Late last year, the Ram Truck folks announced that they were coming out with a half-ton pickup with a diesel engine option. We’ve finally gotten to drive one and are here to tell you that this is the best Ram half-ton truck to date. Sure, the diesel engine is a great upgrade, but the rest of the truck is also better than ever before.
The new V-6 diesel for the Ram 1500 is the same basic engine as used in the Grand Cherokee diesel. The 3.0L diesel provides impressive power and torque for a V-6. With an output of 240 hp and 420 lb/ft of torque, we found that the EcoDiesel is responsive ’round town, has power to spare on the highway and will pull a trailer or carry a load with ease. Admittedly, it takes a while for the turbo to spool up off idle so the off-the-line feel is a little weak, if you’re used to a gas-powered V-8. However, this quickly fades as the diesel’s low-end torque kicks in.
The EcoDiesel V-6 is quiet, smooth and easy on fuel. Part of this is due to the new EcoDiesel engine, but the new eight-speed automatic also contributes to the smoothness and the high mileage. The new automatic has a high numerical first-gear ratio for more torque off the line.
The quick shifting and smooth but crisp torque-converter lockup, combined with a near perfect shift map, provide smooth and seamless shifting. While EPA mileage numbers are not in yet, the highway estimate number is 27 mpg. We saw spot mileage pushing 30 mpg and a consistent city/highway average of just over 22 mpg.
On the towing front, the EcoDiesel-equipped Ram 1500 is rated at 9,200 lbs and has a built-in trailer brake controller. We towed a ski boat for our test and were unable to use the brake controller, due to the hydraulic surge brakes on the trailer. We can tell you that the EcoDiesel was smooth and pulled the load with ease, uphill and down.
“The idea of a truck that has more conveniences than your home or office and seats that rival your favorite recliner for comfort is not new, but the new Ram 1500 takes it to a higher level than previous Ram trucks.”
The Ram 1500 was redesigned in 2013 to be quieter, have a stronger frame and an air suspension option. New electronics and interior upgrades were made too. These all carry over to 2014 and now you can get the Ram 1500 with a diesel too.
Our test rig was a Laramie package and as such the interior is best described as plush. The idea of a truck that has more conveniences than your home or office and seats that rival your favorite recliner for comfort is not new, but the new Ram 1500 takes it to a higher level than previous Ram trucks. Most likely, the Ram 1500 will only be offered with the EcoDiesel in mid-level and above packages, at least at launch. The Ram 1500 comes with a five-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. DW
ORIGINAL RAM VS. NEW ECODIESEL
The first Ram (at the time Dodge Ram) truck to come with a Cummins diesel was the 1989 model. This innovative rig was the only diesel-powered light truck in the USA for many years. The Ram 1500 EcoDiesel is now the first half-ton truck to be offered with a diesel in the USA. Believe it or not, the new 2014 not only offers more comfort, but also more power. The original 1989 Ram with the BT6 Cummins 5.9L I-6 put out 160 hp and 400 lb/ft of torque. The new 2014 Ram 1500 with the EcoDiesel 3.0L V-6 puts out 240 hp and 420 lb/ft of torque.
Engine Type: V-6, Turbo Diesel, 60-degree V
Displacement: 3.0L (183 cid)
Horse Power, RRM: 240 hp @ 3,600 rpm
Torque lb/ft, RPM: 420 lb/ft @ 2,000 rpm
Fuel Capacity: 26/32 gallons estimated based on 2013 models (highway range estimates based on 27 hwy and these tank sizes mean 702/864-mile range depending on bed length. DEF tank requirement may mean smaller fuel tank than gas models.)
Hwy Mileage (EST): 27
Transmission: Eight-speed auto
MSRP: The 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel starts at $30,465