Generating praise from your fans is generally fairly easy. Winning similar praise from your critics, however, is especially commendable. That’s what Ram has done after Consumer Reports – which doesn’t have an especially truck-friendly reputation — lauded the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel pickups as its truck of choice in the segment, besting the likes of the 2014 Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado, Nissan Titan, and Toyota Tundra.
The Ram won points for its “whisper quiet” interior, and Consumer Reports commended the truck’s stellar fuel economy. With the EcoDiesel trim, the truck is rated for 20 miles per gallon in the city, and 28 on the highway. In the magazine’s testing, the EcoDiesel-powered half-ton managed average fuel economy of 20 miles per gallon in the city and 27 miles per gallon on the highway.
“These are about the same fuel-economy numbers that we typically see in a mid-sized SUV,” Jake Fisher, director of automotive testing for Consumer Reports, said in a statement. “Ram is currently the only truck to offer turbo-diesel technology. It will be interesting to see what impact it will have on the half-ton truck market.”
The EcoDiesel, which hit the market earlier this year, has been in high demand and welcomed warmly by critics and observers alike. Within its first few days on sale, Ram either moved or accounted sales for 8,000 of the diesel-powered units. The EcoDiesel Ram scored 82 in Consumer Reports’ road testing, one point higher than the gasoline-powered Ram 1500 that Consumer Reports had tested earlier, Automotive News said.
The unit is a 3.0 liter diesel V6 that’s produced by VM Motori in Italy, which is a fully owned subsidiary of Fiat SpA. After Fiat’s merger with Chrysler Group, the latter gained access to Fiat’s diesel assets. The EcoDiesel is the first half-ton pickup to offer a diesel option, and pickup buyers are jumping at the opportunity to save on fuel while maintaining competitive towing statistics.
The consecutive selection by Consumer Reports “is evidence the Ram Truck team is not going to stand still. We’re committed to continuous improvement in all aspects of quality and performance in our products and the Ram is no exception,” Chrysler’s senior vice president for quality Doug Betts told Automotive News.
It’s worth noting that Consumer Reports has gained its reputation and respect because it relies on the experiences of owners and the vehicles that the magazine actually purchases, not vehicles supplied by the companies. The Ram will be running into some tougher competition later this year, when Ford’s 2015 F-150 is released with its aluminum-alloy bodywork. Ford has remained mute on fuel economy figures, but it’s expected to fall in the same neighborhood as the Ram.
The Toyota Tundra and Chevrolet Silverado both saw redesigns for 2014, but nothing truly fundamentally changing. For the most part, the powertrains, frames, and dynamics remained the same despite the evolution underway with the F-150 and the Ram 1500. It’s thought that Toyota is in talks with Cummins for a potential diesel offering down the road, and Chevrolet is reportedly exploring aluminum options, but for the time being, the fuel economy race will remain largely between Ford and Ram.