Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has introduced the new Jeep Gladiator Mohave at the 2020 Chicago Auto Show, a new desert-focused model variant that will compete – indirectly – with the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2.
While the Jeep Gladiator Mojave has the same powertrain as the standard version of the pickup, the chassis has been thoroughly re-engineered for high-speed desert off-roading. Making the biggest difference, most likely, will be the new 2.5-inch internal-bypass remote reservoir shocks from Fox Racing, which are joined by new hydraulic jounce dampers. Additionally, Jeep widened the truck’s front track by half an inch to make way for the new suspension setup and raised the front suspension by one inch. Other improvements in this area include new cast-iron steering knuckles, a thicker rear roll bar and frame reinforcements at the front suspension, engine and transmission mounting points.
Other off-road goodies include 33-inch Falken Wildpeak tires, Dana 44 front and rear axles with a 4.10:1 axle ratio, a standard electronic locking rear differential and a protective front skid plate. The Mojave’s Off Road Plus drive mode has also been tuned with high-speed sand driving in mind and will automatically adjust the traction control and engine and transmission settings to suit sandy terrain when pressed.
Appearance-wise, the 2020 Jeep Gladiator Mojave gets model exclusive 17-inch wheels, orange front tow hooks, a one-piece steel front bumper, rocker rails, orange Mojave exterior decals and a faux hood scoop. The interior also gets some unique touches, including bolstered seats designed for desert running, orange anodized vents and accent stitching on the seats, handbrake, shifter and elsewhere. Jeep’s 285-horsepower 3.6L Pentastar V6 is the only engine offered in the Gladiator, but customers do have a choice between a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission.
The Jeep Gladiator Mojave is the first Desert Rated product from the brand, which serves as a complement to its Trail Rated moniker. As opposed to Trail Rated Jeeps, which may be more focused on rock crawling and tackling very bumpy, rugged terrain, Desert Rated Jeeps will focus on high-speed desert running and dune driving. As such, the trail-ready and rock-climbing Gladiator Rubicon remains a more direct competitor to the Colorado ZR2, while the Mojave will serve a similar purpose as the Ford F-150 Raptor.
Jeep plans to release additional Desert Rated models in the future, which, like the Gladiator Mojave, will feature suspension and chassis upgrades and some cosmetic changes.
Chevrolet is also looking to bolster its off-road truck portfolio, with plans to debut a new Silverado ZRX model for the 2021 model year. The new 2021 Colorado ZR2 will also arrive shortly, which features an aggressive new grille, red tow hooks and other styling tweaks.