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What is the best truck? That’s the question that plagues many consumers when they go to purchase a new truck, whether it be full-size or midsize. If you’re on the fence about what to buy, Popular Mechanics has given out the 2020 Automotive Excellence Awards to the Ram 1500 and the Jeep Gladiator.

How does Popular Mechanics pick the winners

Choosing which automobiles are the best of the best amongst so many contenders was no easy task. There are a lot of factors to consider, such as fuel mileage, design, price, accessories, and so much more. 

Each critic seems to have their own method of deciding which vehicle will win one of their many prestigious awards, but for Popular Mechanics, there isn’t a formula that is set in stone. The review site seemed to go with their gut, which is probably the best way to go about this.

According to Popular Mechanics,

“There’s one thread woven through all of the best cars of 2020 below, it is practicality. And capability. And more premium features and specs making their way down to more affordable models. Alright, so it’s hard to declare one overarching trend this year in the ever-broadening vehicle market.”

The 2021 Ram 1500 is an all-around great truck

The 2021 Ram 1500 won the full-size truck of the year award, and Popular Mechanics isn’t the only one who’s crazy about it. It’s gotten some major updates for 2021, which puts it in an entirely new class.

The base price starts at $32,245, which is pricey but still within the budget for many consumers. The Ram 1500 comes with a 3.6-liter V6 engine that gets 305 hp and 269 lb-ft. This is paired with an 8-speed automatic that enables drivers to tow up to 6,730 lb.

The gas mileage is actually very good for a full sized truck. The Ram 1500 gets an EPA estimated 22 MPG, which is about the middle of the pack for this division.

The big pull of the Ram 1500 isn’t the engine or towing ability, however. It’s the advanced tech.

The Ram 1500 has a Multifunction tailgate which is the new craze of the trucking world. There are other features such as an 8.4-inch touchscreen, heated and ventilated seats, a heads-up display, and a digital rearview mirror. Ram has also added a steering aid that assists drivers when backing up to a trailer. 

The 2020 Jeep Gladiator is the new kid on the block


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No one was shocked that the 2020 Jeep Gladiator won the 2020 midsize truck of the year award. In spite of COVID-19, sales for the Gladiator have gone through the roof, and it’s easy to see why. No other truck on the market can turn into a convertible, and in spite of its flaws, consumers are going crazy over the Gladiator. 

The base price starts at $33,545 for the Gladiator Sport, and rises dramatically from there, but most people don’t seem to care. It comes equipped with a 3.6-liter V6 engine that gets 285 hp and 260 lb-ft. Buyers have a choice between a 6-speed manual or 8-speed automatic.

The gas mileage is where the Gladiator really seems to lag behind. It only gets an estimated 16 mpg on the city streets but gets an acceptable 23 mpg on the highway. Popular Mechanics was also disappointed with the slow steering, the solid front axle, and how noisy the Gladiator can get. 

The Gladiator makes up for this with the removable doors and a windshield that folds down, however. Like its sibling the Wrangler, the Gladiator is made for play, and on that front, it accomplishes everything that Jeep set out to do.