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When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

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A silver 2022 Jeep Gladiator Mojave is shown from a low angle off-roading in a desert.

What Powers the Jeep Gladiator into Battle?

When you think of the world Gladiator, you are immediately transported back to the Colosseum in Ancient Rome, with men and women doing battle to the death against lions, tigers, charioteers, and often each other. But, you may be surprised to know that the 2022 Jeep Gladiator wasn’t named after the Roman sport that gave rise to the Oscar-winning movie with Russell Crowe. The first Jeep Gladiator actually took its curtain call during the 1963 model year. This Jeep pickup truck was built on the Wagoneer chassis, giving it a very boxy appearance. While you would be shocked to see the heroic Maximus or the mad Emperor Commodus roll up in one instead of a horse-drawn chariot, the original Jeep Gladiator did go into combat, commissioned by the US Army to serve in Vietnam as the M715.

While Jeep didn’t bring the Gladiator back for the 2020 model year to serve in war zones, this pickup truck still earns its name with two rugged and ready engines designed to give you the power and capability you would expect from a truck. If you are considering a 2022 Jeep Gladiator, you need to know the benefits of each of these powertrains so you can decide which one provides you with the capabilities you need to get through your own daily Colosseum.

Two Different Powertrain Choices

Jeep decided to equip the 2022 Gladiator with a choice of two engines, even though all models are 4X4 standard. The conventional option is a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6. This features sequential multiport fuel injection, which is electronic and returnless. Port fuel injection allows for a greater amount of air to enter the fuel mix than with direct fuel injection, providing more stable ignition at start-up and low RPMs. The engine itself is an aluminum deep-skirt block with aluminum alloy heads. Jeep gives you a choice of a 6-speed manual transmission or an 8-speed automatic transmission. Regardless of which transmission you choose, this engine will deliver 285 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 260 lb-ft of torque at 4,400 rpm, with a maximum engine speed of 6,600 rpm.

The other engine option on the 2022 Gladiator is a 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6. Jeep has taken a different approach with this engine. Its engine block is constructed of compacted graphite iron, while it also has aluminum alloy heads. Like many diesel engines, it uses common-rail fuel injection with solenoid injectors. Common rail is different from gasoline direct fuel injection in that the diesel fuel is supplied to the engine through a single pressurized rail. This allows the injectors to work more efficiently, providing improved fuel economy, power, and reduced emissions. In addition, the EcoDiesel V6 is paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission with no option for a manual. This engine will provide you with up to 260 horsepower at 3,600 rpm and 442 lb-ft of torque at 1,400-2,800 rpm. The maximum engine speed is 4,600 rpm.

The black and red interior of a 2022 Jeep Gladiator shows the steering wheel and center console.

Fuel Economy

One key difference between these two engines is the relative fuel economy provided to drivers. In short, you will get better gas mileage out of the EcoDiesel than the conventional gas engine. For example, if you take your 2022 Jeep Gladiator out on the highway, you are going to get 28 miles per gallon with the EcoDiesel. With the gas engine and the manual transmission, you will get a respectable 23 miles to the gallon, with the automatic transmission giving you 22 miles per gallon.

The biggest difference is seen in city driving. Again, the EcoDiesel engine on the Gladiator leads the way at 22 miles per gallon, a really good number for local driving. Here, the automatic transmission on the Gladiator’s gas engine gives you the edge, with 17 miles per gallon, while the manual transmission will only give you 16 miles per gallon. This is probably why the Gladiator with the gas engine has identical combined fuel economy figures for the manual and automatic transmissions of 19 miles per gallon. The EcoDiesel has a combined figure of 24 miles per gallon.

You should keep in mind that the two engines use very different fuels. Jeep recommends the use of 87 octane unleaded gasoline in the conventional engine on the Gladiator and ultra-low sulfur diesel in the EcoDiesel engine. That means that the price per gallon for the diesel engine somewhat offsets its higher mile per gallon rating.

Conventional Towing Capacity

One of the best features of the 2022 Jeep Gladiator is its capacity for towing trailers. This is one of the two things that help set it apart from other Jeep models, the other being its payload capacity. Interestingly enough, even though the EcoDiesel engine on the Gladiator produces substantially more torque than the conventional V6 gas engine, it doesn’t have as much towing capability as the gas engine. This is interesting since the two powertrains are on the same size vehicle with a crew cab design. Nevertheless, the EcoDiesel Gladiator can tow up to 6,500 pounds, while the gas engine Gladiator wins this battle with a maximum conventional towing capability of 7,650 pounds. Still, either powertrain option will give you solid capability for a midsize pickup truck with a standard 4X4 drivetrain.

Acceleration and Speed

Another surprising thing in comparing these two engines is that the Gladiator with the EcoDiesel will slightly outperform the same model with a gas engine. You would assume the gas engine would have greater acceleration and speed than the diesel, but just like with the towing capability, the opposite is, in fact, the case.

The 2022 Gladiator with a gas engine can go from 0-60 miles per hour in 7.9 seconds, with a top speed of 98 miles per hour. If you put it on the track, it can complete the quarter-mile in an acceptable 16.3 seconds. Surprisingly, the Gladiator with the EcoDiesel edges the gas engine model in both of these races. The Gladiator with the EcoDiesel can go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in just 7.6 seconds and completes the quarter-mile in 15.9 seconds. This could be due to the EcoDiesel providing greater torque and transferring this more efficiently to the Gladiator’s four-wheel drive than the conventional gas engine. For whatever reason, the EcoDiesel makes the Gladiator slightly faster than the Pentastar V6 gas engine.

A silver 2022 Jeep Gladiator is shown with a full payload in a desert.

Payload Capacity

One thing that you will get from the 2022 Jeep Gladiator, no matter which powertrain you choose, is the ability to carry heavy loads. This is because each Gladiator model comes with a 35.5 cubic foot payload bed. This gives you the ability to carry up to 1,700 pounds of whatever you need, whether you are using your Gladiator for work or play.

It is to Jeep’s credit that it didn’t forget that the Gladiator is also a pickup truck. It seems that too many automakers design off-road truck models that seem to lag in the towing and hauling capacities, making them a bit of a one-trick pony. But with the 2022 Jeep Gladiator, a driver will be getting a truck that can go off-roading right off the dealer’s lot without modifications and can also provide you with more conventional truck functions like towing heavy trailers and hauling sizable cargo loads.

But Could It Win a Roman Chariot Race?

We don’t have access to the Colosseum or the Circus Maximus, so I guess we will just have to leave it to your imagination to decide whether a 2022 Jeep Gladiator could beat Ben Hur in a chariot. Of course, those spikes on the chariot’s wheels could cause a problem for the Jeep Gladiator’s off-road tires. Plus, Spartacus can throw a spear better than most folks we know.
One thing that is clear is that the Gladiator’s choice of powertrains gives drivers the opportunity to determine which to choose based on personal needs. For drivers concerned about fuel economy, the EcoDiesel may be the best choice. In addition, drivers looking to win that chariot race might want to opt for the EcoDiesel on their 2022 Gladiator as well. However, if you want to maximize the towing capacity on your Gladiator, then the Pentastar V6 gas engine might be the best bet. Now, just don’t ask me who will win in a fight between Kirk Douglas, Russell Crowe, and Charlton Heston.

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