuel economy (34 mpg combined) without resorting to a buzz-killing CVT. The redesign even gives the Jetta a surprisingly spacious trunk, with a wide opening when you fold the seats for added room. VW’s asking price will target singles, but the Jetta can be practical for a small family.

Price as Tested: $28,865
Drivetrain: Turbocharged 1.4-liter inline-four, eight-speed automatic, front-wheel drive
Power: 147 hp, 184 lb-ft
Fuel Economy: 30 mpg city, 40 mpg highway
Seats: 5

Volkswagen provided this product for review.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.
Tyler Duffy

Tyler Duffy is Gear Patrol’s Motoring Staff Writer. He used to write about sports for The Big Lead and The Athletic. He has a black belt in toddler wrangling. He’s based outside Detroit.

More by Tyler Duffy | Follow on Facebook · Instagram · Twitter · Contact via Email

992-Generation Porsche 911 Targa Revealed

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Nissan’s New Z Could Be More Powerful and Cheaper Than the Toyota Supra

Last year, Toyota revived the Supra to great critical acclaim. The car, enthusiasts generally agreed, is brilliant — even if it is in many ways a reskinned BMW. But there were a couple of changes that drifted away from the original formula; inflation caused the price to climb, and the lack of a stick shift caused many enthusiasts to think twice.

Those changes could leave the door open for one of Toyota’s Japanese rivals to undercut the Supra with its very own sports car.

Reports suggest Nissan is planning a new generation of the aging 370Z, the 400Z — a car which may have a new logo, too. A report from AllCarNews suggests the 400Z could have some significant advantages versus the Supra when it hits the market.

Nissan’s new sports car could have more horsepower than the Supra, for one. If true, the “400” in 400Z would not be Cadillac-esque metric torque mumbo jumbo; the car’s likely engine, the twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 used in the Infiniti Q50 and Q60, puts out 400 hp. (The 2021 Supra is rated for 382 hp in its most potent form.) The report also says there will be two choices when it comes to the gearbox: some form of NISMO-tuned automatic and, blessedly, a six-speed manual.

Besides having more power and a stick shift option, the report suggests the new 400Z will start below $40,000 — around $10,000 cheaper than the six-cylinder Supra. Toyota does have a Supra offering closer to that price point, but it’s the new four-cylinder version, with less than 300 hp.

Success for Nissan, of course, would depend on whether the 400Z would be an engaging car to drive. But judging from the 370Z, there’s little reason to think that it wouldn’t be. And if Nissan can hit that power and price point, it would give potential Supra buyers — not to mention a lot of other sports cars owners —  something to think about.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.
Tyler Duffy

Tyler Duffy is Gear Patrol’s Motoring Staff Writer. He used to write about sports for The Big Lead and The Athletic. He has a black belt in toddler wrangling. He’s based outside Detroit.

More by Tyler Duffy | Follow on Facebook · Instagram · Twitter · Contact via Email

Could This Stunning Vintage Ford Bronco Be the SUV of Your Dreams?

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we’re also green, but with envy


Restoring and modifying old Ford Broncos has become extremely popular. That popularity is the reason Ford opted to revive the SUV, dormant since the mid-1990s. There are many exquisite Bronco builds out there. But few will look as stunning as this 1973 Bronco that just popped up for auction on Bring a Trailer.

The Bronco is a custom rebuild by Illinois-based Maxlider Brothers Customs. The seller says it was a custom project and not one of their package builds. The Bronco has a 347ci V8 Stroker crate engine from Blueprint Engines, which puts out 415 hp and 415 lb-ft of torque. That engine is paired with a five-speed manual transmission. The new powertrain has about 4,000 miles on it since the build.

That paint job is a fetching Norway Green, a variant of the British racing green that will be the best color option on just about any car. The interior strikes the perfect balance, being clean and premium-looking but not to the point where you would have an aneurysm if your dogs get in there.

