High Altitude with aftermarket AT Tires & ACC vs factory stock Rubicon or Mojave (my first Gladiator)

Spicy Pumpkin

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Hey y'all! New poster here, been eyeing and researching Gladiators for several months and just joined the forum after creeping around for a while. Mods, if I've posted this in the wrong area please accept my apologies!

I'm almost ready to pull the trigger on a '22 Gladiator but have come to what seems to be a pretty tough crossroads. Initially I wanted and found a couple High Altitudes with the features I like, the most important of which are the Adaptive Cruise Control and Blind Spot Mirrors. My thought process was that as I would do 90% highway and in-town driving with only occasional forays into overloading and off-roading I could just purchase a different set of all-terrain tires (and if compatible wheels if necessary) to get what I perceive as about 75-80% of what a stock Rubicon or Mojave could do. I wouldn't mind getting into more serious off-road stuff but I don't foresee doing any rock crawling or desert running for at least a couple years as I have zero off-road experience.

...but...

I've starting to really consider just going with a stock Mojave or Rubicon instead as they're typically easier to find in Texas. Thinking about my current driving habits I get along fine with "regular" cruise control in my VW, and while I've enjoyed Adaptive Cruise Control and Blind Spot Mirrors in several rental cars I've driven around the country I'm wondering it's really worth missing out on the extra 20-25% capability of a Rubicon or Mojave just to have those safety features in a High Altitude with aftermarket all-terrain wheels and tires.

*As a quick aside, I have searched and the only Gladiator I found locally with ACC and other "premium safety features" in a Mojave or Rubicon trim was a '22 Rubicon with all the options that was used as the loaner car for a dealership. Has all the bells and whistles but is being advertised at $60k with almost 8,000 miles on it and they say would still be honored as a new vehicle (so the Jeep Cares and warranty would start from the date of purchase with 8000 miles). This would not be my favorite option as I have no idea how to trust the dealership or how to check over a 8000 mile vehicle for signs of abuse.*

I know a lot of this will come down to personal choice and how I intend to use it, but I'm typically a believer in the "buy once, cry once" philosophy of major purchases and am definitely not educated enough to think about lift and leveling kits on a HA or adding ACC and such safety options to a stock Mojave/Rubicon. Also, while I'm currently living in Texas I don't foresee staying here forever and am considering a move to Tennessee in the next 1-5 years (so my environment and terrain may likely change from a relatively flat area to a more hill and mountainous one).

In a nutshell for those who are willing to share their thoughts...

1. Is it worth considering a High Altitude and adding new wheels/all-terrain tires to have only 80% of the capabilities of a stock Mojave/Rubicon just to have the ACC, Blind Spot Monitoring, etc?

2. For those who were considering a Gladiator with modern safety conveniences such as ACC but still want to go off-road, how much of a factor were said safety conveniences in your final decision (and how do you feel about that decision now)?

Thanks y'all!!!

 

Trauma PA

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You can get acc and Blindspot monitoring on a Rubicon or Mojave too. If it's not on the lot, and you don't need it right now, just order one. It'll be cheaper, too.
Agree with you. Inventory in Florida seems to limit the adaptive cruise control and advanced safety package to the High Altitude models. I only see one Rubicon at present with these features. Personally I’d do as you suggested, order the model and exact features I wanted from either Gupton or Tri City.
 

DesertRated

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The 2 options you want are available on any of the trims you mentioned. So really irrelevant in my opinion. I would focus more on the trim that suits your needed “90% highway / daily driver”. Based on that my recommendation would be as follows.
1. High Altitude
2. Mojave
3. Rubicon
 

citadelfox

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Blind spot sensors are a pain in the ass for trailering, or if you ever drive in snow, where they can ice over. I liked ACC and blind spot monitoring on other vehicles, but honestly with my Rubicon, I don't want, or need them. I find myself doing more off-road because it is fun, and the Rubicon just makes you want to explore trails you just would never take another vehicle.
 


TigerInFL

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kind of went that same process you are currently in. really liked the HA but in the back of my mind I thought, one day I might like to use this thing in a different application. we were ready to order through Gupton and put our deposit down on a 23 Mojave.

found a 21 Mojave fully loaded except for the front trail camera. it was by shear luck I found this one. less than 1,400 miles on her. paid less than $50k. so far I love it.

keep hunting and you might find one out there.
 

