2021 Jeep Gladiator EcoDiesel ready to deliver efficiency and fun

For its second year on the market, Jeep is enhancing the Gladiator pickup truck by making a diesel powertrain available.

The diesel is the familiar 3.0-liter turbocharged V-6 branded an EcoDiesel and used across a handful of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles products, including the Gladiator’s Wrangler sibling.

Here it gets the same rating as in the Wrangler: 260 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque. Jeep hasn’t said what mileage to expect but did say the diesel will deliver the most range of any Gladiator model. As a guide, the Wrangler with the same engine returns an EPA-rated 22 mpg city, 29 highway and 25 combined.

From our time in the diesel Wrangler, we know the engine’s power comes on smoothly with little need for revving, and the low-end torque delivery is almost like what you get in an electric car.

2020 Jeep Wrangler EcoDiesel

2020 Jeep Wrangler EcoDiesel

The diesel is available in the 2021 Gladiator’s Sport, Overland and Rubicon grades, and with the 8-speed automatic only. The transmission has received some unique calibrations to handle the low-end torque and works together with a standard 2-speed transfer case (4.0:1 low range for Rubicon and 2.72:1 low range for Sport and Overland).

Also unique to the diesel Gladiator is a 5.1-gallon DEF tank good for around 10,000 miles of urea that is splashed into the exhaust to reduce emissions. A gauge for the DEF features in the front cluster. And the engine also sports a unique sound-deadening package to help reduce some of the diesel clatter coming into the cabin.

Big torque delivered at low engine speeds is an undeniable asset off-road, so we can imagine the diesel will be a popular option on the Gladiator. It should also make for strong towing, though Jeep hasn’t mentioned a tow rating.

Pricing information will be announced closer to the market launch in the third quarter of the year.

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