2020 Jeep Gladiator Mojave review: Desert runner

2020 Jeep Gladiator Mojave

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

Emme Hall / Roadshow

When I first drove the Jeep Gladiator Rubicon, I thought I found my off-road dream truck. Solid axles, a crazy scan ratio, front and rear differentials and a convertible to boot? Hell yes. But then Jeep unveiled the Mojave gladiator, and now that I’ve had a chance to test it, well, move on, Rubicon.

Like it

  • Suspension targeted updates
  • No noticeable loss in other off-road skills
  • Easy to use Uconnect infotainment technology
  • The roof comes off!

I do not like

  • Low towing power
  • Fully loaded models get quite expensive

The Mojave is only offered with four-wheel drive and a two-speed transfer case. It’s also only available with Jeep’s 3.6-liter V6 engine, and while a six-speed manual transmission is standard, you can opt for an eight-speed automatic for $ 2,000.

This is also the first vehicle to get Jeep’s new Desert Rated badge. This means that, in addition to all the usual off-road stuff needed to earn the Trail Rated badge, the Gladiator Mojave is prepared for high-speed desert racing. I’m talking about bombing through whoops and climbing the dunes. Yes, any Gladiator can do things like that, but with its 1-inch front linkage and fully recalibrated suspension, the Mojave will cross this type of terrain easier and faster.

Both the front and rear suspension feature revised Fox internal shock absorbers with remote reservoirs. The front adds a Mojave exclusive Fox Jounce hydraulic shock for added damping capacity. Think of this as a shock within a shock, capable of absorbing extra-hard hits without compromising the overall ride quality.

In the desert, the Mojave suspension has no problem handling impacts from 1.5-foot deep screams, and more importantly, it does so without losing stability. If I had taken the same course in a Gladiator Rubicon, the front end would turn into a pogo stick.

The Gladiator Mojave gets Jeep’s Off-Road Plus setting, also available on the Rubicon. Activating it in 4WD High, the Plus mode makes the throttle more responsive, increases the shift points for the automatic gearbox and reduces the intervention of the electronic stability control. Combined with the additional shock absorbers, this makes the Mojave much more capable of high-speed desert racing.

Which brings me to power. With 285 horsepower and 260 foot-pounds of torque from this naturally aspirated V6, the Mojave definitely isn’t as fast as a Ford F-150 Raptor. On the other hand, I’m not really sure about a Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro it could keep up, with its similarly powered V6 and less sophisticated suspension.

Now playing:
Watch this:

Ford Raptor vs Jeep Gladiator Mojave: race in the desert …


The Mojave’s all-wheel drive system has been updated to handle even higher off-road speeds. The Mojave gets Jeep’s Command-Trac technology with a low-speed gear ratio of 2.72: 1, and while that means the Mojave won’t have the same low-speed torque as the Rubicon, this allows it to be driven more quickly in its lower part – road change. This is a good thing: the Mojave is built more for dunes and desert, where momentum is key, than the Rubicon, which is meant to handle rocks, where slow speed is required.

Despite this less aggressive gear, the Mojave should still be more than capable of handling rocky trails, thanks to its excellent suspension geometry. The Mojave even has a better approach angle than the Rubicon thanks to its 1-inch front lift: 44.7 degrees compared to the Rubi’s 43.4 degrees. The breakover angle is slightly better, 20.9 degrees compared to 20.3 degrees. For the rear, here the Rubicon wins for a nose: 26 degrees against the 25.5 degrees of Mojave. The Mojave also has 11.6 inches of ground clearance, which is a taller skosh than the Rubicon.

Up front, there’s a 1-inch lift over a Gladiator Rubicon, plus a Fox hydraulic shock absorber for better damping.

Emme Hall / Roadshow

When the going gets rocky, the Mojave has a scan ratio of 57.3: 1 with the manual transmission or 52.6: 1 with the automatic. These best competitor numbers such as the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 and Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro by far, but they’re not as rugged as the Gladiator Rubicon. Also, the Mojave doesn’t have a front differential locker like the Rubicon does, but other than the more extreme situations, I can’t imagine the Mojave doesn’t have enough capacity to meet 95% of your crawling needs. Oh, and that Off-Road Plus mode from above? Activate it when in 4WD Low and it actually does the opposite of its action in 4WD High, smoothing throttle response and keeping engine power close at hand for slow gear.