Wheelin98TJ

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Tough call.

I never intended to wheel my first Jeep, but that didn't last long.

I bought an HA because I know it will never be wheeled where lockers are needed. If I get back in to that type of wheeling, I won't use the Gladiator.
 
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Spicy Pumpkin

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Good morning! Thank you for your responses so far!

You can get acc and Blindspot monitoring on a Rubicon or Mojave too. If it's not on the lot, and you don't need it right now, just order one. It'll be cheaper, too.
Agree with you. Inventory in Florida seems to limit the adaptive cruise control and advanced safety package to the High Altitude models. I only see one Rubicon at present with these features. Personally I’d do as you suggested, order the model and exact features I wanted from either Gupton or Tri City.
I did think about going the route of ordering one, but with the current supply chain problems and availability of chips I don't feel comfortable committing to a vehicle that can be 2+ months out from completion. The biggest concern is that I would like to have a reliable Jeep sooner rather than later as my current car needs a $3k part and is maybe worth half of that in good working condition...if I have to repair it to avoid "over MSRP pricing" I will but it's not a great option for me at this time.

The 2 options you want are available on any of the trims you mentioned. So really irrelevant in my opinion. I would focus more on the trim that suits your needed “90% highway / daily driver”. Based on that my recommendation would be as follows.
1. High Altitude
2. Mojave
3. Rubicon
What do you think about the balance of having a High Altitude that may be more pleasant on highway driving versus a Mojave or Rubicon that has more off-road capability? Is the High Altitude still relatively capable with light off-roading (nothing involving rocks bigger than a baseball or running through a desert).

Blind spot sensors are a pain in the ass for trailering, or if you ever drive in snow, where they can ice over. I liked ACC and blind spot monitoring on other vehicles, but honestly with my Rubicon, I don't want, or need them. I find myself doing more off-road because it is fun, and the Rubicon just makes you want to explore trails you just would never take another vehicle.
I don't have much of a need for trailering at this point, but would you mind sharing a bit more about the issues with them becoming a problem in snowy/icy conditions? Are the Blind Spot Sensors difficult to de-ice?

kind of went that same process you are currently in. really liked the HA but in the back of my mind I thought, one day I might like to use this thing in a different application. we were ready to order through Gupton and put our deposit down on a 23 Mojave.

found a 21 Mojave fully loaded except for the front trail camera. it was by shear luck I found this one. less than 1,400 miles on her. paid less than $50k. so far I love it.

keep hunting and you might find one out there.
I did find a '21 Gladiator Rubicon in Gecko Green that I loved and had most of the features I wanted, but last I looked they were asking $52k which is kind of crazy to me for an almost 2-year old vehicle. I can only guess the color is helping the dealer think they can get that price on it, and while that may be true for someone else I can live with a different color for a newer vehicle.

Tough call.

I never intended to wheel my first Jeep, but that didn't last long.

I bought an HA because I know it will never be wheeled where lockers are needed. If I get back in to that type of wheeling, I won't use the Gladiator.
This is a very good point! I've heard from friends of mine who have kitted-out Wranglers that they prefer those vehicles for serious work off-road since the wheelbase is smaller. Do you think your High Altitude would be able to do light to medium off-roading with the proper tires (thinking like driving down a forest road, across pasture land, no trails with rocks bigger than a baseball)?
 

citadelfox

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Spicy,

As far as The FCA blindspot monitors, my most recent experience was on a 2014 Ram Laramie. Awesome truck with a high end SUV quality ride and package. My other most recent experience was a 2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid. Driving in cold, slushy conditions, or during snow, they would ice over, and an error message would say something to the effect of blind spot monitors disabled. You could resolve the issue by pulling over and knocking/wiping the ice/slush off, but who wants to keep doing that every 10-20 minutes on a shitty winter road trip?
Also, the ACC would not work on the Hyundai with the front sensors iced over. It was not a purely optical system. The radar sensors in the front set the follow distance for the adaptive cruise control.

With regards to trailering or having a hitch mount bike rack, they beep at you until you disable them. NOT a deal breaker. Just wanted you to be aware.
I DO NOT miss them at all.

