2024 Jeep Gladiator

The only truck that can shed its skin.

The Jeep Gladiator debuted for the 2019 model year and immediately caught the attention of consumers. Jeep hadn't had a pickup in their lineup since 1992 when the Comanche ceased production, and with trucks being hot the timing was perfect for the Gladiator. Now that its been out for a few years, the Gladiator receives its first refresh for 2024. Among the changes include a new seven-slot grille, windshield-integrated trail-ready stealth antenna, and seven all-new wheel designs. Inside is a refined interior with more technology and amenities, including available 12-way power adjustable front seats and all-new instrument panel featuring Uconnect 5 system with best-in-class standard 12.3-inch touchscreen and standard wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto with improved speech intelligibility. The new 2024 Jeep Gladiator delivers standard first- and second-row side-curtain airbags, standard forward collision warning (Sport S and above) and standard advanced cruise control with stop (Sport S and above).  It has a max towing capacity of 7,700 pounds and offers up to 1,725 pounds of max payload.

The Gladiator is available in seven grades including two new ones. The base Sport model starts at $37,895 followed by:

* Sport S - $41,990
* Willys - $45,590
* Mojave - $56,930
* Rubicon - $56,930
* Mojave X (New) - $63,590
* Rubicon X (New) - $63,590

The Mojave X and Rubicon X expand Gladiator's portfolio with integrated off-road camera, steel bumpers and Nappa leather-trimmed 12-way power adjustable front seats. Also new is a Black NightHawk Package that  includes 20-inch gloss black aluminum wheels and body-color hardtop, all-terrain tires, and Dana 44 front and rear axles priced at a U.S. manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) of $5,295. There are 10 different color options including Tuscadero Pink (new), a variety of tops, side steps, doors, and wheels to make any Gladiator your very own. Competition for the Gladiator includes the  Chevy Colorado, Ford Ranger, Nissan Frontier, and the Toyota Tacoma.  I spent a week in a Silver Zynith Gladiator Mojave that checked in at $66,810 and here's what stood out...

Mojave Model (+)
If I were to buy a Gladiator, the Mojave is the one I would choose. The Gladiator Mojave debuted at the 2020 Chicago Auto Show and was the first ever desert-rated Jeep 4x4 that represents high speed off-road capabilities.  The Mojave features specially tuned high-performance FOX hydraulic jounce bumpers and 2.5-inch internal bypass shocks, a reinforced frame, a one-inch suspension lift with silver front skid plate, and stronger axles with cast-iron steering knuckles. Add to that 33" Falken Wildpeak All-Terrain Tires mounted to 17" Mojave exclusive wheels and you have a truck that both looks the part on the outside and has the guts underneath. An Off-Road+ button allows drivers to take Gladiator Mojave to the next level of tractive capabilities. With a push of a button, drivers can adjust throttle, transmission shift points and traction control for peak performance on higher speed passes on sand terrain, as well as during low-speed rock crawling. The Off-Road+ drive mode on Mojave also allows drivers to lock the rear axle at high speeds while in 4HI.

The Mojave has a best-in-class approach angle of 44.7 degrees and ground clearance of 11.6 inches which further gives it off-road street cred. From the front the Mojave looks just like a Wrangler but as you walk around it's the five-foot truck bed that makes this unique. Mojave models also include designation on the front fender and orange trim accents all around the truck such as the tow hooks on both the front and rear bumpers and an aggressive performance hood with a center scoop. And in true Jeep fashion, hidden Jeep Easter eggs are all around.  Be on the hunt for some Willys MB drawing on the wheels, "419" stamped in the bed, a Willys Jeep driving on the windshield and my daughter's favorite... the flip flops on the windshield cowl.

