It is astounding to me that it has taken until this moment in American history for an automaker to fit a full-size truck with a small, efficient diesel engine. Chrysler has done it though, and the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel could have a profound effect on the rest of the truck industry, especially if the marketing team’s claim of a 27 mpg combined rating turns out to be true.
The Ram 1500 with the Pentastar V6 engine already lays claim to being the most fuel-efficient pickup you can buy, with the EPA rating sitting at an impressive 25 mpg on the highway. But the 3.0 liter EcoDiesel V6 is turned for even more efficiency, and while the official numbers aren’t out yet, a recent test drive event yielded some impressive numbers.
In combined city and highway driving, many journalists managed to get in the mid-20s for fuel economy, with one even managing to get 27 mpg, which Chrysler marketing reps hinted will be the combined rating. That means the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel could get over 30 mpg on the highway. In a full-size truck weighing near 6,000 pounds, with an engine option that costs just $2,850 over the 5.7 liter HEMI V8.
Chrysler reps estimate that at this price point, most customers will see a return-of-investment in as little as three years, which would mean an annual fuel savings of $1,000 over the HEMI V8. If that really turns out to be the case, small diesel-powered pickups could come to dominate the American market, and we’ll collectively realize what we’ve been missing out on all this time. Nissan might also regret its decision to install that larger 5.0 liter Cummins diesel into its Titan pickup once they see this story.
With word that the 3.0 liter EcoDiesel is also B20 biodiesel compatible and backed by an eight-speed automatic transmission, I am left wondering how to shoehorn one of these motors into a restomod muscle car. But that will come later.
Do you really think Chrysler is about to debut a 27 mpg pickup? Or is it all just hype?