Although the Jeep Gladiator isn’t necessarily the best work truck, it is undoubtedly a competent off-roader. Especially in Rubicon trim, though all but one model bear Jeep’s ‘Trail-Rated’ badge. However, the same things that make the Gladiator and its SUV cousin, the Jeep Wrangler, good at rock-crawling also make them less refined around town. In addition, as trucks like the Ford Raptor demonstrate, some owners would rather jump desert dunes than scramble over rocks. That’s why Jeep unveiled the ‘Desert-Rated’ Gladiator Mojave. And now, a Jeep Wrangler Mojave is set to break cover.
Jeep Wrangler Mojave: what we know
News of an upcoming Jeep Wrangler Mojave comes courtesy of Mopar Insiders. According to a confidential source, a Desert-Rated Wrangler is set to debut for the 2021 model year. As with the current trims, the Mojave will be available on both 2-door and 4-door models.
The Jeep Wrangler Mojave, Motor1 reports, will feature similar modifications to the Gladiator Mojave. That means 2.5” Fox internal-bypass shocks with external reservoirs, as well as Fox hydraulic jounce bumpers (aka ‘bump stops’). The SUV’s rear track will also be wider, and it will ride 1” higher.
While the Wrangler Mojave will retain its Dana 44 axles, Motor Trend reports, both the axles and frame will be reinforced. The steering knuckles will also be replaced with stronger cast-iron versions, and the SUV will likely get an additional skid plate. And, of course, the Desert-Rated Wrangler will have 4WD with a two-speed transfer case and a locking rear differential. Hopefully, though, the electronically-disconnecting sway bar issue will be resolved by release date.
There will be one difference between the Jeep Wrangler Mojave and Gladiator Mojave, Autoblog reports. The pickup comes exclusively with a 3.6-liter V6, which produces 285 hp and 260 lb-ft. The SUV, however, will likely only offer a 2.0-liter turbocharged stop-start-equipped four-cylinder, either on its own or with Jeep’s mild-hybrid system.
The former manual-only option is rated at 270 hp and 295 lb-ft. Which makes it the first time Jeep offers a start-stop engine with a manual. Mild-hybrid Mojave models, though, will come exclusively with an 8-speed automatic.
Finally, the Jeep Wrangler Mojave will also receive the same orange-focused interior and exterior trim as the Gladiator. This means orange tow hooks, bolstered seats with orange stitching, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
Pricing and availability
An official reveal date for the Jeep Wrangler Mojave has not been announced as of this writing. However, given the 2021 model year plan, that will likely come sometime in fall 2020, if not later.
MI was unable to learn how much the Wrangler Mojave will cost. However, MI estimates it will cost similar to the current 2.0-liter Wrangler Rubicon. In 4-door form, it retails for $45,435; the 2-door is roughly $3800 cheaper.
What we still don’t know about the Jeep Wrangler Mojave
Based on initial reviews of the Jeep Gladiator Mojave, the Wrangler version will likely be an improvement over the current Rubicon in certain areas.
Car and Driver reports the Gladiator Mojave rides better and handles bumps noticeably better than the Rubicon. Kelley Blue Book reports similar impressions. And to quote MT, “the extra $245 it’ll cost you over a Rubicon is the best money you’ll spend on a new truck.”
It’s not clear exactly why the Wrangler Mojave won’t receive the V6, considering the other Wrangler models can. It might be due to packaging reasons, similar to how the Gladiator can’t get the Wrangler’s mild-hybrid system. Muscle Cars and Trucks muses that it may be an attempt to save weight.
Also, it’s not known as of this writing if Jeep will offer the Wrangler Mojave with a turbodiesel engine. However, it’s possible that, due to the Mojave models’ focus on high-speed desert-running, a diesel’s relative lack of power makes little sense.
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