Vital Stats

Engine:
3.0L V6 DIESEL
Power:
240 HP / 420 LB-FT
Transmission:
8-Speed Auto
Drivetrain:
Four-Wheel Drive
Seating:
2+3
Base Price:
$48,730
As Tested Price:
$56,420
Remember when Mahindra & Mahindra was close to offering a compact diesel pickup here? A million voices from the truck-and-bed-loving tribes of the Internet cried out at once in anticipation, only to be silenced in disappointment when it didn't happen. And this was for a jitney with a bed that didn't exactly look robust in its press photos. The message these fans had was clear: light-duty truck + a diesel engine = a prayer answered for a significant contingent of truck buyers.

Ram tells us a fullsize diesel half-ton has been the number-one demand from customers, and it will be the first manufacturer to grand the wish when the 2014 Ram 1500 goes on sale early next year – "late availability" in Q1 of 2014 is the official word – with a 3.0-liter, six-cylinder turbodiesel provided by VM Motori. If you're wondering about the engine source, VM Motori has been a Chrysler supplier since 1992. DaimlerChrysler bought VM Motori in 2000, and after a few ownership-stake changes since then, it is presently a 50-50 joint venture between General Motors and Fiat. That will change shortly, however, with Fiat recently announcing it will buy GM's share and take full control of the company.

Driving Notes
  • The 3.0-liter diesel puts out 240 horsepower at 3,600 rpm and 420 pound-feet of torque at 2,000 rpm, and will be paired with the company's TorqueFlite eight-speed transmission. Fuel economy hasn't been announced yet, but we have been told to expect something in "the upper twenties." Ram's David Elshoff said, "We know for sure it's higher than 25 miles per gallon, so 26 or higher will be the commitment." During a press conference at the Texas State Fair today, Ram Trucks boss Reid Bigland announced that the truck's latest estimate is 27 mpg on the highway. The engine is compatible with B-20 biodiesel, as well.
  • The 50-state compliant common-rail diesel weighs just 40 pounds more than the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 thanks to a cylinder block and bedplate of compacted graphite iron, along with aluminum pistons and heads and a structural aluminum oil pan. Other technologies in the new engine design include fast-acting high-temperature glow plugs, an electronically controlled variable-geometry water-cooled turbocharger, electronically controlled Exhaust Gas Recirculation system, a 10,000-mile oil-change interval and a front-end accessory drive.
  • Compared the diesel's numbers to its brethren in the Ram stable: The 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 makes 305 hp at 6,400 rpm and 269 lb-ft at 4,175 rpm, returning 18 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway. The 5.7-liter Hemi V8 produces 395 hp at 5,600 rpm and 410 lb-ft at 3,950 rpm, and gets 15 mpg city, 22 mpg highway.
  • In addition to slightly better mileage than the Pentastar V6 and lots more torque, the diesel will have an even bigger edge when it comes to fuel economy when towing, since gas mileage typically falls more quickly and dramatically than diesel mileage under load. The 3.0-liter diesel is rated to tow 9,200 pounds, the 3.6-liter V6 is rated at 7,450 pounds and the 5.7-liter V8 is rated at 10,400 pounds. We were told that when it comes to towing, the diesel is perfect for "Ski boats, midsize campers, snowmobiles. It's 90-percent of the Hemi with a night and day difference in fuel economy." During our day of driving, there was a diesel demo unit hooked up to a 4,500-pound ski boat/trailer combo, but a brake issue that developed on the trailer midway through the day meant we didn't get a chance to drive it.
  • Ram said that it expects the 5.7-liter to remain its major seller, but it figures around 15 percent of the model 1500's mix will be diesel. For buyers choosing between Ram engines – as opposed to conquest customers walking in just for the diesel option – Elshoff said, "The diesel will take from the 5.7."
  • The diesel will come with a price premium of $2,850 over a "similarly equipped" 5.7-liter Hemi and cost $4,500 more than 3.6-liter V6. At today's fuel prices, Ram expects diesel buyers to recover that $2,850 in less than three years, which is less than the 4.5-year average that buyers hold onto a truck. The new 1500 starts at $24,200 for the Pentastar V6, plus $1,095 destination. The Laramie Longhorn Edition Crew Cab 4x4 we drove had a base price of $48,730 and an as-tested price of $56,420.
