Jeep announced a brand new version of its most popular vehicles. The all-new Desert Rated Mojave is an interesting blend of specifications and there is one feature I want on the Rubicon models.

Press Release

2020 Jeep® Gladiator Mojave

The Jeep® brand is breaking new ground with the Gladiator Mojave, the first Jeep vehicle to carry the brand’s newly minted Desert Rated badge. Jeep Desert Rated vehicles represent the ultimate in high-speed off-road capability and performance while traversing grueling desert and sand environments.

“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.”

Gladiator Mojave models will arrive in Jeep showrooms in the second quarter of 2020.

Legendary Jeep 4×4 capability evolves to master rugged desert terrain
Gladiator Mojave’s ability to tackle rugged and punishing desert terrain is a natural evolution of the Jeep brand’s nearly 80-year history of 4×4 capability leadership.

2020 Jeep® Gladiator Mojave

Jeep Gladiator Mojave models represent the ultimate in high-speed off-road capability and performance in sand environments, courtesy of the brand’s renowned 4×4 system with significant suspension upgrades and extensive testing over harsh sand and desert terrain for vehicle durability and protection. Gladiator Mojave models feature new, specially-tuned FOX 2.5-inch internal bypass shocks with external reservoirs, industry-exclusive FOX front hydraulic jounce bumpers, a reinforced frame, a one-inch front suspension lift with a silver front skid plate, stronger axles with cast-iron steering knuckles, aggressive front seats with integrated upper bolsters and standard 33-inch Falken Wildpeak All-terrain tires. All of these standard features enable the Gladiator Mojave to become the Jeep brand’s first Desert Rated vehicle.

The foundation: Jeep 4×4 capability
The starting point for the Mojave edition’s new level of capability is Gladiator’s proven Command-Trac 4×4 system, which features a two-speed transfer case with a 2.72:1 low-range gear ratio, and heavy-duty third-generation Dana 44 front and rear axles with a 4.10:1 axle ratio and standard electronic-locking rear differential. The Jeep Command-Trac 4×4 system is used to provide higher 4LO (low range) operating speeds for climbing sand dunes and other challenging desert events. 

A best-in-class approach angle of 44.7 degrees, breakover angle of 20.9 degrees, departure angle of 25.5 degrees and a best-in-class ground clearance of 11.6 inches further enhances Gladiator Mojave’s off-road credentials. 

Other Gladiator Mojave capability highlights include Jeep Performance Parts step sand slider side rails, a silver front skid plate for protection over rugged sand terrain, best-in-class articulation and up to 1,200 pounds of payload and up to 6,000 pounds of towing capacity.

2020 Jeep® Gladiator Mojave

More durable suspension and high-performance shocks
To earn the first-ever Desert Rated badge, Jeep engineers equipped Gladiator Mojave with specially-tuned high-performance FOX 2.5-inch internal bypass shocks to maximize handling, comfort and bottom-out resistance on high-speed sand run. The FOX shocks contain internal passages that allow fluid to bypass the piston through regulated ports as it moves through the suspension travel. The result is a predictable ride over normal off-road driving conditions, with the ability to ramp up damping force in extreme use.  

Front and rear external shock reservoirs keep shock fluid cool, preventing shock fade during long runs through the hot desert at high speed. Military-grade suspension fluid maintains performance at extreme temperatures and is the same fluid used in off-road racing shocks. 

Industry-first FOX front hydraulic jounce bumpers act as a secondary pair of shocks, which provide additional damping force as the suspension reaches maximum compression, in order to soften impacts and prevent bottoming out in harsh off-road situations at speed. They combine race-proven technology with new, cutting-edge features to provide increased damping performance and bottom-out control in the last few inches of suspension travel. In summary, the FOX shocks and jounce bumpers provide drivers confidence and capability, including bottom-out control on harsh desert terrain at high speed, while delivering a comfortable ride over gravel washboards or broken pavement on the backroads.

