Chicago Auto Show 2020

Jeep chases the high-performance off-road pickup truck market with 2020 Gladiator Mojave

The Gladiator Mojave was developed specifically for tackling tough desert terrain.

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

Against a backdrop of wind and cold in Chicago, Jeep revealed the desert-ready 2020 Gladiator Mohave at the Chicago Auto Show. The special edition Mohave allows drivers to crank up the rpms by adding the bones to travel with alacrity across demanding desert landscapes. It carries forward Jeep's 4x4 Trail Rated capability blended with a new Desert Rated badge; it's the first Jeep to be tapped for this rating.

This midsized Jeep pickup came to market last year and has since won a trophy case filled with awards for its unique styling, functionality, tech-filled interior, and slow-speed competence; it now adds high-speed off-road expertise to its persona.

2020 Jeep Gladiator MojaveJeep has given the Gladiator Mojave an added layer of off-road prowess.Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

The Gladiator Mohave recipe starts with a robust platform and proven four-wheel drive stock. Added are new, specially tuned FOX 2.5-inch internal bypass shocks with external reservoirs, industry-exclusive FOX front hydraulic jounce bumpers, a reinforced frame, a 1-inch front suspension lift, a ½-inch increase in the track, and stronger axles with cast-iron steering knuckles. The Jeep rides on standard 33-inch Falken Wildpeak All-Terrain tires.

Gladiator Mohave's Command-Trac 4x4 system is set up with a two-speed transfer case with a 2.72:1 low-range gear ratio, heavy-duty third-generation Dana 44 front and rear axles with a 4.10:1 axle ratio, and standard electronic-locking rear differential. Command-Trac has been re-engineered to allow higher 4LO (low range) operating speeds for ascending sand dunes and traveling over other rugged desert terrain.

Jeep says the new model has a best-in-class approach angle of 44.7 degrees, breakover angle of 20.9 degrees, departure angle of 25.5 degrees and a best-in-class ground clearance of 11.6 inches, along with best-in-class articulation.

2020 Jeep Gladiator MojaveThe model has received a Jeep-first Desert Rated badge.Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

An Off-Road Plus button allows drivers to take the Mojave to the next level of traction and performance. Adjustments change the throttle, transmission shift points, and traction control for top performance on higher speed passes on sand terrain, as well as during low-speed rock crawling. The Off-Road Plus drive mode also lets drivers lock their rear axle at high speeds while in "4H." This feature is a Jeep-first.

Mojave is adorned with a unique hood decal on its heavy-duty performance hood with center scoop, unique exterior badges, orange tow hooks, unique 17 x 7.5-inch wheels, plus Jeep Performance Parts step sand slider side rails, and a silver front skid plate.

Black and Steel Gray are interior color options; a competition-inspired leather-wrapped steering wheel with accent stitching and an aggressive rim section provides extra grip and better ergonomics. More aggressive seats with integrated upper bolsters bring comfort and safety. The seats are available in leather or cloth with orange accent stitching and embroidered Mojave logos. A forward-facing off-road camera can be added.

2020 Jeep Gladiator MojaveJeep has equipped this new model with the right equipment to get the job done.Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

The 2020 Gladiator Mojave is powered by Jeep's 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine backed by a standard six-speed manual or optional eight-speed automatic transmission. With the manual, Gladiator Mojave boasts an impressive crawl ratio of 57.3:1, and 52.6:1 on models equipped with the eight-speed auto.

It has up to 1,200 pounds of payload and up to 6,000 pounds of towing capacity.

Why fast desert-running trucks? A decade ago, Ford brought a new play-book to the stock truck market with its 2010 F-150 Raptor; this full-sized desert runner can be driven to the office or the club, yet marries extreme slow-speed 4WD tech and proficiency to its fast-paced sand playfulness and racing aptitude.

Ram's 1500 Rebel-trimmed full-sizer and Ram's 2500 Power Wagon have garnered favor with their dual-personalities and authentic capability, while the midsized Chevy Colorado ZR2 Bison moves the needle in a similar fashion. Other truck makers and builder/enthusiasts have followed suit since, although many new models are one-off upfits, rather than stock from the automaker.

2020 Jeep Gladiator MojaveThis edition was specially created for desert driving enthusiasts.Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

Desert racing has picked up a quickly-growing fan base and has lured more buyers to participate in the thrill of technical off-roading, playing in backcountry sandboxes across the country, and trying out their rigs at desert races, such as the legendary SCORE Baja 1000 or the famed King of the Hammers.

