When it comes to choosing a new ride that can handle itself well off-road, it's hard to do better than the Jeep Wrangler and Gladiator — especially in torque-rich EcoDiesel form. Still, real off-roaders know that the stock vehicle is just the beginning. Part of being an overlander or other off-road enthusiast is kitting out your SUV or pickup truck as you see fit, choosing from the options served up by legions of aftermarket companies that want a piece of the customization action.
Well, it seems the Mopar aftermarket division of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles — sorry, Stellantis — wants a bigger piece of that action, because they've just rolled out a new lift kit that's specifically made to improve the off-road prowess of diesel-powered Wranglers and Gladiators.
The new Mopar / Jeep Performance Part kits, unveiled on Thursday, add two inches to the height of both machines, but that's only part of the advantages they bring to the table. The four Fox monotube shock absorbers are 25 percent larger than stock, making them able to better handle added weight and stay cool during off-road operations (perfect for anyone who's loaded a few hundred pounds of overlanding gear onto their ride). The suspension articulation increases by 18 percent (aided by heavy-duty bushings); longer lower front-control arms improve the caster settings; and new springs designed specifically for the diesel-engined versions of the Jeeps improve the ride and handling both on-road and off.
TL;DR — the lift kit should make the Wrangler and Gladiator better-suited to its natural habitat. Whether you have the pickup truck or the SUV, it'll run you $1,495 (plus installation, should you need help with that, but the kit is a bolt-on replacement); the Wrangler EcoDiesel version is available now, while the Gladiator EcoDiesel version should be available later this summer.
Oh, and if you happen to have a gas-powered Wrangler or Gladiator: don't worry, Jeep makes lift kits for you, too.