A red 2021 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon is off-roading in the mud on a rocky trail.

2021 Jeep Gladiator: Off-Roading Excellence

Jeep has been around for quite a while, over half a century, in fact. While the manufacturer is well known for producing high-quality automobiles that are equally as reliable as they’re versatile, its main forte is off-roading. Throughout the years, we’ve seen some impressive showings from Jeep as they continuously produce lineups that off-roading enthusiasts trust. However, Jeep has done it again, and owners of the new 2021 Jeep Gladiator will be pleased with the latest additions made to the lineup.

The Gladiator isn’t an old lineup by any means, as the 2021 model is only the second launch of this truck, with last year’s model garnering praise by both fans and critics alike. A large portion of its praise comes from its status as the sole truck currently in production by Jeep, thus giving the lineup large shoes to fill, so to speak. Amongst the latest additions to the Gladiator, the diesel-powered engine previously seen on the 2020 model is present right off the bat, ready for launch. What separates the Gladiator from others on the market is the ability to remove the doors and roof, like with the Wrangler, making the driving experience in this truck one of a kind. Whether you’re off-roading or going on a road trip, the 2021 Gladiator is a fantastic choice.

A Quick Trim Breakdown

As the Gladiator is still a newer vehicle, the lineup is still in the dawn of its first-generation. Because of this, the arrangement of trims remains nearly identical to last year’s model, albeit with a few new additions. Starting at an MSRP of $33,565, Sport is the first trim for the lineup and is the baseline model. This base model contains a decent amount of features, including 4WD and an infotainment center, amongst others.

Sport S is the next available trim, followed up by Overland, which begins to add a host of luxury features to the lineup. The luxury features this trim contains include an upgraded infotainment screen with a larger screen and more functions, along with a steering wheel made of leather. This trim also increases the wheel size to 18-inches and includes dual-zone automatic climate controls allowing you and your passenger to experience separate temperatures in the same cabin.

Other special trims available throughout this lineup include Willys, Willys Sport, and the all-new 80th Anniversary edition. However, if you’re looking for the best off-roading experience that this lineup has to offer, then look no further than the highest-tier trims, these being Mojave, Rubicon, and High Altitude. Each of these trims contains the features that an off-roading expert would seek, such as electronic locking differentials for when you’re climbing over a tall rock, for example.

A silver 2021 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon is towing an enclosed trailer on a snowy road.

What Powertrains Are Available?

Like last year’s model, there are two engines available for the Gladiator. Unlike last year, however, both engines are available at launch, with Jeep sparing the wait for diesel fans this time around. The two engines remain identical to last year’s arrangement, with the base offering being a decently sized 3.6L V6 that produces 285 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. This engine will come standard with a 6-speed manual transmission, although drivers who wish to opt for an automatic transmission will have the option to do so with an 8-speed offering.

However, depending on which transmission you do opt for, this will affect your vehicle’s EPA ratings, albeit not by a lot. With the aforementioned 8-speed automatic transmission, you’ll be getting 17 MPG city and 22 MPG highway, while the manual will give you 16 MPG city and 23 MPG highway. In a standard configuration, the Gladiator can tow up to 4,000 lbs. However, a properly equipped model can tow upwards of 7,650 lbs of gas-powered towing, which Jeep claims is best-in-class.

The diesel-powered engine that you may opt for on your Jeep Gladiator is a tempting proposition, more so than others on the market. This is because this 3.0L V6 can produce 260 hp and a whopping 442 lb-ft of torque. Putting this into perspective, you’re only losing approximately 7% worth of horsepower compared to the gasoline-powered V6 but gaining a massive 70% in torque output. Unlike the base engine, however, this engine can only be paired to the 8-speed automatic transmission, meaning anybody who wishes to utilize the 6-speed manual will be relegated to the base engine.

As is usually the case with diesel-powered engines, this engine is more fuel-efficient than its gasoline-powered counterpart with EPA-estimated ratings of 22 MPG city and 28 MPG highway. So, not only will you get some pretty impressive power, but you can utilize it longer between stops at the gas station. There’s no wrong answer with the Jeep Gladiator, so either engine will be perfectly suitable for many different Jeep fans.

Interior, Payload, and Cargo

A person is riding a four wheeler into the bed of a silver 2021 Jeep Gladiator on sand at the ocean.

Every Jeep Gladiator can support a maximum capacity of five passengers. Every passenger will fit comfortably in the Gladiator, whether you’re sitting in the front row or back row. Up in the front, you’ll find 42.8-inches of headroom with the soft top and 40.8-inches with the hardtop with the backseat containing equal measurements.

In regards to available legroom, the front-row has 41.2-inches of space, and backseat passengers get an ample 38.3-inches. The materials for the cabin are implemented nicely, and you’ll be amazed at the storage capabilities of the Gladiator. Firstly, every Jeep Gladiator comes equipped with a 5-foot long bed and can support a maximum payload capacity of 1,700 lbs when properly equipped. A hidden storage container is located beneath the rear-row, and each model contains LED lights fitted in the extra storage areas. A pickup box is also included with 35.5 cu.ft. of additional storage capacity.

Every Gladiator comes equipped with an infotainment center with the base offering featuring a 5-inch display. However, it’s worth noting that if you’re interested in a feature-rich and robust experience, you should opt for a trim with the upgraded infotainment center. This upgraded infotainment center increases the screen size from 5-inches to 7-inches, ultimately giving you more screen real-estate for accessibility and readability.

Although infotainment centers are exciting in their own right, opting for this upgraded system will also include the likes of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Whether you’re asking a virtual assistant such as Siri for directions to the nearest off-roading site or making hands-free phone calls and text messages, you can do it here. The first step of connecting to Apple CarPlay or Android Auto is by connecting your smartphone to a compatible infotainment center, and you’ll suddenly be given access to a world of technical possibilities in your truck. This is just one of the many ways that the Gladiator is a perfect fit for a modern-day market.

The Long Road Ahead

The Jeep Gladiator is a perfect fit for the manufacturer most commonly known for producing off-roading capable machines. When a big-named manufacturer such as Jeep announces a new lineup, it’s typically a momentous occasion. Last year’s Gladiator performed very well, and this year’s model should do the same. As the Gladiator is still relatively new, we imagine there’s lots of longevity to be had in the lineup, and it makes us speculate what a Gladiator model could look like ten years from now.

Although speculating the future is exciting, what we have today is a brilliant pickup truck designed for off-roading by one of the most reputable manufacturers around. Take a ride in a one of a kind pickup truck specifically tailored to meet your needs. Should you be interested in obtaining your own 2021 Jeep Gladiator, then visiting your local dealership is the best way to get started with the process.