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The Gladiator Mojave is essentially a factory Baja racer

2021 Jeep Gladiator Mojave 28
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Frank MarkusWordsManufacturerPhotos
Feb 6, 2020
Given the success of the Ford F-150 Raptor and Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 race-ready off-road pickups, it was only ever a matter of time until we saw a high-speed-oriented variant of the Jeep Gladiator. We've reported forum speculation about a Gladiator Hercules model packing a 6.4-liter V-8, but the 2021 Jeep Gladiator Mojave seen here takes more pages from the ZR2 playbook than from that of the Raptor. By that we mean the V-6, eight-speed automatic (or six-speed manual) driveline remains largely unchanged, while the entire chassis system has been thoroughly overhauled and optimized for high-speed desert running.

The Gladiator Mojave debuts at the 2020 Chicago Auto Show and marks the debut of a new Jeep "Desert Rated" designation. Just as vehicles earning Jeep's "Trail Rated" badge must demonstrate segment leadership in a host of categories such as rock climbing and river fording, a Desert Rated vehicle must excel in the following five categories:
Ride Control & Stability
2021 Jeep Gladiator Mojave 43
2021 Jeep Gladiator Mojave 43

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The Mojave uses special 2.5-inch-diameter aluminum internal-bypass Fox remote reservoir shocks. These patented shocks are particularly adept at dissipating the heat generated by high-speed running over desert humps and bumps, which helps prevent the shocks from fading and bottoming out. The front track was widened by 0.5 inch to accommodate the shocks and add stability. Military-grade suspension fluid maintains shock performance at extreme temperatures. Another class-exclusive: hydraulic jounce bumpers. These tall jounce bumpers include fluid that flows through a valve into a reservoir (acting as a second shock absorber) for added cushioning at the bottom of the suspension travel.
Traction
Here the Mojave features 33-inch Falken Wildpeak All-terrain tires with a tread pattern that continues well up the sidewall. The NV241 Command-Trac transfer case is selected for its taller 2.72:1 low-range ratio (versus the Rock-Trac's 4.00:1). Third-gen Dana 44 front and rear axles sport a 4.10:1 axle ratio and standard electronic locking rear differential. These ratios permit locked-differential low-range running at speeds up to 50 mph (instead of the Rubicon's 30-mph top 4Lo speed).


Ground Clearance
The front suspension is lifted an inch for added jounce travel on the heavy end of the truck, making it about half an inch higher overall than a Gladiator Rubicon. The rear isn't raised, and overall ground clearance is quoted as 11.6 inches. There's also a standard front skidplate in silver.

Maneuverability
2021 Jeep Gladiator Mojave 26
2021 Jeep Gladiator Mojave 26

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The suspension is tuned a bit "sportier" to provide quicker reactions so that when bounding through the desert, the driver can swiftly correct the vehicle's path to avoid an obstacle. It's much nimbler at speed than a Rubicon.
Desert Prowess
This just has to do with the vehicle's ability to withstand hard running in harsh desert conditions, which include intense heat and excessive dust and sand. The Gladiator's highest-performance towing package cooling system is fitted, and the stock induction system was found to be capable of coping with dust and sand.

Other chassis reinforcements include 10-millimeter-thick (0.4 inch) cast-iron axle tubes (up from 7mm [0.3 inch] on the lesser models) and cast-iron steering knuckles to handle the loads. These are actually shared with the Rubicon, but their development was driven by the Desert Rated specification. The frame is reinforced in the areas where the engine and transmission mounts are located and where the front control arms attach. The rear anti-roll bar diameter is increased, as well.

The Mojave's Off-Road Plus button tailors throttle, transmission shift points, and traction control parameters for peak performance at higher speeds on sand terrain, as well as during low-speed rock crawling. And by pressing the Off-Road Plus button, the rear differential lock is also enabled in high range on the Mojave—a first for any factory Jeep. (This feature will arrive later in the model year.) The Mojave boasts a crawl ratio of 57.3:1 with the base six-speed manual, 52.6:1 with the optional eight-speed automatic transmission. The Mojave is rated to carry 1,200 pounds of payload and tow up to 6,000 pounds.
Appearance-wise, the Rubicon's red tow hooks are replaced by orange ones, which coordinates with the orange-shadow "Mojave" lettering on the hood and the extensive orange accents in the interior. The hood features what looks like a scoop. It comes blocked, but expect JPP to offer a package that opens it up for a cold air intake. The front bumper is a one-piece steel unit that weighs a bit less than the Rubicon's three-piece with removable corners, yet it still affords a 44.7-degree approach angle—up from the base Glad's 40.8 and the Rubicon's 43.4 degrees. (Departure angle is 25.5 degrees, and the breakover angle is 20.9 degrees.) The Mojave also gets its own unique 7.5 by 17-inch wheels, with Jeep Performance Parts step/sand slider side rails spanning the wheelwells.
2021 Jeep Gladiator Mojave 1
2021 Jeep Gladiator Mojave 1

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Inside you'll find accent stitching on the seats, handbrake, shifter and transfer-case boots, dash, and steering wheel trim, along with orange-anodized vents. The seats include special upper bolstering to hold occupants in place during high-speed desert running. Two colors are offered: black and Steel Gray in leather or cloth. Clearly the light gray cloth option is the one you'll be most happy climbing into after parking your Mojave in the desert sun. The Rubicon's available forward-facing off-road camera will also be offered on Mojave.
Overall, we're told the Mojave should weigh just a bit less than a Rubicon, and when running the off-road circuit at FCA's Arizona proving ground, the Mojave is said to shave about 30 seconds off the Rubicon's lap time (at about 2 minutes). Jeep will market the Mojave in the Middle East and North America primarily. Pricing won't be announced until closer to the on-sale date, which is only stated as "second quarter 2020," but we expect it to price out near the Rubicon.
Modified Gladiators have already been racking up class wins doing in the SCORE Baja 400 and Baja 1000. The Mojave model will allow owners to emulate team Savvy Racing when bounding around on their favorite desert trails. We very much look forward to learning what model Jeep will next bestow its Desert Rated badge upon.
 

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I think that thing would look so much better as a single cab.
 
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