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Consumer Reports takes its independent vehicle testing procedures seriously. In an era when we have to question the EPA's official ratings thanks to recent re-evaluations from Ford and Hyundai, an independent voice is important. So, when CR says something is the best, it's worth paying attention to.

The Ram 1500 EcoDiesel has "about the same fuel-economy numbers that we typically see in a midsized SUV." – Jake Fisher

In this case, CR took a look at the fuel economy of the 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel and found that it came out on top of the fullsize pickup truck pack. The Ram did so with 20 miles per gallon overall and 27 mpg on the highway. CR gave the truck a total road test score of 82. The EPA says that the EcoDiesel 1500 gets 28 mpg on the highway, 20 mpg city and 23 mpg combined. Comparing official EPA numbers, the Ram is also the best among trucks in its class. It's nice when people agree on something.

As we know from first-hand, long-distance experience, you can push the 1500 EcoDiesel to 38 mpg. CR found in its own testing that the truck had, "about the same fuel-economy numbers that we typically see in a midsized SUV," said Jake Fisher, CR's director of automotive testing, in a statement.

Speaking of midsized SUVs, CR also announced this week that the new Toyota Highlander Hybrid got the top spot in CR's ratings in that category. CR liked pretty much everything about the SUV, saying that the "transitions between electric power and the gas engine are seamless" and that, "the new Highlander also handles better, with a steadier ride and reduced body lean in corners." You can find more at the CR website, in the October print issue of Consumer Reports or in the video and press release below.



Show full PR text
RAM ECODIESEL 1500 TOPS CONSUMER REPORTS FULL-SIZE PICKUP TRUCK RATINGS
Redesigned Toyota Highlander Hybrid Climbs to Top of Midsized SUV List

Yonkers, N.Y.- The Ram 1500 EcoDiesel climbed to the top of Consumer Reports' full-size pickup truck ratings with an impressive performance in the organization's fuel economy tests.

The EcoDiesel (82 point overall road test score) turned in a best-in-class fuel economy of 20 mpg overall and 27 mpg on the highway, to help it score better than the previously tested Ram 1500 V8 (81) regular gas version and Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LT (80).

"These are about the same fuel-economy numbers that we typically see in a mid-sized SUV. The Ram is currently the only truck to offer turbo-diesel technology. It will be interesting to see what impact it will have on the half-ton truck market," said Jake Fisher, director of automotive testing for Consumer Reports.

Consumer Reports engineers found the EcoDiesel to be as luxurious and refined as the previously tested V8 version. The EcoDiesel remains fully capable of doing dirty work when duty calls. A unique coil-spring rear suspension gives it a smooth ride, and the interior is whisper-quiet.

Consumer Reports noted some telltale diesel clatter at idle and low speeds, but the engine noise is well-hushed when cruising. Some buyers may like hearing the distinctive diesel engine note. The continued interior and powertrain improvements make the Ram a particularly well-rounded choice for most consumers.

Updated test results for the Ram EcoDiesel are available today atwww.ConsmerReports.org.

In other tests, the redesigned Toyota Highlander Hybrid's impressive performance earned it the top spot in Consumer Reports midsized SUV ratings. Consumer Reports engineers found it refined and comfortable, loaded with creature comforts, and the ability to tow 3,500 pounds. Yet it gets a very thrifty 25 mpg overall, which is the same as many small SUVs and midsized sedans.

The Hybrid takes the smooth, powerful V6 from the regular Highlander and adds a hybrid battery pack and three electric motors, increasing horsepower by 10, to 280. In place of the conventional six-speed automatic transmission, the Hybrid uses a continuously variable transmission, which is well-matched to the engine. That combo delivers 25 mpg overall, which is 25 percent better than the regular Highlander's 20. Power delivery is smooth. Transitions between electric power and the gas engine are seamless. And the Hybrid can usually propel itself on electric power up to about 35 mph.

The new Highlander also handles better, with a steadier ride and reduced body lean in corners. When pushed to its handling limits, a well-tuned stability-control system kept things secure. Energy-saving regenerative brakes make the pedal a little touchy, but stopping distances were good.

