Gas vs Diesel Drag Race & Tug of War: The Midsize Diesel Is Dying, Here’s Why That Sucks!

If you want a midsize diesel, you should probably get one...yesterday

This is not only a snowy gas vs diesel tug of war: It’s a sad commentary about the death of diesels in the midsize market.

There is never a practical reason for drag racing something like a gas vs diesel midsize pickup in the snow. It’s all for fun, and we know tire choice is remarkably important for traction. With that in mind, we still thought it would be fun to go heads up with a modern (and highly upgraded) Jeep Gladiator diesel, against a 2023 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X.

The Jeep Gladiator has a 3.0-liter V6 diesel that makes 260 horsepower and 442 lbs-feet of torque. Although, the output in the example our friend Jay brought us is higher. It’s paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and a serious 4×4 system, which includes front and rear lockers.

Dirtbox Overland managed some serious upgrades to the suspension, drivetrain and tires. It’s running on 37-inch tires, sporting a 4(ish)-inch lift and the under-side skid plates run the length of the Gladiator. Other mods: the front CV modification, custom built (27-lbs) aluminum front bumper – and the rear section.

Dirtbox Overland built a lightweight utility box that holds everything from a power system, cooking components and a ton of cargo. On top, there’s a built in-shop rooftop tent as well.

All in all, it’s a remarkable, and serious bit of overlanding engineering.

We’re pairing this Jeep up against the 2023 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X which has a 310 hp V6 that makes 281 lb-ft of torque. It comes with a nine-speed transmission that powers all four wheels via old-school 4×4 system. It’s a solid truck, one that’s impressed us in the recent past.

The death of diesels…

Did you know that Nissan was extremely close to bringing their overseas’ midsize diesel here a few years back? We actually sampled that powertrain in a truck a long time past. We even heard that Ford seriously considered bringing their european diesel to add to their re-introduced Ranger. None of that ever came to past. In fact, the only other player in the midsize diesel game, GM, pulled the plug on their baby Duramax… Which is sad.

The idea of a long range, serious torque and ruggedness with small diesels still captures the imagination. It’s a real shame that Jeep is the last to produce a diesel for their mid size pickup. I don’t think it will last much longer with Stellantis either.

Anyway, check out this fun video and see Jay and Andre show you every inch of this overlander!

Easily amused by anything with four wheels, Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. Wrecking yards, dealer lots, garages, racetracks, professional automotive testing and automotive journalism - Nathan has experienced a wide range of the automotive spectrum. Brought up in the California car culture and educated in theater, childhood education, film, journalism and history, Nathan now lives with his family in Denver, CO. His words, good humor and video are enjoyed worldwide.