Jeep will kick off the Chicago Auto Show with this, the new Gladiator Mojave.
The Mojave is the latest evolution of the mid-size pickup, which first burst onto the scene last year. It carries the new Desert Rated badge, which Jeep says represents the “ultimate in high-speed off-road capability and performance while traversing grueling desert and sand environments.” The designation is separate from the existing Trail Rated one, and at a pre-show event Jeep officials walked us through the unique demands fast dune-running put on the Gladiator.
In come uniquely-tuned FOX 2.5-inch internal bypass shocks. As the name implies, these feature internal passages which the fluid can pass through during suspension movement, bypassing the piston via ports. According to Jeep this translates to a similar, predictable ride during lighter off-roading, with damping force increasing in tougher situations. Military-grade suspension fluid ensures long-lasting performance consistency too.
Also included at the front end is a pair of FOX hydraulic jounce bumpers. These function as a second set of shocks, adding damping force during serious compression to avoid bottoming out.
SEE ALSO: 2020 Jeep Gladiator Review – Video
The suspension sees a one-inch lift, bringing grown clearance to a full 11.6 inches. 33-inch Falken all-terrain tires are standard. These changes allow the Mojave to hit a best-in-class approach angle of 44.7 degrees; breakover and departure angles sit at 20.9 and 25.5 degrees, respectively.
Jeep has given the Mojave a different version of the Gladiator’s Command-Trac 4×4 system. A two-speed transfer case with 2.72:1 low-range is present, along with Dana 44 axles front and rear with a 4.10:1 axle ratio. The rear utilizes an electronic-locking differential. Jeep stated this setup was chosen specifically to allow for higher speeds in 4LO—the kind you need when hauling it up the face of a sand dune.
An Off-Road Plus button inside adjusts throttle, transmission, and traction control programming specifically for high-speed sandy terrain.
Under hood is the tried-and-true Pentastar 3.6-liter V6, rated at 285 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. It’s backed up by either a six-speed manual or an optional eight-speed automatic. While the Wrangler now features the EcoDiesel engine, Jeep officials wouldn’t comment on whether we should expect that in the pickup in the near future.
SEE ALSO: 2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara EcoDiesel Review
Mojave models will stand out from the rest of the Gladiator pack thanks to a smattering of orange highlights. Tow hooks, badges, hood decals, they all get the bright hue. The suspension lift—plus slight track increase to clear those FOX shocks—also sets the Mojave apart, as does its unique hood, complete with scoop.
Inside are new, aggressively-bolstered front seats, meant to hold folks securely as the Gladiator does its thing. Both cloth and leather are available, in either black or Steel Gray. Jeep told us this lighter hue was specifically chosen to minimize heat transfer, something anybody that’s sat in a sun-baked black leather seat can attest to. A new wheel with an “aggressive rim section for extra grip and ergonomic comfort” is included as well.
The Mojave will be available in Jeep showrooms nationwide in the second quarter of 2020.
SEE ALSO: Jeep Wrangler vs Gladiator: What’s the Difference?