Slideshow: 2020 Jeep Gladiator

Over-engineered 2020 Jeep Gladiator can conquer tough terrain and be a weekend warrior

The Jeep Gladiator may be a little over-engineered but that just makes it more fun.

Photo courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

The Jeep Gladiator is the automaker's new truck. The company admits that the truck is a bit over-engineered, making it capable of tackling the tough terrain a Wrangler can scramble over, but at the same time delivering a comfortable ride with room in the bed for the results of a trip to Home Depot.

This slideshow covers the 2020 Jeep Gladiator Launch Edition, 2020 Jeep Gladiator Mopar, 2020 Jeep Gladiator Overland, 2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon, and various details of the interior.

2020 Jeep Gladiator

Photo courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

They can tackle farm land and rough rocky hills.

2020 Jeep Gladiator Interior

Photo courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

Leather-appointed seats are available. Cloth upholstery is standard.

2020 Jeep Gladiator Launch Edition

Photo courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

This model first became available to celebrate the Gladiator's launch.

2020 Jeep Gladiator Overland

Photo courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

The Jeep Gladiator Overland starts at $40,395.

2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon

Photo courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

The 2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon starts at $43,545.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

Lordstown Motors has its manufacturing facilities in Ohio.

Photo courtesy of Lordstown Motors

Lordstown Motors Corp. and DiamondPeak Holdings Corp. have entered into a definitive agreement for a business combination that would result in Lordstown becoming a publicly listed company. A statement released by the companies details that the combo company would be named Lordstown Motors Corp. and is expected to remain listed on the NASDAQ and trade under a new ticker symbol, "RIDE".

The deal is expected to be finalized in the fourth quarter of 2020.

2021 Lordstown Endurance The company debuted its Endurance pickup earlier this year. Photo courtesy of Lordstown Motors

As part of the agreement, Lordstown Motors will see an expected cash infusion of around $675 million of gross proceeds go directly to fund the production of the Endurance as well as producing the company's in-wheel electric hub motor.

Additionally, the transaction includes $500 million in fully committed private investment in public equity (PIPE), of which is a $75 million investment by General Motors. Also included in that investment list are funds from institutional investors, including Fidelity Management & Research Company LLC, Wellington Management Company LLP, Federated Hermes Kaufmann Small Cap Fund, and funds and accounts managed by BlackRock.

The pro forma implied equity value of the combined company is approximately $1.6 billion.

The combined company Board of Directors will include Steve Burns, Founder and CEO of Lordstown, and David Hamamoto, Chairman and CEO of DiamondPeak.

News of the merger comes on the heels of Lordstown Motors releasing a new ad for its all-electric Endurance pickup truck. The Endurance's interior was revealed last month.

The company aims to be the first full-size electric pickup truck designed to serve the U.S. commercial fleet market. Initial production expected in the second half of 2021. Numerous orders are already in place. The model's price tag is slated to start just over $52,000.

Lordstown Motors has its production facility at the former General Motors Lordstown Assembly plant in Ohio.

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The 2021 Kia Seltos is a fresh addition to the company's portfolio.

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

You can learn a lot about a person by going on a road trip with them. Sharing a cramped space for days on end will bring out the best and worst in everyone.

Are they clean or messy; patient or not; tolerant of their companions' playlist picks or a more discerning musical connoisseur? All of this goes into whether a road trip partnership will be a success or failure. And there's a similar equation to be balanced with the other member of the road trip crew: the car itself.

2021 Kia Seltos Kia has made the Seltos stylish and given it unique paint color options.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

A proper road trip requires (ideally, anyway) a few things from an automobile. Decent fuel economy is always nice, as is ample cargo space for both your haul and supplies. Comfortable seats are a must, a decent stereo and convenient storage cubbies for drinks, food, phones, and whatever else must be kept close at hand.

Finally, the car must be a good companion — not too noisy and harsh, and definitely no complaining about the heat. Just smooth acceleration and an enthusiasm for eating up endless miles of American asphalt.

The new 2021 Kia Seltos checks every box.

The review car for my 1,700-mile road trip was the top-of-the-line Seltos SX Turbo AWD, weighing in at $29,485 after an extra $345 for the Starbright Yellow paint that was either a rather pleasing shade of dark yellow or an unfortunate sickly green, depending on the light. At least it photographs well, which is probably the point.

2021 Kia Seltos The Seltos is well appointed for a sub-$30,000 car.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Even for just under thirty grand, the Seltos SX was totally loaded with useful features: Automatic high beams (which seem silly until you have them, then they're essential); adaptive cruise control (ditto); active lane keeping; a large center touchscreen; wireless phone charging; a Bose stereo; and a full safety suite including pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring, and rear-cross-traffic alert. The only safety feature it was missing, somewhat weirdly, is automatic windshield wipers — a small complaint, really.

The center console, which is an essential part of road trip kit, is particularly well thought out. There's a bin just ahead of the shift knob that's the perfect size for both your smartphone and for storing bags of beef jerky or Skittles. Above the bin is a wireless charging pad, which, when combined with the USB cable that's required for Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, lets you keep two smartphones charged up with ease. There are a pair of decently sized cupholders behind the shift knob, just fore of an armrest and storage bin that's perfect for holding a vast quantity of facemasks which you'll need to do just about anything these days.

2021 Kia Seltos Despite its size, the Seltos has a good amount of storage in the rear.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

The Seltos is not a particularly large subcompact crossover, which is both good and bad, though it makes excellent use of the space it does have. This is certainly a car meant for a two-person road trip, but there is ample room in the back for kids if you're bringing those along. My traveling partner and I preferred to put a cooler on the backseat instead, which was easily reached by either driver or passenger.

The trunk is surprisingly roomy for such a small crossover, easily swallowing up my full size suitcase plus several weekender duffel bags, a couple of collapsable lawn chairs, and a case of water — all without obscuring visibility through the rear window.

The SX Turbo comes with a 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, but it produces an easy 175 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque that is more than enough to keep things moving along. It was no problem to pass slow-moving trucks on the highway or to merge into traffic, and we easily exceeded the 25/30/27 fuel economy ratings. We averaged 30.7 mpg across more than 1,700 mostly-highway miles, which is particularly important in California, which has some of the highest gas prices in the country. And, though it has a turbocharged engine, the Seltos is happy with regular gasoline.

2021 Kia Seltos The 2021 Kia Seltos delivers enough space for kids in the second row.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

I wish the digital speed indicator on the instrument cluster was a bit bigger, and a sunroof would have been nice — that last feature isn't available if you get the black or white roof option. And dual-zone climate control might have been nice, though I wouldn't really expect it on a sub-$30,000 car. And to be honest, I can't come up with any other complaints.

The Seltos SX, with its small, turbocharged engine and eminently reasonable price, was our perfect vehicular road-trip companion. Quiet, practical, comfortable, and completely overshadowed by the grandeur of America's National Parks. Just as it should be.

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