The advent of the pickup version of the Wrangler, the Jeep Gladiator was one many waited for. It was one I waited for and was not disappointed when it came on the market. Adding the option of a diesel engine only makes this prospect more alluring for the off-road enthusiast in me.
The Gladiator Rubicon EcoDiesel we tested priced in at $67,130 which means well optioned and outfitted. As such we enjoyed in comfort and convenience these attributes as it was tested on and off-road for a week in and around our home of Phoenix, AZ.
Our key takeaways are that like the Jeep Gladiator Sport we tested last year, it drives like a Jeep. This means on-pavement behavior market by a bouncy lolling ride and a wanderlust of steering that requires attention.
While it might sound like complaining, this is considered part of the charm that is a Jeep to many. The reality of solid axles front and rear combined with a suspension tuned for off-road prowess is the compromise well worth it when you find yourself in the rough.
Off-Road, the Fox shocks and traction toys of the Rubicon package come in handy for the more involved of rock crawling and heavy duty trails. The addition of the high torque diesel engine is icing on the cake.
With 260 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque it crawls along effortlessly and climbs with confidence requiring minimal throttle inputs. At speed, its diesel purr is ever present, and engine handled well around town and on the highway by its 8-speed automatic transmission.
Rated at 21mpg city, 27 mpg highway and 24 mpg combined we achieved 22 mpg in our week of mostly city driving.
There is some reckoning and honesty to report about its pricing. Base price was $43,875. A line item look at the list of over $23,000 in options shows a rape-fest that is downright ridiculous.
This is one area where Jeep really gets out of hand and starts losing the value argument to larger full-size pickup trucks. In the end however, people will buy the Gladiator because they love it and want it and that is that. They won’t care that Consumer Reports thinks it is a dumpster fire of failed value.
Like most who will swallow the load and buy it, the Jeep Gladiator Rubicon EcoDiesel is a vehicle we positively loved in our week of testing. It makes it to our TestDrivenTV “Id Buy It” list in fact.