However, I have a couple of very minor off-road issues. The Mojave can’t be had with the Rubicon’s steel front bumper ready for the winch, so I’m left with the plastic bumper with its faux air vents. Also, even though the Mojave comes with sand-slider side rails and I can add the optional steel rock-slider rails, there is no truck bed protection and I know the rear will slam something at some point.

As for the Mojave’s road ways, he drives like any other Gladiator. Namely, it wanders a bit and the steering is rather vague. The ride quality is really good, though, especially for a truck with a solid axle setup. Where jeeps were once relegated to the slow lane, kicking at 60 mph because anything faster seemed dangerous, the Gladiator’s modern chassis and great suspension mean I can set the cruise control to 75 mph and relax. Yes, there is a lot of road noise from the 33-inch Falken Wildpeak tires, but considering their meaty tread, that’s to be expected.

The interior remains unchanged, complete with Jeep’s Uconnect infotainment system on an 8.4-inch touchscreen.

Emme Hall / Roadshow

Oh, and what about the truck stuff? The usefulness of the Mojave is right in the middle of the Gladiator training. Depending on the trim level, the Gladiator can carry anywhere from 1,105 to 1,700 pounds in the bed and has a tow range from 4,000 to 7,650 pounds. The Mojave can handle 1,200 pounds of payload and tow up to 6,000 pounds with the automatic transmission. Opt for the manual, though, and that drops to £ 4,500. If you want a Gladiator with maximum towing capacity, get a Gladiator Sport with the maximum towing package.

Visually, the Mojave has some visual cues that set it apart from other Gladiators. You’ll notice the Desert Rated badge, of course, as well as the giant “Mojave” text on the hood. But also take a look at the large hood scoop and orange tow hooks. The tow hooks are a nice touch, but they almost look like a mistake when combined with my test truck’s red paint.

Inside, the Mojave’s front seats are more reinforced than you’ll find in other Gladiators, making them more comfortable on both the pavement and the ground. The orange accents continue inside, but are less striking here, offering a stark contrast to the black or gray interior color schemes.

Otherwise, the Mojave’s cabin is just like every other Gladiator, with an 8.4-inch Uconnect infotainment screen available. I like Uconnect for its robust feature set, including an off-road page that tells me pitch and roll data, the truck’s latitude and longitude coordinates, steering angle, and gauges for things like oil temperatures. and transmission. Apple CarPlay is Android Auto they’re both standard, and there are USB-A and USB-C ports, as well as 12- and 115-volt outlets, to keep everything charged.

$ 62,000 is a lot for this truck, as tested. But not many other trucks can handle the dunes like this Gladiator.

Emme Hall / Roadshow

The 2020 Jeep Gladiator Mojave starts at around $ 45,000, including $ 1,495 for delivery. But my tester, which is practically laden with heated leather seats, LED lighting, blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, a body-colored hardtop, glossy black 17-inch wheels, and a track camera facing in. ahead, plus a few other niceties, comes in at $ 62,115.

The closest competitor is indeed the Chevy Colorado ZR2 with its Multimatic suspension. I’d be interested in pitting the two against each other in the wilderness, and since a loaded Colorado ZR2 Bison is about $ 10,000 less than my Mojave test, it might turn out to be a better deal overall. There’s also the F-150 Raptor, which starts at the mid-range $ 50,000, but is bigger and has a ton of extra power. Obviously the Jeep is a convertible …

In reality, it all comes down to what you intend to do with your Gladiator. The Rubicon is better suited for rocks, but is more of a desert jogger than a runner. The Mojave will do everything a standard Gladiator can do, but the higher price is only really worth it if you plan to visit the dunes. It may be expensive, but it is absolutely my off-road vehicle du jour.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *