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BETTER MPG’S, MORE MOOLAH: 2020 RAM 1500 ECODIESEL

Lately there has been quite the uproar in the pick-up truck scene with hybrid and full-electric prototypes roaming about. However, while these may still be in their R&D phase, the diesel workhorse is still marching on full-throttle. With RAM and its all-new EcoDiesel engine being one of the main attention hoarders in the spotlight, it’s certainly presenting quite the fuel consumption case.

Completely re-engineered from the previous generation RAM 1500, the original EcoDiesel, introduced in 2013, has been given an overhaul of engineering mojo. Keeping to its original 3.0-liter displacement format, nearly everything was modified within this contraption to increase performance output while maximizing fuel efficiency. With a new water-cooled turbocharger, upgraded fuel injectors, an intake port and combustion chamber, horsepower has been increased from 240 to 260-horsepower. Torque see a little more significant numbers as it went from 420lbs to 480lb-ft of torque. So should you feel obligated to pop open the hood and look at the engine, you can say “yup, there’s a bunch of new stuff under there” and then close it before the warranty department finds out.

Going EcoDiesel isn’t exactly one we’d call cheap – it holds a $4995 premium over the standard 3.6-liter V-6 while the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 sees a $1695 premium. This pushes the standard 1500 Tradesman from its near $32,000 starting price to $37-grand. However, holding a much better fuel economy figure from the standard V-6 and V-8 engine options, the diesel seen in our subjected Limited 4×4 saw a hefty return at the pump with a combined average of 25-mpg. Unfortunately, we couldn’t quite match the EPA rating due to intense weather conditions during our 200-mile highway run and only saw a return of 26-mpg. Compared to the RAM 1500 Longhorn we tested last year with its 5.7-liter Hemi (non-eTorque version), we saw a return of 13-mpg combined – needless to say the diesel did showed its best side. The drawback however, given its $5000 surcharge, it would take nearly 80,000 miles before seeing a return on this diesel investment.

RAM is fighting its continuous battle against the other pickup giants with the Ford F-150 PowerStroke and Chevrolet Duramax – all 3.0-liters – all roughly within the same performance figures. When we sampled the Ford F-150 PowerStroke, it carries smaller numbers than the RAM with only 250-horsepower and 440lbs-ft of torque – at the end that test we only averaged 21-mpg combined. If the RAM could, we’re betting it would fist-bump itself ght now.  

The EcoDiesel is indeed a pleasant powertrain, as long as you’re never in a hurry. It takes roughly 8-seconds to get to 60-mph and the transmission shuffles through its 8-speed automatic as smooth as a raindrop riding a cloud on ecstasy. Its significant turbo-lag and unwillingness to downshift to the nearest gear on the hand is like waiting at the post office – by the time it finally moves, we’ve grown another wrinkle.

Pairing the EcoDiesel to our near $75,000 Limited had its fair share of reward to overcome its lag of motivation. With its incredibly smooth air-ride suspension,  it has the ability to lower itself over half an inch at speeds upwards of 50-mph for better aerodynamics. Because the Limited features 20-inch wheels with thinner rubber, it trims some of the fat over its more aggressive off-road variants and improves efficiency. Inside, all the same comfort creatures spoils us with extravagance from the 12-inch elongated touch screen display to the rear ventilated seats that can slide and recline.

Available in all trim levels, the diesel can be had in any form from the Tradesman to the top trimmed Limited with either two-wheel or four-wheel drive – and it doesn’t discriminate cab size either. Serving has a hot premium dish, there is one final drawback – there are limitations to its towing capacity. Losing roughly 1500lbs its towing capacity is rated at 9,910lbs. The Hemi variants can tow upwards of 11,540lbs.

Being one of the better suited diesel options in the pick-up truck territory, the RAM’s EcoDiesel see improved fuel economy that can achieve upwards of 650-miles to a single tank. Should the daily routine of the truck-life require more mpg’s and savings at the pump, this is an option worth a gander. 

VEHICLE SPECIFICATIONS

VEHICLE: 2020 RAM 1500
BASE TRIM & PRICE: TRADESMAN QUAD-CAB – $32,145
AS-TESTED TRIM & PRICE: LIMITED CREW-CAB – $75,305

PERFORMANCE SPECIFICATIONS

ENGINE: 3.0-LITER ECODIESEL V-6 ($4,995)
HP | TORQUE: 260-HP | 280LB-FT OF TORQUE
TRANSMISSION: 8-SPEED AUTOMATIC
DRIVETRAIN: FOUR-WHEEL DRIVE
MPG: 21 | 29 | 24 (CITY | HIGHWAY | COMBINED)
AS TESTED MPG: 24.7-MPG COMBINED | 25.9-MPG HIGHWAY (200-MILES AT 75-MPH)
FUEL RANGE: 630-MILES
0-60 MPH: ±8.0 SECONDS

2 Comments »

    • Yes, however, with the Tradesmen being the entry level – the Limited was loaded with so many extras that it sort of makes sense why it costs so much. Things like:

      $95 – 3.92 Rear Axle Ratio
      $100 – Diamond Black Crystal Pearl Paint
      $295 – Trailer Brake Control
      $395 – Protection Group Package with Front Suspension and Fuel Tank Skid Plates
      $445 – 33-Gallon Fuel Tank
      $545 – Bed Utility Group Package with 4-Adjustable Cargo Tie-Down Hooks
      $995 – Multi-Functional Split Tailgate
      $995 – RamBox Cargo Management System
      $1,495– Dual-Pane Panoramic Sunroof
      $2,295 – Limited Level 1 Equipment Group Package with Adaptive Cruise Control, Advanced Brake Assist, Full Speed Forward Collision Warning, Lane Keep Assist, Parallel & Perpendicular Park Assist, Ventilated Rear Seats and a 360-degree view camera.
      $3,995 – Black Appearance Package with 22-inch black wheels, 19-Speaker Harman Kardon Premium Audio, Black Exterior Badging, Black Headlamp Bezels, Tri-Fold Tonneau Cover, Sport Performance Hood, and Tow Hooks.
      $4,995 – 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 Engine with Active Lower Grille Shutters

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