Open-air Freedom (+)
The Gladiator is currently the only truck on the market with a removable roof and doors. The truck is like a real-life Lego kit with how it can be taken apart and put back together with ease. The test vehicle I had came with the optional 3-piece hard top. Over the front seats are two panels that come off after turning a few latches. They can be stored in a storage bag provided by Jeep. The third roof piece that covers the rear seats took about ten minutes to remove and requires a second person to help lift it off the truck. For me, that second person was my teen daughter who had no problems guiding it over the bed of the truck to set it on the ground. Jeep provides a handy toolkit with everything you need (a ratchet with a couple attachments). After unplugging the rear-defogger, it was as simple as unscrewing eight bolts and popping the top off.... instant open-air Jeep truck! Jeep truly thought of everything when it comes to taking the Gladiator apart as you'll find a storage bin for all those bolts under the rear seat to ensure they don't get lost (each bolt has its own individual slot to go in).  

With the top off, why stop there? As we moved on to the doors a little more thought was required but not much more time. It's best to roll windows down first to ensure their safety and make the door easier to grab. On each door is a power cord for the windows that needs to be undone which is the first step, after unplugging you can tuck them into the nets in each door. Each door then has three bolts to take out, it's recommended to start with the outside bolts first and finish with the one on the inside of the door. Once the bolts are out, you lift the doors up and out of the socket and store them in a safe place.  It's worth noting that the sideview mirrors are attached to the doors so you'll need to turn your head to check for passing cars and utilize the truck's cameras when backing up. With the Gladiator fully stripped down, it really is a unique  looking truck. In total the truck was fully stripped in about thirty minutes and put back together in about twenty minutes.

Powertrain (+/-)
Under the hood, the Mojave has a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 that delivers 285 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. The Mojave comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission or an optional eight-speed automatic transmission. The Gladiator benefits from the popular V6 engine's low-range torque, which is needed when out on the trails or during more demanding conditions like pulling a trailer. The power will deliver a 0-60 MPH time of around 8.2 seconds which is slower than competitors like the Tacoma, Ranger, and Colorado. While it may not win any drag races off the line against a Ford Raptor, the Mojave has plenty of power for routine driving. Since there are no desert trails in Chicago, I can't speak to its high-speed performance off-road but based on the specs and because of its length the Gladiator Mojave should have good stability when driving through the sand dunes. On suburban streets and highways, the Mojave handled as expected. The ride was a bit wilder and bouncy on the highway at higher speeds, but it's what I expected out of an off-road truck capable of baja style sand racing. The off-road tires weren't overly noisy, but the truck does have significant wind noise when fully assembled. For longer drives it may cause for some driver fatigue, but around town the Gladiator performs like any other body-on-frame truck.  

Off-Road Capability (+)
I did have the chance to take it off-roading on a complex course at the Midwest Automotive Media Association Spring Rally and the Gladiator tackled the harder course with ease. It traversed through the wooded trails climbing over rock and tree obstacles, splashing through mud, and putting its five-link coil suspension to the test through uneven grounds. It climbed muddy hills with ease and the trail control took it back down nice and easy. The course also included a rock garden filled with boulders and a fairly deep mud/water pit that were both no match for the Gladiator. The built in trail cameras were put to good use with clear visuals all around the Jeep.

New for 2024 the Jeep brand is the first automotive brand to feature built-in off-road adventure trail guides with the introduction of Jeep Adventure Guides featuring Trails Offroad, a leader in off-road trail guides and maps. The available Jeep Adventure Guides deliver detailed guides and maps for the 62 Jeep Badge of Honor trails, which include the Rubicon Trail in California, Hell's Revenge in Utah and Jericho Mountain in New Hampshire. For even more adventures, owners can upgrade to a premium subscription that unlocks Trails Offroad's full catalog of 3,000-plus trail guides.

Fuel Economy (-)
When it arrived with a full 22-gallon gas tank, the Gladiator offered a driving range of around 350 miles. It takes regular grade fuel and is pretty thirsty. The Gladiator Mojave is rated at 17 MPG city and 22 MPG highway. Over the course of my week with the Mojave, I averaged 19 MPG with a fair amount of highway driving.  If you're looking for a more fuel-efficient version, it seems as though Jeep has plans for a plug-in hybrid 4xe version of the Gladiator for 2025.

