Jeep has just announced three new trim levels of its most rugged models. The Wrangler and Gladiator get a new High Altitude model that adds larger wheels and premium features, while the Gladiator Mojave is the first Jeep to wear a Desert Rated badge in place of the Trail Rated badge we're used to seeing.
The Mojave is a model designed for high-speed off-roading in place of the usual slow rock crawl that is where you'd normally find a Jeep. Think of this like Jeep's Ford Raptor fighter, or at least a class-competitor with Chevrolet's Colorado ZR2. Mojave Gladiators get a new suspension that starts with Fox 2.5-inch internal bypass shocks with external reservoirs to keep the fluid cool and resist heat under heavy use. These long-travel pieces get Fox hydraulic jounce dampers to prevent damaging and potentially crash-causing suspension bottoming and the suspension has been lifted an inch for better ground clearance. Because Jeep says this one's ready for jumping dunes, the frame has been reinforced for extra strength. There is a silver front skid plate and the axles have been upgraded for more strength and with cast-iron knuckles. Traction comes from 33-inch Falken Wildpeak All-Terrain tires.
With that high-speed off-road performance, including 295 mm of ground clearance, Jeep has fitted more aggressive front seats with upper bolsters. The seats come in leather and cloth and get orange accents with special logos. The steering wheel gets a more aggressive rim to make it easier to hold on to.
It's the first Desert Rated Jeep, but what does that mean? Instead of rock crawling, Rubicon Trail testing, this one is tested for ride control and stability on desert terrain, traction on sand, gravel, and loose dirt, ground clearance when cresting dunes or to "blast through whoops," manoeuvrability when going fast through the desert, and to make sure it can withstand the heat, sand, gravel, and dust, of desert driving.
High Altitude is for when you don't want to "blast through whoops," but instead want some comfort and luxury. It starts with LED lights all around and a hardtop, fender flares, mirrors, door handles, and bumpers that are all body-colour instead of grey. They also get 20-inch wheels, which marks the first time that either has left the factory with wheels that large. They wear Bridgestone Dueler tires in 275/55, a level of sidewall that may be the shortest ever affixed to a non-Trackhawk Jeep.
Inside, High Altitude Jeeps get a leather-wrapped dash, centre console, and door panels. The seats are quilted and covered in Nappa leather, with the front pair (and the steering wheel) heated for warmth. An 8.4-inch Uconnect screen is standard along with an Alpine audio system and navigation. The High Altitude Wrangler and Gladiator get proximity key entry, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic detection, and rear parking sensors.
The High Altitude Wrangler and Gladiator, as well as the Jeep Gladiator Mojave, arrive at Jeep stores next quarter.