The king of the rocks is now the king of the desert.

Emme Hall/Roadshow

When I first drove the Jeep Gladiator Rubicon, I believed I’d discovered my off-road dream truck. Solid axles, a loopy crawl ratio, entrance and rear differential lockers and a convertible besides? Hell sure. But then Jeep unveiled the Gladiator Mojave, and now that I’ve had an opportunity to place it via its paces, effectively, transfer over, Rubicon.


  • Purposeful suspension upgrades
  • No noticeable loss in different off-road talents
  • Easy-to-use Uconnect infotainment tech
  • The roof comes off!

Don’t Like

  • Reduced tow ranking
  • Fully loaded fashions get fairly costly

The Mojave is barely provided with four-wheel drive and a two-speed switch case. It’s additionally solely accessible with Jeep’s 3.6-liter V6 engine, and whereas a six-speed handbook transmission is customary, you possibly can go for an eight-speed automated for $2,000.

This can also be the primary automobile to get Jeep’s new Desert Rated badge. This implies that, along with the entire traditional off-road stuff that goes into incomes the Trail Rated badge, the Gladiator Mojave is prepped for high-speed desert operating. I’m speaking about bombing via whoops and scrambling up dunes. Yes, any Gladiator can do issues like this, however with its 1-inch entrance carry and utterly retuned suspension, the Mojave will get via this type of terrain simpler and sooner.

Both the entrance and rear suspension get revised Fox internal-bypass shocks with distant reservoirs. The entrance provides a Mojave-exclusive hydraulic Fox jounce shock for further damping functionality. Think of this as a shock inside a shock, in a position to take in extra-hard hits with out compromising general journey high quality.

Out within the desert, the Mojave’s suspension has no hassle dealing with the impacts from 1.5-foot-deep whoops, and extra importantly, does so with out shedding stability. If I ran this similar course in a Gladiator Rubicon, the entrance finish would flip right into a pogo stick.

The Gladiator Mojave will get Jeep’s Off-Road Plus setting, which can also be accessible on the Rubicon. Activating this in 4WD High, the Plus mode makes the throttle extra responsive, switches up the shift factors for the automated transmission and reduces the intervention of the digital stability management. Combined with the added jounce shocks, this makes the Mojave way more succesful for higher-speed desert operating.

Which brings me to energy. With 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque from this naturally aspirated V6, the Mojave undoubtedly is not as fast as a Ford F-150 Raptor. On the opposite hand, I’m probably not certain a Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro may sustain, what with its equally powered V6 and fewer refined suspension.

The Mojave’s four-wheel-drive system is upgraded to deal with greater off-road speeds, too. The Mojave will get Jeep’s Command-Trac expertise with a 2.72:1 low-range gear ratio, and whereas this implies the Mojave will not have as a lot torque at gradual speeds because the Rubicon, this permits it to be pushed sooner in its lowest off-road gear. This is an effective factor: The Mojave is constructed extra for the dunes and desert, the place momentum is essential, in contrast with the Rubicon, which is supposed to deal with rocks, the place gradual velocity is required.

Despite this much less aggressive gearing, the Mojave ought to nonetheless be greater than able to dealing with rocky trails, because of its glorious suspension geometry. The Mojave even has a greater strategy angle than the Rubicon because of its 1-inch entrance carry: 44.7 levels in contrast with 43.Four levels within the Rubi. The breakover angle is a tiny bit higher, 20.9 levels in contrast with 20.Three levels. For the rear, the Rubicon wins right here by a nostril: 26 levels in contrast with 25.5 levels within the Mojave. The Mojave additionally has 11.6 inches of floor clearance, which is a skosh greater than the Rubicon.

Up entrance, there is a 1-inch carry in contrast with a Gladiator Rubicon, in addition to a hydraulic Fox jounce shock for higher damping.

Emme Hall/Roadshow

When the going does get rocky, the Mojave has a 57.3:1 crawl ratio with the handbook transmission, or 52.6:1 with the automated. These numbers finest opponents just like the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 and Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro by an extended shot, however aren’t fairly as sturdy because the Gladiator Rubicon. What’s extra, the Mojave would not have a entrance diff locker, just like the Rubicon does, however apart from probably the most excessive conditions, I am unable to think about the Mojave not having sufficient functionality to get via 95% of your rock-crawling wants. Oh, and that aforementioned Off-Road Plus mode? Activate this while you’re in 4WD Low and it really does the reverse of its motion in 4WD High, softening the throttle response and maintaining the engine’s energy on faucet for regular crawling.

