MALIBU, California—People generally ask me how I address car reviews, and I acquaint them my accepted modus operandi is to acquisition a hook—the affection or aspect of the agent that absolutely stands out—and again adhere the adventure on that. Area I run into agitation is with article like this 2021 Jeep Gladiator EcoDiesel analysis drive, which covers a agent that has added than one hook.
The accessible one is how abundant faculty a agent agent makes in an off-road Jeep. But there’s additionally the angle of a diesel-powered pickup, which is a abundant abstraction for bodies who use their pickups to, y’know, do things. And again there’s the apparent old angle that, to a car guy like me, diesels are aloof cool. This is aback the autograph becomes a struggle: Which is the best hook?
2021 Jeep Gladiator EcoDiesel Analysis Drive: Off-roading? You Charge One of These
Off-roaders acquire abundant allowances from Dr. Rudolf Diesel’s invention. Booty this accurate 2021 Jeep Gladiator EcoDiesel analysis drive: I started out my day with an off-road run on the trails at Calamigos Ranch, which is accustomed territory; I’ve apparently done 100 laps here, and best of them in Jeep Wranglers. Accomplishing so has fabricated me affected for the old 4.0-liter straight-six agent Jeep acclimated ages ago, which had just-off-idle torque to exhausted the band. Best Jeeps nowadays accept FCA’s 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6, which is a admirable agent but has one austere off-road flaw: On abrupt obstacles, you absolutely accept to get it activity afore it will go. And aback you’re off-road, revving the agent can accomplish things messy.
The 2021 Jeep Gladiator EcoDiesel does abroad with that little problem. It’s powered by the aforementioned 3.0-liter, turbodiesel V-6 begin in the diesel-powered Wrangler, with 260 application and a boss 442 lb-ft of torque available. (As Jeep staffers will blithely point out, that’s a 73-lb-ft advantage over the four-cylinder agent in Chevrolet’s admirable Colorado.) Abounding aberration is accessible amid 1,400-2,800 rpm.
Off-road, the advantages are anon obvious. The 2021 Jeep Gladiator EcoDiesel can tip-toe its way over boxy obstacles with the agent at abandoned dispatch or aloof above. If you appear beyond article that gives it pause, aloof lock the differentials (assuming your Gladiator has this option) and augment in a little added power, and it’ll affluence over whatever is beneath the tires aloof as acclaim as you please. In these aforementioned circumstances, the gas-powered Gladiator requires added burke input, which leads to added wheelspin and added ball (and I can say this for certain, because I’ve been in these aforementioned affairs with Pentastar-powered Jeeps). The agent allows added attention and finesse—think scalpel against edgeless steak knife and you’ll get the idea.
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Oh, and this is as acceptable a time as any to acknowledgment the Gladiator’s nose-mounted camera, which I hadn’t approved before. Obviously, it comes in actual accessible for those abrupt climbs aback all you can see out of the windshield is sky and you don’t accept a anchor alfresco of the car.
Of advance the agent is added ammunition efficient, and that’s useful, too—if you’re venturing way, way, way the hell off the baffled path, the added a catchbasin of ammunition takes you, the better.
So, yes—off-road, there is no catechism in my mind, the agent is the one you want.
2021 Jeep Gladiator EcoDiesel Analysis Drive: Did Someone Say, “Towing”?
If you bought your new Gladiator to do pickup-truck things, the altercation for the agent is additionally appealing strong.
You ability apprehend the agent to accord you added towing capacity, but it absolutely doesn’t. (Towing accommodation isn’t aloof about ability and torque, it’s additionally about chassis, braking, and cooling capability, and in this case it’s the closing that banned the Gladiator.) Beyond the Jeep Gladiator lineup, the towing champ is the gasoline-powered Gladiator Sport automated with 4.11:1 dart gears, at 7,650 pounds. The new 2021 Jeep Gladiator EcoDiesel I analysis drove—which comes alone with an eight-speed automated and 3:73 axles—tows 6,500 pounds in best trims, and 6,000 pounds in Rubicon form. That’s a little added than the gassers in some trims and beneath in others. The burden accommodation is hardly lower as able-bodied in best trims (1,075-1,325 pounds) attributable to the engine’s greater weight.
But what’s acceptable about the agent is the way it develops power—that big beachcomber of low-end torque makes it accessible to get the ability bottomward to the arena gently. (I tend to tow active things, primarily horses, and active acclaim and calmly is of ascendant importance.)
Is it the best-driving engine? Not really. Turbo lag is an issue; there’s a arresting adjournment amid prodding the accelerator and accepting an agent response. Aforementioned for foot-to-the-floor dispatch from a continuing start: Stomp the pedal and there’s a pause, and you can about faculty the Gladiator EcoDiesel anxiously acrimonious up its skirts afore it takes off. Actually, it doesn’t booty off so abundant as it wallops you in the baby of the aback with a sledgehammer. Again there’s addition abeyance as the automated changes gears, again addition wallop. Pause, wallop, pause, wallop, and afterwards four or bristles of these, you’re accomplishing 60 mph.
But if you’re not mashing the pedal every time you appetite to go—and accept me, you absolutely don’t charge to—both the agent and the manual do their assignment calmly and seamlessly. Babble is minimal; you can aloof apprehend the bombinate of the agent over the wind and annoy babble (of which there is no curtailment in a soft-top 2021 Jeep Gladiator).
Speaking of tires, I should acknowledgment this is the aboriginal time I’ve apprenticed the basal Sport archetypal of the Gladiator, the one that wears the abutting affair to artery tires, and I was afflicted with how able-bodied it handled. I’m acclimated to Gladiators (and Wranglers) with big, asperous tires that accomplish the council bendable and approximate, but this one went area I acicular it and absorbed the alley abundant bigger than I expected. It’s article to anticipate about if you appetite a Jeep Gladiator and don’t plan to do abundant off-roading.
2021 Jeep Gladiator EcoDiesel Analysis Drive: Worth the Money?
Back to the diesel: Would I buy one? Absolutely. I like the way diesels advance power, and the ammunition economy—24 mpg in the EPA accumulated aeon for Sport and Overland models, against 19 mpg for the 3.6 gasser—is a nice advantage. So is the canoeing range, which is on the adjustment of 500 miles.
Of course, it’s accessible for me to say the agent is a bigger option, because I’m borrowing the 2021 Jeep Gladiator EcoDiesel for a quick test, and I’m not affairs it with my own money. Affairs the agent will add some $6,000 to the Gladiator’s amount ($4,000 for the agent and addition $2,000 for the automated transmission). Add in destination fee, and we’re talking about $41,000-plus afore you add a distinct option. And how acceptable are you to acquisition a Gladiator at a bounded dealership after a distinct option? (Hint: Not very.)
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So, we can apparently rule-out the agent based on acceptable banking sense. We can additionally aphorism it out on towing, back the gasoline-powered Gladiator, aback appropriately equipped, tows more. And while I anticipate the agent is bigger off-road, we can’t pretend there aren’t bags of Jeepsters out there altogether annoyed with the 3.6 engine.
What the agent has, though, is an immeasurable air-conditioned factor. Both the Wrangler and the Gladiator aloof feel appropriate with a diesel. If I was activity to buy a 2021 Jeep Gladiator—which, let’s face it, makes actual little banking faculty compared to a Chevrolet Colorado, a Ford Ranger, or a Toyota Tacoma—I’d go for the diesel. Why? Well, why not?
Hey, maybe that’s the angle on which I should adhere this story.
2021 Jeep Gladiator EcoDiesel Pros
2021 Jeep Gladiator EcoDiesel Cons
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