2024 Jeep Gladiator Mojave pickup continues to drive

By | April 2, 2024

2024 jeep gladiator mojave x

2024 Jeep Gladiator Mojave keeps goingJeep

Since the beginning, 4×4 pickups have been fodder for modification. Armed with a stack of aftermarket catalogs and a solid wad of throwaway cash, the average enthusiast could create an awesome off-road monster in the relative comfort of their own carport. Manufacturers took notice and began marketing their own off-road versions, packages and accessories with varying levels of integrity and stylistic expression.

Then in 2010, Ford took things to another level and released the F-150 Raptor. Toyota got in on the action with the TRD Pro Tacoma, Jeep launched the Gladiator Mojave in 2020, Ram retired the 1500 TRX soon after, Chevrolet served up some ZR2 Bison, and boom-factory-direct, fast desert-driving pickups were suddenly and inexplicably a real car segment. The newest member of the high-flying pack is the 2024 Ford Ranger Raptor, which was previously available overseas.

We purchased a 2020 Gladiator Mojave for a long-term test a few years ago and came away with mixed feelings. To see how the Gladiator Mojave has fared since, we got behind the wheel of the 2024 model in Moab, Utah, just as the 58th annual Jeep Safari was picking up steam.

Hardware wars

The hardware overview for the Gladiator Mojave stacks up as follows: Dana 44 axles (the rear features thicker tubing for extra strength), 4.10:1 axles, a part-time transfer case with a 2.72:1 low-ratio all-wheel drive , a 1.0-inch front suspension, 2.5-inch Fox internal bypass shocks with remote reservoirs, Fox hydraulic front shocks, rock rails, 33-inch tires on 17-inch alloy wheels and some other miscellaneous items.

This year brings a few additions, most notably a standard 12.3-inch infotainment system with Uconnect 5, standard side curtain airbags and adaptive cruise control. There’s also a fresh interpretation of the seven-slot grille and the antenna has been moved to the windshield. New is the Mojave , 12-way electrically adjustable seats. Jeep says the Mojave can ford water up to 3 feet deep.

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Our ride meandered along Moab’s trail system, subjecting the Mojave to a combination of slick rocks, ledges, some slightly muddy washes, and several miles of sandy two-track where we could break away from the Mojave for a little wild running. Wipeout Hill – an aptly named, all-natural, rock-strewn slope – was also on our route.

The Mojave put a lot of stress on the sandy stretches. While the rest of our pack rode mostly on four wheels with the Off-Road+ drive program engaged by this terrain, we left it in two-wheel drive, traction control off and in rally mode, with the Mojave responding with a wonderfully tail-happy performance. With all-wheel drive now virtually ubiquitous, it’s nice to remind yourself how capable a rear-wheel drive vehicle can be in the sludge with the right tires, a little ground clearance, and the driver’s willingness to keep the throttle going.

We played confidently across the sandy plains, knowing we had 4WD, low range and a limited-slip rear differential to help free the Gladiator if we crammed it into a dune. However, capturing Wipeout Hill required all of the above. But under the guidance of an experienced spotter, the Gladiator Mojave walked towards it with little wheelspin.

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No rocker, no front locker

Notably, the Gladiator Mojave doesn’t offer a disconnecting front stabilizer bar or a front locker – those are reserved for the Gladiator Rubicon, which costs the same as a Mojave. What the Mojave does have, however, are those Fox shocks and hydraulic shock absorbers. Basically, when the dampers are at full compression and the axle prepares to give the stops a love tap, the Mojave’s hydraulic shock absorbers smoothly absorb that energy through the magic of hydraulics.

Listen carefully as you hit a jump or traverse a series of whoops and you can hear the fluid flowing in the internal matrix of the bounce stops; the sound is similar to that of stepping on a saturated sponge. Although they reduce the harshness of impact, they cannot absorb the Gladiator’s wild bucking action, which is attributed to the high unsprung mass of the solid front axle. It is for this reason that many competitors use independent front suspension for their desert-traveling pickups.

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Although the aging 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 rated at 285 horsepower serves dutifully, its torque peak at 4,400 rpm (260 pound-feet) isn’t ideal for off-roading. Its machismo shrivels even further compared to the twin-turbo V-6 in the Ranger Raptor, which produces 405 horsepower and 430 pound-feet at a lower 3500 rpm. Comparing ripe apples with ripe apples, the Ranger Raptor sprinted to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds, while the last automatic Gladiator V-6 we tested needed 8.3, a three-second lead which feels even bigger on the road than it looks on paper. . Does it matter if you shoot over loose sand at a speed of 100 km/h? Not really. The grins are still wide, there are plenty of laughs and the exhaustion at the end of the day is still omnipresent. But the current reputation of any performance vehicle is determined by its spec sheet, and the buying public can be fickle.

The story from within

The Gladiator’s interior remains a friendly place with easy-to-read instruments, supportive sports seats and a logical switchgear layout. The updated 12.3-inch infotainment screen is long overdue and significantly improves the experience. It’s standard across the lineup, with navigation included on the Mojave X and Rubicon X and optional elsewhere. We also played with the Jeep Adventure Guide feature created in cahoots with Trails Offroad. It comes with a fair number of Jeep Badge of Honor trails, and a subscription unlocks the entire catalog of more than 3,000 trails. More than just simple mapping software, it allows users to update data with closures and changes, rate routes by difficulty, and occasionally include background history or details about the area. Moreover, you can download the data for local storage when you are out of mobile communication range. It works seamlessly, but it did take a few tries to get the hang of the commands and properly monitor our progress. Still, we preferred to look out the window at the majesty of the region rather than at a screen; we can think of worse places to get lost than Moab.

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The Gladiator Mojave has changed little since its introduction in 2020, largely because it didn’t need to. But with the more powerful Ranger Raptor entering the chat, well-equipped for under $60,000, the $66,810 price for our Mojave seems a bit optimistic. Although the base price is $54,890, the automatic transmission adds $2500, the three-piece hardtop with a folding front panel costs $1595 (plus another $655 for the headliner), the navigation system and premium audio cost $2295, and so on.

The Gladiator and its Wrangler sibling have their personalities based on their unique features, including their removable roof and doors. That makes the Gladiator Mojave the only factory-built, desert-capable pickup truck that can drive outdoors for now. Even in a now crowded field, that’s more than enough for some people.

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