So you would like to buy a pickup truck. You’re considering the fifth-generation Ram 1500. And you are also intrigued by the power and efficiency of a diesel engine. You’re in luck, Ram offers its 1500 truck with a diesel engine.
The Ram 1500 EcoDiesel V6 gets up to 32 mpg
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Stellantis has been making the 3.0-Liter turbocharged “EcoDiesel” V6 since 2014. The company puts the engine in its Ram trucks and several Jeeps. Then for the 2020 model year, the automaker completely redesigned its EcoDiesel for the engine’s third generation. Though still a 3.0L turbocharged V6, most components of the engine are completely new–according to CNET. The result makes some seriously impressive numbers.
The EcoDiesel certainly earns its name: The EPA estimated a 2WD Ram equipped with the EcoDiesel can get 22 city/32 highway mpg (26 combined). A 4WD truck falls to 21 city/29 highway (24 combined). Over a week of testing, CNET found their EcoDiesel Ram achieved a 22 mpg average.
But while the EcoDiesel knows how to sip fuel, it can also make big power when needed. The diesel engine’s maximum horsepower is just 260. That’s less than the Ram’s base engine: a gasoline V6 that makes 305 horsepower. But diesel lovers know their engines make torque instead of horsepower. The latest EcoDiesel boasts 480 lb-ft of torque. What’s more, it can make this much torque at just 1,600 rpm.
The result of the EcoDiesel’s power is apparent in the Ram’s ratings. A diesel-equipped 1500 can haul up to 2,040 pounds in its bed. It can tow up to 12,560 pounds.
Downsides of the Ram 1500 diesel
The two major downsides of the Ram 1500’s EcoDiesel engine are high price and slow acceleration.
Upgrading your Ram 1500 “Tradesman” from the gasoline V6 to the 5.7L HEMI V8 costs $2,295. But to go from the gas V6 to the EcoDiesel V6 will cost you $4,995. That takes a roughly $35,000 entry-level truck into the $40,000 mid-trim territory–with no other upgrades!
The EcoDiesel’s final downside may not be a surprise to longtime diesel fans. But here’s the rub: diesel engines are great for towing and hauling. Turbodiesels can even be efficient. But with turbo lag and their lack of horsepower, stock diesel engines do not accelerate as quickly as their gasoline counterparts. For this reason, the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel will feel slower off the line than even its gas V6 cousin. And forget about catching HEMI-equipped trucks.
Ram 2500 and 3500 trucks offer the legendary Cummins diesel
Back in 1989, the Ram pickup truck was called the Dodge Ram, and it was falling behind the competition. Both Ford and Chevrolet offered trucks with diesel engines.
Dodge approached the Cummins company. Cummins had just engineered its 6BT engine, a turbocharged straight-six diesel that made 400 lb-ft of torque (a huge number back then). Cummins had originally designed the engine for heavy equipment and it took Dodge years to engineer a chassis to hold it. But the result was legendary.
Because Cummins had engineered its 6BT for punishing industrial applications, it had overbuilt every aspect of the engine. Cummins became synonymous with diesel Ram, and the new Ram trucks gained instant notoriety. They were so popular, it took Dodge three years of production to finally catch up with demand.
A modern straight-six Cummins turbodiesel is still one of the most popular engines in the Ram 2500 and 3500 trucks. Today’s 6.7-liter Cummins engines make 400 horsepower and 1,000 lb-feet of torque, endowing the Ram 3500 with a max tow rating of 20,000 pounds. But this engine is far too heavy for the chassis of the Ram 1500.