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Is the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel as Good as the Gas Version?

Ram pickups have won some pretty impressive awards over the years, including Autobytel’s Pickup Truck of the Year Award in 2014 and North American Truck of the Year in 2013. The Ram 1500 was also the second-best-selling truck in the country in 2019. Has the EcoDiesel engine changed the truck’s performance, and what could you expect when driving a diesel rather than a gas model? MotorTrend recently put the Ram EcoDiesel to the test and achieved some pretty surprising results.

Quiet Operation

The Ram EcoDiesel enters its third generation in 2020 and comes with some surprising improvements over earlier editions. One is its quiet operation. MotorTrend’s test driver Christian Seabaugh wrote that “my first instinct was to check to make sure the engine actually started.” He claimed that there was very little vibration inside the cab and that the quiet operation continued even when the truck was taken out onto the highway. The Ram EcoDiesel is also known for its smooth passing power, particularly when empty.

Towing and Off-Road Performance

The latest generation EcoDiesel comes with 260 horsepower and 480 lb-ft of torque. According to MotorTrend, this provides the pickup with a huge advantage over gas-powered trucks in the way of towing and off-road performance. In independent testing, trucks with the EcoDiesel engine fared very well when climbing steep, off-road courses under muddy conditions.

When it comes to towing, MotorTrend proclaims that the Ram truck makes doing so “boring.” In particular, they note that the Ram’s air suspension helps keep things level and prevents sway. The Ram 1500 EcoDiesel was tested while towing a 5,000 lb. trailer with two side-by-sides. Even while hauling this load in light traffic, the pickup was able to accelerate smoothly and keep up with the other vehicles around it.

The 2020 EcoDiesel Ram comes with a max payload of 2,040 pounds in the truck bed. A Ram equipped with a V6 VVT eTorque gasoline engine, on the other hand, has a maximum payload of around 2,100 pounds. While the EcoDiesel falls slightly behind in payload, it more than makes up with it in towing capacity. The maximum towing capacity of a V6 gas-powered Ram is only 7,730 lbs. as compared to more than 12,560 for the EcoDiesel version.

Fuel Economy

Fuel economy ratings have not yet been released for the 2020 EcoDiesel. However, MotorTrend expects them to closely mimic the 19 mpg city/27 mpg highway that was given to 2019 models. You can expect similar fuel economy from a V6 gas-powered engine, which is rated for 20 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway.

Enhanced Style

The 2020 Ram comes with an improved body style along with enhanced interior features such as more leather. The trucks offer more than 100 standard and available safety features that can be included on either the V6 or EcoDiesel models. The Ram comes in three trims: 1500 Limited, Laramie Longhorn, and Laramie.

EcoDiesel Price

Base prices for the EcoDiesel Ram start at $38,585 as compared to $36,535 for a gas-powered model. Accordingly, the diesel version will cost you slightly more money, but not as much as if you were to purchase a diesel-powered  Chevrolet Silverado or Ford XLT Power Stroke. Those vehicles will set you back $45,700 and $46,900 respectively.

When compared to gas-powered versions, Ram’s EcoDiesel pickup has plenty of advantages. It provides a quiet, smooth ride and easy handling, and has comparable fuel economy. At the same time, it offers superior towing and hauling capabilities. Those who want a high-performance truck with all the advantages of a traditional gasoline engine may want to consider the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel.