At last month’s Northwest Outdoor Activity Vehicle Awards, the Jeep Gladiator went up against a bevy of great new rigs, and came away with a win in the pickup category.
The citation comes in addition to winning the overall Activity Vehicle of the Year award, making it start to look like this warrior doesn’t want to share any of the limelight. But given how long Jeep fans have waited for a pickup to be back on the menu, we don’t have too much of it hogging all the attention for a little while. Because after getting to experience the latest addition to the Jeep family on and off road, we have no problem saying how impressed we are with it — even if the relatively short bed is more suited for dirt bike excursions and camping trips more than it is, say, home renovation.
Sure, Jeep might stand for “Just Enough Essential Parts,” but on the Gladiator, those parts were enough to charm the assembled members of the Northwest Automotive Press Association.
The RAM 2500 Power Wagon was the runner up in the voting, but make no mistake — this is one beefy truck. Power comes courtesy of a 6.4-liter HEMI, which is good for 410 horsepower and 429 lb-ft of torque, and allows the big rig to haul 1600 pounds and tow over 10,000 pounds. It positively ruled on the extreme portion of the off-road course, and boasted a 12,000-pound which would be more than capable of yanking it out of a jam — in the unlikely event it ever managed to get stuck.
The interior was also outrageously comfortable, and loaded with the grade of leather and kind of soft-touch surfaces you’d expect to find in a high-end luxury vehicle. The experience of looking around the cushy cabin, and then surveying the tough terrain it was tackling was almost surreal, and was a great example of how today’s RAM trucks don’t sacrifice anything when it comes to capability or creature comforts.
During the event, we also got a chance to test the Ford Ranger, GMC Sierra, and Nissan Titan. There are plenty of things to like about each of them, and given that wide variety of things consumers use pickup trucks for, you might find that one of them fits your needs like a glove.
Of course, you should never buy a vehicle without a through test drive. So if you’re considering one of these great trucks, stop by your local AutoNation dealer today!
Images: Ryan Douthit, MediaSpigot LLC.
NWAPA (www.nwapa.org) is a professional organization of automotive journalists and media members from throughout the Pacific Northwest and Southwest Canada. Founded in 1991, NWAPA includes 54 voting members representing more than 700 newspapers, magazines, radio stations, media groups, and the internet. Members of the organization have been testing SUVs and crossovers since the advent of the modern sport-utility vehicle in the mid-1990s. Non-voting NWAPA members include representatives from automotive manufacturers and related industry professionals.