Chrysler is going full-steam ahead with its plans to bring its European diesel engines to the U.S. market. The Jeep Grand Cherokee diesel was just the opening salvo, but this next move shows how serious Chrysler is about clean diesel engines. Starting later this year, customers can now buy a Ram 1500 pickup with an EcoDiesel V6 engine, and it could to the first full-size pickup to break the 30 mpg barrier.
In the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee, the EcoDiesel V6 is rated at 240 horsepower, 420 ft-lbs of torque, and a 30 mpg highway rating. While pricing hasn’t been released, the diesel engine option is expected to carry a premium. Chrysler isn’t releasing power or mpg specs just yet, but when coupled with two-wheel drive and the 8-speed automatic transmission, we wouldn’t be surprised to see a 30 mpg highway rating.
That would be a 20% improvement over the current pickup mpg champ…also the Ram 1500, with a 25 mpg rating from the 3.6 liter Pentastar V6. Chrysler is no doubt looking to capitalize on America’s ever-rising gas prices, and their emphasis on efficiency could see them stealing sales from Ford and GM. The Ram 1500 will be the first half-ton pickup available with a small diesel engine, and other companies are almost sure to follow their example. There is even rumor that a hybrid-diesel Ram pickup could be in the works…but lets not get ahead of ourselves.
But is America’s tradesmen corp ready to embrace diesel en masse? While larger pickups like the Ram 3500 are already available with large-displacement V8 diesel engines and even CNG motors, these vehicles don’t need to be rated by the EPA. Even if they were, the fuel economy isn’t impressive.
But a smaller diesel engine in a smaller pickup could deliver big fuel economy gains, and Chrysler is positioning Ram as the brand to beat when it comes to fuel economy. Rumors swirl that the Wrangler may get the EcoDiesel engine as well, but going with a more broad-appealing vehicle like a pickup could lead to many more sales.