The wait for a diesel-powered Jeep pickup is over as Fiat-Chrysler announced the 2021 Gladiator on Friday, available with the automaker’s 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6. We’re talking about the highly regarded compression-ignition lump that’s also available in the Ram 1500 and, yes, the Jeep Wrangler. It’s a formidable power plant that produces 260 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque—ideal for low-speed off-roading—all while delivering 32 highway miles per gallon in other applications.
To answer your next question: No, it’s not available with a manual transmission. Instead, a specially tuned eight-speed automatic is the only option, though FCA explains it’s been reworked for the Gladiator EcoDiesel. It works in collaboration with the two-speed transfer case to send all that torque where it’s needed for max traction, which is also aided by the Gladiator’s plethora of off-road-focused features.
Buyers can spec their Gladiator Sport, Overland, or Rubicon with the turbodiesel engine, and no matter what trim they spring for, it’ll come with a 3.73 rear-end. Sport and Overland models feature a Command-Trac transfer case with a 2.72:1 low-range gear ratio, while Rubicons offer a standard Rock-Track with a 4.0:1 ratio.
Notably, there’s no option to equip a Gladiator Mojave with the EcoDiesel engine, though that makes sense. The 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 is up on horsepower in comparison—285 ponies to 260—and it also weighs around 175 pounds less. Those are both key areas for high-speed desert running, which the Gladiator Mojave is exceptional at thanks to its Fox monotube shocks.
Finally, in terms of midsize truck torque, the Gladiator EcoDiesel is far and away the king. The current Ford Ranger musters just 310 pound-feet from its 2.3-liter EcoBoost gas engine while the Chevy Colorado ZR2 diesel provides 369 pound-feet. The Tacoma is far down the order at 265 pound-feet, making the Gladiator an obvious choice for those who want extra oomph on the low-end. Sadly, if it’s anything like with the Wrangler, the diesel won’t increase the Gladiator’s tow capacity which already reigns as best-in-class at 7,600 pounds.
No pricing was mentioned in FCA’s release; however, customers can order their own Gladiator EcoDiesel today while showroom sales will kick off sometime in 2020’s third quarter.
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