Honda

The Jeep Gladiator isn’t exactly a poor seller, but it hasn’t been the Wrangler-level runaway success that Jeep hoped for. In fact, a serious slide in sales this year means it‘s actually being outsold by the longtime punching bag of midsize pickup trucks: the Honda Ridgeline.

In its Q2 sales report, Stellantis announced that it had sold 27,326 Gladiators through June, a 29% drop—down by more than 11,000 trucks over the same period last year. By contrast, Honda‘s pickup leapt 38 percent from last year’s first half, reaching 27,430 to pip Jeep by just 104 sales. It’s marginal, sure, but we all know how the saying goes—winning’s winning, whether by an inch or a mile.

2023 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon. Jeep

The reason why we care at all is because the Ridgeline has been always pooh-poohed by conventional truck owners, who dismiss its unibody construction and mechanical relation to the Odyssey minivan. But Honda’s unique approach has earned the Ridgeline a loyal following that includes our own commerce editor Jonathon Klein, who explained the Honda’s appeal:

“While there are more rugged midsize trucks out there, none have the capability and adaptability of the Ridgeline. There’s a trunk, built-in bedliner and tie-downs, a tailgate that opens two ways, and all of this is standard. I can throw two motorcycles into the bed with ease and not be anywhere near the 1,500-pound payload limit. Inside, it’s spacious for both front and rear passengers, which you absolutely don’t have on a Ranger, Gladiator, or Tacoma. It’s also incredibly reliable and pretty inexpensive to fix when something does break. It’s basically the best truck on the road and people sleep on it. It also helps there’s no aggro fanbase that modifies it and makes the truck worse off.”

2021 Honda Ridgeline Sport with HPD Package. Honda

Meanwhile, the Jeep Gladiator is almost the very embodiment of aggro, being the pickup truck relative of the hardcore Wrangler. That hasn’t translated to equal success, though, for reasons that are obvious in hindsight. It compromises on the Wrangler’s off-road capability with a longer wheelbase and rear overhang, decreasing its breakover and departure angles. At the same time, its Wrangler basis makes for a less refined on-road experience than any of its rivals, putting a damper on its otherwise competitive payload and towing ratings. It’s optimized for a use case that most pickups rarely see, whereas the Ridgeline is tailored for on-road use that its owners don’t kid themselves about needing.

Granted, the Ridgeline outsold the Gladiator by such a small margin that this could be flipped any quarter from here on out. But you know what? It’s funny that this happened at all, that the most unassuming pickup outsold what’s arguably the most pretentious. So, I’m going to point and laugh while I still can.

Got a tip or question for the author? You can reach them here: james@thedrive.com

The post Even the Honda Ridgeline Outsold the Jeep Gladiator Through June appeared first on The Drive.

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