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Jeep Gladiator Mojave is Desert Rated, not Trail Rated

by Patrick Rall on

For ages, Jeep has emphasized the off-road abilities of their models with the “Trail Rated” badges, but with the new Gladiator Mojave, the legendary brand has rolled out their new “Desert Rated” system.

As you might expect, the Desert Rated Gladiator Mojave is designed to shine brightest in the hot, dry conditions with loose, sandy footing, so while it might meet the requirements to be called “Trail Rated”, this off-road pickup with handle desert conditions better than any mid-sized truck on the market today.

“4×4 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 4×4 capability leadership,” said Jim Morrison, Head of Jeep Brand – FCA North America. “Jeep Gladiator is already the most capable midsize 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 Rated
According to the folks from Jeep, the Desert Rated vehicles “represent the ultimate in Jeep vehicle’s high-speed, off-road capability and performance in grueling desert and sand environments”. To receive the Desert Rated badge, the Gladiator Mojave (and likely other vehicles in the future) have to meet strict requirements in five categories – Ride Control and Stability, Traction, Ground Clearance, Maneuverability and Desert Prowess. Below, you will find the detailed description of each of those categories, per Jeep.

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

Once the Gladiator Mojave was tested in brutal conditions and proved that it could meet all of the requirements above, it became the first Desert Rated Jeep. Here is a look at what Jeep did with the Gladiator Mojave to make it the best sand-shredding pickup in the class.

Gladiator Mojave Mechanicals
The heart of the 2020 Jeep Gladiator Mojave is the tried and true Command-Trac 4×4 system, featuring a two-speed transfer case with 2.72:1 low range, front and rear Dana 44 axles with 4.10 gears and an electronic locking rear differential. The Mojave package also includes stronger axles with cast-iron steering knuckles.

Those drivetrain bits are mated to the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, sending 285 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque towards all four wheels by means of the buyer’s choice of a 6-speed manual or an 8-speed automatic transmission. The 6-speed offers a crawl ratio of 57.3:1 while the automatic yields a ratio of 52.6:1, both of which play a big role in helping this truck cross the deepest sand.

In addition to the off-road-ready drivetrain, the 2020 Gladiator Mojave has a unique suspension system that begins with specially-tuned Fox 2.5-inch internal bypass shocks with external reservoirs. Next, the package adds industry-first Fox front hydraulic jounce bumpers, a unique reinforced frame, a one-inch front suspension lift, a front skid plate and 17-inch wheels wrapped in 33-inch Falken Wildpeak All-terrain tires. The combination of the unique suspension bits and the big tires yields a best-in-class approach angle of 44.7 degrees and best-in-class ground clearance of 11.6 inches, while also offering a breakover angle of 20.9 degrees and a departure angle of 25.5 degrees.

Finally, in terms of mechanical bits, the Jeep Gladiator Mojave features a unique Off-Road Plus drive mode that allows drivers to lock the rear axle while driving at high speeds in four-wheel-drive-high. The locking rear axle only functions at low speed in four-wheel-drive for Trail Rated models.

The Desert Rated Look
Everything mentioned above went into making the 2020 Gladiator Mojave Desert Rated and Jeep could have stopped there, but they didn’t. The folks behind this model wanted to make sure that it looked the part on the outside and that the interior performed well, too.

How does interior perform well? The designers added new front seats with integrated upper bolsters, available in cloth or leather with orange accent stitching and embroidered Mojave logos on the seatbacks. Those seats are available in black or the new Steel Gray, which was designed to stay cool in the hot sun when the top has been removed.

On the outside, the package-specific wheels, tires and badges are joined by a new performance hood, a unique hood decal, package-specific exterior badges, orange tow hooks and a Jeep Performance Parts step sand slider side rail.

We don’t yet know how much the 2020 Jeep Gladiator Mojave will cost, but we know that it will reach dealers during the second quarter of this year. Based on the standard feature list, we would expect to it be priced similarly to the Gladiator Rubicon.

Patrick Rall was raised a Mopar boy, spending years racing a Dodge Mirada while working his way through college. After spending a few years post-college in the tax accounting field, Patrick made the jump to the world of journalism and his work has been published in magazines and websites around the world.


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