Reader Question: Gladiator vs. Tundra?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply! 

Martin asks: I’m planning on moving into the rural mountains in a few years. Would I be better served with a 2021 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro or a 2021 Diesel Jeep Gladiator? I like the Tundra, but the lack of a diesel option leaves me worried about the availability/price of gasoline in the coming years, as the government moves towards more and more restrictions on the oil and gas markets.

My reply: Well, part of the answer depends on whether you need a full-size truck (with a full-size bed) or can get by with a mid-sized truck with a smaller bed. The Gladiator – as you know – is essentially a four-door Wrangler with a short bed. But it’s not just short; it’s also less wide than a 1500 pick-up’s bed, which makes it harder to carry things like 4×8 sheets flat. I have a compact-sized truck (’02 Frontier) with a six-foot bed and it’s usually enough for my needs. But many people need a full-size (and width) bed.

There’s another factor here you may wish to consider as well. The current Tundra is a simpler vehicle than the new Gladiator. It was last redesigned a long time ago and so is still largely free of much of the over-the-top tech that afflicts new vehicles, including the Gladiator. I like the torque (and pulling power and range) of the Jeep’s available diesel; I do not like that it has DEF and is electronically injected rather than mechanically injected. If I were in the market for a diesel truck, I would be in the market for something like an older Ram 1500 with the mechanically injected (and DEF free) diesel; if I were in the market for something new, the current gas-engined Tundra would be at the top of my list.

Be advised it is about to be “updated” – and that probably won’t be a good thing, if you want a truck like they used to make ’em!

. . .

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  1. Let’s see: Modern Jeeps quickly turn to crap, and Chrysler is all but out-of-business, and doing all they can to deny warranties wherever and whenever possible (Have you heard about the owner of the new Jeep who was denied warranty service because he drove his JEEP…in the mud? It took media and Youtube shaming for Chrysler to finally relent…).
    And not to mention Jeep’-Chrysler-Fiat-Puegot’s terrible history with diesels….such as the Libertys with the 2.8 diesels…..many of which can be found blown with well under 100K miles on ’em…I know of one with 30K miles!
    I’d stay far, far away from any Chrysler-Fiat p[roduct if you’re going to be living in the mountains and have to depend on your vehicle…and if you care about your wallet and want something that’s gonna last last longer than 3 or 4 years.
    The Toyoat on the other hand…..will hold it’s value for a long time, because it will LAST and be reliable for a long time……

  2. My advice: get a 2007 or older if you get a diesel, that way you won’t have to deal with DEF, EGR, DPF, SCR, etc. all of which are expensive to fix and annoying to deal with. Additionally, you can burn vegetable oil and furnace oil in pre-emissions diesels, which if burned in a modern diesel would likely mess up the emissions system. As far as makes and models, you can’t go wrong with the 5.9L 12 valve Cummins found in ’89-early ’98 Dodge pickups. The 7.3L Power Stroke is also a great engine. More information here:


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