Bidding for the 1973 Bronco is already up to $26,000, with six days remaining and multiple bidders coming in hot. So don’t expect it to go cheap. But if your frame of reference is an exquisite custom Bronco from Icon 4×4 or Gateway, it could still end up being a relative bargain.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.
Tyler Duffy

Tyler Duffy is Gear Patrol’s Motoring Staff Writer. He used to write about sports for The Big Lead and The Athletic. He has a black belt in toddler wrangling. He’s based outside Detroit.

More by Tyler Duffy | Follow on Facebook · Instagram · Twitter · Contact via Email

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2020 Lamborghini Urus Luggage Test | Loading the bull

A Lamborghini was recently at my house, which is sort of like the queen dropping in. And though I assiduously avoided carrying anything that could spill, splash, smudge or muss, one aspect of the 2020 Lamborghini Urus we wanted to check was just how much luggage it can carry considering the limitations imposed by the SUV’s extremely sloped roofline.

So I hopped onto the Lamborghini Store’s website to order up just the right stuff, co-branded by Lamborghini and TecknoMonster — hmm, perhaps the carbon-fiber small trolley case for $4,904, or the carbon-fiber Bynomio big trolley case for $7,874, or the Bynomio Hold Maxi carbon-fiber suitcase for $17,388. Perhaps the whole set. Now you might be saying to yourself, “That’s sure an expensive way to haul my clean underwear.” But rest assured these suitcases emerge from the autoclave after a cutting-edge aerospace process that merges two different types of carbon fiber and ensures “top performance and excellent mechanical properties, requiring extreme accuracy in all manufacturing steps.” Pity the fool who has a suitcase that’s anything less.

But tragically, there’s at least a 20-day lead time in ordering, and the Urus was only here for the weekend. So I guess that fool is me, having to resort to the same old world-weary, beat-up suitcases I usually use, which share space in the garage with the lawn tractor and cat litter box.

Six suitcases were at my disposal. Three would need to be checked at the airport, and one of those is particularly ungainly (29x19x11 inches, 26x17x10, 25x16x10). Three others would be small enough to carry on (24x14x10, 23x14x11, 22x14x9), if we were getting on airplanes anymore. Several of these bags have four wheels that jut out and were counted in the dimensions. It’s a shame not to have Riswick’s wife’s fancy bag for such a fancy car.

The Lamborghini Urus is pretty big. At 201 inches long and 79 inches wide, it is 2 inches longer than a Ford Explorer, and the same width. It’s 4 inches shorter than the big Mercedes-Benz GLS, but 2 inches wider. Plus, those are vehicles with third-row seating; the Urus has two rows and seats five. (Four if you get the backseat buckets and console.) Yet its cargo hold is 21.75 cubic feet, which is only about 3 cubic feet bigger than the others’ space behind the third row. It’s also much less than various five-seat, midsize SUVs.

We’re told it is wide enough to fit a couple bags of golf clubs, which looks feasible. In fact, it’s a pretty square space, and a set of clubs might even fit longitudinally. The problem is not the footprint. The volume is so little thanks to the sloped roof. Nothing boxy is ever going to fit in the back of the Urus.

By the way, that black bag contains Lamborghini roof racks.

Here’s what the cargo space is like with the package shelf removed (it easily slides out) and the second row dropped. Long cargo would fit well. It just can’t be tall.

OK, let’s try some luggage. Here’s the first attempt. Getting all six bags in is probably not in the cards. The hatch wouldn’t close on this, coming in contact with both of the upright red bags. Furthermore, there is a small, secondary section of package shelf that’s attached to the inside of the hatch and would need to be removed. But do that, and tilt the second-row seats upright, and you might jam this in. Just don’t expect to see anything.

This next arrangement is slightly less overburdened, and the hatch will definitely close if you remove that section of package shelf and nudge the seat up a little. The three biggest bags make the cut, with the biggest on its side, and two smaller ones to boot. Shift the smaller ones into the middle, and you’d preserve a sliver of rear view, though smaller than the sliver that you normally get. It’s not ideal, though.

