The New 442 LB-FT 2021 Jeep Gladiator Diesel Is Engineered For Low And Slow

Illustration for article titled The New 442 LB-FT 2021 Jeep Gladiator Diesel Is Engineered For Low And Slow
Photo: Jeep
Truck YeahThe trucks are good!

The 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 in the 2021 Jeep Wrangler has now officially also been confirmed for the off-roader’s pickup sibling. That’s great, but the 2021 Jeep Gladiator EcoDiesel will only be available on trims that also come decked out for rock-crawling, so it’s not going to be cheap.

Pairing a torquey engine with the equipment best proposed to utilize it efficiently makes a lot of sense, which is probably why the EcoDiesel Gladiator will also come with some pretty beefy crawling equipment from the factory.


The power matches that of the EcoDiesel Wrangler, producing 260 a claimed horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque, though the Gladiator carries a bit more overall mass than the shorter Jeep. The EcoDiesel is hooked up to a new TorqueFlite eight-speed auto that Jeep claims is specifically “calibrated for low RPM shifts and the on- and off-road rigors of Jeep Gladiator duty.”

That torque rating makes the Gladiator victor of the mid-size arena, defeating the 265 lb-ft Toyota Tacoma, 310 lb-ft Ford Ranger, and 369 lb-ft Chevy Colorado quite handily. The Gladiator’s best-in-class tow rating of 7,600 pounds is unchanged with the new engine.

The transmission is bespoke to the diesel engine in the Gladiator lineup, and comes with “more than 40” programmed shift maps that are supposed to be “variably optimized for specific capability.” Each map features unique shift points in various scenarios, like increased fuel efficiency, more engine performance, or enhanced off-roading capability, like low-RPM and torque management over rocks or other challenging irregular surfaces.

Illustration for article titled The New 442 LB-FT 2021 Jeep Gladiator Diesel Is Engineered For Low And Slow
Photo: Jeep

Only the Sport, Overland, and Rubicon trims get the diesel and its special transmission, as well as Dana 44 solid axles with a 3.73 axle ratio. The Rubicon trim gets a two-speed Rock-Trac transfer case with a 4.01:1 low gear ratio, and Sport and Overland trims get a Command-Trac 2.72:1 low-range gear ratio transfer case.

There’s also a 5.1-gallon diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) tank that requires new fluid with every regular oil change, so approximately about every 10,000 miles.


Fuel economy for the EcoDiesel Wrangler is 22 mpg city, 29 mpg highway and 25 mpg average, and since the Gladiator is a little beefier, it’ll probably perform slightly worse than those numbers.

Jeep annoyingly didn’t announce the price of the engine option on its pickup, but it’s likely the same as the $4,000 cost for the torquey upgrade on the Wrangler.

Reviews Editor, Jalopnik

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Matthew Hogan

I hate this. Every single piece of it. I own a CJ-8 Scrambler. I loved the idea of the Gladiator. I think it looks fine, yes the rear doors are weird, yes the bed is kinda small, but you know what, for a what it is, it’s fine. But it most certainly is not in any way, shape or form the successor to the Scrambler. It is what the G55 is to the original G-wagon. It’s a status symbol, a mockery, sell out.

Until I can buy one with the diesel and manual windows, full tow rating, screw all the creature comforts (Ok, maybe A/C) and a manual transmission as God herself demanded for 30K or less, then it will never be a legend. Just another damn poser.