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.

The Jeeps set off across Australia to cross the Simpson Desert.

Photo by Chris Collard

In stark contrast to the hustle and bustle of its coastal towns, Australia's Outback remains a mostly desolate and barren landscape. Tumbleweeds blow about and flies swarm. Temperatures soar during the day and plummet at night.

Fifty years ago, the Simpson Desert was first crossed by an expedition group led by Ian McDonald in two Jeep Overlanders and a Jeep J300. The adventure was half journey, half marketing scheme, designed to promote the abilities of the Brisbane-built Jeep Overlander.

1969 East West Expedition Jeep When the team set off in 1969, the Simpson Desert was more barren than it is today, though just barely.Image courtesy of Seven Slot Expeditions

Fast forward to July 2019. After a year of planning by Australian Vaughn Becker, a Jeep history buff, a group that included Becker, Michael Bowen, Chris Collard, Ben Davidson, Paul Graham, Justin He, Alan McMullen, Karen McMullen, Rick Péwé, Sue Mead, and Derek Redmond set off to recreate the 6,000-km trek, dubbed the 2019 BFGoodrich East-West Australia Jeep Expedition.

Another essential member of the cast was an Australian affectionately known as "Emu". Emu, whom Mead says is well-known in the Australian Outback, was the team's fueler. He traveled with the team from the eastern coast of Australia to the edge of the Simpson Desert, then met the team in the middle of the desert and again at the western edge of the desert for refueling.

Warakurna Road House sign 30km The roadhouse is a classic Australian fixture and the only place to source petrol in the Outback.Photo by Chris Collard

Two members of the original journey, McDonald and photographer John Eggleston, joined the team for stages of the trip.

The route would take the crew through cities and aboriginal lands, small towns and desert outposts. The plotted points started at Byron Bay, the easternmost point in Australia. The plan was to trace the original adventure's route through Birdsville and Alice Springs, near Uluru and Kata Tjuta. The group would then travel on through the Simpson Desert, which has the most north-south facing sand dunes in the world, to Steep Point, the westernmost point of Australia.

The team traveled in five modern-day Jeep vehicles, referred to by nicknames: El Jefe (a 2018 Jeep Wrangler Sahara Overland), PoPo the Mule (a 2013 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited), Oz JK (a 2013 Jeep Wrangler Sahara Overland), Big Red TJ (a 1997 Jeep Wrangler), and Outback JK8 (a 2009 Jeep Wrangler JK-8).

Alice Springs sign Australia Outback When the BFGoodrich East-West Australia Jeep Expedition reached Old Andado Station, they turned north toward Alice Springs.Photo by Chris Collard

Each Jeep was unique but included some assortment of the following: BFGoodrich KM3 mud-terrain tires, Warn Zeon winch and bumper, a TeraFlex suspension, axle lockers, MaxTrax, and Factor55 and Bestop products.

Jeep Outback Australia East West Expedition Simpson Desert 2019 The Jeeps on the expedition were kitted out with a variety of off-roading products including BFGoodrich KM3 mud-terrain tires, Warn Zeon winch and bumper, a TeraFlex suspension, axle lockers, and MaxTrax.Photo by Chris Collard

With decades of off-road racing and adventuring under her belt, Mead, 68, had felt that it was time to begin phasing down her career to make time for volunteering. Mead had not sought to go on another expedition, yet the honor of being asked and the fact that this trip would use so many of her skills convinced Mead to take the plunge.

"I feel like I've been so blessed and there are so many people that have so little," said Mead. "One of my goals is helping out after natural disasters using my four-wheel drive skills. I would like to help out more as my career comes to a close. When I was one of three journalists from the U.S. that was asked, I was so honored and I felt like: 'Woah! I still have a lot of stamina to do something tough. I really was so thrilled to be asked to go on this expedition."

Jeep Outback Australia East West Expedition Simpson Desert 2019 During the journey, the team camped most nights and had to carry their own food and find firewood.Photo by Chris Collard

The 20-day journey tested the team's mettle. They camped most nights and had to carry their own food and find firewood. Mead is quick to point out that this was an expedition, not a race. Rather than competing, the participants were working together, "against the clock of danger [and the potential of] running out of water, running out of fuel." The Jeeps' technology, which had come a long way since the original expedition, played a crucial role in the team's success.

We Conquered the Simpson article Ian McDonald told the story of the Simpson Desert crossing in this 1969 magazine article.Image courtesy of Seven Slot Expeditions

"Our GPS units enabled us to meet up with our refueler in the middle of the desert. It wasn't perfect, but we had hundreds of miles around us with nothing. We were able to find him and pinpoint his location and then radio to him, 'We're here, coming over the ridge we think.'"

This precision was not only a feat, but a necessity. Running out of fuel would be deadly.

Jeep Outback Australia East West Expedition Simpson Desert 2019 The Simpson Desert is a desolate space.Photo by Chris Collard

The Simpson Desert is vast and treacherous. The east-west route the team took is tougher than the west-east route due to wind patterns.

"You not only have the tallest dunes in the world, we had 1,100 of them – 1,100 – to cross," Mead recounts. "It's rough terrain; very few dunes had any kind of smooth path. Most of them had a lot of a ground plant called spinifex. It's really gnarly and not fun or easy to cross over. The dunes in that area are really difficult. People wouldn't take the route we did if they weren't explorers or didn't want an expedition."

