2021 Jeep Gladiator EcoDiesel review: A great engine upgrade, but it’ll cost you

We enjoy the rugged search of the Rubicon. Steven Ewing/Roadshow The Jeep Gladiator pickup will get a new diesel motor choice for 2021. It is really the identical 3.-liter EcoDiesel V6 you can expect to obtain in the Jeep Wrangler and Ram 1500, pushing out 260 horsepower and 442 pound-feet […]

We enjoy the rugged search of the Rubicon.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

The Jeep Gladiator pickup will get a new diesel motor choice for 2021. It is really the identical 3.-liter EcoDiesel V6 you can expect to obtain in the Jeep Wrangler and Ram 1500, pushing out 260 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque. But with its $six,000 quality more than the conventional powertrain, is it very good adequate to warrant that extra price tag?


  • Tons of small-finish torque
  • Sleek highway manners
  • Gasoline overall economy advantages
  • Unmatched off-road chops

Really don’t Like

  • Diesel motor is high-priced
  • Payload and towing rankings put up with

To obtain out, we head for the sand dunes of Glamis, California. Theoretically, at minimum, the greater small-finish torque and revised gearing in the 8-velocity automatic transmission should really be a boon for off-roading, allowing us keep momentum devoid of needing to transform gears. The other profit of this motor is gas overall economy, and the Gladiator Rubicon EcoDiesel is rated to return 22 miles per gallon mixed. (Activity and Overland styles can realize 24 mpg.) Immediately after 500 miles of driving and a really hard day in the dunes, we are viewing 21.eight mpg. Very very good.

The Gladiator has an Off-Highway Additionally location that sharpens the throttle response in four-wheel-drive significant equipment for more rapidly bursts of electrical power if needed. The Gladiator has no issues attacking dune faces, scrambling up and more than hills devoid of issue. It even powers out of a little, V-shaped hole in the dunes that can suck other motor vehicles in like quicksand, the Jeep’s Falken Wildpeak 285/70R17 tires aired down to seventeen psi for extra grip in the comfortable sand.

With the Gladiator Rubicon’s strategy angle of forty three.4 levels, we can keep the entrance finish straight and not stress about plowing into everything on the way up or down a dune. The Jeep also has 11.1 inches of floor clearance, even though the Gladiator’s wheelbase, which is for a longer period than a Wrangler’s, lessens the breakover angle to 20.3 levels. Based on the shape of the dune, this suggests carrying just adequate velocity to slide the Jeep more than the crest, but not so substantially that the Gladiator launches into the air.

The Gladiator has no issue managing just about any off-roading situation, like the rocks and ruts at California’s Hungry Valley playground in the vicinity of Gorman. Once more, the small-finish diesel torque tends to make it quick to steadily modulate the electrical power while climbing a steep rock confront, and systems like Selec Pace, which is effectively off-road cruise command, indicate we can keep a continuous speed devoid of constantly owning to get the job done the throttle.

The EcoDiesel motor is presently offered in the Jeep Gladiator, Wrangler and Ram 1500.


Of course, the EcoDiesel motor is just not just great for off-roading. The easy torque shipping suggests the Gladiator is great to drive on pavement, effortlessly managing the steep grades of the Grapevine on California’s I-5 freeway devoid of the regular need to have to downshift. (We’ve driven the Gladiator with the gas-fed 3.six-liter V6 below and it can be not virtually as very good.) Merged with the Gladiator’s extended wheelbase and revised rear suspension, this is arguably the greatest set up for individuals who may well need to have to do extended treks on the highway, even though it can be even now not what we’d contact luxurious. It is really far more cozy than a Wrangler, but even now quite substantially a Jeep.

Diesel engines are great for towing, but owing to some motor cooling problems, Jeep truly suggests pulling a greatest of six,000 lbs with the Gladiator Rubicon EcoDiesel. That’s a complete 1,000 lbs a lot less than a truck geared up with the 3.six-liter V6. Payload drops a little bit, way too, from 1,one hundred sixty lbs in the gas truck to 1,075 in the EcoDiesel.

Motor apart, the Rubicon EcoDiesel is largely the identical as any other Jeep Gladiator. The interior resources are very good, but not great, and there are a remarkably big amount of comfort and ease and convenience amenities, specifically for a truck so off-road centered. The leather-based seats offer you heating and cooling, and niceties like complete LED lighting, blind-place checking and rear cross-targeted traffic warn are offered, albeit as solutions.

It’ll acquire you any place.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

The optional eight.4-inch Uconnect infotainment screen is as very good below as it is in any other Jeep, and includes off-road web pages that clearly show items like pitch, roll and your specific GPS coordinates. Apple CarPlay, Android Vehicle and a Wi-Fi hotspot are involved with the $1,895 infotainment upgrade, way too.

The one major demerit versus the Gladiator EcoDiesel is its rate. The diesel motor upgrade is a complete $six,000 — $4,000 for the motor itself and then $two,000 for the required 8-velocity automatic transmission. That brings the $forty five,370 starting off rate (like $1,495 for location) of a Gladiator Rubicon up to $fifty one,370. Load it up with solutions and you can practically hit $70,000. The truck observed below stickers for $64,495.

Sweet as the diesel motor is, we aren’t guaranteed it can be truly worth the upgrade, looking at the gas overall economy advantages are quite little. It tends to make the Gladiator nicer for on-road driving, guaranteed, but each and every one of these trucks, irrespective of motor, is a overall champ off-road. We dig the EcoDiesel motor, but just as it is in the Wrangler, with its major rate quality, it can be not specifically a must-have choice in this usually great truck.

Rosa G. Rose

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