  • The diesel won't be offered on Sport models or the two-wheel-drive, regular cab, short-bed Tradesman. The ancillaries for the engine were designed with the long-wheelbase 1500 in mind, making the short wheelbase packaging too compact.
  • Even though diesel 1500s will wear large "Ecodiesel" badges on their flanks, the option won't be pitched as 'green' to truck buyers. Pickup buyers have made it known that fuel economy combined with capability is a big deal, but the green they're concerned about is in their wallets. Still, that's how you get national ad campaigns in which Ram touts the best V6 fuel economy, General Motors touts the best V8 fuel economy and Ford promotes the best combo of towing and fuel economy with its EcoBoost V6.
  • The closeness of the Chrysler/VM Motori relationship has allowed Ram to get its diesel to market more quickly than competitors – it is expected to hit retail outlets by the end of the year. This is important because Ram should have the market to itself until the Nissan Titan arrives next year with its Cummins 5.0-liter V8 diesel. However, when asked about the coming Titan diesel, one Ram rep asked, "Do you really consider a 5.0-liter a small diesel engine? We'll see how that works out."
  • Behind the wheel, the diesel quickly shows itself to be a good engine. With more torque than the Hemi V8 combined with the capable eight-speed transmission, getting off the line quickly and accelerating from low speeds and rpm is not a problem. We took it through the same canyons used to test the 2014 Jeep Cherokee, and although it didn't display the same reflexes, it was still a fun drive, especially for a pickup. If you want more control, there are gear selector switches on the steering wheel. The 40-pound weight gain compared to the Hemi wasn't enough to change the feel of the front end. Understeer and wallow – beyond what you might experience in any pickup truck through mountain esses – wasn't really an issue.
  • The engine is also refined. You have to stand next to it to hear the traditional, yet muted, diesel chatter. Standing in front and enduring the hot temperatures of our drive day, we could only hear the fans. From inside the cabin – even while accelerating – the engine barely sounds like a diesel. Stopped at light, it doesn't rock noticeably from side-to-side, a feat achieved without balance shafts.
  • Since 2013 was the big redesign year, no other significant changes have been made for 2014. After a year on the market, no changes stick out as needed. The cabin is large, the seats are comfy, there's good-feeling materials everywhere, the Uconnect screen is large and a little busy, but easy to use. The new model year will offer a capless fuel filler as standard, an optional front park assist system and two new exterior colors: Blue Streak and Granite Crystal.
  • On a side note, the first Dodge Ram truck with a Cummins engine was at the event, the initial engineering prototype Cummins built after approaching Dodge about an engine tie-up. The 1985 Dodge Ram 350 Royal SE sounded every bit as heavy duty as the 2014 Ram 2500 we parked next to it, but was about one-third the size. That original 5.9-liter inline six-cylinder had 146 hp, 400 lb-ft and redlined at about 2,500 rpm. The 6.7-liter Cummins in the current Ram achieves 385 hp and 850 lb-ft.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 85 Comments
      Clipper44
      • 1 Year Ago
      This truck is going to sell huge. All that low-end power AND an enormous fuel advantage over the Hemi (and every other full sized .5 ton)... businesses and fleet operators would be derelict to not buy this truck for their inventory.
      Deneway
      • 1 Year Ago
      It's the eight speed box that is changing the dynamic on these trucks. For so many personal users the gas V6 will be fine. Diesel will likely be the fleet option of choice
      Jacel
      • 1 Year Ago
      I for one would have loved a single cab 4x4 diesel option in the high 20s with over 30MPG. Talk about the ultimate real truck.
        L
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Jacel
        I wholeheartedly agree. I have a 2009 RAM 1500 with the older V6 in 2WD. I'd love the same truck in 4WD and the diesel option. Oh well, perhaps Nissan or Toyota will offer what I want.
      carcrazed4life
      • 1 Year Ago
      If the VM is smooth and luxurious enough to be used in the 300C, Jeeps, Maserati even with some tuning... Then I think it will be a great engine for the Ram. I think the VM pushes out 440+ LbFt of torque and 270hp. So I'm sure their is ample reliability designed into the "base" VM diesel. I'm also curious when we will see a Twin Turbo V6 as an option similar to Fords now that we know the Ghibli is loosely based of the Pentastar and a 3.0l V6 TT puts out 325HP in base form (400+ in S form) and 368 Lb Ft in base form (405 Lb Ft in S form) versions. I'm pretty sure having as many engine options as the F150 does helps with its appeal, that Ram will be smart to follow as another "alternate" to the Hemi.
