Auburn Hill, Michigan – Less than a week before Ford plans to show off its Bronco line of off-road vehicles, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ (FCA’s) Jeep brand reminded rock-climbing fans why it dominates that market.
One of the only vehicles to grow sales significantly in the age of COVID, the Jeep Gladiator pickup will gain a massive new advantage for the 2021 model year, a 3L diesel engine that will provide off-road warriors the muscle needed for excursions.
The 3L EcoDiesel V-6 engine, rated at 260hp and 442 lb-ft of torque, with engine stop-start (ESS) technology standard, is available on Gladiator Sport, Overland and Rubicon models. To handle greater torque loads, the EcoDiesel V-6 connects to a 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 4x4 capability.
Jeep Gladiator EcoDiesel Sport, Overland, and Rubicon models feature third-generation Dana 44 front and rear heavy-duty axles. Additionally, all Gladiator EcoDiesel models feature 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.
The 2021 Jeep Gladiator EcoDiesel goes on sale in the third quarter of 2020.
The timing of the Gladiator diesel announcement can only days before Ford plans to unveil its Bronco lineup. That announcement is set for today (July 13, 2020). Ford has released silhouette images of three Bronco off-road vehicles with removable doors and roofs that have made Jeep models stand out historically.
Ford discontinued the last Bronco line in 1996 as the larger, more expensive Explorer was becoming far more popular. At its peak, Ford sold 425,000 Explorers in one year, challenging even the F-150 pickup for sales dominance. Ford officials say they're bringing the vehicle back because of growing demand for SUVs and because the off-road market can be highly profitable.