Jeep said it would introduce a diesel-powered version of the Gladiator this year, and despite the world’s state of affairs, the automaker is keeping its word. The 2021 Jeep Gladiator diesel will hit dealerships in the third quarter of the year, and Jeep is now taking orders.
As previously reported, the truck’s turbocharged 3.0-liter diesel V-6 makes 260 hp and 442 lb-ft of torque. This mill pairs to an eight-speed automatic transmission that’s calibrated for low RPM shifts. The Gladiator diesel will compete with the Chevrolet Colorado diesel, which pumps out 186 hp and 369 lb-ft. Jeep has yet to announce official fuel economy numbers, but to beat the Chevy, it would have to deliver more than 23 mpg in combined city and highway driving.
All 2021 Jeep Gladiator diesel models feature a 3.73 rear axle ratio. Sport, Overland, and Rubicon diesels get Dana 44 front and heavy-duty axles. While Rubicons come standard with a transfer case with a 4:0:1 low-range gear ratio, Sport and Overland models get a part-time transfer case with a 2.72:1 low-range gear ratio.
We have high hopes for the Jeep Gladiator diesel, given our experience with the same engine in the Wrangler diesel. We praised the model’s slick eight-speed as well as its smooth and quick acceleration. Torque comes early in the powerband, eliminating turbo lag. One thing we didn’t like about the Wrangler diesel: its $6,000 price premium over the standard V-6.
Jeep hasn’t announced prices for the Gladiator diesel yet. But we’re bracing ourselves for it to be quite a bit more expensive than the gas model, which started at $35,040 for the 2020 model year. Stay tuned for pricing information and additional specs closer to the truck’s release date.