FIRST DRIVE: 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel

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.

The Ram 1500 was updated and revised for 2013. While the look is much the same, there are some differences both inside and out. The interior is one of the most comfortable and ergonomic in the industry.
The large, 8.4-inch screen offers users the largest screen available for navigation and other tasks. Satellite radio is also a nice option; 3.0- and 5.0-inch screens are also available, but offer less versatility.
The new shifter knob is mounted to the lower left side of the dash center pod. This unit has a mechanical feel, despite the fact that it’s an electronic shifter. The Park and Drive positions have limit stops so these positions have the most positive feel. The gauge cluster also shows what gear the truck’s in, so you can see it without taking your eyes away from the front view. Below are the shifter buttons for the 4wd system, when equipped.
The diesel Ram 1500 will come with a capless fuel system that will make filling the diesel tank easier and reduce the chances of fuel getting on your hands due to drips off the fill nozzle end. You’ll also notice the blue cap for the DEF tank filler is in the fuel opening too.
The Ram 1500 EcoDiesel make a great tow vehicle for your boat or other appropriately sized trailer. The diesel engine has plenty of torque and a built-in trailer brake controller works great on trailers with electric brakes.
The engine compartment shows a standard air box, rather than the Ram Active air box found on the new Ram Heavy Duty trucks. The Ram 1500 diesel also only has one battery, rather than the two used in the HD truck line for diesel engines.
The EcoDiesel 3.0L V-6 is a small package but offers big power and features. Rated at 240 hp and 420 lb/ft of torque, it has plenty of power, yet sips fuel.

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


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.

The 2014 Ram 1500 comes with electric power steering, seen here. This allows for the engineers to tune the steering for each individual truck package needs. For example, an EcoDiesel-equipped 4×4 short bed might benefit from a different steering tune than a gas V-8-equipped long-bed truck. The electric steering also reduces drag on the engine from a power steering pump.
[divider]2014 VEHICLE RAM 1500, DIESEL[/divider]

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

[divider]SOURCE:[/divider] http://www.ramtrucks.com/

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