Jeep adds 3.0-liter diesel and special editions to Wrangler and Gladiator for 2021
Jeep is offering the fuel-sipping 3.0-liter EcoDiesel in both the 2021 Gladiator and 2021 Wrangler four-door models along with a host of all-new and trickle-down options. The engine, new to the Gladiator this year, uses engine stop-start (ESS) and brings 260 hp and 442 lb-ft of torque to the trail, all channeled through a specially tuned version of the TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic.
The ubiquitous 3.6-liter Pentastar gasoline V-6 returns with 285 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque and also boasts ESS. This six-cylinder will be the standard engine in the Gladiator, paired with a standard six-speed manual or an optional eight-speed auto. In the Wrangler, the 3.6-liter ESS engine is paired with the manual, while the 3.6-liter that comes with the automatic will employ the mild-hybrid eTorque assist. Also found in the Ram 1500, the eTorque system uses a 48-volt electric motor to supply extra power and boost efficiency.
Jeep is also giving Wrangler buyers the option of a turbocharged 2.0-liter gas engine with 270 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. That’s not too far from the output of the Pentastar and should eke out better fuel economy. It might prove to be the perfect powertrain for the two-door Wrangler.
New drivetrain options for 2021 include full-time transfer case applications for the 4x4s. Gladiator buyers can now opt for the new Selec-Trac full-time two-speed transfer case with a 2.72:1 low-range gear ratio, now available in the Sport S, Overland, and Mojave trim levels. Though the full-time system was only packaged with the Wrangler’s Moab and Sahara trim levels, Sport-spec Wranglers now get available Selec-Trac. The Rock-Trac 4×4 system and its 4.0:1 low-range, found only on Wrangler Rubicon models, is now available in a full-time 4×4 variant. Both full-time transfer case options allow the Wrangler and the Gladiator to use full-time 4×4 capability in the same applications where a driver would typically want all-wheel-drive—for instance, on wet pavement.
Because Jeep loves to offer unique trim levels and special editions, 2021 will pack several new looks. To celebrate the brand’s 80th year in production, an 80th Anniversary Edition will be available for both the Wrangler and for the Gladiator. Each will feature 18-inch wheels finished in Granite Crystal, Neutral Grey Metallic exterior accents, and unique floor mats and badging.
The Wrangler is also getting an Islander trim once again. First available on the YJ Wranglers and brought back for the JK Wrangler, the beach-themed Jeep will return with Islander lettering on the hood sides along with a Tiki decal. It comes with 32-inch tires and black side steps. A white hardtop is optional. The Gladiator isn’t left out, either, since the new Willys model will add rock rails, a limited-slip rear differential, and 32-inch mud-terrain tires.
Finally, the Wrangler is also adopting the forward-facing Trail-Cam that launched on the Gladiator. If you choose a Wrangler model equipped with the 8.4-inch touchscreen, you can add the TrailCam and access it through the Off-Road Pages, giving you a view from the grille to better place the tires on tight trails.
We’ll have to see if the ever-evolving Wrangler can hold onto its off-road crown with the Bronco nipping at its heels. So far, it seems like Jeep is doing what it does best: giving buyers lots of off-roading choices.