2021 Jeep Gladiator
On the outside, the 2021 Jeep Gladiator remains identical to that from the previous year. Under the hood, however, is a new and exciting engine option. For 2021, Jeep has made available a 3.0L EcoDiesel V6 to the Gladiator. This turbo-charged V6 diesel produces 260 horsepower, 20 less than the V6 gas Pentastar, but an astounding 442 lb-ft of torque. As a direct result, a 4.10 axle ratio is no longer offered on Gladiators with the EcoDiesel since it simply isn't needed with so much torque on tap. Rather, all EcoDiesel-equipped Gladiators sport a 3.73 rear-axle ratio and a beefed-up 8-speed automatic transmission with gear ratios tailored for off-road performance.
Raise the Rockers
All ready an off-road phenom, the 2021 JT Gladiator can be further enhanced with a lift kit. Not only does lifting a Gladiator give it better ground clearance, it will allow for larger tires to fit in the fender well which further propagates its trail-conquering capability. At the low end of the lift spectrum is a 1-2" lift. This type of lift kit will eliminate the factory front end rake (front end is lower than the rear by about an inch) and fit a 35" tire (Rubicon models feature highline fenders from the factory and can accommodate a 35" tire without a lift). These systems mainly use spacers to achieve the lift and don't actually increase suspension travel. The next stage falls between 3-5" of lift, where these systems can become considerably more complex and expensive (but also, much more capable). New shocks, springs and end-links are to be expected at the minimum. On top of that, high end kits will also include new upper and lower link arms, trailing links and even revised shock mount locations. With that said, a high-quality Gladiator lift can stuff a 37" into the wheelwell and provide unparalleled suspension travel and articulation.
Drop in Bed Liners
For those that didn't opt for the factory spray-in liner, there are plenty of 2021 Gladiatorbed liners available for a fraction of the price. The aftermarket bed liners (or bed mats) that are currently manufactured for the JT Gladiator are all pre-cut and contoured liners that drop right in place. Most manufacturers are making their liners from thermoplastic, which is an inexpensive polymer that shows good durability alongside flexibility, although does not offer great anti-skid properties. To counter this, bed liners often feature a textured surface or a secondary soft-touch material on the top to help stop cargo from sliding around and into the bed sides. Alternatively, rubber-compound bed liners are also made to fit the 2021 Gladiator, which offer superior anti-skid properties but are generally finished with less precision. Regardless, both thermoplastic or rubberized bed mats will do a great job of protecting the paint of the box, reduce cargo sliding and even cut down a bit on road noise.
Diagnose and Recalibrate
With nearly all driver input being analyzed by a computer before the Gladiator reacts, an aftermarket tuner is slowly becoming an essential piece of hardware to own. Connecting via the ODBII port on your Gladiator, a tuner communicates directly with the PCM (power control module) and is able to access and change many of the OEM software settings, as well as read any stored diagnostic codes. In addition to these diagnostic capabilities, a tuner equipped with a performance-enhancing tune on it can overwrite the factory settings and get some more punch out of the V6 Pentastar. When purchasing a tuner, owners can expect some of the following:
- Increase horsepower and torque
- Access to transmission settings and shift points (automatic)
- Axle ratio calibration
- Wheel size and speedometer correction and calibration
- Factory DRL settings
- Fault code diagnostics (read and clear)
- Live sensor readings (as long as the tuner device remains plugged in)
Some of these tuners come as a standalone device with their own screen and controls. Others are simply a module that plugs in and then all settings are actually accessed using the steering-wheel mounted controls and the Gladiators u-connect system. While one is not better over the other, what is important is that any tuner you choose can be easily updated. Should new features come out or better tunes for the engine, you'll want to make sure these can be easily updated and then uploaded to the Gladiator.