Chrysler will be pleased to tell you that the Environmental Protection Agency has rated the 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel at 28 mph highway, the top rating for any pickup on sale in the United States.
The Ram’s 3.0 liter EcoDiesel V6 gets 20 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the combined cycle. The diesel six-cylinder sends 240 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque through Chrysler’s new TorqueFlite 8-speed automatic transmission, good for a 9,200 lb towing capacity.
General Motors has stated in the past that should half-ton diesel pickup sales take off, they are “ready to respond quickly”, most likely by putting the same 3.0 liter diesel V6 in the Silverado 1500. However the recently announced car-like 28 mpg highway fuel economy of the Ram could prompt GM to speed up that process.
GM has expressed doubt in half-ton diesel pickups in the past. They believe the added cost of a diesel upfront, which for the Ram is $2,850 more than a comparatively equipped 5.7 liter Hemi V8 model, would put off customers in the showroom.
It is also possible that GM will remain confident in the 2.8 liter Duramax diesel set to be offered in the 2015 Colorado and Canyon for the 2016 model year. General Motors North American President, Mark Reuss, said federal fuel economy standards played a large part in their decision to offer mid-size trucks.
Apart from Ram, Ford also has an ace up their sleeve in regards to fuel economy with the 2015 F-150. Thanks to the use of lightweight aluminium body panels, the 2015 F-150 is 700 lbs lighter than the outgoing model. When The Wall Street Journal asked Ford Chief Executive Officer, Alan Mulally, whether the 2015 F-150 would get 30 mpg or not, Mulally replied: “We’re absolutely going to be the leader.”
With two of its biggest rivals edging the 30 mpg mark with their pickups, GM may be feeling the pressure to offer a more fuel-efficient alternative in the Silverado 1500. Or, they could stick to their plan, pointing fuel-conscious buyers in the direction of the smaller Colorado and Canyon. Either way, we feel that the pickup truck fuel economy race is just beginning.