2021 Jeep Gladiator 7

2021 Jeep Gladiator EcoDiesel: Let The Real Fun Begin

  • 2021 Jeep Gladiator EcoDiesel arrives following high consumer demand.
  • The 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 will be offered on select Gladiator trim levels.
  • Jeep made a number of refinements to the Gladiator’s EcoDiesel engine.

From the onset, we were always pining for the 2021 Jeep Gladiator EcoDiesel, and we acknowledged this fact from day one. And no, we have nothing against the Gladiator’s standard Pentastar V6 gasoline mill, either. But for those who know a thing or two about a diesel engine’s propensity for churning vast amounts of torque, a diesel Gladiator made a ton of sense in our book.

Well, here it is. We have no idea why it took Jeep two years to make it a reality – but we reckon it’s worth the long wait. “Before we introduced Gladiator, one of the most common questions consumers asked us was, ‘Will you please offer a Jeep truck?,’ followed closely by ‘Will it be offered with a diesel engine?’,” explained Jim Morrison, Head of Jeep Brand in North America.

“I’m pleased to answer the second question with a resounding, ‘Yes!’,” Morrison continued.

2021 Jeep Gladiator EcoDiesel: Nitty & Gritty

Jeep fans are familiar with the Gladiator’s standard 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 with 285 horsepower and 260 lb-ft. of torque. Meanwhile, the new EcoDiesel is a 3.0-liter V6 unit with 260 horsepower and a whopping 442 lb-ft. of torque. This torquey diesel mill does double duty on the Jeep Wrangler and Ram 1500, as well.

According to Jeep, the overwhelming consumer demand for a diesel Wrangler prompted the company to follow suit. And in the words of our colleague Tony Borroz, the EcoDiesel V6 gives you 442 good reasons (442 lb-ft. of torque, remember?) to choose the diesel. It’s basically the same story in the Jeep Gladiator.

“Gladiator’s combination of unmatched off-road capability and the vehicle’s fun-to-drive on-road performance, best-ever Gladiator fuel economy, and incredible driving range underwrite the fact that our consumers knew exactly what they were asking for,” Morrison said.

Equipped with an engine stop-start (ESS) feature, we reckon the diesel Gladiator has impressive fuel economy all things considered, although Jeep failed to mention specific EPA numbers. However, we’re privy to the fact that the EcoDiesel Wrangler is rated at a combined 25 mpg while the gasoline V6 is at 21 mpg, so we’re expecting marginal improvements over the gasoline Gladiator’s combined rating of 22 mpg.

2021 Jeep Gladiator EcoDiesel.
2021 Jeep Gladiator EcoDiesel. Photo: FCA US LLC.

2021 Jeep Gladiator EcoDiesel: Under The Hood

Let’s tackle the juicy parts about the 2021 Jeep Gladiator EcoDiesel. With double overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder, and a compacted graphite iron block, the Gladiator’s 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 is a powerhouse. It has a front-mounted turbo charge air cooler, a water-cooled variable geometry turbocharger (VGT), and an optimized 16.0:1 compression ratio to improve low-end torque while reducing engine noise.

But with high-pressure (29,000 psi/2,000 bar), direct-injection fuel injector nozzles, lighter aluminum alloy pistons (cooled on the underside via oil jets), and a two-piece oil sump, you get an instant response and smoother torque delivery. More specifically, the EcoDiesel’s pistons include thinner rings and a low-friction diamond-like carbon coating to reduce parasitic loss. The forged steel crankshaft and connecting rods increase strength and durability, according to Jeep.

The 2021 Jeep Gladiator EcoDiesel comes with a 5.1-gallon diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) tank behind the regular fuel tank. Drivers can monitor the fluid level via the new DEF gauge inside. Jeep says, on average, refilling the DEF aligns with the diesel Gladiator’s 10,000-mile oil change interval.

2021 Jeep Gladiator EcoDiesel on the open road.
2021 Jeep Gladiator EcoDiesel on the open road. Photo: FCA US LLC.

What Jeep Gladiator Has The EcoDiesel?

The 2021 Jeep Gladiator Sport, Overland, and Rubicon trims are available with the new EcoDiesel V6. Choosing the diesel also means a new TorqueFlite 8HP75 eight-speed automatic transmission. All Gladiator diesel models feature a 3.73 axle ratio and third-generation Dana 44 heavy-duty front and rear axles.

Additionally, the Rubicon is standard with the Rock-Trac two-speed transfer case with a 4.0:1 low-range gear ratio. On the other hand, Jeep’s Command-Trac two-speed part-time transfer case with a 2.72:1 low-range gear ratio is standard on the Sport and Overland.

2021 Jeep Gladiator EcoDiesel: Availability

Here’s the good news: orders for the 2021 Jeep Gladiator EcoDiesel are being accepted now. Pricing and other specifics are forthcoming, but we strongly feel the Gladiator diesel will command a $6,000 premium based on Jeep’s pricing strategy for the Wrangler – which means base prices of $40,000 upwards.

As a footnote, the Gladiator’s 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 is manufactured at the FCA Centro Facility in Ferrara, Italy. Meanwhile, the Jeep Gladiator is assembled in Toledo, Ohio.

Alvin Reyes is the Associate Editor of Automoblog. He studied civil aviation, aeronautics, and accountancy in his younger years and is still very much smitten to his former Lancer GSR and Galant SS. He also likes fried chicken, music, and herbal medicine. 

2021 Jeep Gladiator Gallery

Photos & Source: FCA US LLC.