I’ve waited several days to make this post in hopes we’d have proof, but as of this writing, no such proof has surfaced, so I’m just going to throw this out there: Chrysler says the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel should be the most fuel-efficient truck in the half-ton class, but their press release offered no official EPA numbers.
Thing is, you don’t tout something like that unless you’re pretty darned confident you’ve got the “most fuel-efficient” title in the bag, right? With the Ram 1500 already taking that title last year with its 3.6-liter Pentastar gasoline V6 and Torqueflite 8 automatic transmission that helped the truck hit 25 MPG highway according to EPA numbers, that means the EcoDiesel should be at 26 MPG or better.
But how much better is anyone’s guess until the official numbers come out– and then it’s still up in the air until people start driving them in real-world use. Ram says the 3.0-liter VM Motori-sourced diesel V6 “is noticeably more efficient than all V-6 gasoline engines in the half-ton category,” presumably including the Pentastar gasser.
I don’t know about you, but when I think “noticeably more efficient,” I don’t think it’s going to be a measly 1-MPG gain over the Pentastar’s formerly class-leading 25 MPG. I think more in terms of 3, 4, or 5 MPG. And 5 MPG would get the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel to that magic number: 30 MPG.
A 30 MPG highway rating on a Ram 1500 might be substantial enough to convince even cheapskates like me, holding onto our small trucks as we are, to consider an upgrade. My Ford Ranger’s 2.3-liter gas engine has seen many tankfuls return an honest 30 MPG, but she’s a small little thing that will present challenges if/when we add another child to our family someday. A Ram 1500 EcoDiesel could be had in Quad or Crew Cab configuration, which would completely negate any space concerns for this dad who has to schlep his offspring to the babysitter/school every morning.
It’s really too bad Ram is sticking with the automatics-only transmission lineup. While the Torqueflite 8 sounds like a really cool transmission, I’m a die-hard three-pedal guy. A six-speed stick behind the 3.0-liter, 420 ft-lb diesel engine would be mighty sweet, I’d bet. I’d even pay a slight fuel mileage penalty if that’s what it took to get a manual transmission. Just give me the option, Ram!
Final note: The Ram 1500 with the EcoDiesel engine will cost $2,850 more than a Ram 1500 equipped with the 5.7-liter HEMI V8 gasser. In Tradesman trim, which is the basic work truck and the model I’d prefer, that means I’d be out $27,155 for a regular cab or $31,245 for a Quad Cab model. That Quad Cab price is roughly three times what I paid for my barely-used Ranger in 2007, which is kind of scary to think about. Given how diesel-engined anything seems to hold its value better than its gasoline-engined counterparts, I wouldn’t expect to score as sweet a deal on a one-year-old Ram 1500 EcoDiesel as I did on my Ranger, either.
So, time to start saving up, then?