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We drive the 2014 Dodge Ram 1500 Diesel

by Ali Arsham
Wednesday, January 15, 2014

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Dodge Ram Diesel 1500
Up until now, if you wanted a diesel engine in your pickup truck you had to buy a big heavy duty pickup.  We know that diesels are more efficient so why can’t we have a diesel engine in a ½ ton pickup?  Thanks to Chrysler’s Ram brand that is now possible and it is a very good one.

The 2014 Ram 1500 not only is the first light-duty, full-size pickup to offer durable, efficient diesel technology – it is the only one. And with the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel’s historic debut, Ram customers can enjoy class-leading fuel economy and range, along with torque that is unsurpassed by any full-size truck with a V-6 engine.

“Light-duty pickup owners have long clamored for diesel technology and the time to deliver is now,” said Bob Lee, Vice President and Head of Engine, Powertrain and Electrified Propulsion Systems Engineering — Chrysler Group LLC. “Clean, efficient, prodigious torque and the promise of durability are the hallmarks of a superior truck engine. The EcoDiesel makes good on all counts.”

V6 turbo diesel
The new 3.0-liter 24-valve, dual-overhead-cam diesel is a turbocharged 60-degree V-6.  It generates 240 horsepower at 3,600 rpm and makes torque like a V-8 – 420 lb.-ft. at 2,000 rpm – without V-8 fuel consumption.  The fuel-economy advantage inherent in diesel technology also enables the Ram 1500 to trump competitive trucks with turbocharged, direct-injected gasoline engines – especially under load, the driving condition most critical to pickups and their owners.

The new turbo-diesel is designed and produced by VM Motori, a Chrysler Group diesel engine supplier since 1992. The engine was made available because of the Fiat purchase of Chrysler.  That engine is available in some Fiat models worldwide and is made in Italy. 

The EcoDiesel’s 60-degree cylinder-bank angle and 1-2-3-4-5-6 firing order are optimized to manage inertia and firing loads, eliminating the need for a balance shaft.  The engine’s aluminum cylinder heads are heat-treated and feature individual bearing caps that help reduce friction and noise, vibration and harshness (NVH).  Durability is further ensured by the EcoDiesel’s forged steel crankshaft and connecting rods – which provide additional NVH benefits – and its aluminum alloy pistons.  These pistons, which benefit from cooling oil jets, reduce reciprocating mass inside the engine for enhanced efficiency and performance feel.

The dual overhead cams with chain-driven roller-finger followers and gear-to-gear meshing afford efficient valve operation, working in harmony with the variable-geometry, electronically controlled, water-cooled turbocharger.  Special attention to this relationship helps to virtually eliminate “turbo lag” by providing increased turbine power at low engine speeds.  The system incorporates a new “pre-filter” on the transmission cross-rail and an engine fuel filter.  The result is enhanced prevention of injector corrosion, an enabler of long-term durability, as well as protection from the vagaries of regional fuel quality.

All of the specifications are great but how does it drive?  In a word, sweet!  The engine provides a terrific amount of power at anytime with no turbo lag.  Just step on the gas and feel the rush.  If you are a fan of the Cummins diesels found in other Ram trucks, you may be offended when I tell you that this is a better engine.  It is much more efficient and best of all it is smooth and quiet.  You are never reminded that this is a big truck engine.  You can actually have a conversation with the engine running and the windows down.

A great engine would be nothing if it was attached to a bad truck but Ram has done a wonderful job with the Ram 1500.  The 2014 Ram 1500 delivers best-in-class fuel economy with a truckload of pioneering, fuel-saving systems including eight-speed automatic transmission, stop-start system, thermal management system, pulse-width modulation and active aerodynamics with grille shutters and air suspension. 

The air suspension is fantastic and works very well.  When you park the truck, it lowers itself so you can get in and out easier.  At freeway speeds it also lowers itself for better aerodynamics.  If you want to go off roading, you have two higher levels for more ground clearance.  All of this is available with the push of a button.

Nice interior for a truck
Inside the cab, our loaded Laramie model had everything under the sun but was still not the top of the line Ram model.  Standard equipment included rear back up camera, trailer towing package, power adjustable pedals, heavy duty cooling, security alarm, dual zone HVAC, ventilated and heated front seats, heated steering wheel, 7 inch cluster with Bluetooth and U Connect, and so much more. 

Driving the Ram was a joy.  It was smooth and quiet on the freeway.  The diesel engine provides a range of over 600 miles making the Ram diesel a great partner for long trips.  We recorded mileage in the mid-20s easily with 30 mpg being possible if you are careful with the throttle.  That is amazing considering that this is a truck capable of towing over 9000 pounds.

The worst feature of the Ram diesel is the price.  Our Laramie Crew Cab 4x4 Ram started out at $45,000 and after $10,000 of options, the final price came out to $55,760.  That is a lot of money but then again this is not your 1950’s pickup truck with AM radio either.  If you are careful, you can purchase a lower grade Outdoorsman 2 wheel drive for as little as $35,000 with the diesel engine. 

The diesel engine option in the Ram 1500 makes the truck into something that you can truly live with every day.  The fuel economy is very good and it is as luxurious as your neighbor’s Lexus with the bonus of more room and a huge trunk.