Testers were impressed with Toyota's new infotainment system, which has simple menus that make it easy to select functions, as well as knobs for volume and tuning. It also has excellent voice controls and one of the most comprehensive Bluetooth streaming-audio interfaces Consumer Reports has seen.

Complete tests results of the redesigned Toyota Highlander Hybrid, as well as additional reports for the recently tested Chevrolet Suburban("Very Good"), Chevrolet Tahoe ("Very Good"), and Ford C-Max Hybrid("Very Good"), are available online at www.ConsumerReports.org and in the October issue of Consumer Reports, on newsstands starting August 28, 2014.

Consumer Reports' testing procedures are the most comprehensive of any U.S. publication or Web site. More than 50 individual tests are performed on every vehicle, including evaluations of braking, handling, comfort, convenience, safety, and fuel economy. Roughly 6,000 miles of general driving and evaluations are racked up on each test car during the testing process. CR buys all its test cars anonymously from dealers. Other reviewers base their evaluations on press cars that are hand-picked by the automakers.

Consumer Reports is the world's largest independent product-testing organization. Using its more than 50 labs, auto test center, and survey research center, the nonprofit rates thousands of products and services annually. Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports has over 8 million subscribers to its magazine, website and other publications. Its advocacy division, Consumers Union, works for health reform, food and product safety, financial reform, and other consumer issues in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace.

