Ram 1500 is already the full-size pickup truck segment leader in multiple feature and capability areas and earned just about every major industry award last year with the 2013 Ram 1500.
Now Ram brings the new 2014 Ram 1500 to market with the first in segment diesel power train - looking very much like they could start 2014 right where they left off in 2013.
Ram introduced in June the the first-in-segment diesel engine for a full-size pickup truck with the announcement that they were going to offer a 3.0-liter V6 Turbocharged EcoDiesel engine featuring 240 horsepower and 420 lb.-ft. of torque mated to the segment exclusive TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission with center stack rotary shifter.
In August Ram revealed that this EcoDiesel power train would deliver a whopping V6 segment leading tow capacity of 9,200 pounds (when properly equipped) - almost a full ton more than the nearest competitor.
Now, though the official EPA fuel economy ratings are not yet available, Reid Bigland, president and CEO of Ram Truck Brand said that they are "estimating a highway 27 mpg" while speaking to the media at the preview of the State Fair of Texas Auto Show at the end of September. This 27 mpg would make them the overall V6 fuel economy leader in the segment.
“The new 2014 Ram 1500 offers more innovation than the competition and delivers best-in-class fuel efficiency,” said Reid Bigland, President and CEO — Ram Truck Brand, Chrysler Group LLC. “The new truck builds on a very successful 2013 model, which has won every award we could have hoped for."
“Adding the new EcoDiesel engine is more than just icing on the cake, it answers a long-time consumer demand and Ram is the only manufacturer to offer it,” Bigland added.
The most often asked question we get is if this new diesel power train is that good and have we driven it yet.
The first drive experience answer is yes and yes.
We had the opportunity to do a first drive of the new 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel in September in Los Angeles.
The Ram 1500 we drove was a Lone Star Crew Cab 4x2 in a rich Black Clear Coat exterior with a nicely matched Black/Diesel Gray interior. We spent nearly three hours driving this Ram 1500 EcoDiesel all through the winding and twisting hills and canyons above Malibu, along the Pacific Coast Highway and in the city.
We could find nothing that we did not like about this Ram EcoDiesel. It performed up hill and downhill and all around and through the canyons every bit as solidly as a Ram 1500 with the Pentastar V6 gasoline power plant or the 5.7L HEMI V8.
To be fair, there were a couple of areas where we noticed this was a diesel instead of a gas engine.
The first was that you could hear it was diesel when you stood outside it with the engine running - but it has to be the quietest diesel out there as you had to strain a bit to hear it.
Acceleration was very good at the lower end of the gearing but did tend to taper off a bit at the higher ranges as compared to the 5.7L HEMI V8 in particular - however, the 8-speed automatic transmission mitigates most of that.
And interestingly, this EcoDiesel with its abundant torque, kept giving us the feeling while driving that it had a "ton" of power ready and available to be unleashed at every point in the drive which certainly confirms its 9,200 pound max tow rating.
Truck of Texas and the Trifecta
Adding a diesel power train to the Ram 1500 coming off a year where the 2013 Ram 1500 won Motor Trend’s Truck of the Year, The North American Truck of the Year and Truck of Texas – a rare trifecta in the pickup segment, Ram seems poised to make a run for these honors again in 2014.
The 2014 Ram with its already award winning 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine (Ward’s 10 Best Engines Award three years in a row) with variable-valve timing (VVT) offers 305 horsepower, 269 lb.-ft. of torque and best-in-class fuel economy of 25 mpg. For 2014, the Pentastar V-6 equipped Ram 1500 will now offer best-in-class base engine towing capability at 7,450 pounds.
At the top end of the power trains is the legendary 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 with fuel-saving cylinder shut-off and VVT that provides 395 horsepower and 410 lb.-ft. of torque with a 22mpg highway fuel economy and max towing capacity of 10,450 pounds.
With the only line of gasoline and diesel of full-size pickup power trains, Ram appears to be more than ready for the first challenge of that trifecta - a repeat win of the Truck of Texas award at the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) Truck Rodeo competition being held this week at Knibbe Ranch near San Antonio, Texas.
The new 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500, new 2014 Toyota Tundra and extremely tough and able 2014 Ford F-150 will provide very strong competition for the Rams. We will report on that competition following the weekend of Oct. 12-13.
Availability and Cost
The new Ram 1500 EcoDiesel will be available early in the first quarter of 2013. It will be an optional power plant on the Tradesman, Big Horn/ Lone Star, Outdoorsman, Laramie, Laramie Longhorn and the Laramie Limited.
The EcoDiesel engine does have a premium of $4,500 above the Pentastar V6 and $2,850 more than the 5.7L V8. Ram officials say that with the lower overall operating costs of the diesel coupled with the difference in fuel economy, the new 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel should pay that investment back within a year (or slightly more) based on the miles driven.