The Jeep brand is synonymous with off-road adventure, and while the percentage of Jeep owners who actually put the off-road capabilities to use may be small, the automaker refuses to give up on this group. On the contrary, Jeep keeps pushing the limits with rugged, off-road capable SUVs and trucks to please these adventurous souls. The launch of the new Jeep Gladiator last year proved that a truck can take on everything from rock crawling to water fording, but Jeep didn't stop there. Now there's a new Jeep Gladiator Mojave grade which sports the first-ever 'Desert Rated' badge. Here's how the 2020 Gladiator Mojave takes on the desert to earn the inaugural badge.
First-Ever Desert Rated Badge
Any Jeep aficionado is familiar with the brand's Trail Rated badge which tests traction, water fording, maneuverability, articulation, and ground clearance. Now the Desert Rated badge offers an extension in off-road capability to include performance in grueling sand and desert environments. Features such as a reinforced frame, one-inch front suspension lift with a silver front skid plate, stronger axles with cast-iron steering knuckles, and standard 33-inch all-terrain tires help the Gladiator Mojave get desert-rated.
To earn the new badge, the Jeep Gladiator Mojave also had to pass tests in five categories: Ride Control and Stability, Traction, Ground Clearance, Maneuverability, and Desert Prowess. Here's its report card on these criteria:
- Ride Control and Stability: With a groundbreaking desert-tuned suspension, Gladiator Mojave tackles undulating desert terrain with uncompromising control and comfort
- Traction: By strategically managing and delivering power, Gladiator Mojave conquers unpredictable surfaces such as sand, gravel and loose dirt with confidence
- Ground Clearance: Maximized running clearances with an optimized suspension allow Gladiator Mojave to crest dunes, blast through whoops and anything else the desert can throw at it
- Maneuverability: Nimble and responsive handling allows Gladiator Mojave to become an extension of the driver when swiftly navigating desert terrain and climbing extreme angles
- Desert Prowess: Tested and proven to withstand the intense heat, coarse sand, loose gravel and intrusive dust that accompany unforgiving desert environment
The Gladiator Mojave's suspension is specially tuned for off-roading in desert environments. High-performance FOX 2.5-inch internal bypass shocks are used for optimal handling and comfort when driving through sand at high speeds.
In the summer months, the Mojave desert sees average temperatures near 100 degrees, and the truck which shares its name needs to accommodate these high-heat conditions. To do this, the front and rear external shock reservoirs keep shock fluid cool to prevent shock fade while driving in the hot desert at high speed, and military-grade suspension fluid maintains performance in extreme temperatures.
In addition to the FOX shocks, Jeep also adds industry-exclusive FOX front hydraulic jounce bumpers for added damping force and bottom-out control. Together, the upgraded shocks and front hydraulic jounce bumpers increase confidence on tough desert terrain and improve comfort while driving over gravel or broken pavement.
Command-Trac 4x4 System
Even with several desert-specific upgrades, the not-so-secret sauce for Jeep's off-road prowess remains its advanced 4x4 system. The Jeep Command-Trac 4x4 system helps drivers handle obstacles such as climbing sand dunes or rocks with its higher 4LO operating speeds. The Gladiator Mojave also offers a best-in-class approach angle of 44.7 degrees, breakover angle of 20.9 degrees, departure angle of 25.5 degrees, and best-in-class ground clearance of 11.6 inches.
Jim Morrison, Head of Jeep Brand – FCA North America, confirmes that the 4x4 system is still king when it comes to the Gladiator Mojave's off-road chops: “4x4 capability has always been the foremost pillar of the Jeep brand and the new Gladiator Mojave is a natural extension of our legendary Trail Rated 4x4 capability leadership. Jeep Gladiator is already the most capable Jeep pickup on the planet and, with the addition of the new Mojave model, we are delivering our most passionate customers a new level of capability with the ability to master high-speed desert and sand terrains.”
Desert Capable Powertrain
No changes were made to the Jeep Gladiator's engine which comes in the form of a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 and puts out 285 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque. Luckily, the engine was already designed to handle demanding conditions including desert driving thanks to its broad torque band and low-range torque. The Gladiator's engine also allows it to tow and haul all your adventure gear with a best-in-class 7,650-lb towing capacity and 1,700-lb payload capacity.
The V6 engine is paired with a standard six-speed manual transmission or an optional eight-speed automatic transmission. With the six-speed manual transmission, the Gladiator Mojave gets a crawl ratio of 57.3:1 and with the optional eight-speed automatic transmission the crawl ratio is 52.6:1.
Mojave Exclusive Styling
What good would all the performance upgrades be if you can't show off your desert rated truck? Thankfully, the Mojave will stand out in the desert or on the highway thanks to exclusive styling elements. A one-inch front suspension lift gives the Mojave a more aggressive and prominent stance. A unique hood decal on the performance hood, exclusive exterior badges, orange tow hooks, 17 x 7.5-inch wheels, and step sand slider side rails set the truck apart from other Gladiator grades.
Inside, the Gladiator Mojave sports more aggressive front seats that come wrapped in leather or cloth with orange accent stitching and Mojave logos. Integrated upper bolsters hold the driver in place even in extreme off-road conditions. A competition-inspired leather-wrapped steering wheel also gets accent stitching and an aggressive rim section for extra grip. The 2020 Jeep Gladiator Mojave will be available in dealerships this spring with a starting MSRP of $44,120.