The Jeep Gladiator EcoDiesel has long been rumored and previously caught in these spy photos, but yesterday Jeep officially announced the Gladiator EcoDiesel. Available for the 2021 model year is the new third-generation EcoDiesel, that previously debuted in the 2020 Ram 1500 DT and later in the Jeep Wrangler JL Unlimited, which took home the 2020 FOUR WHEELER SUV of the year award.
“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?’ While we know the answer to the first question, I’m pleased to answer the second with a resounding, ‘Yes!’,” said Jim Morrison, Head of Jeep Brand – North America. “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 customers knew exactly what they were asking for.”
The third-generation EcoDiesel is 80% new compared to the older EcoDiesel that currently lives on in the Ram 1500 Classic and was previously available in the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Engineers worked hard on improving reliability, NVH, drivability, and fuel economy which resulted in some substantial changes such as:
- A new-generation water-cooled turbocharger with variable geometry turbine (VGT) and low-friction bearing increases efficiency and responsiveness during transient conditions
- Redesigned cylinder head intake ports with higher flow capability improve swirl and flow, increasing performance and fuel economy
- The exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system design has been updated to a dual loop (low and high pressure) system. The added low-pressure circulation system draws gases after the diesel particulate filter, thus minimizing turbocharger energy losses, which increases fuel economy
- The compression ratio has been optimized to 16.0:1 from 16.5:1 to improve fuel economy and reduce engine noise
- High-pressure (29,000 psi/2,000 bar) direct-injection fuel injector nozzles were redesigned to match the newly designed and optimized combustion chamber, reducing fuel consumption
- Lightweight aluminum alloy pistons were completely redesigned to include thinner rings and low-friction diamond-like carbon coating on the pin and compression piston ring to reduce parasitic losses
- NVH has been improved by offsetting the piston pin 0.3 millimeters from the centerline
- The lower portion of the two-piece oil sump uses a lightweight sandwiched polymer/metal material, which further reduces NVH
In both the JL Wrangler Unlimited and Gladiator this new EcoDiesel is rated at 260 horsepower and 442 lb.-ft. of torque, with engine stop-start (ESS) technology standard. Since the EcoDiesel puts out much more torque than the 3.6 Pentastar V6, the 850RE eight-speed automatic is replaced by the TorqueFlite 8HP75 eight-speed automatic transmission, calibrated for low RPM shifts and the on- and off-road rigors of Jeep Gladiator duty. There are more than 40 individual shift maps to optimize shift points for fuel economy, performance, and 4×4 capability.
The EcoDiesel will be available in Sport, Overland, and Rubicon models, and feature third-generation Dana 44 front and rear heavy-duty axles with a 3.73 axle ratio. The Rock-Trac two-speed transfer case with a 4.0:1 low-range gear ratio is standard on Rubicon models and the Command-Trac part-time two-speed transfer case with a 2.72:1 low-range gear ratio on Sport and Overland models.
According to our friends at TFLTruck the Gladiator EcoDiesel will tow a maximum of 6,000 lbs, 1,650 lbs less than the Pentastar V6 with the max towing package. With all the extra diesel torque on tap, we believe this is likely a GVWR issue due to the EcoDiesel powertrain being heavier than the Pentastar. We have reached out to FCA for comment and will report back.
The EcoDiesel should be a very compelling choice for consumers as it should be much more fuel-efficient than the gas V6 while developing a lot more low-end torque which was one of my few complaints when I reviewed a Gladiator Rubicon last year. Currently, the only other mid-size diesel pickups on the road in North America are the Colorado/Canyon twins with the four-cylinder Duramax which puts out 181 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque.
Ordering for the Gladiator EcoDiesel is open now.