- 30 -

OCTOBER 2014

© 2014 Consumer Reports. The material above is intended for legitimate news entities only; it may not be used for advertising or promotional purposes. Consumer Reports® is an expert, independent nonprofit organization whose mission is to work for a fair, just, and safe marketplace for all consumers and to empower consumers to protect themselves. We accept no advertising and pay for all the products we test. We are not beholden to any commercial interest. Our income is derived from the sale of Consumer Reports®, ConsumerReports.org® and our other publications and information products, services, fees, and noncommercial contributions and grants. Our Ratings and reports are intended solely for the use of our readers. Neither the Ratings nor the reports may be used in advertising or for any other commercial purpose without our permission. Consumer Reports will take all steps open to it to prevent commercial use of its materials, its name, or the name of Consumer Reports®.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 77 Comments
      Avinash Machado
      • 6 Months Ago
      Kudos Ram.
      ferps
      • 6 Months Ago
      I've always thought that diesel is the most logical fuel choice for American pickup trucks . They're great for hauling stuff and for long distance highway driving. They aren't so great for urban air pollution and city mileage, but that's not where most pickups are used.
      Ricardo Gozinya
      • 6 Months Ago
      Consumer Reports did a survey of their readers on motorcycles. When it came to reliability, they chose to ignore miles driven. Consumer Reports is stupid.
      dbc
      • 6 Months Ago
      Keep in mind these numbers are (presumably) for a 2wd version, which nobody buys.
        jtav2002
        • 6 Months Ago
        @dbc
        While I would never buy a 2wd truck, plenty of people still buy them. It's like any other vehicle they're always going to quote the highest fuel economy rating in the vehicle regardless if that trim is most popular or most exciting.
        wxman
        • 6 Months Ago
        @dbc
        The Ram 1500 Ecodiesel tested by Consumer Reports was the 4wd version ("Big Horn", Crew Cab), according to Consumer Reports itself.
        dukeisduke
        • 6 Months Ago
        @dbc
        Who really *needs* a 4WD pickup, unless they're off-roading, or live in northern states? In most cases it's a waste of money.
          dukeisduke
          • 6 Months Ago
          @dukeisduke
          Downvotes? C'mon, you can do better than that. How about some actual reasons, other than "Because it's cool." I'm on my second pickup (I've been driving them for almost 20 years), and both have been 2WD. I've always had a limited-slip diff, and that's been good enough.
          jtav2002
          • 6 Months Ago
          @dukeisduke
          I wouldn't say "most" cases. I mean probably more than half the country sees snow. Sure obviously you don't need 4wd for that, but it's nice to have. And others do off roading, etc. Sure it's a waste for those who never actually use it, but tons of people do. Mine gets used both in the sand on the beach in the summer and in the snow in the winter. Really depends on where you are and what you do with the vehicle. I mean, who really needs vehicles like a 707hp Challenger or $1,000,000+ vehicles like a Veyron.
        mitytitywhitey
        • 6 Months Ago
        @dbc
        Diesel Power Magazine got 32mpg in a 4WD Ram by setting the cruise control to 70 and driving for 200 miles.
          Carpinions
          • 6 Months Ago
          @mitytitywhitey
          @Hunter White In your opinion they are not great to drive. Clearly plenty of people think otherwise because, well, they are selling fine, and they've won comparison tests. Ironically, the very thing you highlight as their deficiency is a major factor in what would make me purchase a GM truck, namely MPG. The major problem with the current truck is the old 6-speed, which is about to die off. Ram's 1500 has been praised for how it drives, but only lately because of the 8-speed it has. I suspect the F-150 will be praised similarly once it is released with an 8-speed. But even with that assumed deficient tranny, the Silverado/Sierra achieves very good comparable fuel economy. It's about how the manufacturer programs the tranny, not necessarily about the engine itself. So you don't like the GM tranny programming. Fine.
          Carpinions
          • 6 Months Ago
          @mitytitywhitey
          @Matt Which is why so many modern gas engines are designed to make power and torque at higher RPMs: so fuel is burned more efficiently. People knock GM's engines for this and claim their torque numbers are the worst, but GM's gas V8s are also tops in fuel economy, and are even showing to be slightly better then the EcoBoost 3.5.
          car-a-holic
          • 6 Months Ago
          @mitytitywhitey
          Shhhh! Horses with blinders, college professors, libsters, hipsters and other "special" folk don't want to hear this. They want to buy expensive junk compacts with toxic batteries and then sneer at you while they drive 53 in fast lane.
          Dean Hammond
          • 6 Months Ago
          @mitytitywhitey
          the Ford 6.7 Superduty was hypermiled to close to 30mpgs as well...thats just crazy....
          Nemebean
          • 6 Months Ago
          @mitytitywhitey
          If we're talking hypermiling then AB itself hypermiled a diesel Ram to 38 MPG, carrying four adults and a prototype car, for crying out loud. http://green.autoblog.com/2014/05/09/hypermiling-ram-1500-ecodiesel-38-mpg/
          mitytitywhitey
          • 6 Months Ago
          @mitytitywhitey
          Dean, Thats good for the Ford, but this wasnt necessarily a hypermiling. This was their one and only test, and they reported what they found.
          Hunter White
          • 6 Months Ago
          @mitytitywhitey
