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The 2021 Jeep Gladiator remains an impressive option for Jeep owners as it brings the brand’s legendary capability to the midsize truck class and brings intense competition to regular contenders like the Toyota Tacoma and Chevy Colorado. As an off-road machine with the added capability of a truck, the Gladiator is challenging what is possible for the class and making a distinct impression. With this Jeep truck, you can tackle your morning commute and your off-roading adventures with ease.
This Jeep truck is a powerhouse all its own. The standard V6 engine does good work in combination with rugged and intelligently designed axles and specialized suspension for boulder crawling. If you are an off-road enthusiast, you are going to want the diesel engine option for optimal control on rugged terrain.
Some of the options provided by the Jeep Gladiator simply cannot be matched by any competitor. This truck is sure to impress long-time Jeep drivers who have wanted a truck option and truck drivers who are interested in seeing what Jeep brings to the table. As is a tradition for the Jeep, the roof and doors come off. Not normally a feature one expects when they saddle up in a truck, but the convertible touch will certainly be a crowd-pleaser.
While the bulk of the vehicle looks identical to the Jeep Wrangler built with the unique boxy frame, famous grill, and iconic door shape, the 5-foot bed sets it apart. This model hones in on the classic American Jeep aesthetic and class that Jeep fans want most. The added three-position tailgate is also a convenient feature that shows that Jeep is not just throwing on a truck bed on a Wrangler but wants it to be as functional as possible, too.
Despite offering a ton of options with the new 2021 model, the new Jeep Gladiator only provides two engine options for their entry in the race for midsize trucks. That said, the options they do have are impressive and comprehensive. The 3.6L V6 gasoline engine provides good horsepower and torque for the weekend off-road trips and regular hauling. The 3.0L V6 diesel takes the capability from good to great with 442 lb-ft of torque, better fuel economy, and superior off-road power.
The base trim for the Jeep Gladiator is the Sport that comes with the standard 3.6L V6 engine. The 6-speed manual transmission handles the output of the engine giving you 285 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. With standard four-wheel drive, this model is great for work and playtime whether you are hauling heavy loads or just traversing through nature. You also get an additional option to get the 8-speed automatic transmission if that is more your speed. As for fuel economy, you can expect to see around 17 MPG in the city and 22 MPG on the highway for a combined 19 MPG.
Of course, for the real off-road and heavy lifter enthusiasts, that 3.6L V6 gas engine probably won’t cut it for you. Fortunately, Jeep has kept you in mind and has an excellent option for drivers who want a little more power under the hood. Instead of the standard 3.6L V6, Gladiator drivers can upgrade to the 3.0L V6 diesel engine instead.
While this engine has a little less horsepower than the standard option, it makes up for that in sheer power. The 3.0L engine generates 260 horsepower and a whopping 442 lb-ft of torque. That is nearly double what the gasoline engine can do. This engine only comes with an 8-speed transmission option and sports superior fuel economy. If you are driving with diesel, you can expect to see 22 MPG in the city and 28 MPG on the highway for a combined 24 MPG.
Both of these engine options are great and give you excellent capability and strength for off-road and everyday performance. Jeep has leveraged their impeccable design for a performance SUV and combined it seamlessly with the needs of a midsize truck to deliver something we have never really seen done before.
The 2021 Jeep Gladiator is certainly not short on providing you with choices. Between their line of trim levels and then all of the additional features for you to choose from, you’ll be hard-pressed to find two identical Gladiators in your area. It's exciting because you can tailor your Gladiator to fit all your needs and wants. Plus, like the beloved Wrangler, you can take the top and doors off of the Gladiator for the ultimate outdoor adventure.
The basic Sport trim provides you with a basic features setup. It’s got roll-up windows and quality cloth upholstery that is comfy but not so fancy you’ll be afraid of getting it dirty. After all, this is a working vehicle that moonlights as an off-road warrior. Inside, you will find the standard 5” infotainment display with basic connectivity for your devices, music, and navigation.
On the outside, you get standard 17” steel wheels for rugged use as well as a folding soft top that is removable. A very cool feature other midsize trucks haven’t offered. You also get sway control for trailering, which helps prevent losing control of a trailer after a sudden turn. The cargo bed comes standard with integrated tie-downs, and there is even extra storage space behind the rear seats.
When you upgrade to the Overland trim, you get some shinier options built-in. The power windows are included with this package, as well as power locks featured on the doors and tailgate. There are some nice interior finishing touches for a higher quality feel, including a leather-wrapped steering wheel, tinted rear glass, power outlets, and a larger infotainment display. At 7”, this is also equipped with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and is equipped with two USB ports. There are additional options available beyond what comes standard in the trims by default.
For die-hard Jeep fans who want to trick out their Gladiator for maximum off-road capability, there is a whole suite of excellent options for you to choose from. Drivers can elect to add a winch to the front bumper for expanded potential with pulling and climbing. You can also get an available forward-facing trail cam with some of the higher trim levels.
There are even more options when you go inside the Gladiator. The 80th Anniversary trim gives you some incredibly stylish interior accents, Berber floor mats, and an even bigger 8.4” touchscreen for infotainment. Other interior options include a removable Bluetooth wireless speaker that lets you put your tunes outside of the truck so you can work to the soundtrack of your choice. An Alpine designed 9 speaker audio system upgrades to the sound system of the cabin does an excellent job of balancing the sound of whatever music, podcast, or program you choose to accompany your ride.
The optional heated front seats and steering wheel add a luxurious feel to the Gladiator that will have drivers in cold climates happy when they have to head out on a cold morning, but their seats and steering wheel are nice and toasty. Full LED exterior lights leave nothing unseen as they blast a huge field of light in front of your Gladiator. Adjustable rail-based tie down setup lets you move the locations to be wherever you need them to best suit the load in the bed you need to keep from getting away from you.
Finally, forward collision warning, blind spot monitors, and adaptive cruise control are optional safety features to take advantage of. Keep yourself and your passengers safer with these preventative and driver-assist features. As if this list wasn’t long enough, Mopar also provides more than 200 parts to further customize your Gladiator!
When you combine the key elements of the Jeep Wrangler with the power of a midsize truck, you get a truck that feels like the best of all worlds. Everything about the Gladiator is designed for peak performance. Delving under the vehicle, Jeep has outfitted their truck with some heavy-duty Dana 44 axles on the front and rear with extra-thick tubes for ultimate durability and rigidity. For off-roading, this is a perfect design choice. You can also fine-tune your performance with Off-Road+. At the push of a button, you can adjust the throttle, transmission shift points, and traction control to provide peak performance in various off-road conditions.
While it is competent for tarmac-based driving, the Gladiator shines brightest in its natural environment: wilderness. The higher trim models, more specialized for off-roading, have additional features that make tackling rough terrain a breeze. These features are further enhanced when the Gladiator is fully loaded with the V6 diesel engine option for the maximum 442 lb-ft of torque, which means you’ll be hard-pressed to find a boulder you can’t crawl over in your 2021 Gladiator.
The 2021 Gladiator’s interior provides a comfortable driving experience that will keep you feeling in control no matter where your roads end. Quality upholstery seats and modern tech features inside make the experience fun and enjoyable in combination with the power and adaptability of the vehicle’s core design. While the Gladiator isn't full of luxurious materials, it is designed with comfort and functionality in mind. After all, supple materials don't hold up against the great outdoors once you take off the top and doors. So sit back and enjoy nature while you travel around in style.