Ask Nathan: The New Face of Toyota, Jeep Gladiator’s Usefulness, and Worst Car Ever?

In this week’s Ask Nathan:

  • Is this the new face of Toyota?
  • You’re wrong about the Jeep Gladiator being useful!
  • What’s the worst car you ever reviewed?

The first question comes from a fan who thinks the Toyota Aygo X Prologue concept may show us the new face of Toyota.

Does this car show us the new face of Toyota? (Image: Toyota)

Q: (Via NathanAdlen@Twitter) Long time fan Nathan! I think I just saw the new face of Toyota!

Did you see the Toyota Aygo X concept? No ridiculous gaping mouth everyone dislikes. It’s neat and forward thinking. I think you might see this design on new Toyotas starting soon. If you use this, can you call me Ginger Mi?

Image: Toyota

A: The new face of Toyota – eh? That would be excellent!

Thanks for the note Ginger Mi!

For those of you who don’t know; the concept you’re referring to is a city car called the Toyota Aygo X Prologue. It’s a concept, but the look and shape appear to be locked in to this vehicle – for overseas’ markets. Based on the TNGA-B platform, it is not an electric vehicle – despite its looks. It is supposed to burn fuel, but no tech information is available. I love the way it looks and I totally dig small cars like this.

Image: Toyota

As far as front end “face” design making it to other Toyota products – I hope it does. I like Toyota engineering, and they come so close to making attractive vehicles, but the face tends to be polarizing. Not only that, I think it looks dated almost immediately. Something drastic has to be done to make the brand a little easier on the eyes.

Here’s an example: check out the current Toyota Sienna.

2021 toyota sienna
Image: Toyota

Only a fraction of that massive grill is functional.

Now, look at a minivan “MPV” Hyundai is about to produce…

Image: Hyundai

This is the Hyundai STARIA, and it also has a lot of grill going on; but it looks amazing… for a minivan.

My point is, and I believe you agree with me, the face is the first thing you see on most vehicles. When you look at a current Toyota product, it doesn’t convey positive commentary. If anything, it looks like it’s trying to be sinister. I just don’t think it works as intended. Still, Toyota isn’t the only one overdoing their front-end design.

Image: Toyota

I hope that the face of the Aygo X, or something like it, inspires Toyota to up their external design game worldwide.

Thanks again for the message!

– N

The next question/statement comes from an email that states that I am wrong about the Jeep Gladiator.

Q: It’s fair to say that you are a jeep fan and I have no problem with that.

My problem is how you you keep going on and on about the jeep gladiator being a decent pick up truck. It’s not! Oh my God, it’s the worst pick up truck ever. I read that it is horrible. Motortrend said it was actually scary!

The gladiator is too long and doesn’t tow enough. I read that when it does tow it tows terribly. Everybody says that it doesn’t handle that well and it’s not that great off-road because it’s soooo long. It’s not that comfortable and it’s not inexpensive.

The only benefit I can see is the fact that you can remove the top which is a pain in the neck. There’s absolutely no reason to buy a Jeep Gladiator over something like a Chevy Colorado. Maybe you’re just a little too biased?

– K. Caplain 

A: Thanks for the email.

Before I give you my response, a quick question: have you driven a Jeep Gladiator?

  • Have you taken one off-road?
  • Are you comparing it based on someone else’s testimony?
  • Have you towed with it yourself?

I’m asking because you might feel different about it if you experience it.

Sure, just I’m one of the people who posts their opinion on the vehicle, and I love off-road-capable vehicles. Still, if you are basing your opinion on one article, I suggest you read and view many reviews. More importantly, I recommend you actually test one for yourself.

One of the articles you’re referring to has made its rounds and there are a lot of us left scratching our heads. I mean people who tow for a living, like the TFL Truck crew, Mr. Truck, Truck King – and a host of others. Also, many other reviewers downright disagree with the article’s findings. Still, the Jeep Gladiator is not perfect.

Dude, it’s fun!

Yes, I like it a lot. It kind of fits my character and I overlook its flaws because of its overall utilitarian and off-road capability. Most importantly to me – it’s fun. I get such a kick out of driving one, especially off-road. Even in town, my little ones love to ride around in it. “She-who-must-be-obeyed” says they remind her of a Disney ride.


I’m not a huge fan of the diesel. It’s extremely expensive, doesn’t tow as much as the gas V6, and it is mighty heavy. I’ve towed with nearly every version of the Gladiator and it was more than acceptable. If you set up your load properly, the performance is acceptable. For people who want to tow 5,000-lbs or less, it’s no big deal. That is, unless you get the manual – which is rated to tow a lot less.

Off-road, it is long – you’re right, but its about the same as many full-size trucks. Still, it’s remarkably capable, very few pickups can match the Rubicon off-road. Even the base model Gladiator outguns other base model 4×4 trucks in its class, off-road. It does have a huge turning circle, that’s also thanks to that long wheelbase. On the highway, I find that same wheelbase helps its ride. I love the manual, and the Pentastar V6 is not too shabby. Also, the soft-top is a snap to use.

The best part (for me) is that, right out of the box, you’re getting a good off-road, utilitarian vehicle that has so much potential.

… and it’s fun..

It’s not perfect, but neither am I.

— N

The last question is from a fan asking about the worst car I’ve reviewed.

Q: (Via NathanAdlen@Twitter) Question!

In all your years reviewing cars, what’s the worst car you reviewed?

— LouDingMO

A: There have been a few.

The Dodge Caliber, Suzuki Aerio and the Chevrolet Aveo stand out as very disappointing. The fourth generation Subaru Impreza with the (new-at-the-time) CVT totally bummed me out. My spirit was bruised by the first generation Nissan Versa sedan. Being that they are affordable, budget cars – I overlooked many of their quality faults. Still, they weren’t great.

One terrible review vehicle I remember was the 2005 Volvo C70. Usually, I love Volvos, and I liked the way the C70 looked. Unfortunately, it shook like a cheap motel’s vibrating bed, it didn’t handle well, and the top was leaky. The electronics glitched quite a bit and it died on me – right in front of an inpatient police officer.

— N