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2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel 72 Hour Tow Test

Posted in Vehicle Reviews on March 11, 2014
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Sometimes you get what you expected, and sometimes you get more than you expected, and sometimes you get something other than what you expected. What we got from the new Ram 1500 diesel truck is confusing.

“This small diesel is worth the wait”

Everyone is excited about the small diesels that are coming soon to the American light truck market. But we have been a bit reserved in our opinion on them because, basically, we’re worried that all the diesel advantages might be a lot of hype. Most Americans have one idea about diesel engines and that comes from the big 3⁄4- and 1-ton trucks we all love. So this idea of a small diesel is confusing. Will it have any power and torque? Will it get 30 mpg but be a slug to drive? Is it worth the investment? In the end we’ve often wondered if a V-8 gas truck would really make most of us happier than a small diesel. We felt that the small diesel is an idea people are enamored with, but the reality might not live up to the anticipation.

We weren’t sure the diesel made much sense until we finally got it in the dirt, and it all started to make sense. The light engine doesn’t anchor the truck like the big Cummins does, and we were soon throwing it around corners and kicking up dust with just as much get-up-and-go as the Hemi. We may have even got that front end off the ground a time or two, and having a smallish engine up there definitely helps on the landings. The EcoDiesel gave us 19 mpg after a day of rallying on dirt and asphalt mountain roads.

We recently spent a few days with a ’14 diesel Ram (the truck formerly known as Dodge) 1500 and ran through two tanks of fuel, and can honestly say we really liked this truck. It surprised us in ways we didn’t expect, but it didn’t live up to the ideals we had dreamt of, namely it didn’t get ridiculously awesome fuel economy (good but not great).

We admit that we had a pretty short visit with the Ram, but we tested it on the highway, towing at max load, in the dirt, and through some twisty mountain roads. The economy ranged from the low teens to the mid 20s, and yet we left the truck with a strange desire to have one as a project truck. Why? Because it really is fun to drive.

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If you’re looking for a one-size-fits-most truck, then the EcoDiesel 1500 could be your size. It will tow a small Jeep, a side-by-side, or a little camper trailer with ease and economy. It could make for a fun prerunner or camping/hunting truck and still get good mileage back to the suburbs. It rides awesome as a daily driver with the five-link rear suspension. It’s quiet but still sounds like a diesel so you know what’s under the hood. It’s not inexpensive to buy (tested at $55,375 window sticker), and diesel fuel isn’t the cheapest at the pump, but it can be economical in the long run. And it finally scratches that small diesel itch that so many have. We can honestly say that this small diesel is worth the wait.


Ram Trucks
Aubum Hills, MI 48321

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