2021 Jeep Gladiator

2021 Gladiator Photos
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misstated the Gladiator Rubicon EcoDiesel tow rating. It's 6,000 pounds.   MOUNT VERNON, Wash. — “Hey, you got it all dirty!” The guy in the UTV had spotted the 2021 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon parked nearby as he crawled over rocks to exit a 4x4 trail called the Timber Tamer. “Yeah!” I replied with false bravado, knowing the Gladiator hadn’t really earned its mud splatters. Yes, it was a Jeep, and a Rubicon, and with the low-end grunt of a diesel engine. But it hadn’t gone where the other Jeeps go. It got dirty at this off-road playground by sticking to the roads. When handed a Jeep fob, you're drawn to the backcountry, in this case the Walker Valley ORV Park on state land east of bucolic Mount Vernon. Walker Valley offers 36 miles of ATV and motorcycle trails, and 10 miles of 4x4 trails through forests and clear-cuts. But recon via YouTube videos revealed some gnarly terrain, with Jeeps rock-hopping, crunching into trees and driving through cuts as deep as the door handles. Who would borrow a $67,000 press truck and do that? More of a question, who would crunch one’s own $67,000 truck? Two gravel forestry roads transit the park. So the plan was, stick to those, enjoy the scenery, share a few Jeep waves. Like a kid who can’t come out to play because his mom is afraid he’ll get hurt, the Gladiator would just splash in the puddles and hang out to see what the other kids were doing. It's a paradox: This is a Jeep. With a diesel, even. You could do extreme Jeep things in it (at least as its long-wheelbase breakover angle will allow). But it costs so much, you probably won’t. A Gladiator Sport starts at $35,060, including destination, not bad for what you get. A Rubicon — with its heavy-duty locking axles, remotely disconnecting stabilizer bar, 33-inch tires, skid plates, rock rails, Fox shocks, etc. — starts at $45,635.  This particular Rubicon got to $67,130 by including leather seats ($1,595); excellent LED headlight upgrades ($1,295); premium audio ($1,895); Freedom Top hard top ($2,395); and more. It had carpeting — which got muddy. Most expensive of all, and of particular interest, were the V6 EcoDiesel ($4,000) and its required eight-speed automatic ($2,000). The options totaled $21,495. By the time the truck is on its second or third owner and isn’t worth as much, someone will use the heck out of that off-road hardware. But while you're making payments, that seems unlikely to be you. This is the same staggering set of facts our Byron Hurd grappled with recently in a $68,000 Ford F-150 4x4 SuperCrew Platinum. You can buy a nice Lexus or Mercedes for the $67,000 ask on this Jeep. Not a fair comparison, you say? Consider a corporate cousin: You could buy a similarly equipped full-size Ram Laramie Longhorn, or even a decently optioned Power Wagon, both in many ways more comfortable or capable. …
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CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misstated the Gladiator Rubicon EcoDiesel tow rating. It's 6,000 pounds.   MOUNT VERNON, Wash. — “Hey, you got it all dirty!” The guy in the UTV had spotted the 2021 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon parked nearby as he crawled over rocks to exit a 4x4 trail called the Timber Tamer. “Yeah!” I replied with false bravado, knowing the Gladiator hadn’t really earned its mud splatters. Yes, it was a Jeep, and a Rubicon, and with the low-end grunt of a diesel engine. But it hadn’t gone where the other Jeeps go. It got dirty at this off-road playground by sticking to the roads. When handed a Jeep fob, you're drawn to the backcountry, in this case the Walker Valley ORV Park on state land east of bucolic Mount Vernon. Walker Valley offers 36 miles of ATV and motorcycle trails, and 10 miles of 4x4 trails through forests and clear-cuts. But recon via YouTube videos revealed some gnarly terrain, with Jeeps rock-hopping, crunching into trees and driving through cuts as deep as the door handles. Who would borrow a $67,000 press truck and do that? More of a question, who would crunch one’s own $67,000 truck? Two gravel forestry roads transit the park. So the plan was, stick to those, enjoy the scenery, share a few Jeep waves. Like a kid who can’t come out to play because his mom is afraid he’ll get hurt, the Gladiator would just splash in the puddles and hang out to see what the other kids were doing. It's a paradox: This is a Jeep. With a diesel, even. You could do extreme Jeep things in it (at least as its long-wheelbase breakover angle will allow). But it costs so much, you probably won’t. A Gladiator Sport starts at $35,060, including destination, not bad for what you get. A Rubicon — with its heavy-duty locking axles, remotely disconnecting stabilizer bar, 33-inch tires, skid plates, rock rails, Fox shocks, etc. — starts at $45,635.  This particular Rubicon got to $67,130 by including leather seats ($1,595); excellent LED headlight upgrades ($1,295); premium audio ($1,895); Freedom Top hard top ($2,395); and more. It had carpeting — which got muddy. Most expensive of all, and of particular interest, were the V6 EcoDiesel ($4,000) and its required eight-speed automatic ($2,000). The options totaled $21,495. By the time the truck is on its second or third owner and isn’t worth as much, someone will use the heck out of that off-road hardware. But while you're making payments, that seems unlikely to be you. This is the same staggering set of facts our Byron Hurd grappled with recently in a $68,000 Ford F-150 4x4 SuperCrew Platinum. You can buy a nice Lexus or Mercedes for the $67,000 ask on this Jeep. Not a fair comparison, you say? Consider a corporate cousin: You could buy a similarly equipped full-size Ram Laramie Longhorn, or even a decently optioned Power Wagon, both in many ways more comfortable or capable. …
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Retail Price

$34,385 - $44,665 MSRP / Window Sticker Price

Smart Buy Price

$192 - $585 Nat'l avg. savings off MSRP
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Engine 3.6L V-6
MPG 16 City / 23 Hwy
Seating 5 Passengers
Transmission 6-spd man w/OD
Power 285 @ 6400 rpm
Drivetrain four-wheel
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