Jeeping is often thought of as going off-road and conquering the worst terrain Mother Nature can throw at your rig. Of course, it can also be a simple, serene dirt road in the middle of the forest that beckons you to explore where you’ve never been. For that matter, you can also enjoy Jeeping as a daily commute down the freeway or a suburban paradise. All these pursuits embrace Jeeping, and we love them all. But one that is often relegated to chore status and not thought of as fun is using a Jeep as a tow truck to haul other rigs around—the true tow job.
Back in the day, Jeep made a fullsize truck in the J-series line from ’62-’89. These ranged from underpowered 1/2-tons to 401 V-8 1-tons with all the capacity needed for that era. Sadly, Jeep bowed to corporate pressure since Chrysler had bought out AMC, and the legendary line of pickups was discontinued. The Dodge/Ram line of trucks were the new company’s breadwinner, and Chrysler didn’t feel the need for an aging Jeep design to take away that piece of the market. Since those days, true Jeep-heads have clamored for a Jeep pickup, whether they were truly going to use it as a tow truck or as a real wheeler.
Enter the new 2020 Gladiator, a true compromise between a hardcore wheeler and a fullsize pickup. We know the new Jeep’s ability to wheel, and we know its limitations due to the rear overhang of the bed and bumper. Jeep has decided to let the aftermarket improve what it can on those concerns, concentrating its efforts on the towing solution in a midsize market. Only Ford, Toyota, and Chevy compete well in this hot area, and the new Gladiator should do better than these competitors while excelling off-road.
To that end, we at Jp have decided to put the New Gladiator to a true towing test in real-world conditions—towing our own junk hither and yon. With years of towing experience in every kind of SUV, car, truck, and Jeep imaginable, we think we can give you the honest answer as to whether or not the JT will cut the mustard.
Our first real test of the JT will be after our Dirt ’N Drive event to Moab, and then the Easter Jeep Safari itself. If you have ideas or comments, follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/jpmag and let us know what you constructively think!