Jeep Gladiator Mojave shows off personality

In a world where so many vehicles blend in and conformity is rejoiced, it’s nice to have something that sticks out from the crowd once in a while. Enter my tester this week the 2021 Jeep Gladiator Mojave. This small truck has several unique traits. First it’s a Jeep Wrangler that’s a truck. That alone makes it unique amongst the Jeepers where it is both enjoyed and reviled.

Since coming out with the Jeep truck, the Gladiator has had a lukewarm reception amongst the die-hard Jeep enthusiasts. Change is hard, but the Gladiator works as a truck. I like it. Truth be told, I like the way the Gladiator drives and feels better than the standard Wrangler (and I’m a fan of the Wrangler in general).

Another area where my tester sticks out with personality is in the Mojave trim. It has a desert-themed look and a higher-riding suspension.

As far as those desert-like looks, the Gladiator Mojave holds very true to this theme. In addition to the higher stance, the hood is ensconced with Mojave-exclusive stickers. Jeep does a tremendous job of adding personality to almost every trim they offer and the Mojave trim certainly has plenty of distinction. It looks great as a truck too.

New for 2021 is a turbodiesel engine for the Gladiator. My tester did not have the new turbo engine. Rather it had the 3.6-liter V6 engine. It’s an adequate engine for a Jeep, but for a truck it’s a little underpowered. If you don’t plan to use the Gladiator to pull anything or for heavy payloads, the engine will be fine. The 8-speed automatic transmission is good.

It’s rated at 285 horsepower which means it’s good off the line and good as a daily driver. And of course as a Jeep it’s going to excel off the road or in sloppy road conditions. As such, it serves a purpose for people who might need the light usefulness of a truck, but not the full-bore power of a heavier truck. And even more fitting if you want that usefulness to pull an ATV as you go mudding or off roading. This is the Gladiator’s sweet spot.

It may be a specific, niche type of consumer, but it’s one that felt underserved, but now feels fulfilled with the Gladiator.

Inside, the interior is what you’ve grown to accept from Jeep. The Mojave-specific trim was attractive including the leather-clad seats as well as leather-wrapped shift knob and brake handle. Some trims of a Jeep can be pretty basic and the Mojave was more special. It fits the mold well of what I mentioned as far as “personality” as the interior of this Gladiator has a lot of personality.

As well served as Jeep for providing specific trims with personality it can also be overwhelming for the consumer. Case in point, the Gladiator has nine trim offerings. That basically means there’s a trim for almost anything you could want or at any price point. That’s a good thing. Add in packages and accessories and almost no two Gladiators on the road will be alike.

My tester’s Mojave had all of the aforementioned desert-themed goodness, but also had a gorgeous firecracker paint coat. Jeep has the best color palettes for their products of any auto maker out there.

Base price of the Gladiator Mojave with 4x4 was $43,875. With the special paint coat, and the leather trim along with several other options and packages, and my tester had a final MSRP of $64,840.

The ironic part is the best thing about Jeeps is their trim and option levels, but that’s also the part that can get pricey and overwhelming for the consumer too.

Fuel economy for the Gladiator Mojave is 17 mpg/city and 22 mpg/highway. In a week’s worth of driving where I stayed on the paved road, I averaged nearly 20 mpg. The bigger wheels and higher suspension of the Mojave makes it slightly less fuel efficient than other trims.

I love personality in a vehicle. Not just in looks, but in the way it performs. The Jeep Gladiator Mojave checks those boxes with handsome looks and performance that is a nice blend of typical Jeep plus smaller truck. It won’t be for everyone, but for some of us it’s much appreciated.

Jimmy Dinsmore is a freelance automotive journalist. Email him at Follow him on Twitter @driversside

2021 Jeep Gladiator Mojave 4x4

  • Price/As tested price................................................ $43,875/$64,840
  • Mileage.......................................... 17 mpg/city; 22 mpg/hwy
  • Engine............................................. 3.6-liter V6
  • Horsepower................................. 285 hp/260 lbs./ft.
  • Transmission................................. 8-speed
  • Drive wheels................ Four-wheel drive
  • Final Assembly Point................ Toledo, Ohio

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