I do have a few very minor off-road points, nonetheless. The Mojave cannot be had with the Rubicon’s winch-ready, metal entrance bumper, so I’m left with the plastic bumper with its faux vents. Also, regardless that the Mojave comes with sand-slider facet rails, and I can add the non-obligatory metal rock-slider rails, there isn’t any safety for the truck’s mattress, and I do know in some unspecified time in the future the rear goes to smack one thing.

As for the Mojave’s on-road manners, it drives like some other Gladiator. That is to say, it wanders a bit and the steering is fairly imprecise. The journey high quality is very nice, although, particularly for a truck with a solid-axle configuration. Where Jeeps have been as soon as relegated to the gradual lane, toddling alongside at 60 mph as a result of something sooner felt harmful, the Gladiator’s trendy chassis and nice suspension imply I can set the cruise management at 75 mph and loosen up. Yes, there’s a whole lot of street noise from the 33-inch Falken Wildpeak tires, however contemplating their meaty tread, it is to be anticipated.

The inside carries over unchanged, full with Jeep’s Uconnect infotainment system on an 8.4-inch touchscreen.

Emme Hall/Roadshow

Oh, and what about truck stuff? The Mojave’s utility is correct in the midst of the Gladiator lineup. Depending on trim stage the Gladiator can haul wherever from 1,105 to 1,700 kilos within the mattress and has a towing vary of 4,000 to 7,650 kilos. The Mojave can deal with 1,200 kilos of payload and tow as much as 6,000 kilos with the automated transmission. Opt for the handbook, although, and that drops to 4,500 kilos. If you need a Gladiator with most towing potential, get a Gladiator Sport with the max tow bundle.

Visually, the Mojave has just a few visible cues that set it aside from different Gladiators. You’ll discover the Desert Rated badging, clearly, in addition to the large “Mojave” textual content on the hood. But additionally take a look at the large hood scoop, in addition to the orange tow hooks. The tow hooks are a pleasant contact, however nearly appear like a mistake when mixed with the purple paint of my take a look at truck.

Inside, the Mojave’s entrance seats are extra closely bolstered than those you may discover in different Gladiators, which makes them extra snug on pavement and filth alike. The orange accents proceed inside, however they’re much less egregious right here, providing a neat distinction towards the black or grey inside coloration schemes.

Otherwise, the Mojave’s cabin is rather like each different Gladiator, with an accessible 8.4-inch Uconnect infotainment display. I like Uconnect for its sturdy set of options, together with an off-road web page that tells me pitch and roll information, the truck’s latitude and longitude coordinates, steering angle and gauges for issues like oil and transmission temperatures. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are each customary, and there are USB-A and USB-C ports, in addition to 12-volt and 115-volt shops, to maintain every little thing charged.

$62,000 is quite a bit for this truck, as examined. But not many different vans can deal with the dunes like this Gladiator.

Emme Hall/Roadshow

The 2020 Jeep Gladiator Mojave begins round $45,000, together with $1,495 for supply. But my tester, which is just about loaded with heated leather-based seats, LED lighting, blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise management, a body-colored hardtop, gloss black 17-inch wheels and a forward-facing path digicam, plus just a few different niceties, is available in at a lofty $62,115.

The closest competitor is admittedly the Chevy Colorado ZR2 with its trick Multimatic suspension. I’d have an interest to place the 2 up towards one another within the desert, and since a loaded Colorado ZR2 Bison is about $10,000 lower than my take a look at Mojave, it’d show to be a greater general discount. There’s additionally the F-150 Raptor, which begins within the mid-$50,000 vary, however is larger and has a ton extra energy. Of course, the Jeep is a convertible…

Really, all of it sort of comes right down to what you intend to do along with your Gladiator. The Rubicon is extra suited to rocks, but it surely’s extra of a desert jogger than runner. The Mojave will do all of the issues an ordinary Gladiator can do, however the value premium is admittedly solely value it if you are going to go to the dunes. It may be costly, but it surely’s completely my off-roader du jour.

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