Jeep Gladiator Mojave. Photo: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

I've rarely encountered as many thumbs-up, smiles and nods in a pickup truck as I did last week while driving the Jeep Gladiator Mojave.

Why it matters: Jeep built its reputation for crawling over rocks, but the Mojave was engineered for high-speed off-road performance, earning what its marketers say is Jeep's first "Desert Rated" badge of authenticity.

The big picture: There's a boom in desert-racing-inspired pickup trucks like the Ford F-150 Raptor, Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 and Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro. Now, with a heavier-duty suspension for off-road thrills, the Gladiator is joining the fun.

I was dying to go off-roading in it, but had to settle for a two-hour drive to the shores of Lake Huron in Michigan's Thumb region. I folded back the Sunrider soft top for an easy open-air feeling but left the doors on for better acoustics while making calls over the truck's Bluetooth connection.

The Gladiator has surprisingly good road manners for a truck that's meant to fly over rough terrain.

  • And with leather bucket seats, an 8.4-inch infotainment system plus active safety features like blind-spot detection, adaptive cruise control and a collision warning system, it's equipped like most many premium passenger cars.
  • But with a starting price of $43,875, the Gladiator can get expensive with all the add-ons. Mine topped out just shy of $60,000.
  • And since the mid-sized Gladiator is a toy for most buyers, that's a pretty pricey toy.

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
50 mins ago - Health

The dwindling chances of eliminating COVID-19

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

As the coronavirus pandemic drags into its seventh month, it remains an open debate whether the U.S. should aim for the elimination of COVID-19 — and whether we even can at this point.

Why it matters: This is the question underlying all of the political and medical battles over COVID-19. As both the direct effects of the pandemic and the indirect burden of the response continue to add up, we risk ending up with the worst of both worlds if we fail to commit to a course.

Biden: The next president should decide on Ginsburg’s replacement

Joe Biden. Photo: Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Joe Biden is calling for the winner of November's presidential election to select Ruth Bader Ginsburg's replacement on the Supreme Court.

What he's saying: "[L]et me be clear: The voters should pick the president and the president should pick the justice for the Senate to consider," Biden said. "This was the position the Republican Senate took in 2016 when there were almost 10 months to go before the election. That's the position the United States Senate must take today, and the election's only 46 days off.

Trump, McConnell to move fast to replace Ginsburg

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump will move within days to nominate his third Supreme Court justice in just three-plus short years — and shape the court for literally decades to come, top Republican sources tell Axios.

Driving the news: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans are ready to move to confirm Trump's nominee before Election Day, just 46 days away, setting up one of the most consequential periods of our lifetimes, the sources say.