Is the EcoDiesel Jeep Gladiator pickup truck an option worth considering?
We had a chance to drive it, and here are our impressions. The 2021 Jeep Gladiator offers three powertrain options. Standard is the 3.6-liter Pentastar gasoline V6 with 6-speed manual transmission. ZF’s 8HP50 automatic transmission is optional.
Our test unit features the optional 3-liter EcoDiesel V6, available only with the beefier 8HP75 ZF 8-speed automatic.
Gladiator’s fraternal twin, the iconic Jeep Wrangler offers 3 additional powerplant options: the 2-liter 4-cylinder turbocharged GME engine in gas-only and plug-in hybrid 4xe variants, plus the mighty 392 Hemi V8. These won’t be offered in the Gladiator…at least for now.
EcoDiesel V6, by the numbers
The EcoDiesel’s 260 hp are actually down from the Pentastar’s 285 hp, but the diesel’s 442 lb/ft of torque handily surpass the gas engine’s 260 lb/ft. Further, the diesel’s maximum torque is available between 1,400-2,800 rpm, vs the gas engine’s 4,800 rpm that makes this truck deliver power faster. For comparison, the Eurasian Ford Ranger Raptor’s maximum torque is 369 lb/ft.
U.S. EPA EcoDiesel V6 fuel economy is 22 MPG city / 28 MPG highway / 24 MPG combined. It’s no Prius, but it’s the most frugal mid-sized pickup in the U.S.
Our Jeep Gladiator Overland is the middle of 5 available trim levels, above Sport and Sport S and below even more capable Rubicon and Mojave. Special limited editions are typically Jeep, and 2021 sees Willys Sport, Willys, 80th Anniversary and High Altitude variants.
Gladiator Overland with the standard gas V6 manual starts at US$40,395, but the EcoDiesel, obligatory automatic and numerous extras brought our tester’s sticker to US$61,730.
Behind the wheel
The overriding impression of the Jeep Gladiator is one of enough effortless, responsive torque to put a smile on even masked faces. Sadly, Florida is hardly conducive to true, hardcore off-roading, but the EcoDiesel’s smoothness and sheer capability were a pleasant surprise. And one more thing, if living in Miami Beach, you need a plan to refuel is not easy to find diesel at the pump.