Interior (+)
Hopping inside the Gladiator receives some updates as well. New is a standard 12.3" infotainment touchscreen with a heritage-inspired center stack and soft-touch surfaces all around. New AMPS bracket provisions are also now featured on top of the dash for mounting accessory electronics. Materials are durable and the layout is well-planned. There are two cup holders in the center stack capable of holding a Yeti or Stanley.  It has a traditional gear selector for everyday use and a second shifter for when you need to manually shift for four-wheel drive. Steering wheel controls are well placed and make it easy to answer phone calls hands free. For those living in colder climates like Chicago, the Cold Weather package adds nice features such as heated front seats, heated steering wheel and a remote-start system (automatic only).

The Mojave theme carries through with orange stitching and accents on the air vents. Climate controls and radio tuning knobs are placed under the touch screen and have a rugged look with notches that are easily within reach. Window controls on the Gladiator are in the middle of the center stack adjacent to power outlets and USB connections. The seats are comfortable and provide better than expected support with manual adjustments only. Leg room was substantial in both the front and back seats. Three kids comfortably fit across the back seat including a booster seat. While storage is limited, Jeep made good use of space by adding lockable bins and compartments under and behind the seats.  Also, behind the rear seat was a portable Bluetooth speaker perfect for tailgating.

Technology (+)
In addition to the new 12.3" touchscreen, the Gladiator now comes standard with the latest Uconnect 5 operating system that wirelessly integrates with both Android Auto and Apple Car Play seamlessly. The updated system provides crisper graphics, a better camera view, and over-the-air updates. Additionally, it can be programmed for five different user profiles, has a fully customizable home screen, Alexa Home to Car functionality, TomTom navigation, Maps OTA updates, and more.

Functionality is enhanced for front-row passengers with standard dual USB Type C ports that allow devices to charge up to four times faster. The Gladiator delivers a total of up to seven USB Type A and Type C ports for both rows. Standard 12-volt accessory outlets are located throughout the new Gladiator and a 115-volt AC outlet is available to power select three-pronged home electronics.

Safety / Driver Assistance (+)
Whether you're driving on city streets or across the desert, the Gladiator comes with standard safety features that are ready for action.  Features such as blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control with full stop, forward collision warning with active braking and rear cross path detection are extremely beneficial and seemingly essential in today's world. Additional features such as Parksense rear park assist with the Parkview rear back up camera separate the Gladiator from the crowd by providing an added convenience in parking a long truck on city streets. Other features more specific to your lifestyle such as the trailer sway control will detect when your trailer is swaying and apply brake pressure to individual wheels to bring it back in line. And if you're off-roading, you'll really appreciate the optional front camera to see what obstacles are ahead of you as you crawl up rocks or cross streams.

Final Statement
The Jeep Gladiator Mojave is a truck that commands attention. The starting price for a Mojave edition is $56,930 which has risen significantly since it launched. It can easily climb into the mid $60k range for a fully loaded model that features upgraded safety features, premium audio, additional front camera, premium lighting, trailer-tow package, a cold weather package and more. With Jeep offering seven trim levels to this truck and a laundry list of MOPAR accessories, it is certainly one that you can make your own. This truck is a lifestyle vehicle that transforms from work to play with ease. It's a Swiss-army knife type of vehicle that you can take on an off-road adventure, load the truck bed with work materials, or enjoy as a daily driver around town.

First Impression Summary:
Test Vehicle:
2024 Jeep Gladiator Mojave
Exterior Color:  Silver Zynith
Interior Color: Black
Options: Paint ($595), 8-Speed Automatic ($2,500), Cargo Group with Trail Rail System ($2,095), Convenience Group ($1,095), Technology Group ($2,295), Tri-fold Tonneau Cover ($625), Black Freedom 3-piece Hard Top ($1,595), Spray-in Bedliner ($555), Trailer Brake Controller ($395), Hard Top Headliner ($655), and All-Weather Mats ($170)
MSRP as tested: $66,810 (With Delivery/Destination)

Pros: Off-Road Capability, Open-air freedom, intuitive  infotainment
Cons: Fuel Economy, on-road handling, high price point (plus many add-on packages)