2020 Jeep Gladiator Mojave Desert Dueler Debuts at Chicago Auto Show

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

Chevrolet has the Colorado Bison, Toyota has the Tacoma TRD Pro, and now Ford has the Ranger Raptor (at least in other markets). Now, Jeep has the Gladiator Mojave.

Built for desert running, the Mojave offers up the exact kind of kit you’d expect.

That includes FOX hydraulic jounce bumpers, FOX 2.5-inch internal bypass shocks with external reservoirs, and standard 33-inch Falken Wildpeak all-terrain tires. The frame is reinforced and the Mojave gets a one-inch lift over other Gladiators, and a silver skid plate is part of the package. Axles are strengthened and there are cast-iron steering knuckles. The seats get more aggressive upper bolstering. These features are all standard.

The two-speed transfer case has a 2.72:1 low-gear ratio, and both front and rear axles are heavy-duty Dana 44 units. There’s a standard electronic-locking rear diff and a 4.10:1 rear-axle ratio. Jeep says the Mojave’s transfer case allows for higher operating speeds in 4-LO to make climbing sand dunes easier.

The approach angle is 44.7 degrees, with a breakover of 20.9 degrees and departure angle of 25.5 degrees. Ground clearance is listed at 11.6 inches. The track is a half-inch wider, and the Mojave can handle 1,200 pounds of payload and tow up to 6,000 pounds. An “Off Road Plus” button that adjusts the throttle, transmission shift points, and traction control is meant to further improve the desert driving experience.

Under hood is the expected 285-horse, 260 lb-ft of torque 3.6-liter V6. You can still choose a six-speed manual transmission or eight-speed automatic.

Jeep has labeled some of its vehicles “trail rated” for ages now, and the Mojave becomes the first to earn the brand’s new “desert rated” designation. I have no inside info, but common sense suggests this isn’t the only time we’ll see a Jeep with that designation. Orange accents help set the Mojave apart, as well.

Jeep is also unveiling High Altitude appearance packages for the Wrangler and Gladiator at Chicago. These packages allow buyers to match the roof to the body color and pair the combo with 20-inch wheels and a leather interior.

[Images: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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  • Hummer Hummer on Feb 06, 2020

    I would have thunk 4.10 gearsets would be standard anyways, that’s not a very big engine so it needs all the gearing that can be thrown at it for its weight. The transfer case is not very steep but probably perfect for sand as it mentions, kind of a hindrance when bigger tires and different terrain conditions are thrown in. Very nice truck, sales don’t seem too bad considering it’s base price is about $10k more than everyone else’s.

    • Mopar4wd Mopar4wd on Feb 06, 2020

      Looks like its a rubiocon, with different shocks, transfer case gearing and tires.

  • Whynotaztec Whynotaztec on Feb 06, 2020

    I’m a Jeep guy, and I have a wrangler and love it. But having seen the gladiator in real life all I can say is meh. I don’t hate it but I can’t see ever wanting one.

    • See 1 previous
    • Kericf Kericf on Feb 07, 2020

      @highdesertcat I can confirm this is false. I've been looking at Gladiator and Wranglers and my wife said the Gladiator looks like an SUV with a birth defect.

  • Rust-MyEnemy Whoa, what the hell is wrong with Jalop1991 and his condescension? It's as if he's employed by Big Plug-In or something."I've seen plenty of your types on the forums....."Dunno what that means, but I'm not dead keen on being regarded as "A type" by a complete stranger"" I'm guessing you've never actually calculated by hand the miles you've driven against the quantity of gas used--which is your actual miles per gallon."Guess again. Why the hell would you even say that? Yes, I worked it out. Fill-to-fill, based on gas station receipts. And it showed me that a Vauxhall Astra PHEV, starting out with a fully charged PHEV battery, in Hybrid mode, on my long (234-mile) daily motorway daily commute, never, over several months, ever matched or beat the economy of the regular hybrid Honda Civic that I ran for a similar amount of time (circa 5000 miles)."You don't use gasoline at all for 30-40 miles as you use exclusively battery power, then your vehicle is a pure hybrid. Over 234 miles, you will have used whatever gas the engine used for 200 of those miles."At least you're right on that. In hybrid mode, though, the Astra was using battery power when it wasn't at all appropriate. The petrol engine very rarely chimed in when battery power was on tap, and as a result, the EV-mode range quickly disappeared. The regular hybrid Civic, though, deployed its very small electric reserves (which are used up quickly but restore themselves promptly), much more wisely. Such as when on a trailing throttle or on a downward grade, or when in stop-start traffic. As a result, at the end of my 234 miles, the Civic had used less gas than the Astra. Moreover, I hadn't had to pay for the electricity in its battery.I look forward to you arguing that what actually happened isn't what actually happened, but I was there and you were not."Regardless, that you don't understand it appears not to have stopped you from pontificating on it. Please, do us all a favor--don't vote."You really are quite unpleasant, aren't you. But thanks for the advice.
  • Tassos Jong-iL Electric vehicles are mandated by 2020 in One Korea. We are ahead of the time.
  • 1995_SC Can you still get some of the tax credits under the new program?
  • Analoggrotto HyundaiGenesisKia saw this coming a long time ago and are poised for hybrid and plug-in hybrid segment leadership:[list=1][*] The most extensive range of hybrids[/*][*]Highest hybrid sales proportion over any other model [/*][*]Best YouTube reviews [/*][*]Highest number of consumer reports best picks [/*][*]Class leading ATPs among all hybrid vehicles and PHEVs enjoy segment bearing eATPs[/*][/list=1]While some brands like Toyota have invested and wasted untold fortunes into full range electric lineups HyundaiKiaGenesis has taken the right approach here.
  • EBFlex The answer is yes. Anyone that says no is just….. wrong.But the government doesn’t want people to have that much freedom and the politicians aren’t making money off PHEVs or HEVs. So they will be stifled.