Jeep added to its mystique around 15 years ago with the Trail Rated moniker, a set of criteria that ensures its vehicles are ready for whatever consumers throw at it.
With the Gladiator Mojave trim, Jeep is ready to place a new stamp on its capability with the Desert Rated badge. The Gladiator Mojave, which comes with suspension upgrades and other enhancements, is the first Jeep model to get the label. The 2020 Gladiator Mojave makes its debut Thursday at the Chicago Auto Show.
The desert rating is based on several pillars: ride control and stability, traction, ground clearance, maneuverability and desert prowess.
FCA said the Mojave was put to the test on "harsh sand and desert terrain."
"The Gladiator Mojave was part of the Gladiator's inception. This is actually something that we were working on since the beginning, but we wanted to take our time, we wanted to make sure that it was right," Pete Milosavlevski, chief engineer of the Wrangler and Gladiator, said during a product briefing at FCA's headquarters last month. "We spent a great deal of time upfront benchmarking. We benchmarked the competition both in our segment and outside our segment."
Milosavlevski added: "We also talked to customers; we went to clinics; we went to various racing events; and we also engaged with and consulted professional drivers. So [with] all that input, we quickly determined that we need to do something about the durability of the vehicle."
FCA says the Gladiator Mojave variant comes with specially tuned Fox 2.5-inch internal bypass shocks with external reservoirs, industry-exclusive Fox front hydraulic jounce bumpers, a reinforced frame, a 1-inch front suspension lift with a silver front skid plate, stronger axles with cast-iron steering knuckles, aggressive front seats with integrated upper bolsters and standard 33-inch Falken Wildpeak all-terrain tires.
Military-grade suspension fluid, the company said, "maintains performance at extreme temperatures and is the same fluid used in off-road racing shocks."
"We basically took it on an endurance run after we finished all the durability testing," Milosavlevski told Automotive News. "The team went out and spent five days in the desert. Sounds like a movie, right? And basically just pounded these vehicles through the desert for five days, and we called it an endurance run with very little normal road. They were very successful and lived up to the standards."
Gladiator Mojave models will arrive in Jeep showrooms in the second quarter.