Driven

Desert Rose: 2020 Jeep Gladiator Mojave

One of the few topographies not found within driving distance of Upstate, NY is desert. And that’s unfortunate, because sand dunes are the ideal proving ground for the Jeep Gladiator Mojave. That meant our week with this crazy Hydro Blue truck was primarily spent on the road…otherwise known as 99% of real life situations for most likely Jeep Gladiator owners.

To say the Gladiator Mojave is an interesting road car would be an understatement. From the constant Jeep Waves to the insane wandering of the front end at speed, the Jeep driving experience certainly requires all the attention you can muster. Unfortunately, Jeep doesn’t abide by the ways of lane keep assist or many other drivers aids. Adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring and forward collision warning are all optional, but that’s about it. Creature comforts inside, though, are fairly plentiful if you work through the options list. Our tester arrived optioned with an Alpine sound system, 8.4 inch UConnect touchscreen, heated seats and steering wheel, to name a few. We’ll let you browse the CVS receipt worthy array of options on our test truck below, but lets just say that at $61,315 you’re looking a Raptor square in the face.

That brings me to the biggest issue with the Gladiator Mojave in general. At our as-tested price, the Ford Raptor is more capable on road and more practical as a truck. Sure the Jeep can remove its roof, doors and lower its windshield, but that only gets you so far down the path of coolness. The Raptor is a full class bigger than the Jeep, and you get a lot more for your money there. But to say the Gladiator is outclassed is entirely incorrect. In a vacuum of its closest competitors, it stands apart with those aforementioned benefits. Besides, it doesn’t take much to be cooler than a Toyota Tacoma and we don’t get a Ranger Raptor in the States. Driving around with no roof is an extremely liberating feeling that you just have to experience to completely understand. That’s the Jeep way, and we weren’t Jeep people when the week started, but by the time the Gladiator left our hands we already missed it.

So, what is the Mojave exactly, and why did I say it needed sand dunes to be truly effective? Well that’s because of how the suspension is set up. This Jeep is Desert Rated rather than Trail Rated like its Rubicon brother. Rather than crawling, the Mojave is optimized for high speed off-road capability like you’d find in the desert. From the factory, the Mojave trim arrives with 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, unique front seats with integrated upper bolsters and standard 33-inch Falken Wildpeak All-terrain tires. Oddly, this meant that the Mojave felt really great down some pockmarked gravel roads that we took at some brisk speeds. That really showed what the Mojave really needs…wide open spaces of land that you can just roam around and get away from the crazy world for a while.

The Gladiator Mojave is a great piece of equipment and we’re jealous of anyone who has access to the wide open terrain required to leverage its full potential. Do the Mojave upgrades compromise the on-road demeanor? Yes, but we enjoyed a summer week of open air and gravel roads. The practicality of being able to throw your bike in the back head far down the trail where most vehicles can’t reach is a freeing experience. To you Jeep fans, we understand, and we get it completely.

-Scott Villeneuve

2020 Jeep Gladiator Mojave 4×4$43,875
Hydro Blue Pearl-Coat$245
Leather Trimmed Bucket Seats$1,495
Trailer Tow Package$350
Cold Weather Group$995
Premium LED Lighting Group$1,045
8.4-inch Radio and Premium Auto Group$1,695
Jeep Active Safety Group$895
Adaptive Cruise Control$795
Hardtop Headliner$555
Cargo Management Group w/ Trail Rail System$895
Roll-up Tonneau Cover$595
8-Speed Automatic Transmission$2,000
Body Color 3-Piece Hardtop$2,295
Heavy Duty Rock Slider with Step Assist$1,050
Spray In Bedliner$495
Forward-Facing TrailCam$595
Destination Charges$1,495
As Tested MSRP$61,315

Related: Down & Dirty: 2017 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Recon

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