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Ram 5.7L Hemi vs. 3.0L EcoDiesel Towing and Fuel Economy Comparison

Techline: A closer look at the towing and fuel economy of the Ram 1500 turbodiesel and gas engines.

I read your article on the '14 Ram 1500 3.0L EcoDiesel from back in 2013. I know that was many years ago, but knowing no one with that vehicle I'm hoping you might be able to help me. I'm looking to trade in my daily driver for a truck. I found a '14 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel Laramie 4x4 for what I believe is a good price. I plan to use it for daily driving and very occasional hauling. The heaviest I'll be hauling is a Jeep Comanche on a tandem axle trailer, maybe twice a year from South Carolina to Virginia on all interstates with no major grades. More than anything, this truck would be a daily driver with some road trips (only towing once or twice a year). Do you think this is a viable option for the conditions of use, or would I be better off looking for a gas V-8? If so, do you have any recommendations?— @kalebjohnson_, via Instagram @cappaworks

5.7L Hemi vs. 3.0L EcoDiesel

Choosing between the 5.7L Hemi V-8 and the 3.0L EcoDiesel turbodiesel engine in a Ram 1500 isn't as difficult as it might seem. The best way to make the choice is to go about it rationally and consider the intended use, just as you have done. Given that the majority of your drive time will be commuting and on-road trips, the fuel economy part of the puzzle should be very important to you.

EcoDiesel Fuel Economy

Of course, it's incredibly hard to dismiss the great fuel economy of the EcoDiesel, so let's look at the fuel economy for both the diesel and Hemi. A '14 Ram 1500 with the 3.0L EcoDiesel and the eight-speed automatic transmission is EPA rated at 19 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway, with a combined city/highway mpg of 22. However, I have several friends with EcoDiesel Ram 1500 trucks that see much better mpg numbers on a regular basis. A '14 Ram 1500 with the 5.7L Hemi V-8 backed by the eight-speed automatic musters an EPA rating of 15 mpg in the city and 21 mpg on the highway, with a combined city/highway mpg of 17.

In general, it's not unusual to see real-world gas fuel economy numbers come in below the EPA rating and the actual real-world diesel mpg numbers to come in higher than the EPA rating. We're not sure why this is, but it appears to not be specific to any particular brand. Diesels may simply reward our particular driving conditions and habits more than a gas engine.

How Much Can a 3.0L EcoDiesel Tow?

Now, it seems your towed load likely won't surpass 6,000-7,000 pounds, which the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel truck should easily accommodate. Be sure to check the actual tow rating on your particular model since this number is directly dictated by the trim level and options of the truck. Keep in mind that a truck with a higher trim level is often heavier and has a lower towing capacity than a truck with fewer options.

The good news is that most of the EcoDiesel Ram 1500s have a max tow capacity of around 8,000-9,000 pounds, which is well within what you require. If you planned to tow a heavier load or regularly tow the maximum limit of the EcoDiesel, I'd recommend stepping into the Hemi V-8 truck backed with the eight-speed automatic and optional 3.92 axle gears.

Is EcoDiesel Reliable?

So, given all of the details, I think the EcoDiesel is a sound choice for you. The improved fuel economy of the EcoDiesel will benefit you on your daily commute, and you'll enjoy a less peaky and calmer towing experience thanks to the characteristically low rpm torque of the diesel engine.

How Much Can a Ram 1500 3.6L V-6 Tow?

Now, if for some reason you decide that you don't like the cost and complexity of the turbodiesel engine but still want relatively good fuel economy, you might consider the Ram 1500 with the 3.6L V-6 backed with the eight-speed automatic. This truck offers an EPA rated 16 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway, with a combined city/highway rating of 19 mpg. Most trim levels of the 3.6L Ram 1500 from that era have a tow rating of just over 7,000 pounds, which would also likely meet your needs should you decide to go this route.