On a side note, I had adaptive cruise control, and lane centering on the Hyundai. It worked great, EXCEPT every time you pass an off ramp, it tries to pull you to center. CENTER. Not lane center, which ends up pointing you at the diverge point of the right line, and left off-ramp line. It can catch you off guard, and scare the shit out of you trying to correct for it. Once again, not sure on the FCA ACC, just making you aware. All tech has its glitches and limitations. I enjoyed it for long, boring, center lane cruises, but once again, it certainly has it's quirks.

Hope that helps your decision making.
 

IOS-XR

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You are looking at exactly my use case. We have a High Altitude diesel and we got a set of JLU Rubicon take-off wheels and tires for it. Those go on for winter and off road fun. I put the stock 20” wheels and “minivan” tires back on in the summer for ride comfort, mileage, and noise.

We had the Rubi wheels and stock 33” KO2’s on this spring for the Jeep Adventure Academy at the Badlands off-road park. I also added a hitch skid (that was very needed). The Gladiator in stock trim is extremely capable, far more than my skill level. There were people at the Academy with HA and Overland Wranglers with the same 20” “minivan tires” ours came with and they did just fine. Our Jeep with the KO2’s was much more sure footed.

The LSD rear/open front of the High Altitude was more than capable. In that particular situation I never felt “under gunned” by not having lockers or sway bar disconnect. If you are going to do hard core rock climbing the lockers would be valuable. For 90% Highway plus possible inclement weather/occasional off roading the LSD rear/open front is the way to go.

"Summer setup"
pjIA2n8.jpg


Ready to play in the dirt
Bg7AuVw.jpg


Playing in the dirt
Aj2tbzD.jpg


After playing in the dirt
Bh80nQw.jpg


The hitch skid
jVwE0dj.jpg
 


DaveL

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Dealers up here (Ontario Canada) said would have to order a Jeep to get the options wanted. 5-6 months.
Started looking for a High Altitude too . Takes a lot of looking to find a well equipped Jeep. Bought a JLUR on a dealer's lot. Fully equipped.

Look hard; bet you'll find the Gladiator you want.
 

Wheelin98TJ

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This is a very good point! I've heard from friends of mine who have kitted-out Wranglers that they prefer those vehicles for serious work off-road since the wheelbase is smaller. Do you think your High Altitude would be able to do light to medium off-roading with the proper tires (thinking like driving down a forest road, across pasture land, no trails with rocks bigger than a baseball)?
I should have clarified, I won't use a Gladiator for wheeling where lockers are needed because I don't want to use something that expensive.

What you describe as light to medium off-roading could easily be handled by a High Altitude with good AT tires as long as it doesn't get too muddy. If muddy, something more aggressive than an AT tire would still get you through quite a bit.

Here's mine with a 2.5" Clayton lift and 35" Goodyear Ultraterrains on stock wheels with 1.5" wheel spacers:

Gladiator Doors Off Top On cropped medium.png
 

IOS-XR

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We did more than I’d classify as “light off-roading” at the Adventure Academy (that I highly recommend). Our HA handled it and begged for more. We were going over basketball sized rocks in the rock quarry (if not larger) and at one point down a 30 degree rock wall. A stock Gladiator is an extremely capable vehicle in any trim.

This is me driving down a steep frigging rock wall after climbing up the other side.



 

mdyucca

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I always say go with the Rubicon. Also, include Aux switches, LED light package and Tow package. If you look on this Forum many of the posts are Gladiator owners adding mods in effort to make their Gladiator as off-road capable as a Rubicon. Also, the Rubicon is more marketable (time to sale/value) when you get ready to sale or trade in. This is coming from a non Rubicon owner.
 

Wat Dog

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I shared your opinion, as well. I got the 3.0 high altitude for all of the convenience and comfort features. But once you get it the upgrades come easier than you’d think. I put 35x11.5 on factory 20s, 2” mopar lift, steel bumpers(after someone rear ended me), and a winch(because there was a hole in the bumper I had to fill). The only thing I’ve used the winch for is pulling stumps and I have yet to get my truck stuck with some pretty decent off roading.

Best upgrade was the eco diesel.

 

 
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