There was no doubt Jeep would expand its Desert Rated lineup beyond the Gladiator Mojave (pictured), the question was when. Mopar Insiders tapped its sources for info that the 2021 Jeep Wrangler gets its Mojave makeover, available in standard two-door and Unlimited four-door versions. According to those insiders, the major difference between the desert-focused Gladiator and Wrangler will be engine; the Gladiator Mojave only offers the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, but the Wrangler Mojave is said to "more than likely" come standard with the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. More eyebrow-raising, MI's sources suggested the four-cylinder would come in two versions, the one with electronic stop-start (ESS) sold now, shifting through a six-speed manual, and another with FCA's eTorque mild-hybrid system shifting through an eight-speed automatic.
Engine output would be the same 270 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque in both cases, unchanged from the current numbers. What's odd is that at the moment, Jeep only offers the four-cylinder with ESS with an eight-speed automatic; the engine is a no-cost option, but the transmission adds $1,500. If MI is correct, the Mojave would widen options for the four-cylinder. And MI didn't mention it, but since the Wrangler Rubicon trim that would be the basis for the Mojave also offers the 3.6-liter V6 and 3.0-liter diesel, it's too soon to rule those out as other engine possibilities.
Otherwise, the changes will come straight from the Gladiator Mojave. That means a ladder-frame chassis beefed up at the suspension mounts, a wider track, cast iron steering knuckles, stiffer rear Dana 44 axle and larger rear track bar, electronic-locking rear differential, a one-inch suspension lift thanks to Fox 2.5-inch internal bypass shocks with external reservoirs, and Fox hydraulic jounce dampers that replace bump stops up front. The non-Rubicon Command-Trac 4x4 transfer case houses 2.72:1 low-range gearing for a higher potential top speed than possible with the Rubicon's Rock-Trac 4x4 and 4.00:1 gearing. The 17-inch wheels with slightly more offset will wear 33-inch Falken Wildpeak All-Terrains. The Off-Road Plus driving mode will get the upgrades working their best in unison.
The Mojave will port orange-tinted cosmetic changes, too. Expect the "performance" hood with Mojave script, orange tow hooks, a silver skid plate in front, new side rails outside. Inside, Copperhead Orange stitching lashes up the instrument panel, steering wheel, and seats with additional bolstering. Assuming a six-speed manual availability with the four-cylinder, the Wrangler Mojave shouldn't move much off the Rubicon's $43,690 MSRP.
Mopar Insiders says we'll see the new SUV this year. After that, we figure the Deserthawk models Jeep promised two years should begin emerging from the pipeline.
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