Here’s a closer look at the accent-stitched Alcantara cargo shelf, which slides out easily. Ooh, soft …

Finally, in this configuration, you get to keep the cargo shelf, thereby denying the riffraff a chance to size up your fancy luggage. Four suitcases will fit this way — two large and two carry-ons. And thanks to an indent in the left cargo-bay wall, the Lambo roof racks fit, too. Or, leave those in the garage and you can get a small bag on its side, and all five passengers will be able to dress up for whatever fancy rich-people party they’re going to.

Related Video:

Did You Know the Ram 1500 Has Math Formulas Hidden Inside? We Found Out Why

Welcome to Further Details, a series dedicated to ubiquitous but overlooked elements hidden on your favorite products. This week: the hidden math formulas inside the Ram 1500 pickup truck.

When Ram launched its new 1500 pickup for the 2019 model year, it took the automotive world by storm with its blend of style and substance. But one subtle feature may have given many of those owners who discovered it pause: the collection of mathematical charts and tables under the center console lid. Tucked away on the underside of the lid, right between the driver and front passenger, are rulers, wrench and fraction/decimal conversion charts, a right angle, a protractor, trigonometry formulas — even the Pythagorean theorem.

Why are all those math charts there? We spoke with Ram to find out.

As it turns out, Ram’s parent company, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, includes so-called “Easter eggs” — hidden features designed to reward careful attention — on many new vehicles. The practice started with Jeep, and has since moved to other brands. Designers incorporate them because they are fun and relatively easy to include.

“They’re free, in a sense,” Ram’s chief interior designer Ryan Nagode told us. “It doesn’t take that much effort to throw something [fun] in there, from a cost perspective.”

Many Easter eggs exist just there to be cute. But the math information on the console lid serves a functional purpose — one beyond assisting the odd Ram owner who needs to stop, drop and perform some trigonometry. It actually solves an issue that came up during the manufacturing process.

When creating the new pickup, Ram tried several ways of pouring the plastic for the lid into the mold. The only way the mold would fill correctly was to drop the plastic directly in the middle, but this created a visible area where the plastic fell: the drop circle.

For most parts, this would not be an issue; interior components are typically only viewed from one side. But the console lid gets viewed from both sides. The designers needed a way to mask the drop circle, one that would still making the part feel appropriate for their new vehicle.

“All of it was based on trying to hide that center circle drop area,” Nagode said. “This lid…opens up pretty far so you can access the bin pretty well — [so] you really stare at the bottom of this tray.”

The idea for filling that space with mathematical charts came to them while working with tools for other projects.

“One day, we had some drawing tools on my desks, and one of them had a metric conversion –a little chart on it,” Nagode said. “And we’re just looking at a protractor and a right angle that were sitting on our desks, and we thought, wouldn’t it be funny to use this opportunity to [put that sort of thing] on a piece like this? [That way, it] could all relate back to building, and the creation of things.”

So, there you have it. The formulas and charts tie back to the inherent reason many buyers choose a pickup truck: work. Somewhat ironically, the math helpers appear on every Ram 1500 equipped with a center console and front bucket seats…which means the basic Tradesman trim most likely to be used as an actual work truck goes without them. It has a bench seat up front.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.
Tyler Duffy

Tyler Duffy is Gear Patrol’s Motoring Staff Writer. He used to write about sports for The Big Lead and The Athletic. He has a black belt in toddler wrangling. He’s based outside Detroit.

More by Tyler Duffy | Follow on Facebook · Instagram · Twitter · Contact via Email

McLaren 600LT Spider Segestria Borealis is a spider edition of a Spider

It’s been a year and change since we drove the McLaren 600LT Spider, and McLaren has just wrapped up building the last few of this car’s run for North America. To celebrate, McLaren Special Operations (MSO) put together 12 Segestria Borealis special edition 600LT Spiders. They will be the last 12 available for sale in the U.S.