A half-inch increase in the Mojave’s track provides additional stability and allows for the packaging of the larger shocks. Jeep engineers also reinforced both the frame and axle to handle rough desert terrains at high speed. 

Jeep Gladiator Mojave features a one-inch front suspension lift for increased jounce travel, with a silver front skid plate and standard 33-inch Falken Wildpeak All-terrain tires or optional Falken Wildpeak Mud-terrain tires.

2020 Jeep® Gladiator Mojave

These engineering enhancements to the Gladiator Mojave’s suspension provide ride control and confidence on any high-speed sand or desert terrain, while an Off-Road Plus button allows drivers to take Gladiator to the next level of tractive capabilities. With a push of a button, drivers can adjust throttle, transmission shift points and traction control for peak performance on higher speed passes on sand terrain, as well as during low-speed rock crawling. The Off-Road Plus drive mode on Mojave will also feature, for the first time on Jeep, the ability for drivers to lock their rear axle at high speeds while in “4H” (this feature will debut later this year).

Proven powertrain
The Jeep Gladiator Mojave’s 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine delivers 285 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque and features engine stop-start (ESS) as standard equipment. It is engineered to provide a broad torque band with a focus on low-end torque, an essential trait needed for extreme off-roading. A six-speed manual transmission is standard with the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 and an eight-speed automatic transmission is optional.

The 2020 Jeep Gladiator benefits from the popular V-6 engine’s low-range torque, which is needed when out on the trails or during demanding conditions, such as hauling cargo or towing a trailer.

With the standard six-speed manual transmission, Gladiator Mojave boasts an impressive crawl ratio of 57.3:1 and 52.6:1 on Mojave models equipped with the optional eight-speed automatic transmission – both of which make cresting a dune or scaling any obstacle on the trail easy.

Mojave inside and out
Inside the cabin, Gladiator Mojave features more aggressive front seats with integrated upper bolsters to hold occupants comfortably in place. The upgraded seats are available in leather or cloth with orange accent stitching and embroidered Mojave logos. 

Mojave features two interior color options Black and Steel Gray, as well as a competition-inspired leather-wrapped steering wheel with accent stitching that features an aggressive rim section for extra grip and ergonomic comfort.

Featuring a one-inch front suspension lift that results in a more prominent appearance, Gladiator Mojave is adorned with a unique hood decal on its heavy-duty performance hood with center scoop, unique exterior badges, orange tow hooks, unique 17 x 7.5-inch wheels, with Jeep Performance Parts step sand slider side rails between those wheels. 

An available forward-facing off-road camera allows obstructions in the desert to be easily seen as well (previously a Gladiator Rubicon-exclusive option).

2020 Jeep® Gladiator Mojave

Jeep Desert Rated 
The all-new Desert Rated badge is the first of its kind for Jeep and is a natural extension of the brand’s legendary Trail Rated® designation. Desert Rated vehicles represent the ultimate in Jeep vehicle’s high-speed, off-road capability and performance in grueling desert and sand environments.  

Every Desert Rated 4×4 Jeep vehicle has been developed and has succeeded against a series of strenuous tests in five categories: Ride Control and Stability, Traction, Ground Clearance, Maneuverability, and Desert Prowess. 

  • 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 environments

What I want on the Rubicon that the Mojave has.

The number one request is the ability to lock the rear differential in 4H. For wet slippery conditions where wheel speed is needed this would be amazing.

Factory remote bypass shocks combined with hydraulic bump stops are my next want for the Rubicon. Most of us add these, or certainly want these, on our non-desert rated rides.

The Mojave also gets the 1/2 inch wider axles but swaps to cast C’s versus aluminum on the rest of the model line.

What are your thoughts?

Is the Mojave a new go-to model, or is it too one dimensional? Tell us below.

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As the Editor, William is responsible for all the good, the bad, the ugly and the indifferent that happens at 4WAAM. William brings a wide range of experience to this role. He also wields a freely shared...

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