Truck Review: 2024 Jeep Gladiator Mojave X


If you are a Jeep fan or want an off-road capable mid-size truck, the Jeep Gladiator is the only option that combines a pickup truck bed with the back of a four-door Wrangler. It offers most of the Jeep perks and truck perks in one package, at a cost of less civilized driving dynamics compared to the other entries in this segment, like the Chevrolet Colorado. Even though it is almost impossible to see the differences, the Jeep has refreshed the Gladiator for 2024 with minor, but crucial updates.

The Looks – Exterior and Interior

Just like the Jeep Wrangler, the Gladiator has undergone a minor facelift, but it is almost impossible to feel any differences. The subtle updates are not for everyone, but it has become the norm for the traditional Jeep audience. Unlike the other entries, you get the traditional Jeep front fascia with round headlights and a giant grille with colour-matched plastic fenders. The Mojave X trim offers more off-road capable steel bumper, and orange-coloured tow hooks, which you can also install an aftermarket winch without having to replace the front bumper.

From the side profile, that’s where you see the biggest difference compared to the regular Wrangler. The Gladiator comes with only one bed option, the 5-foot bed should be enough for carrying long items, but it makes the Gladiator look so much bigger compared to the Wrangler. That said, the passenger area is significantly smaller. The Gladiator uses the same doors as the Wrangler, hence we get weirdly shaped rear doors, as it has to be shaped based on the Wrangler’s rear quarter panels.

The Gladiator’s 5-foot bed does not have the fancy features that we are used to seeing in half-ton trucks, but it offers a nice balance of off-road capability and practicality, including 400w power output, anchor points, durable spray liner to avoid scratches. Even though the Mojave X trim wasn’t designed or intended to be a tow rig, it still offers a decent towing capacity of 6000 lbs. If you want more towing capacity, the 2024 Gladiator can tow up to 7700 lbs with the right trim and combination.

If you are looking for the “Wrangler” experience from your mid-size truck, the Gladiator will not disappoint even in the interior. It is just exactly the same, especially the dashboard. Thankfully, the off-roaders still take the traditional dashboard design approach, meaning that there are tons of physical buttons in the center stack area. Even though the updated Gladiator received the tech updates, Jeep did not remove any buttons to keep it user-friendly for all types of drivers.

Speaking of tech, this is probably the biggest update aside from the side curtain airbags which became available with the Wrangler last year, now it is also available with the 2024 Gladiator. The updated 12.3″ screen is the most significant update in the interior, it means the dashboard is a little bit different compared to the outgoing model, but the lower part still has the same physical control layout. The software works relatively problem-free and is easy to navigate around, the camera resolution is also great. I wish it came with a 360 camera, which would have been a nice asset for an off-road-oriented vehicle.

In typical Jeep and Stellantis fashion, the seats are firmly padded but relatively comfortable. The Mojave trim comes with Mojave badges embroidered on the front seats with orange accents throughout the interior. You still get the traditional Wrangler seating position in the front. The driver and front passenger sit very upright, it is a commanding position with a lot of adjustment options. The windshield is quite vertical and front seat occupants sit very close to the dashboard. The belt line is also quite low, which is a great recipe for excellent visibility.

The rear seats do not have tons of legroom due to the overall length of the cabin, but it offers some nice practical features for families or contractors. There are small storage areas under the rear seat, which makes it an ideal place to hide your valuables. The Gladiator can accommodate a front-facing child seat without an issue, but if you have a rear-facing child seat, you may need to move the front passenger seat quite a bit forward. The rear seat passengers can enjoy some nice creature comforts such as the air vents, and heated seats.

The Drive – Specs & Experience

The 2024 Jeep Gladiator comes with two different engine options, but the Mojave trim is only available with the 3.6-litre naturally aspirated Pentastar V6 engine. Jeep was nice enough to offer a 6-speed manual transmission standard, and you can opt for the 8-speed automatic transmission for $1995 extra. The 3.6-litre engine pushes 285 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque, which is barely adequate for a truck with bigger tires, it feels sluggish and hurts fuel economy significantly.

Besides the underwhelming performance, the Pentastar engine is a proven platform, a workhorse for Stellantis North America that they have used in many models. If you prioritize reliability, the Pentastar engine is the right choice as Stellantis has been fine-tuning it for the last two decades. The engine runs quite smoothly, and the 8-speed automatic transmission offers a wider range to hide the lack of power at higher speeds.

Unlike the lower trims, the Mojave offers Auto 4WD mode, you can simply keep it in 4WD mode all the time, even when you don’t need it. The transfer case still allows you to choose the 2WD mode, or 4L mode for much shorter gearing, but having an automatic mode adds an extra luxury feeling to the overall driving experience.

Driving the Gladiator is a unique experience compared to the traditional mid-size trucks. As it comes with a solid axle in the front, it offers unmatched off-road capability with significantly more articulation. Most entries have off-road trims or features, but almost all of them come with an independent front suspension, which helps with the overall refinement and better steering feel, but it makes them worse off-roader. The Mojave trim comes with a rear locking diff, and Fox shocks that offer firmer suspension, it handles everything we have thrown at it.

If you are an avid off-roader, the biggest limitation would be the lower break-over angle due to the much longer wheelbase. The Gladiator Mojave has an almost identical approach angle compared to the Wrangler, but you need to be very careful with the departure angle due to the long bed. The Gladiator just wants to go over anything without any drama as long as you don’t scrape anything underneath, thanks to its large wheels wrapped with 33-inch all-terrain tires and off-road features.

If you can live with the limitations, the overall experience feels relatively similar to the Wrangler on pavement, including the Jeep perks. You can customize and choose tons of different combinations to make it unique. Just like the Wrangler, the roof, doors, and even the windshield can be removed and you can experience the real Jeep vibe. Our tester had the hard top version which is significantly harder to remove, but it provides lower noise, vibration and harshness levels with much lower wind noise.

The Verdict

You don’t have to be a Jeep fan to like the updated Gladiator. Despite its deficiencies, including its high price tag and underwhelming engine performance, the Jeep Gladiator offers a unique value proposition that no one else comes close to. It offers a compelling package that combines Jeep features and great off-roading capability in a mid-size truck format. The 2024 updates make the Gladiator more modern, and safer without changing the traditional formula.

Engine3.6-litre naturally aspirated V6
Transmission & Drivetrain8-speed automatic & four-wheel-drive
Max power (combined)285 hp @ 6400 rpm
Max torque (combined)260 lb-ft
0-100 km/h8.96 sec
Curb Weight5073 lbs – 2301 kg
Fuel Economy (observed)14 MPG – 16.8 L/100 km
Price (as tested)$90,108 CAD

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