As a quick reminder, the 600LT Spider is at the very top of McLaren’s Sports Series. At its heart is a 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8 that makes 592 horsepower and 457 pound-feet of torque. That’s good for a 0-60 mph time of 2.8 seconds and a top speed of 201 mph. The 600LT Spider turns heads without a wild paint scheme, and the Segestria Borealis just makes this car stick out even more. McLaren says the design was inspired by the Segestria Florentina, a venomous spider pictured below for your nightmares. Since it’s a spider edition of a Spider, McLaren jokingly named this car the “Spider Spider.” How fitting.

The twin Napier Green stripes that run from the nose of the car to the top-exit exhaust are meant to symbolize the spider’s fangs. The spider it’s based on is black, which the Borealis Black paint is meant to represent. It’s a fairly special black that features deep green and purple undertones depending on the light. Yeah, sounds intimidating to us. There’s Napier Green pinstriping found all over the car, most of which can be seen lining the aero bits to make them stand out. The Napier Green paint also covers the brake calipers hiding inside the forged, gloss black wheels.

And of course, it wouldn’t be a spider-themed car without webbing. McLaren has used a web motif on the rear wing, side mirrors, seat headrests and the seats themselves. Yes, it is slightly childish, but it fits the theme. There are additional Napier Green accents found throughout the cabin, as well.

McLaren says each of the Segestria Borealis cars are equipped with the MSO Clubsport Pack, which includes carbon fiber racing seats, carbon fiber interior trim, titanium wheel bolts and glossy carbon fiber fender louvers. McLaren also threw in (for free!) the Bowers and Wilkins audio system, McLaren track telemetry, nose lift system, parking sensors and an alarm system upgrade. Fancy.

All of this will cost you $275,500. The Segestria Borealis 600LT Spiders should be arriving to a few McLaren dealers soon where they’ll be made available to purchase.

Related Video:

The 2020 Jeep Gladiator Mojave Review: A Tougher Jeep Is a Better Jeep

The Jeep Gladiator Mojave deserves better than New York City in the spring of 2020.

It is, after all, the latest and arguably greatest of the already-great Gladiator breed — an off-road pickup truck created by the first name in American off-roaders. It’s designed for fast running over rocky terrain, first and foremost, replete with tough all-terrain gear like Fox internal bypass shocks and front hydraulic jounce bumpers, 33-inch all-terrain tires, an extra inch of ride height up front and stronger axles — all on top of the Rubicon model’s already-impressive suite of features, like a disconnecting stabilizer bar up front and locking differentials front and rear.

It’s enough to make the Mojave the first Jeep to earn the new Desert Rated badge, signifying that it’s ready to take on not just forest trails and rolling plains, but the dry dust of places like Baja California. In those sorts of environments, the removable top, detachable doors and fold-flat windshield all come into their own, bringing driver and passengers closer to the warmth and wind of the natural world than any other new vehicle can manage.

And yet, my time with said Jeep landed during the deepest, darkest part of our national coronavirus-related shutdown, in the densest part of both the East Coast’s population and the viral outbreak…during a particularly cold, especially gray April.

The closest thing to a silver lining was knowing that, if things went all I Am Legend, the Mojave would probably be one of the better vehicles for going full Plissken and making an escape from New York. (Yes, I’m mixing movie metaphors. Deal with it.) Still, I made the most of it: tearing up the local pockmarked highways and roughshod side streets, venturing upstate for a little socially-distant hiking, and occasionally hopping the curb just because I could.

The Gladiator Mojave isn’t quite a Ford F-150 Raptor, but it’s close

The Jeep product planners were clearly slinging their throwing knives at a picture of Ford’s saurian off-roader when working on the Mojave; both vehicles, after all, are four-door pickups designed to whup ass at speed over dry, desert terrain first and foremost. Yet the Jeep isn’t quite as well-rounded a performer; its ancient 3.6-liter V6’s 285 hp and 260 lb-ft is no match for the thumping twin-turbo V6 that makes 450 hp and 510 lb-ft in the Raptor. The optional eight-speed automatic of my tester was forced to work its butt off to hustle the Jeep along with traffic — and between the hardworking engine and the meaty off-road tires, I barely managed 15 miles per gallon.

