Jeep aims at Ranger, Colorado with new diesel Gladiator
The Jeep Gladiator is a serious off-road pickup, providing fine towing capacity but only a short bed; length was sacrificed for off-road capability. Until now, though, there was no torque-monster engine, responsive from idle, to match the old 4-liter straight-six. What’s more, those looking at Chevy Colorados, Toyota Tacomas, and Ford Rangers may have been put off by the poor 17/22 mpg ratings.
For 2021 Gladiators, though, the diesel engine will be optional on the Sport, Overland, and Rubicon; orders are already open. That provides a stunning 442 pound-feet of torque, which requires the TorqueFlite 8HP75 (made by ZF) eight-speed automatic; the tough transmission was calibrated for low-RPM shifts and off-road demands. The transmission has 40 shift maps.
The diesel comes with third-gen Dana 44 axles, a 3.73:1 axle ratio, 2.72:1 low gear with Command-Trac and 4:1 low gear with Rock-Trac.
Fuel economy is not yet available, but on the Jeep Wrangler, the diesel takes the V6 engine’s 18 city, 22 highway and converts it to 22 city, 29 highway—enough to beat any Colorado pickup.
Clark Westfield grew up fixing up and driving past-their-prime American cars, including various GM and Mopar V8s. He has ghostwritten auto news for the last few years, lives in Farmingdale, New York, and can be reached at +1.516-531-4021.