Ram to be First to Market with Half-Ton Diesel Pickup

Sections: Fuel Economy, Powertrain

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A 2013 Ram 1500 in work truck "ST" trim

Ram Trucks will be the first brand to market a half-ton diesel-powered pickup truck in the U.S. (Photo courtesy Chrysler.)

USA Today broke the story: Ram Trucks will be the first brand to offer a half-ton pickup truck with a diesel engine in the United States.

According to the article, the engine will be the same VM Motori-sourced 3.0-liter V6 we told you about recently in the Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel. It should make 240 horsepower and 420 ft-lbs of torque. No additional details were offered by Ram honcho Fred Diaz at the time the article ran Wednesday, Feb. 13, but an official Chrysler press release from Thursday, Feb. 14 said the engine would be paired with the TorqueFlite 8 automatic 8-speed transmission to maximize fuel efficiency, which is sure to be a selling point for the engine.

Diaz, as quoted in the Chrysler press release:

“Truck owners have been emphatically asking for it, and Ram will be the only manufacturer to offer a diesel powertrain in the half-ton segment with the 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel. The half-ton truck market is incredibly competitive, and although we’re honored the Ram 1500 has received a number of prestigious awards, we cannot rest on what we have accomplished, we must keep pushing.

“The Ram 1500 with 3.0-liter V-6 turbo EcoDiesel and TorqueFlite eight-speed transmission deliver on the demands of truckers by providing best-in-class torque, fuel economy and range. There’s no doubt that being the only truck manufacturer to offer this game changing technology will provide Ram with a competitive advantage.”

With the Ram 1500 already managing 25 MPG highway ratings with the Pentastar gasoline V6 and 8-speed transmission combo, all eyes will now be watching for EPA numbers on the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel to see how close to the magic 30 MPG figure it can get. Even if it only matched the Pentastar’s 25 MPG highway rating, however, the diesel engine’s torque rating of 420 ft-lbs positively dwarfs the Pentastar’s 269 ft-lbs, which would give the diesel a unique selling proposition even without better fuel economy numbers. Ford’s EcoBoost turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 engine actually gets 1 MPG less on the EPA highway cycle in the F-150 half-ton pickup than the truck’s base 3.7-liter naturally aspirated V6 (22 MPG vs. 23 MPG), yet the engine has seen strong sales as a kind of “have your cake and eat it, too” option that offers truck buyers decent fuel economy when not hauling a load or towing, and respectable power when called upon to move heavy stuff or pass slower-moving vehicles.

The Ram 1500 EcoDiesel is slated to hit dealer lots in the third quarter of 2013, Chrysler said. We look forward to experiencing one in person.

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