Ram’s 1500 EcoDiesel Sets a New Bar for Pickup Fuel Efficiency

ram1500_exterior_04

America’s most fuel-efficient pickup truck is officially the Ram (FIATY.PK) 1500, equipped with the new 3-liter EcoDiesel V6, which the Environmental Protection Agency has awarded with a highway rating of 28 miles per gallon. That’s not just good for a truck: There are large sedans and conventional cars that struggle to hit that figure.

In addition to leading the light-duty pickup segment, it’s also a figure that surpasses smaller pickups like Toyota’s (NYSE:TM) Tacoma and the Nissan (NSANY.PK) Frontier. While many other larger V6-powered trucks may sacrifice significant performance for negligible fuel efficiency gains, the Ram spews out 240 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque to enable a tow rating of 9,200 pounds.

Of course, Ram’s top brass couldn’t help but take the opportunity to make a few jabs at its rivals. ”To put the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel in context, it gets 6 [miles per gallon] better fuel economy than the best F150 Eco-Boost,” said Reid Bigland, the president and CEO of Ram Truck Brand, in a company statement. “The Ram 1500 Eco-Diesel has outstanding pick-up truck capability with compact-car-like fuel economy.”

While that last bit might be a bit of a stretch — compacts are now hanging in the 35 miles per gallon-plus crowd — Bigland certainly has the grounds to tout the Ram’s impressive performance and fuel economy harmony.

Ram EcoDiesel

The engine’s block and bedplate are made from Compacted Graphite Iron, and it takes advantage of Chrysler’s MultiJet 2 common-rail fuel-injection system. “MultiJet 2′s high-dispersion nozzles and advanced-technology servovalve can accommodate up to eight fuel-injection events per cylinder cycle,” Ram’s statement says, per Autoblog. “This mitigates noise and improves low-speed throttle response, while also reducing fuel consumption and emissions.”

The unit is complemented by Selective Catalytic Reduction and high-pressure cooled Exhaust Gas Recirculation to ensure that the Ram is emissions-certified for all 50 states.

“The exclusive V6 EcoDiesel with TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission is priced $2,850 greater than a similarly equipped Ram 1500 with a 5.7- liter HEMI V-8 with TorqueFlite 8-speed transmission,” Ram said. In the Express trim, that will come out to about $28,000, but expect it to fall quite north of that.

It’s unclear still how Ford‘s (NYSE:F) big bet on its EcoBoost engines will play into the battle for better MPG ratings, but Ram has set the bar pretty high. The EcoBoost is a commendable unit, and the Ford will be coming off of a several-hundred pound weight loss plan, but it will be a challenge for Ford’s engineers to match Ram’s combination of power, efficiency, and towing prowess without the use of a diesel.

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