          @carpinions ...but they are terrible to drive. They won't get out of their way until you dig into the gas and get them to downshift. Yes you can baby them and get decent gas mileage but when you don't have time for that they are sluggish and have to be wound out. Not what I want in a truck motor and it makes fuel economy worse in any situation above light acceleration. I drive a 5.3L powered Sierra at work all the time and I really dislike the powerband. My tundra accelerates much more easily under moderate throttle input as does just about every other brand of half ton V8 truck.
          Matt
          • 6 Months Ago
          @mitytitywhitey
          Diesels are always the king of the highway; since they don't have a throttle, the engine is at its most efficient at its lowest load. The thermodynamic efficiency of a gas engine is terrible at low load, because of all the throttle losses.
      dukeisduke
      • 6 Months Ago
      How about some actual sales figures?
      The Friendly Grizzly
      • 6 Months Ago
      OK, it won a mileage test. How is it as a truck?
        futurecars
        • 6 Months Ago
        @The Friendly Grizzly
        geeze, give the truck due credit.
        Carpinions
        • 6 Months Ago
        @The Friendly Grizzly
        The same as any other diesel truck. What are you looking for?
        jtav2002
        • 6 Months Ago
        @The Friendly Grizzly
        Why would it be any different as a truck? Still as towing and payload close to what you would get with a V8.
      george
      • 6 Months Ago
      Oh, and I forgot to mention, it can't tow much at all and Diesel fuel costs much more. This is an even worst bang for buck than when hybrids first came out. No thanks.
        Neez
        • 6 Months Ago
        @george
        My buddy tows his 5000lb travel trailer with it just fine, actually it tows better than any gas engine he's owned. Why? Because all that torque is available way down low. If you're towing over 9000lbs regularly , you should really consider a 3/4ton truck anyways. Also, you don't know what you're talking about. Diesel is only about 10-15% more in fuel cost, but the truck gets 25-50% better fuel economy.
          Neez
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Neez
          That's simply not true, maybe inside new york city. I'm on the east coast in PA. It's $3.39 per gallon for gas, and $3.79 per gallon for diesel here.
          jimmy_james44
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Neez
          Maybe you're in some fairy tale "lucky" state. Diesel is at least 50 a gallon more expensive then regular on the east coast, going up to $1.76 a gallon more expensive.
        jtav2002
        • 6 Months Ago
        @george
        It can't tow much at all? Properly equipped the Ecodiesel is good for 9,000lbs. A little behind what a V8 1/2 will do, but for most a couple thousand pounds won't make a difference when they're getting substantially better fuel economy. I mean if a truck only towing 9k compared to 10k is a deal breaker for someone, they probably need more than a 1/2 ton truck anyway.
        Carpinions
        • 6 Months Ago
        @george
        The Diesel can't tow? OK, then I guess the Cummins Dodge originally threw into the Ram 350/3500 back in the late 80s and 90s can't tow either. Because the power and torque ratings with that old Cummins engine are similar to this new VM Motori engine, AND those older trucks max out at the same capability level that this new truck tows at. So your comment is interesting in that light.
      dukeisduke
      • 6 Months Ago
      I'm glad that a diesel 1/2 ton is finally here, and I hope that more come, but are these selling?
        1guyin10
        • 6 Months Ago
        @dukeisduke
        Between RAM 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee they are basically selling every engine they can get out of VM Motori right now. They are making a major capitol investment to bump that up. They clearly could be selling more if they could get them. Average time on the lot is only 13 days verses 45 for the gasoline versions, so the EcoDiesel is something that buyers are seeking out.
        car-a-holic
        • 6 Months Ago
        @dukeisduke
        Like sex in a brothel!
          dukeisduke
          • 6 Months Ago
          @car-a-holic
          Okay, this article dated June 27th says it's about 8 to 10 percent of orders from dealers. Not bad. http://news.pickuptrucks.com/2014/06/ecodiesel-engines-popularity-isnt-a-problem-for-ram-and-jeep.html
      Ryan Schneider
      • 6 Months Ago
      So, on average you can expect to see about a 30% increase in fuel economy compared to a similarly equipped, modern full-size truck equipped with a mid-range V8 engine (or boosted V6 in the case of a Ford ecoboost) and a modest gear ratio. Unfortunately, diesel fuel prices currently run about 30% higher than regular unleaded, essentially negating any real benefit. Factor in the MUCH higher price entry point of the EcoDiesel and the potential for higher repair/maintenance costs (in the case something DOES go bad), and IMHO the appeal just isn't there.
        Matt
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Ryan Schneider
        The economic benefit of diesel lies not in the fuel consumption improvement, but in the fact that the diesel option basically doesn't depreciate (or even appreciates) on any modern passenger vehicle. So you recoup all of your additional expenditure for diesel when you sell/trade. If you drive it into the ground, then you don't care about the resale value, but in that case you most certainly recouped the cost through fuel savings. You win either way.
        BipDBo
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Ryan Schneider
        Not to mention, that diesel produces 240 hp whereas the gas V8 makes 395 hp.
          Jack Holliday
          • 6 Months Ago
          @BipDBo
          thats 240 horses vs 395 ponies
          BipDBo
          • 6 Months Ago
          @BipDBo
          Despite popular belief, diesel horsepower is no better than gas horsepower. We have these things called transmissions that trade rpms for torque.
        Ryan Schneider
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Ryan Schneider
