2020 Jeep Gladiator Mojave 4x4 new car reviews

Based on the press kit from Jeep, the Mojave trim was designed for driving in–you guessed it–the sand. As well, the Gladiator Mojave is the "first Jeep vehicle to earn the brand’s newly minted Desert Rated badge.

The next bullet point might even hint the dealership competition: "Industry-exclusive Fox hydraulic jounce bumpers and 2.5-inch internal bypass shocks with external reservoirs bolster Gladiator Mojave’s high-speed sand-running credentials." Ford Raptor competitor? 

But is this really a Raptor fighter? We'll give you the numbers and let you make that decision for yourself.

The Mojave, like the rest of the Gladiator lineup, is powered by a 3.6-liter V6 good for 285 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque. Naturally, all models come equipped with four-wheel drive, but you do have a choice to row your own gears with a six-speed manual or let the computer do the work with an eight-speed automatic like our loaner. In this trim, the Gladiator can even tow up to 6000 pounds. 

What, then, is the Jeep Gladiator Mojave like to drive? Keep reading to get our review.

 

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David S. Wallens David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

Jeeps and I haven’t always gotten along, I admit. Yes, they’re fantastic off-road vehicles. That I realize.

It’s just that they ask for a lot of concessions everywhere else: cramped interiors, tiny door openings, horrible rides.

Highway travel? No matter the distance, it’s gonna be a long trip–howling tires, wandering steering and all that wind noise.

But throw a pickup bed and rear doors at a Jeep and, yeah, we might come to an agreement. The new Gladiator might be the Jeep to if not convert me, make me Jeep-curious. Credit the longer wheelbase and more practical package.

This might not be the ideal setup for scaling boulders, but for the Real World (where I live), it seems to work fine: still plenty of off-road capability plus a more comfortable ride and a handy pickup bed. I use the truck for truck-like things. In my world, that means moving tires and stuff.

The ride is fine both around town and on the highway. It’s not my dream highway hauler–you can see it making about 16 mpg at 70 mph–but it’s not bad. It tracks straight and true, like anything else built these days should. The Falken knobbies remain civil.

I was a little sad to see this one go. Perhaps that’s my biggest takeaway.

As delivered, though, it's not a cheap date at $61,000 out the door for our Gladiator Mojave. That seems pricey for something you’re going to (theoretically) bounce off some boulders.

The 2020 Raptor MSRP starts at $53,455. That option delivers way more power, better road manners and also your RDA of off-road cred. The Jeep is easier to park, though.

In theory, though, a Gladiator Sport starts at $33,545–same power and fewer extras but standard with the real six-speed manual box. You can still remove the top and hardpark it and everything. I’m eager to spend a few with that one, to be honest.

So, the big question: If you were in charge, how would you spec your idea Jeep? Or do you just buy an enduro bike and call it a day?

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Comments
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pinchvalve (Forum Supporter)
pinchvalve (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/27/20 1:28 p.m.

The Jeep was rated pretty harshly in a few comparisons against competitors because it was great at rock crawling, but not so good at high-speed washboards.  I LOVE that they went right out and addressed that with the Mojave. You want it, you got it. Kudos to Jeep for listening and responding.

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
8/27/20 2:11 p.m.

In reply to pinchvalve (Forum Supporter) :

And I'm sure if people make enough noise, FCA (Stellantis?) will put a Hellcat in one eventually.

DirtyBird222
DirtyBird222 UberDork
8/27/20 3:10 p.m.
Colin Wood said:

In reply to pinchvalve (Forum Supporter) :

And I'm sure if people make enough noise, FCA (Stellantis?) will put a Hellcat in one eventually.

Isn't that already in the works? 

My question is (and it is out of general curiosity) how are FCA Jeep Wranglers on long term reliability? With the Bronco coming out it might be a great time to grab a Wrangler since there will actually be competition in that market. 

I kind of want one in the color of Bikini

MrChaos
MrChaos SuperDork
8/27/20 3:34 p.m.
DirtyBird222 said:
Colin Wood said:

In reply to pinchvalve (Forum Supporter) :

And I'm sure if people make enough noise, FCA (Stellantis?) will put a Hellcat in one eventually.

Isn't that already in the works? 

My question is (and it is out of general curiosity) how are FCA Jeep Wranglers on long term reliability? With the Bronco coming out it might be a great time to grab a Wrangler since there will actually be competition in that market. 

I kind of want one in the color of Bikini

not good, they still have death wobble issues on brand new stock wranglers.  They have random electrical issues, the 2.0 is not looking good reliablilty wise.

