Unless your house is at the end of a really long, rutted and rock-strewn dirt driveway, you don’t need a 2020 Jeep Gladiator Mojave. And you probably shouldn’t buy one, either. It’s awfully expensive, gets dreadful fuel mileage, and isn’t all that comfortable in the city or on highways where it’ll inevitably accrue the majority of its miles. Still, the first time you bomb down what would be charitably described as a “road,” you’re probably going to want one anyway. I certainly do, despite the fact that the Gladiator Mojave is massively more capable at high-speed off-roading than I’d ever need. I had originally been scheduled to drive the Mojave through the deserts of Ocotillo Wells in California. Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdowns meant that excursion was impossible. It also meant that most of the off-road parks near my home in Ohio had also been closed up. So, to put the Mojave through its paces to the very best of my socially-distant abilities, I mapped out a route near my home that would take me across highways, city streets, established neighborhoods and, most important, a few long stretches of ugly dirt roads that were in rough shape following some of Midwest-in-May’s requisite torrential downpours. The bits that make the Jeep Gladiator Mojave excel over obstacles taken at ludicrous speed, and therefore the focus of my testing, include a quartet of 2.5-inch Fox remote reservoir internal bypass shocks, the front two of which include hydraulic bump stops. Those shocks are a little stiffer than the lesser units used by other Gladiators, while the rear springs are a touch softer. A 1-inch lift at the front levels the Gladiator and gives the Mojave a 44.7-degree approach angle, which is the best figure of any Gladiator variant (the departure angle is 25.5 degrees and the breakover angle is 20.9 degrees). Jeep also reinforced the Gladiator Mojave’s frame and fitted it with heavy-duty Dana 44 axles borrowed from the Rubicon model. Those suspension and chassis upgrades mean the Gladiator Mojave is worthy of a Desert Rated badge, which is a new off-road take from the brand known primarily for its rock-crawling Trail Rated designator. Desert Rated means the Mojave is designed primarily for Baja-style high-speed off-road trails as opposed to the rocky terrain typically associated with Jeep. The Mojave will still happily mosey over boulder-sized obstacles, but not with the same capability as the Gladiator Rubicon, which features a lower crawl ratio for low-speed throttling, disconnecting sway bars for greater suspension articulation and a locking front differential in addition to the Mojave’s rear locker. On the flip side, the Mojave’s gearing allows it to stay in 4-Low up to 50 mph, whereas the Rubicon is limited to 30 mph. For many Gladiatorial drivers, that will be a positive tradeoff. Our Gladiator Mojave test vehicle was painted in Hydro Blue Pearl-Coat, and with the orange-highlighted emblems, stickers and tow hooks, looked especially excellent. There’s a faux hood scoop that really isn’t necessary, but …
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|MPG||16 City / 23 Hwy|
|Transmission||6-spd man w/OD|
|Power||285 @ 6400 rpm|
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