Six Months In America And The Jeep Gladiator Is Now My Dream Car

I’m convinced Big Truck is pumping something into the water to make everyone buy pickups.

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A red Jeep Gladiator pickup driving down a muddy bank
I think this is now my dream car.
Photo: Stellantis North America

You might not have heard, but I’m Jalopnik’s newest resident European and I like small cars. My current dream garage consists of a Honda E partnered with the relatively pocket-sized Aston Martin DB6. But, after half a year in America, I’m worried my dream is changing.

It’s almost six months to the day since I hopped on a US-bound flight from the UK and set up shop stateside. Since then, I’ve been shocked by how unnecessarily big everything is on an almost weekly basis.

First, it was the ridiculously large milk cartons and then the oversized portions served up in almost every restaurant. But, the size of your pickup trucks are on another level.

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Whenever I walk past something like a Silverado, Ford F-150 or Toyota Tundra, I can’t help but feel dwarfed by their obscenely high bonnets (you say hoods), imposingly lofty cabs and ridiculously long wheelbases. Seriously, who needs that much car?

To add to their ridiculousness, I’d say that easily 90 percent of the trucks I see are empty in the back, or maybe have one bike tossed in the bed. And that’s something that even my old Vauxhall Corsa could manage to carry.

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But, in the months since the move, my thoughts on the classic American pickup have changed.

This all culminated in a huge change of heart following an Uber ride in a Jeep Wrangler this weekend. Shortly after this moment, I decided that the Gladiator might actually be the perfect addition to my dream garage.

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How has this happened? Is there something in the water here that just makes you want a truck?

The aforementioned Uber journey in upstate New York was a strange turning point. Having always thought of the Wrangler as a sub-par Land Rover Defender, it suddenly seemed like a fun 4x4.

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A red Jeep Gladiator pickup parked on a cliff
When did this go from knock-off Defender to stone-cold stunner?
Photo: Stellantis North America

During the journey, we blasted down the highway with pop punk hits from All American Rejects and Paramore blaring out the stereo. It was easily the best Uber ride I’ve taken and felt like I was living out every early 2000s teen movie I’ve seen.

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Shortly after the trip, I also visited a retro diner sandwiched between a drive-in theatre and a roller skating spot. Why is your country one massive stereotype that I now want to be a part of?

But, I digress.

As the weekend went on, I was spotting Wranglers and Gladiators in each place I looked. And with every new one I saw, they were becoming more and more desirable.

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They appear to offer ultimate customization for their owners, provide oodles of trunk space and, with a starting price at $30,000, come in a damn sight less than the Honda E.

A red Jeep Gladiator parked by a river at night
This is the life I want, I think.
Photo: Stellantis North America
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And now, even my eco-conscious partner has been heard uttering the words “I think I’d be quite happy with one of those Jeep pickups.” How has she managed to catch the truck bug as well?

We both now agree that something just looks right about the Gladiator. I’ve only ever been a passenger in a Jeep, but already I’m considering the practicality of its design, appreciating the proportions of the truck and contemplating the prospects of chucking a tent and a few bikes in the back for a weekend of adventure.

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Maybe I should also consider a Stetson as I dive head first into this all-American lifestyle?

However, a close encounter with a Silverado on my ride into work today brought me back to reality and reminded me that, on the whole, I still hate big trucks. But despite this, I can’t seem to shake the image of a bright red Gladiator from of my mind.

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What has happened to me?!

Quick, someone give me an electric Fiat 500 to test and fall in love with before I lose my mind.