Strizzo
Strizzo PowerDork
8/27/20 4:33 p.m.

Really pretty clever of them to come up with another 60k package in order to get just one locking diff in the gladiator.  

If you could line-item a rear locking diff they wouldn't sell nearly as many rubicons.  Also that auxiliary switch panel?  $750 option.  why? 

in the ford ranger you can option the rear locker on literally any trim, two- and four-wheel drive, same on the f150.  with toyota you have to get the trd offroad package but even still that can be had with the more basic sr5 interior, or optioned with the premium package for leather, moonroof, and jbl stereo.  

The frontier only gets it in the pro-4x package, but its so cheap that doesn't matter.  fun fact- the pro-4x titan gets a locking rear diff, while the tundra trd off road only gets a limited slip rear.  

DirtyBird222
DirtyBird222 UberDork
8/28/20 12:58 a.m.
Strizzo said:

Really pretty clever of them to come up with another 60k package in order to get just one locking diff in the gladiator.  

If you could line-item a rear locking diff they wouldn't sell nearly as many rubicons.  Also that auxiliary switch panel?  $750 option.  why? 

in the ford ranger you can option the rear locker on literally any trim, two- and four-wheel drive, same on the f150.  with toyota you have to get the trd offroad package but even still that can be had with the more basic sr5 interior, or optioned with the premium package for leather, moonroof, and jbl stereo.  

The frontier only gets it in the pro-4x package, but its so cheap that doesn't matter.  fun fact- the pro-4x titan gets a locking rear diff, while the tundra trd off road only gets a limited slip rear.  

Ah yes but then you're stuck with an ever depreciating Nissan; whereas, the Tundra holds its value because of the Toyota Tax. 

DirtyBird222
DirtyBird222 UberDork
8/28/20 12:59 a.m.
MrChaos said:
DirtyBird222 said:
Colin Wood said:

In reply to pinchvalve (Forum Supporter) :

And I'm sure if people make enough noise, FCA (Stellantis?) will put a Hellcat in one eventually.

Isn't that already in the works? 

My question is (and it is out of general curiosity) how are FCA Jeep Wranglers on long term reliability? With the Bronco coming out it might be a great time to grab a Wrangler since there will actually be competition in that market. 

I kind of want one in the color of Bikini

not good, they still have death wobble issues on brand new stock wranglers.  They have random electrical issues, the 2.0 is not looking good reliablilty wise.

That stinks. There are so many jeep bros in SoCal and the aftermarket seems very healthy for those things, even with those Jeep Compass looking seats. It's amazing that you can see a lifted to the sky Tacoma, Tundra, Silverado, F-150, Ram, etc driving 100 down the freeway and stock jeeps have death wobble? 

ultraclyde (Forum Supporter)
ultraclyde (Forum Supporter) UltimaDork
8/28/20 4:56 a.m.

It's a Jeep thing, you wouldn't understand, lol. I agree that their quality seems questionable. Didn't they plan this model from the beginning? I swear when it debuted I remember this trim level being mentioned, or at least the 'desert rated' thing being mentioned. 

Fueled by Caffeine
Fueled by Caffeine MegaDork
8/28/20 5:59 a.m.

I like these. My first few cars were jeeps. I think the value proposition is ludicrous. But I still like them.  

pimpm3 (Forum Supporter)
pimpm3 (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
8/28/20 7:03 a.m.

I was very close to buying a gladiator earlier this year but I refrained.  Mainly because I didn't want a car payment.

I love the fact that they offer it with a manual, that it can fit 35's with no lift, and the doors come off.  Heck you can get one with manual windows.  The death wobble stems from the fact that it has a solid front axle up front.

I will own one at some point in time...

 

Strizzo
Strizzo PowerDork
8/28/20 7:44 a.m.
DirtyBird222 said:
Strizzo said:

Really pretty clever of them to come up with another 60k package in order to get just one locking diff in the gladiator.  

If you could line-item a rear locking diff they wouldn't sell nearly as many rubicons.  Also that auxiliary switch panel?  $750 option.  why? 

in the ford ranger you can option the rear locker on literally any trim, two- and four-wheel drive, same on the f150.  with toyota you have to get the trd offroad package but even still that can be had with the more basic sr5 interior, or optioned with the premium package for leather, moonroof, and jbl stereo.  

The frontier only gets it in the pro-4x package, but its so cheap that doesn't matter.  fun fact- the pro-4x titan gets a locking rear diff, while the tundra trd off road only gets a limited slip rear.  

Ah yes but then you're stuck with an ever depreciating Nissan; whereas, the Tundra holds its value because of the Toyota Tax. 