Still, it does boast a fair number of similarities (not the least of them being the Ford Performance-baiting bright blue paint of my test truck). Like the Raptor, the trick with the Mojave’s suspension is that, if the ride gets rough, you don’t slow down — you speed up. Driving along gnarled cobblestone streets in Brooklyn’s Red Hook at 20 miles per hour was borderline uncomfortable; once I pushed the speed up to 35, though, the Fox shocks began to work their magic, blending the oscillations into a comfortable ride. It’s rather like getting a powerboat on plane; once you push through the chop and get it moving, she rides smooth as glass.

Mojave trim’s aesthetics are more questionable than its mission

There’s no question that, as with the Wrangler, the more off-road-ready a Gladiator looks, the more attractive it is. Base models aren’t unappealing, but Jeeps are meant to be kicking ass out past the pavement. Still, while the Mojave has the capability to grab tons of buyers, the orange trim that comes with the Baja-blasting version is a little less than ideal. Sunkist hot spots pop up across both exterior and interior; while those accents would add panache to a Gladiator painted black or gray, they clash with Hydro Blue Pearl Coat, color theory be damned.

Likewise, the interior is saddled with not just orange trim for the circular air vents, but matching stitching on the steering wheel, shifter, handbrake — even the seats, whether you go for cloth or the $1,595 leather trim that seems like an indulgence on an off-roader designed to go without doors. (That said, it’s probably easier to clean sand off treated leather than grippy cloth.)

It’s super-capable, but make sure you’re going to use it before you fork over the big bucks

Few vehicles you can operate with a regular driver’s license and drive on the roads today are as capable as the Gladiator Mojave. It packs nearly a full fat of ground clearance, has an approach angle just shy of 45º and a departure angle of 25.5º, and can drive sideways along slopes so steep, you’d have trouble following on foot. It can drive across rough terrain at speeds that would demolish most trucks and SUVs.

But before you sign on the line for a desert-running truck that will almost certainly be hard to buy for less than $50,000 and may well run you past $60K, ask yourself: what are you really going to use this Gladiator for?

If you’re like most of us, you probably want it because you need a midsize truck, but you want the look of a Jeep, and you want to be able to take the roof down and the doors off. In which case, you’ll be every bit as well-served with a Gladiator Sport S, which you can drive off the lot for less than $40,000. It may not be as obscenely capable off-road, but it still has the ability to go places many trucks can’t. (Plus, remember: as with driving in winter, a different set of tires might be all you really need to improve your vehicle’s capabilities.) And while kudos are to be handed out to Jeep for offering even the Mojave with a stick shift, it’s also found in the lesser models — although if you’re going to go rock-crawling, the automatic is probably a better choice, anyway.

Still, the Mojave’s suspension tweaks that make it better for fast running on bad terrain would make it a better fit than the Rubicon for most people who aren’t doing much in the way of actual rock-crawling, even if you live a long ways from Mexico; bombing down bad dirt roads (or terrible paved ones) is far more like the Baja 1000 than it is tackling the Rubicon trail. If money’s no concern, then it’s the Gladiator I’d choose. But you shouldn’t feel like you have to have it; the joy of Jeep life-with-a-bad can be had for way less.

Price as Tested: $58,320
Drivetrain: 3.6-liter V6, eight-speed automatic, four-wheel-drive
Power: 285 hp, 260 lb-ft
Fuel Economy: 17 mpg city, 22 mpg highway
Seats: 5

Jeep provided this product for review.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.
Will Sabel Courtney

Will Sabel Courtney is Gear Patrol’s Motoring Editor, formerly of The Drive and RIDES Magazine. You can often find him test-driving new cars in New York City, cursing the slow-moving traffic surrounding him.

More by Will Sabel Courtney | Follow on Instagram · Twitter · Contact via Email