Ask Nathan: Gladiator Rubicon Vs Colorado ZR2 Bison, Hyundai Santa Cruz Love, And What Is “For a Few Bucks Less?”

Check out our new TFLtruck series!

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In this week’s Ask Nathan:

  • The Gladiator Rubicon vs ZR2 Bison for supremacy!
  • Where’s the Hyundai Santa Cruz love?
  • Tell me about For a Few Bucks Less (No Pavement Needed)!

The first question comes from an off-road fan who was responding to my brief drive in a 2022 Nissan Frontier.

Q (Via YouTube): Nathan! Nothing can compete with the Gladiator Rubicon vs ZR2 Bison off road. NOTHING!

Nissan Frontier sucks! Bunch of know-it-alls who never used a Gladiator. You guys seem to be set on how good the Ranger Tremor and TRD Pro might be. Did you forget Jeep AND WHAT ABOUT Chevy!?!?!?!?!?!?


A: My response is … WTAF!?

Dude, we owned a Jeep Gladiator Rubicon. We honesty owned one. We’ve taken both vehicles off-road (dozens of times) and lauded each one for their capabilities. Not only that, we’ve isolated both pickups (the Gladiator Rubicon vs ZR2 Bison) as they were a step above the competition.

We actually stated this more than once.

Check this out:

The Nissan, Toyota and Ford are pretty damn good too. Most people will never need front lockers, heavy armor and whatnot. Each truck has a fan, each truck has a place it fits.

Bro, you should do a little research before yelling.

— N

The next question comes from a Hyundai Santa Cruz fan who feels it doesn’t get enough love.

Why is it that so many hate on the Santa Cruz before even driving it?

You are one of the more popular car reviewers and you JUST drove one like a month ago. How is it that so many people are experts on how this pickup drives? I appreciate that you were honest about your feelings and I want to see how you guys handle the Santa Cruz in the future.

I have driven three Hyundais since new going back to 1999. Not a SINGLE ONE has left me stranded or had a major mechanical problem. Not one of my Hyundais was poor quality. My mother drove a few Fords back in the day and EVERY SINGLE ONE was UNRELIABLE!

Is the Ford Maverick on par with the Santa Cruz? I think they are different. I’m sick of people immediately kicking the Santa Cruz aside for a pickup they haven’t driven!

What do you think?

— Metro EB Father

A: You know what? I agree with you.

The more I think about my (brief) time with the Hyundai Santa Cruz, the more I like it. It’s not really like a Honda Ridgeline, and I think it will be very different from the Ford Maverick. Simply put, I think it’s more sporting, at least on-road. We’ve taken the beefy one off-road, and it did alright (despite using street tires).

My wife was over-the-moon for the utility and design. It can easily fit in our tight garage, and it is noticeably smaller than the Ridgeline I recently brought home. Even my youngest thought it was better to look at than the Honda. Overall, the family digs it, which is noteworthy.

My main criticism may have to do with pricing, which I still think is a bit steep. I hope that we can get a Santa Cruz, a Ridgeline and a Maverick together soon. Not just to compare against each other, but to them into the Colorado snow. I have a feeling the Santa Cruz will do well.

It’s a funny thing: I see both sides of this. The Ford Maverick is a hell of an idea, if it is as promising as it looks on paper. I see how people (like myself) can get caught up into the potential of its many roles. On the other hand, the Hyundai Santa Cruz is special and unique. I find both interpretations of a crossover-based pickup fascinating and exciting.

Unfortunately, there are way more Ford fans than Hyundai fans out there. The lion’s share of accolades usually goes to the one with the most fans.

— N

The last question comes from a viewer who’s curious about our new series.

Q: (Via: Facebook) Nathan, what is “For a Few Bucks Less?”

Is it part of the “No payment needed” series?

— RA Kim

A: By the time you read this answer, the first episode should have aired.

You’re correct! For a Few Bucks Less is a part of the No Payment Needed series.

Tommy, Andre and I are given $2,500 cash. Our mission: get a 4×4, or something off-road-worthy, make sure it’s safe and legal and take it up into the Rocky Mountains. Luckily, BFGoodrich sponsored us, giving each vehicle off-road tires.

Without going in to a ton of detail, I can say that there will be several episodes.

… and – yes – we thought about using Andre’s Buhanka.