We’ve all speculated on whether the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel would hit the magic 30 MPG highway. After EPA fuel economy testing, it turns out the truck came up just shy — but still leading the fuel economy race — at 28 MPG.
The press release from Ram said the 28 MPG rating gives the Ram brand the two top spots in the full-size truck fuel economy wars. The Ram 1500 with the Pentastar 3.6-liter V6 rated at 25 MPG coming in the second spot behind its diesel-powered sister. We didn’t quite make it to the EPA highway fuel economy estimate in a four-wheel drive version of the Pentastar-powered Ram 1500 late last year, but given a second, anomaly-free round with the truck, I feel confident I could get there.
Not only does the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel surpass the previous top-ranked full-size Ram 1500, but the truck maker was quick to point out it does better than the top-ranked smaller pickup truck as well. The 2014 Toyota Tacoma in two-wheel drive, manual transmission, four-cylinder form gets an EPA rating of 25 MPG highway — tying the Pentastar Ram 1500 for most fuel-efficient truck in America until now.
Ram Truck Brand President and CEO Reid Bigland said, “The new Ram 1500 EcoDiesel is truly in a class of it’s own with 28 MPG and the ability to tow 9,200 pounds. To put the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel in context, it gets 6 mpg better fuel economy than the best F150 EcoBoost. Overall, the Ram 1500 Eco-Diesel has outstanding pickup truck capability with compact-car-like fuel economy.”
Ram said customers can start ordering the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel this week. I hope I get to test one. A full-size pickup that can get as close to 30 MPG as my current daily driver, a compact 2006 Ford Ranger with a four-cylinder gasoline engine, makes for an intriguing possible next daily driver. I only wish the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel came with the option of a manual transmission. The only negative: Buying a Ram 1500 EcoDiesel will cost $2,850 more than a similarly equipped Ram 1500 equipped with the 5.7-liter HEMI V8 gasser. That puts it in the neighborhood of $28,000 for a basic Tradesman trim with vinyl seats.
If the Nissan Frontier Diesel Runner concept ever makes it to production at a more competitive price, I would be more inclined to add one of those to my family’s fleet mostly because I don’t need the Ram 1500’s large size and because I value the maneuverability advantages a midsize truck provides. Regardless, the pickup truck field has seldom been more interesting for diesel lovers.