        Correction.......diesel runs, on a national average, 10-12% higher in price compared to regular unleaded, so maybe there is a benefit, but I'm still not sure in the long-run if the benefit is there. The next 5-10 years will be interesting for trucks to say the least.....
          car-a-holic
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Ryan Schneider
          Jared; Def is 2.89 outside auto parts stores. It does not cost 4k extra. Try around 1300. Your oil changes are farther apart. Def/ oil changes cancel. Fuel filter is cancelled by lack of spark plugs. (Depends on your choice when to replace them) plus fuel savings is crazy. It's slow? But it tows 9k and gets 30mpg. Want fast buy a different thirsty power train. Plus while Your nickel and diming here be sure you add insurance costs up for that all aluminum ford. Cha Ching! Plus don't forget with aluminum shortages for autos expected, parts might be a long wait.
          Carpinions
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Ryan Schneider
          @JaredN Pickups aren't meant to win stoplight drags. The ED only costs $4k extra if you're stepping up from the base engine. On Ram's site right now I have an ED Laramie Quad 4x2 spec'd to $40k, which is about the sweet spot of the market these days. DEF fuid can add up to .70 per gallon over 1000 miles, so not a small consideration, no, but if these things are driven a lot over long distances (especially with loads), there will definitely be some payback. These trucks seem to make the most sense when something needs to be hauled/towed, and diesel MPG under load will always trump gas MPG. Ford EcoBoost can boast more speed and tow capacity, but it won't ever touch the ED Ram on MPG doing actual work, and especially not near it load limits.
          JaredN
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Ryan Schneider
          You also have to figure in the cost of the urea fluid. Also, the Ram 1500 diesel is slow as a dog and the engine costs an additional $4,000. As much as I like the idea of the 1500 diesel, I'm not sure it is worth it. I can't wait for tests (and real world results) of the 2015 F150. Interesting times indeed.
        mitytitywhitey
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Ryan Schneider
        Good luck getting EPA ratings year-round in an Ecoboost. Even living in a warm state, my EB with a modest gear ratio averaged 17mpg in the winter.
        car-a-holic
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Ryan Schneider
        Folks I talked to said they were getting 17 towing and 30 hwy.. I'd say that's closer to 66 percent over EPA hwy estimates
        Apex
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Ryan Schneider
        I have to disagree, at least in Canada, where Diesel is less expensive (most of the year, as it does peak in winter months due to demand if it's a cold winter as in 2013/2014). As well if you USE you truck, the diesel is much more efficent under load. Yes the boosted Ford is quick, but thirsty when working. It's really fantactic package when someone needs a truck ocasionally for pleasure to tow a boat or trailer, haul some lumber, but most of the time is unladen. Gets real world top marks for payload, fuel economy and fit and finish.
        Larry Litmanen
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Ryan Schneider
        Not a single gas station by me even sells diesel.
          JaredN
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Larry Litmanen
          Baloney. Post your zip code and I'll find a bunch of gas stations nearby that carry diesel.
      Larry Litmanen
      • 6 Months Ago
      Good thing that no one on Autoblog will care as everyone always says that CR is biased. Well since they are biased i guess these numbers are a lie.
        Matt44
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Larry Litmanen
        They are very biased against anything niche that does not work for point a to point b driving and hauling kids. Their endorsement for a pickup says that it is a better compromise than most other truck which may mean nothing to those who are already familiar with trucks.
        Matt
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Larry Litmanen
        CR takes crap here, but they have more rigorous automotive testing capabilities and procedures than any other media entity.
          Jack Holliday
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Matt
          consumer distorts claim they buy everything they test................with what? the few bucks they get selling their biased magazine? CR IS A JOKE
          Matt
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Matt
          They display bias in their "recommended" ratings, but those aren't the reason to look at their reviews. C&D, R&T, etc. all display obvious bias as well, frequently conflicting bias at that (one review states a car is at the top of its segment, then it comes in 4th in a comparison in the next issue, etc). Their test data is collected more rigorously than any other auto review entity in the media. You can draw your own conclusions based on the data. Car-a-holic, don't tell me you actually pay attention to those silly circles?
          car-a-holic
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Matt
          Yea they take it here, because it's transparent they have biases. Which example you you like to use? There's at least several well documented goofs by CR.
      Bill Burke
      • 6 Months Ago
      I always have considerable doubts about automotive comparison tests in general and Consumers in particular. However, one must take notice of how many awards from so many sources, the Ram pickups have won over and over again. You have to admit, there must be a reason. I know this won't sit well with Chevy and Ford fans, but perhaps Ram does, at this moment in time, make the best pickups. I sure like it's looks a whole lot more than the others. Sales numbers do indicate more people are looking seriously at Ram and choosing to purchase one.
      Ryan McCarthy
      • 6 Months Ago
      I have this truck, the best I've gotten on the Highway is 28 and 21 in town, I love it.
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