Australia is notorious for its wildlife and the group encountered many of its native species along the way. The team had to be wary of deadly spiders and twenty-one venomous (ten of those lethal) snakes. The winter timing of their trip meant that temperatures dropped sharply at night, yet it did provide some benefits.

Tjukarusu Road sign Jeep East West Expedition The 1,000-kilometer long dirt road to the Tjukaruru Roadhouse, the most remote roadhouse in Australia, is home to thousands of feral camels, which roam freely across the majority of Western Australia.Photo by Chris Collard

"One of the Australian guys slept under the stars every night," Mead shared. "He kept trying to get me to sleep under the stars. At first, I was really paranoid about leaving the tent in the dark with a headlamp, thinking that I was going to run into snakes or spiders. Australia is pretty raw."

The going wasn't easy – the team faced hazards such as animal crossings and poor roads. The team wasn't alone on the road, which was strewn with reminders of these threats. "There are a lot of kangaroos and wombats that run across the road kind, of like deer in the United States, and people sometimes drive too fast on these dirt roads," Mead continued. "Vehicles laid rolled over, most abandoned."

Jeep Outback Australia East West Expedition Simpson Desert 2019 Australia installed a telegraph line across the continent in the 1860s. The BFGoodrich East-West Australia team utilized one near Eucla for a basecamp one night during their return to Melbourne. Photo by Chris Collard

While deep in the Outback, the group came upon one set of travelers whose Skoda vehicle had rolled over and injured one of its occupants. The team called the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia, who flew in and landed on one of the dirt highways before taking the injured man to get the medical care he needed.

It as a reminder to be careful. Thankfully, the team stayed safe and healthy overall, save for one brief scare.

"We did have a team member collapse when we were remote," Mead recollected. "It was dusk and we wouldn't have been able to get a helicopter in to pick him up. He was dehydrated. There were two of us who immediately responded to him and were able to revive him pretty quickly. It was confidence-inspiring for me to know the right things to do."

Jeep Outback Australia East West Expedition Simpson Desert 2019 After 15 days and nearly 6,000 kilometers, the BFGoodrich East-West Jeep Expedition team celebrated reaching Steep Point, the westernmost point on the continent.Photo by Chris Collard

In late July, 15 days after they had embarked, the team arrived in Steep Point, ready to take a hot shower and sleep in a proper bed.

Though she has just returned from Australia, Mead already wants to go back. She took great joy in both the place and the people and adored seeing the beautiful, diverse landscape change as they crossed the continent. Mead especially enjoyed hearing the stories from McDonald and Eggleston about their trip experience 50 years ago.

Although this trek across Australia was certainly an epic journey, Mead notes, "It's not all about the big adventures, sometimes it's just about the small places of the heart that can reshape and change our lives, and for me… vehicles have done that, cars have done that."

This year the Chevrolet Tahoe celebrates its 25th anniversary. When it debuted, the 1995 Chevrolet Tahoe was positioned as a short-wheelbase truck with the functionality of four doors. It was a multi-purpose family vehicle, with the versatility to tow a trailer, go off-roading, or take the family on a road trip.

Today, the Tahoe is the best-selling full-size SUV in the U.S. That's thanks in no small part to its evolution as a larger people-hauler and as a government vehicle with tens of thousands of the model being sold each year for work as police pursuit and special service vehicles.

2012 Chevrolet Tahoe PPV Police agencies across the U.S. use the Tahoe as their PPV.Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

You can take a look at different generations of the model by driving down most streets in America. But for history's sake, here's a closer look at what the 1995 model had versus what is found in the 2019 edition.

Features

1995 Tahoe

2019 Tahoe

Infotainment

  • AM/FM stereo with Seek-Scan
  • Cassette deck
  • Compact disc with theft lock
  • Speed compensated volume
  • High-definition color touchscreen
  • Bose premium 9-speaker audio system
  • Wi-Fi hotspot with 4G LTE data
  • Apple CarPlay
  • Android Auto
  • Wireless charging

Advanced
Technology

  • Speed control and tilt steering
  • Power windows and door locks
  • Insta-Trac system on 4X4 models
  • Independent front suspension
  • Solar-ray tinted glass
  • Rear wiper/washer with defogger
  • Remote keyless entry
  • Head-up display
  • Standard Rear Vision Camera
  • Adaptive Cruise Control
  • IntelliBeam automatic high-beam control
  • Tire pressure monitor
  • Hands-free power liftgate
  • Keyless entry and push-button start

Safety Features

  • Standard driver-side air bag
  • Standard four-wheel Anti-Lock Brake System
  • Forward Collision Alert
  • Safety alert seat
  • Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning
  • Low Speed Forward Automatic Braking
  • Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert

Horsepower
and Torque

  • Up to 200 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque
  • Up to 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque


Max Trailering

  • Up to 7,000 lbs.
  • Up to 8,600 lbs.

Max Seating

  • Up to five
  • Up to nine

The next-gen 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe and 2021 Chevrolet Suburban will be unveiled in December, furthering the story of the two popular SUVs.