Ram’s New Diesel 1500 Makes History

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We’ll just cut to the chase: the Ram (FIATY.PK) 1500 has won Motor Trend‘s coveted Truck of the Year award for 2014, making it the only truck to be awarded the honors for two years consecutively since 1979, when the award was invented. In its lengthy dissection of the truck, Motor Trend explained that while the Ram is a great truck all around, it’s the new EcoDiesel engine — a 3-liter unit capable of 240 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque — coupled with the eight-speed transmission that really won the panelists over.

“Diesel’s slower burn rate also means it’s ideal for lower rpm operation,” Motor Trend said. “Driving around with an engine screaming away at 5000 rpm might be fun for a little while, but climbing a mountain listening to that constant drone is no way to spend a road trip. It also happens to be terrible for fuel economy.” The new Ram is rated for 18 miles per gallon in the city and an impressive 26 miles per gallon on the highway. It’s also great for towing.

“We tow, we accelerate from a stop, we accelerate at highway speeds, we throw in some climbs for good measure, and we simulate a truck’s best/worst days,” Motor Trend said, in describing what the publication put the truck through during the trial process. “When all was said and done, the EcoDiesel returned an observed 15 mpg at the test track, while the GM V-8s and the lone Toyota 1/2-ton V-8 were all in the single digits. The Sierra V-6 managed only 10 mpg.”

So the new Ram is certainly efficient, but fuel economy is not the reason people buy trucks. Fortunately, the Ram outperforms in other aspects, too.

For towing, the EcoDiesel ”doesn’t feel like it’s struggling at all. Once it gets up to speed, it chugs along, smooth, fairly quiet, and with little effort. Operates at low rpm, and it’s easy to forget you’re towing,” said one of the Motor Trend judges. Combined with low-end torque, the eight-speed transmission makes the Ram an effortless towing vehicle.

So what is it like for the driver? “As we established last year, the rest of the Ram 1500 is class-leading in just about every other respect,” Motor Trend notes. “Ram Boxes are still the best thing since pre-sliced bacon. The interiors are thoughtfully laid out and the controls are designed to be intuitive and easy to operate even while wearing gloves.” Though, the tiny steering wheel buttons posed a bit of an issue, the publication reports.

“The Ram 1500 makes history as the first back-to-back Truck of the Year winner because it offers all the things truck buyers want in a rig: choice, value, great design, and more than enough power and torque,” Motor Trend writes. “And with the EcoDiesel, you can add efficiency and guts to that list.”

The EcoDiesel trim starts at $30,465, though the trim levels the publication tested were on the north side of $50,000.

In conclusion, “Ram has made a game-changing decision by bringing diesel to the full-size market. It’s a bold move truck lovers have been begging for, which is why the Ram 1500 is our 2014 Truck of the Year.” Check out Motor Trend‘s full write-up and review here.

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