        Kyle
        • 1 Year Ago
        @carcrazed4life
        Chrysler is supposedly working on a twin-turbo Pentastar. At least if their job listings a while back are any indication of their future product portfolio.
      ken12345
      • 1 Year Ago
      Correct me if I'm wrong but didn't GM use to offer a diesel in their 1500 trucks? making them the first company to offer a full size diesel half-ton
      itguy08
      • 1 Year Ago
      Too little too Late, Dodge. Why would I buy this that uses expensive fuel, has high maintenance requirements, and has a huge cost. And not a huge MPG gain? Don't say torque because the Ecoboost has that in spades. Don't say HP because this thing is outclassed by the V6's in all the trucks. Oh, and don't say capability. RAM looses there too - lowest tow and lowest payload.
        jtav2002
        • 1 Year Ago
        @itguy08
        $2,800 option. Still cheaper than the $7kish premium you pay on an HD diesel. The NA V6 trucks may make more HP, but they also are less efficient, have far less torque, and won't tow nearly as much. Most of what you're saying pretty much implies you're either clueless, or don't care about the actual facts because you don't like Ram. So, show me another truck in the segment that gets 27mpg highway and tows over 9,000lbs. I'll save you the trouble, no truck gets even close. The only truck remotely close in fuel economy is Rams own V6 trucks. And no, I'm not a Ram fanboy, in fact I don't even own one. You're just talking stupid.
          itguy08
          • 1 Year Ago
          @jtav2002
          Many things wrong with your argument: 1. We don't know the real world numbers. Even Chrysler is being very coy about them. When towing, you get bad fuel economy. Look at Pickuptrucks.com's first drive. With a 3k boat in tow, it was 15MPG or so. 2. Diesel is as much as premium here and you need DEF. 3. Diesel oil changes and other maintenance generally cost more. 4. Ram has the lowest towing and payload of the bunch. 5. You want to tow and get decent fuel economy, buy the Ecoboost. Proven, gets about 21-22 on the highway, less maintenace, and better payload and all around package. Want a Ram, get the (overrated) Hemi. Want a GM, get the 5.3. Again, too little too late and way too expensive.
      SteveG
      • 1 Year Ago
      Toyota learn from this. The Diesel Hilux is the truck americans don't even know they want.
        ...
        • 1 Year Ago
        @SteveG
        The Hilux is made overseas, so it would be subject to the chicken tax. I hear their frames are considerably less rust-prone than Tacomas.
          sp33dklz
          • 1 Year Ago
          @...
          The Hilux is not a "commercial" vehicle, so no chicken tax.
      theautojunkie
      • 1 Year Ago
      ....somehow the names Dodge and diesel no longer work for me.....
      Jon Bowen
      • 1 Year Ago
      so it will cost more than an EcoBoost, barely get better mileage, have fuel that costs more, have higher service costs, and tow less. Sweet deal Ram, I'll definitely buy one over a Ford.
        John
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Jon Bowen
        Not only does the diesel maintain MPG but how is 4-6mpg barely better on vehicles that are only in the 20's? Higher service cost? 10k mile oil change interval should do just fine, no spark plugs, no tune up, air boxes will be much the same. Your only actual point is that they tow less but when you compare them side by side with similar configurations I think it will be pretty damn close. This is coming from a guy who sells both Ford & Ram.
        Dean Hammond
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Jon Bowen
        Jon....now add fuel economy under load ( as in towing ) to the equation....diesels pretty much maiontain MPGs under load...
          Rotation
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Dean Hammond
          That's ridiculous. No, Diesels do not maintain MPGs under load. They lose less mpg, but you cannot move a heavier load the same distance at the same speed and get the same mpg.
          Dean Hammond
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Dean Hammond
          excuse my typing autojunkie.....
          theautojunkie
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Dean Hammond
          ...thanks Dean, for the complete reason to buy a diesel truck in the first place....
