Trucks

This 2020 Ram 1500 Just Failed an Important Test

The Ram 1500 is one of the best selling trucks in America. There are many reasons why Americans are gravitating towards the Ram 1500, and one of them is the fact that its V6 diesel engine gets a great fuel economy. However, when Car and Driver tested out the 2020 Ram 1500, its fuel economy fell short of what was expected.

The expectations for the 2020 Ram 1500

Diesel engines are very fuel-efficient by nature, and the Ram 1500’s is no exception. When equipped properly and in the perfect conditions, the Ram 1500 can achieve an EPA rated fuel economy of 32 MPG on highways.

Car and Driver tested some less fuel-efficient Ram 1500s. The trims that Car and Driver tested were the Ram 1500 Limited and the Ram 1500 Rebel, each with the V6 diesel engine. 

These trims of the Ram 1500 had an EPA rated fuel economy of about 29 MPG on highways and 21 MPG in cities, for a combined 24 MPG. The 3.0-liter V6 diesel engine that were on these Ram 1500s could generate 260-hp and 480 lb-ft of torque. This allows those trims of the Ram 1500 to tow over 12,000 lb of cargo, which is more than what the trim with the 5.7-liter V8 gas engine can do. 

However, there are some downsides. Like Car and Driver said, the V6 diesel is slower than the V8 is. The V6 can take the Ram 1500 from 0 to 60 MPH in 7.7 seconds, which is significantly slower than the V8’s 0 to 60 time of 6.4 seconds.

On top of that, the V6 is more expensive as the trims start at about $39,000 and can get to over $67,000. Furthermore, the expected fuel economy of the V6, which is one of its main selling points, falls short of expectations.

The Ram 1500 falls short

In Car and Driver’s test of the Ram 1500 with the V6 diesel engine, both the Limited and the Rebel trims fell short of what the EPA said they’d do. Rather than achieving a highway fuel economy of 29 MPG, Car and Driver only got 25 MPG from the Limited and 24 MPG from the Rebel trims.

The main reason why that likely happened was because of the differences in testing procedures. Car and Driver took the Rams to 75 MPH in its tests. The EPA however, only averages about 48 MPH in its highway tests. The laws of physics say that a faster vehicle will burn more fuel, so naturally, Car and Driver’s test would get a worse fuel economy than the EPA’s test. 

Does failing matter to truck buyers?

Ultimately it depends on the consumer. Truck drivers are stereotyped as being environmentally careless so a difference of a few MPG might not really matter. Furthermore, although fuel economy is a big reason why diesel trucks are becoming popular, another reason why they’re popular is because of the impressive towing capacity offered. Ram owners may want a diesel engine for that reason alone.

And, while a difference of 4 or 5 MPG is significant, a truck’s expected MPG is always going to be different than the MPG that a driver actually gets from it. Car and Driver drove its Ram 1500s at 75 MPH and the EPA drove its Ram 1500s at 48 MPH. If you don’t care about fuel economy, you can drive like Car and Driver drove. If you do care, then you can drive like how the EPA drove. 

Plus, while the difference in MPG is significant, the effect it’ll have on your wallet might not be depending on where you live. If you’re in California, then sure, it matters more, but if you’re in New Hampshire, then it won’t. Ultimately, the V6 diesel on the Ram 1500 remains a practical engine for drivers who want a great fuel economy, a great towing capacity, or both.