The 2020 Jeep Gladiator Mohave will be in showrooms the second quarter of the year.

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Family-friendly three-row SUVs

Three of our favorite three-row SUVs for 2022

The Grand Cherokee L is available with two different powertrain choices.

Jeep

There are more three-row SUVs on sale than ever before, so it can be tough to make a choice between them. You need to balance space, performance, safety, and tech to make your decision, and doing your homework is important. To help you get started down the right path, we've selected three of our favorite three-row family haulers. These are SUVs that bring the latest features and excellent design features to help keep you and your family rolling. Let's get started.

2023 Toyota SequoiaThe Sequoia is all-new for the 2023 model year, and finally stands on level ground with its rivals.Toyota

Toyota Sequoia

Toyota gave the Sequoia a much-needed overhaul for the 2023 model year that brought it up to speed with its competitors. The thirsty V8 and outdated styling are gone, and in their place, Toyota installed a twin-turbo V6 with a hybrid system that produces 437 horsepower and 583 pound-feet of torque. A ten-speed automatic transmission and either rear- or four-wheel drive are available.

The Sequoia’s update brought a new infotainment system with a much more intuitive, fluid interface. It runs on a standard 8-inch or an optional 14-inch touchscreen. Toyota’s new software offers voice controls, standard wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and much more.

Inside, the Sequioa’s interior feels much more upscale and modern than before, and there’s plenty of room for the entire family and all their gear across its three spacious rows. Starting with the Limited trim, Toyota gives luxurious standard features, including heated and ventilated front seats, a larger touchscreen, a hands-free liftgate, and a heated steering wheel.

2023 Kia TellurideKia updated the ultra-popular Telluride for 2023 with refreshed styling and features.Kia

Kia Telluride

The Kia Telluride is easily one of the best family vehicles from the last ten years, and it offers great value on top of its functional characteristics. Kia updated the SUV for 2022 with a new 10.25-inch infotainment system and a highway driving assistance system.

The Telluride comes with a 3.8-liter V6 that produces 291 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. It’s paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and either front- or all-wheel drive. The SUV’s engine may not be the most powerful or thrilling, but it gets the job done and offers refined, smooth operation.

Kia equips the base Telluride with seating for eight, but the optional second-row captain’s chairs reduce capacity to seven. Interior fit and finish, materials, and styling are all far more upscale than the Telluride’s price tag would suggest, making the SUV an excellent family companion for longer road trips.

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee LThe Grand Cherokee got a third row for the first time with the new L.Jeep

Jeep Grand Cherokee L

Jeep completely overhauled the Grand Cherokee for 2021 and added a new three-row “L” model shortly after. The new Grand Cherokee L features boxy, muscular styling that works with its stretched profile. Even with a new shape, the SUV is immediately recognizable as a Grand Cherokee.

Jeep offers two engines in the 2022 Grand Cherokee L. The base mill is a 3.6-liter V6 that makes 293 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. A 5.7-liter Hemi V8 is available that produces 357 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque. Both come with an eight-speed automatic transmission and the V8 comes standard with four-wheel drive.

The L is more premium inside than most likely expect from a Jeep, but at the top end of the model line it’s deep into luxury territory, both on price and design. The Jeep is just shy of its competitors on interior space, but there’s still plenty of room for up to seven people. Top trims get luxury finishes like leather and woodgrain, and available tech like a rear-seat entertainment system helps keep everyone happy for the long haul.

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The IIHS may increase the speeds it uses to test advanced driver aids.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently announced that it is considering changing the speeds it uses to test vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention systems. The agency currently tests the systems at 12 and 25 mph, but says that the speeds don't accurately represent the types of crashes the safety tech is meant to prevent.

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Automatic emergency braking (AEB) is designed to notify of a possible collision and help respond with automatic application of braking. Just like a human using the brake pedal, it can stop the car, but higher speeds make it difficult to stop in time. The new tests would be conducted at 35 to 45 mph, which is the range where a large number of rear-end crashes occur. As Automotive News noted, an IIHS study showed 43 percent of rear-end crashes occur at speeds of 45 mph or less, so it's important to have a test that shows how well the tech performs at those levels.

A whopping 85 percent of 2022 vehicles earned a "Superior" rating in the current testing regime, so the IIHS will remove it from 2023 testing and Top Safety Pick award evaluations. Their view is that, since the majority of vehicles meet the criteria, it's no longer an accurate way of evaluating performance. In its place, the agency introduced a night test for automatic emergency braking systems that will begin next year.

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