        Blizzard_Esq
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Jon Bowen
        The least expensive Ram EcoDiesel will be able a $1000 cheaper than the least expensive EcoBoost. Also EcoBoost mileage is not as good in the real world (see Fuelly) it averages around 16-17mpg. Thus an EcoDiesel will NOT have "barely" better mileage when it will probably average 22-23mpg based on what the 2014 Jeep EcoDiesel gets. Also for towing the mpg will be a lot better than the steep drop box in the EcoBoost; pickuptrucks.com got 8 MPG, which is to be expected when towing with a gas vehicle.
          Dean Hammond
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Blizzard_Esq
          it wont be cheaper than the least expensive eco-boost....but you ARE on the $ when it comes to mileage under load.....
      RM
      • 1 Year Ago
      I must say I do love my Tundra but I wish they would offer a diesel. Way to go Ram keep up the good work. At least someone had the balls to bring us a 1/2 ton diesel.
        dbhynson
        • 1 Year Ago
        @RM
        someone had the balls to bet there were enough DAs to buy the damn things. ( note: DA does not stand for distirct attourney)
      phlipp21
      • 1 Year Ago
      420 ft-lb & 27 MPG sounds full of win, until you see the base price. $48,730!? Is that a misprint?
        brotherkenny4
        • 1 Year Ago
        @phlipp21
        "1500 starts at $24,200 for the Pentastar V6" and the deisel is " $4,500 more than 3.6-liter V6", so for the non-crew cab two door, approximately $28,700, or at least more in that ball park. But yah, who pays $50K for a pick up truck?
          Jake
          • 1 Year Ago
          @brotherkenny4
          "who pays $50K for a pick up truck?" Ever been to Texas?
          Card13
          • 1 Year Ago
          @brotherkenny4
          Ever been to Texas? The rich people don't drive Bimmers or Benzes, they go for loaded pickups (hence the expensive Ram is the Longhorn Edition)
          johnnythemoney
          • 1 Year Ago
          @brotherkenny4
          Texas aside, AB run a story a while ago about the average price of trucks: "the average transaction price of a full-size pickup is now $39,915 " Not $50k, but close.
        Brian
        • 1 Year Ago
        @phlipp21
        That base price was for the fully loaded The Laramie Longhorn Edition Crew Cab 4x4. It says that the diesel option is $2850 more than a HEMI equipped truck and they estimate with fuel savings you make your money back in 3 years. This is very exciting to see efficient diesels coming to 1500 trucks, I've been dreaming of this for 15 years as I've owned many different trucks and as much as I love the big heavy duty diesel trucks I've owned they are complete overkill for my needs. About time!!!
        Matthew Artelt
        • 1 Year Ago
        @phlipp21
        They tested a Laramie Longhorn which is the highest option package. You can expect them to run around $40K for more common setups. And of course there'll be incentives.
        jtav2002
        • 1 Year Ago
        @phlipp21
        No it's a failure for you to read anything other than the quick stats.
      Hybridnetics
      • 1 Year Ago
      Am I the only want who's starting to feel like the standard V6 is the best way to go? I mean, the tow rating increase only amounts to 1750 lbs more. The std V6 has 65 more hp and maybe only gets 2-3 mpg less at best? And for $4500 less? IDK....
        SteveG
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Hybridnetics
        Then you do not need a truck. Just get a damn car and stop wasting fuel.
          john96xlt
          • 1 Year Ago
          @SteveG
          The standard V6 is capable of doing "truck" things, get off his back.
        Shiftright
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Hybridnetics
        Unless you're actually using a pick up for what it's designed for : hauling and towing, instead of as a daily driver 'life style ' vehicle.
        Jacel
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Hybridnetics
        The diesel however will eclipse the V6 MPG even in the city. Where city driving will really be the V6's Achilles heel. Don't get me wrong the v6 is fine if u put something in the bed every great now and then and dont plan to drive the truck that often. But if you do the Diesel is where its at. The combination of the the engine being inherently built for higher pressures (compression ratios) and its low rpm qualities should technically equate to a 300,000 mile engine.
        trek till
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Hybridnetics
        i was all for the diesel but i think your right. If it's priced anything like the Grand Cherokee diesel 45K MSRP to start than forget it.
          jtav2002
          • 1 Year Ago
          @trek till
          It states right in the article that it's a $2800 option over the Hemi. Why do people refuse to read the articles here?
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