- The Rivian R1T goes against the Jeep Gladiator Mojave in an exclusive Edmunds off-road test.
- We’re taking a look at the R1T’s sophisticated traction control system versus the Jeep’s traditional rear locker.
- Can the newfangled EV beat the old-school Jeep?
Off-Road Smackdown: Rivian R1T vs. Jeep Gladiator Mojave
New school takes on old school for bragging rights in the dirt
Buyers have a ton of choices these days when shopping for an off-road truck. Not only are there diesel and gas powerplants available, but now electric trucks have entered the chat. We recently took the Jeep Gladiator Mojave and our own long-term Rivian R1T out to Hungry Valley State Vehicle Recreational Area for some dirt shenanigans, and just a bit of competition.
Digging into features
We know the Mojave is a great rig in the dirt. Its V6 engine pulls strong off the line and there is plenty of torque for low-range applications. It has a rear locker for added traction when necessary and its 17-inch wheels are shod with 33-inch Falken Wildpeak meats.
The Mojave has solid axles front and rear, but this is more of a desert runner than a rock crawler. As such, it eschews a front locker in favor of a 1-inch front lift. Jeep has also seen fit to equip the truck with 2.5-inch internal bypass Fox shocks that have remote reservoirs up front and piggyback reservoirs in the rear. The front also features hydraulic jounce bumpers to help soak up any high-speed impacts.
When it comes to geometry, the Mojave's numbers are generally stellar. There are 11.6 inches of ground clearance, enough to roll over pretty much anything you'll encounter on the trail. The approach angle is the best of all Gladiator models at 44.7 degrees. The departure angle is decent for a truck at 25.5 degrees, while the breakover angle sits at 20.9 degrees.
The Rivian R1T gets it done in the dirt, but in a different way. The instant torque of the four electric motors means there is no need for a low range. There are no mechanical lockers, just a sophisticated traction control system that throws the power where it’s needed and an independent air suspension all the way around that can hinder articulation but allows for a much smoother ride.
Thanks to that air suspension, the R1T has a maximum ground clearance of nearly 15 inches. The approach angle is a mere 35.5 degrees, while the departure and breakover angles are sitting pretty at 30 and 26.4 degrees, respectively. The Rivian wears 34-inch Pirelli Scorpion A/T tires on 20-inch wheels.
The question is: Can the Rivian, with its fancy-pants traction control system, match or beat the Gladiator with its old-school mechanical rear locker? And what about tires? After all, Pirelli is more known for its road-going tires. Can the Italian company make a tire that can match the USA-made Falkens when it comes to off-road grip? There’s only one way to find out.
We don’t want to spoil the surprise, but the results might not be what you expect. Check out the video above and let us know what you think.