Checked the price on a 2015 pro-4x xterra lately? They're going for as much as I paid for my almost new 2010 w/5k miles

 

the Toyota tax isn't as prevalent now on the 4Runner since they've been making the same  suv for ten years straight. 

 

edit: the Jeep resale stems more from the fact that they killed one of the best powertrains they ever put in a Jeep and replaced it with the 3.8 lump of crap, so nobody wants those years (07-11), then they didn't take long switching to the JL which improves a lot on the already good 3.6/6speed auto situation. I think keeping the lockers for only the highest trim model keeps the resale up too, even though you can buy a lower spec and kit it out for probably less money. 
 

I will concede that the idea that a vehicle isnt worth stock value plus the things bolted on has gone out the window nowadays. Lots of people on expo asking 10-30k over stock value for "built" rigs. 

Greg Voth
Greg Voth Dork
8/28/20 8:09 a.m.

Soooo did anyone take it down a dirt road at speed in the Ocala national forest or just Publix runs? 

I was hoping for more input on how the suspension soaks up rough terrain. 

MrChaos
MrChaos SuperDork
8/28/20 8:56 a.m.

the raptor is better in every way for the same money. You just cant take the top off.

buzzboy
buzzboy Dork
8/28/20 9:49 a.m.

Interesting comparing one to a cRaptor for sand driving. Must be a different kind of sand driving than we do around here. We've got a 15mph sand speed limit and the Raptor is not known to do well in our sand. Especially coquina sand. That stuff devours trucks.

Brett_Murphy (Forum Patrón)
Brett_Murphy (Forum Patrón) MegaDork
8/28/20 10:17 a.m.
buzzboy said:

Interesting comparing one to a cRaptor for sand driving. Must be a different kind of sand driving than we do around here. We've got a 15mph sand speed limit and the Raptor is not known to do well in our sand. Especially coquina sand. That stuff devours trucks.

 


I've not gotten stuck out on the NC beaches, YET. It'll happen sooner or later, but I carry a shovel, bucket and a recovery strap. I'm debating getting some sand trax, too.

There's a whole Facebook group dedicated to people getting stuck in the sand on the Outer Banks.
 

Brett_Murphy (Forum Patrón)
Brett_Murphy (Forum Patrón) MegaDork
8/28/20 10:18 a.m.

People will like this Jeep, same as they like other Jeeps.

I'm convinced that Jeeps are one of the few platforms where buying the base model and then adding the things you want to it makes sense, though. 

DirtyBird222
DirtyBird222 UberDork
8/28/20 11:44 p.m.
Brett_Murphy (Forum Patrón) said:
buzzboy said:

Interesting comparing one to a cRaptor for sand driving. Must be a different kind of sand driving than we do around here. We've got a 15mph sand speed limit and the Raptor is not known to do well in our sand. Especially coquina sand. That stuff devours trucks.

 


I've not gotten stuck out on the NC beaches, YET. It'll happen sooner or later, but I carry a shovel, bucket and a recovery strap. I'm debating getting some sand trax, too.

There's a whole Facebook group dedicated to people getting stuck in the sand on the Outer Banks.
 

Ah yes the Oregon Inlet Idiots page is great

Brett_Murphy (Forum Patrón)
Brett_Murphy (Forum Patrón) MegaDork
8/29/20 3:10 p.m.
DirtyBird222 said:

Ah yes the Oregon Inlet Idiots page is great


I *LOVE* trolling people that say AWD won't work on the beach, because my 4Runner is AWD. The comments usually get deleted, though.

jrflying
jrflying New Reader
8/30/20 8:25 a.m.

In reply to Brett_Murphy (Forum Patrón) :

What is the name of this group? It sounds entertaining. 9 times out of 10 whenever I helped someone get unstuck out there, all I had to do was air down the tires. 

BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter)
BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/30/20 9:48 a.m.
MrChaos said:

the raptor is better in every way for the same money. You just cant take the top off.

This is GRM. We have angle grinders

buzzboy
buzzboy Dork
8/30/20 10:13 a.m.

In reply to jrflying :

Oregon Inlet Idiots. We get people buried to the axles pretty commonly. Or 2wd cars thinking they can make it. My neighbor is one of the 4x4 tow truck drivers. He has some great stories and photos.

captdownshift (Forum Supporter)
captdownshift (Forum Supporter) UltimaDork
8/30/20 12:56 p.m.

In reply to buzzboy :

I checked to see if you were near the outer banks, Buxton, YUP! I lived in Avon for a while. Bald tires 4wd and about 16lb of pressure. 

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