Jan
13
2020 Jeep Gladiator Overland 4X4 EcoDiesel

2021 Jeep Gladiator Overland 4×4 EcoDiesel in Firecracker Red Clear-Coat (a $245 option)

Quick Spin, Consumer Guide Automotive

2021 Jeep Gladiator Overland 4×4 EcoDiesel

Class: Compact Pickup Truck

Miles driven: 196

Fuel used: 8.3 gallons

Real-world fuel economy: 23.7 mpg

Driving mix: 50% city, 50% highway

EPA-estimated fuel economy: 22/28/24 (city, highway, combined)

Fuel type: Diesel

Base price: $40,395 (not including $1495 destination charge)

CG Report Card
Room and ComfortB
Power and PerformanceB-
Fit and FinishB
Fuel EconomyB
ValueC+
Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.
Big & Tall Comfort
Big GuyC+
Tall GuyC+
Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.
Drivetrain
Engine Specs260-hp 3.0-liter
Engine TypeV6 diesel
Transmission 8-speed automatic
Drive Wheels4WD

Options on test vehicle: Firecracker Red Clear-Coat exterior paint ($245); leather interior-upholstery upgrade ($1595); Trailer-Tow Package ($350); Cold Weather Group ($995); Premium LED Lighting Group ($1295); 8.4-inch Radio and Premium Audio Group ($1895); Jeep Active Safety Group ($895); Adaptive Cruise Control with Full Speed Forward Collision Warning+ ($795); hardtop headliner ($555); Cargo Management Group with Trail Rail system ($895); roll-up tonneau cover ($595); 8-speed automatic transmission ($2000); 3.0L V6 turbodiesel engine ($4000) remote-proximity keyless entry ($545) body-color Freedom Top 3-piece hard top ($2395); spray-in bedliner ($495)

Price as tested: $61,435

 

Quick Hits

The great: One-of-a-kind looks, attitude, and functionality; off-road prowess

The good: Torquey diesel engine delivers respectable fuel economy; broad range of available features; long wheelbase provides decent ride quality for an off-road-focused vehicle

The not so good: Pricey options really drive up the bottom-line price; steering feel demands frequent minor corrections in highway driving

More Gladiator price and availability information

 

CG Says:

The trick for optimal off-road driving, be it inching over uneven rocks or squirming through soupy mud, is to get sufficient power to turn the wheels without generating a lot of counterproductive wheelspin. Nothing that burns fossil fuels meets that need quite like a diesel engine because of its strong, quickly developing torque, and now the Jeep Gladiator has one.

2021 Jeep Gladiator Overland 4X4 EcoDiesel

The Gladiator–a pickup version of the popular and iconic Jeep Wrangler–debuted for the 2020 model year. An available EcoDiesel 3.0-liter V6 is the most notable update to the Gladiator lineup for 2021.

For 2021 Jeep makes the same 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 it dropped into the ’20 Wrangler available in its compact pickup, now in its second year on the market. As used in the Wrangler and Gladiator, this EcoDiesel engine from VM Motori in Italy is rated at 260 horsepower that peaks at 3600 rpm, but its considerable 442 lb-ft of torque is in play by just 1400 rpm and holds for up to twice that many revs. (A version of the same engine for Ram 1500 pickups is more powerful.) That is a bunch more torque than Gladiator’s other power choice, a 3.6-liter gasoline V6, generates.

Test Drive: 2020 Jeep Gladiator Mojave

2021 Jeep Gladiator Overland 4X4 EcoDiesel

Our test vehicle was equipped with a $1595 leather upholstery upgrade package that added a leather-wrapped shift knob, parking-brake handle, and instrument-panel bezels in addition to leather seat upholstery.

An EcoDiesel was under the hood of the 2021 Gladiator Overland tested by Consumer Guide editors, albeit in on-road driving—a less-natural habitat for the engine. It is a $4000 option available for all Gladiators but the desert-running Mojave, and it requires an upgraded 8-speed automatic transmission, which costs a further $2000.

It’s a little harder to appreciate the turbodiesel’s virtues on the street, where its measured application of power can seem a little sluggish. At start-up and at idle there’s not much of the clatter so familiar from larger-displacement diesels, though determined acceleration will raise the noise level somewhat. Still, once the EcoDiesel starts feeling its oats, it will maintain a good head of steam for sustained zippy highway runs. The effective 8HP75 automatic kicks down promptly when bursts of power are called for. Depending on the model, a diesel Gladiator can tow as much as 6500 pounds, though the gas V6 provides the most available towing capacity at 7650 pounds.

Quick Spin: 2020 Jeep Gladiator Sport

Jeep Gladiator, Firecracker Red

Tall front-seat occupants might wish for a bit more legroom, but headroom is very good in both the front and rear seats. The leather upholstery upgrade package also includes a fold-down rear-seat center armrest with cupholder.

EcoDiesel Gladiators have a smaller 18.3-gallon fuel tank than their gasoline-fed companions, but with an EPA highway-mileage estimate of 28 miles per gallon, that gives them a potential range in excess of 500 miles. Even the feds’ city estimate of 22 mpg and combined projection of 24 mpg are considerably better than what’s expected from the gas engine. CG editors extracted 23.7 mpg overall in evenly mixed driving, but one hit 26 mpg with more than two-thirds highway travel.

Quick Spin: 2020 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro

Jeep Gladiator, Firecracker Red

Choosing the handy roll-up canvas tonneau cover and spray-in bedliner treatment will set you back a total of $1090.

The Gladiator rests on a 137.3-inch-wheelbase chassis that’s part Wrangler and part pickup truck. Heavy-duty Dana 44 axles housing 3.73:1 final-drive gears are used at both ends. They are linked by “Command-Trac” part-time 4-wheel-drive with a 2-speed transfer case. A limited-slip rear differential is included with the diesel engine option. The extended wheelbase and all-coil-spring suspension make the pickup the best-riding Wrangler derivative around, especially models like the Overland that come with 255/70R18 all-season tires that are more compatible with street and highway driving than the dedicated off-road rubber.

First Spin: 2021 Ram 1500 TRX

Diesel Engine

The priciest item on our test vehicle’s option list is the $4000 EcoDiesel 3.0-liter V6 engine. Eighteen-inch Granite Crystal-finished aluminum wheels on all-season tires are standard equipment on the Overland model.

The sticker for the Overland that CG drove started at $41,890 with delivery, which is the same price as the 2020 example the editors sampled, and we will point you to that report for details about equipment and passenger accommodations. However, our ’21 test truck wasn’t finished until it had reached $61,435 with individual and package options that included heated leather seats and steering wheel, LED exterior lighting, Uconnect infotainment with an 8.4-inch screen and navigation, blind-spot and rear cross-traffic monitoring, adaptive cruise control, cargo-bed management system, 3-piece removable hardtop roof panels, and much more. That is a breathtaking total for a compact-class pickup, a number that would fetch a pretty nice full-size truck. A turbodiesel Jeep Gladiator can help you “get away from it all” but that shouldn’t include all your money.

Test Drive: 2020 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X Crew Cab

2021 Jeep Gladiator Overland 4X4 EcoDiesel

The Gladiator 18-inch wheelbase stretch over its Wrangler sibling is especially apparent in profile. It makes for an exceptionally long vehicle, but also provides a relatively comfortable ride. The EcoDiesel engine supplies excellent torque and respectable fuel economy, but it tacks a hefty premium onto an already-spendy vehicle.

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2021 Jeep Gladiator Overland Gallery

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