Specifications

Brakes Amount/Size
Brake Type N/A
Brake ABS System 4-Wheel
Brake ABS System (Second Line) N/A
Disc - Front (Yes or ) Yes
Disc - Rear (Yes or ) Yes
Front Brake Rotor Diam x Thickness 13.2 in
Rear Brake Rotor Diam x Thickness 13.8 in
Cargo Area Dimensions Amount/Size
Cargo Box Length @ Floor 76.3 in
Cargo Box Width @ Top, Rear 66.4 in
Cargo Box Width @ Floor 66.4 in
Cargo Box Width @ Wheelhousings 51 in
Cargo Box (Area) Height 20.1 in
Tailgate Width N/A in
Cargo Volume 57.5 ft³
Ext'd Cab Cargo Volume N/A ft³
Cooling System Amount/Size
Total Cooling System Capacity N/A qts
Electrical Amount/Size
Cold Cranking Amps @ 0° F (Primary) 730
Cold Cranking Amps @ 0° F (2nd) 730
Cold Cranking Amps @ 0° F (3rd) N/A
Maximum Alternator Capacity (amps) 180
Emissions Amount/Size
Tons/yr of CO2 Emissions @ 15K mi/year 9.1 (Est)
EPA Greenhouse Gas Score N/A
Engine Amount/Size
Engine Order Code ERB
Engine Type Regular Unleaded V-6
Displacement 3.6 L/220
Fuel System Sequential MPI
SAE Net Horsepower @ RPM 305 @ 6350
SAE Net Torque @ RPM 269 @ 4800
Engine Oil Cooler Regular
Exterior Dimensions Amount/Size
Wheelbase 120 in
Length, Overall w/o rear bumper N/A in
Width, Max w/o mirrors 79.4 in
Height, Overall 74.6 in
Overhang, Front N/A in
Overhang, Rear w/o bumper N/A in
Front Bumper to Back of Cab N/A in
Cab to Axle 36.9 in
Cab to End of Frame N/A in
Ground to Top of Load Floor 34.8 in
Ground to Top of Frame N/A in
Frame Width, Rear N/A in
Ground Clearance, Front 9 in
Ground Clearance, Rear 9 in
Body Length 0.00 ft
Cab to Body N/A in
Frame Amount/Size
Frame Type N/A
Sect Modulus Rails Only N/A in³
Frame RBM N/A N/A
Frame Strength N/A lbs
Frame Thickness N/A in
Fuel Tank Amount/Size
Fuel Tank Capacity, Approx 26 gal
Aux Fuel Tank Capacity, Approx N/A gal
Fuel Tank Location Midship
Aux Fuel Tank Location Midship
Interior Dimensions Amount/Size
Passenger Capacity 3
Front Head Room 40.3 in
Front Leg Room 41 in
Front Shoulder Room 66 in
Front Hip Room 62.9 in
Second Head Room N/A in
Second Leg Room N/A in
Second Shoulder Room N/A in
Second Hip Room N/A in
Mileage Amount/Size
EPA Fuel Economy Est - Hwy 25 MPG
Cruising Range - City 442.00 mi
EPA Fuel Economy Est - City 17 MPG
Fuel Economy Est-Combined 20 MPG
Cruising Range - Hwy 650.00 mi
Steering Amount/Size
Steering Type Rack-Pinion
Steering Ratio (:1), Overall N/A
Steering Ratio (:1), On Center N/A
Steering Ratio (:1), At Lock N/A
Turning Diameter - Curb to Curb 39.5 ft
Turning Diameter - Wall to Wall N/A ft
Suspension Amount/Size
Suspension Type - Front N/A
Suspension Type - Rear N/A
Spring Capacity - Front N/A lbs
Spring Capacity - Rear N/A lbs
Axle Type - Front Independent
Axle Type - Rear Rigid Axle
Axle Capacity - Front 3700 lbs
Axle Capacity - Rear 3900 lbs
Axle Ratio (:1) - Front 3.21
Axle Ratio (:1) - Rear 3.21
Shock Absorber Diameter - Front N/A mm
Shock Absorber Diameter - Rear N/A mm
Stabilizer Bar Diameter - Front N/A in
Stabilizer Bar Diameter - Rear N/A in
Tires Amount/Size
Front Tire Order Code TTM
Rear Tire Order Code TTM
Front Tire Size P265/70SR17
Rear Tire Size P265/70SR17
Spare Tire Size Full-Size
Front Tire Capacity 4608 lbs
Rear Tire Capacity 4608 lbs
Spare Tire Capacity N/A lbs
Revolutions/Mile @ 45 mph - Front 656
Revolutions/Mile @ 45 mph - Rear 656
Revolutions/Mile @ 45 mph - Spare N/A
Trailering Amount/Size
Dead Weight Hitch - Max Trailer Wt. 4800 lbs
Dead Weight Hitch - Max Tongue Wt. 480 lbs
Wt Distributing Hitch - Max Trailer Wt. 4800 lbs
Wt Distributing Hitch - Max Tongue Wt. 720 lbs
Maximum Trailering Capacity 4800 lbs
Transmission Amount/Size
Drivetrain Rear Wheel Drive
Trans Order Code DFL
Trans Type 8
Trans Description Cont. Automatic w/OD
First Gear Ratio (:1) 4.71
Second Gear Ratio (:1) 3.14
Third Gear Ratio (:1) 2.11
Fourth Gear Ratio (:1) 1.67
Fifth Gear Ratio (:1) 1.28
Sixth Gear Ratio (:1) 1.00
Reverse Ratio (:1) 3.30
Clutch Size N/A in
Trans Power Take Off N/A
Final Drive Axle Ratio (:1) N/A
Transfer Case Model N/A
Transfer Case Gear Ratio (:1), High N/A
Transfer Case Gear Ratio (:1), Low N/A
Transfer Case Power Take Off N/A
Seventh Gear Ratio (:1) 0.84
Eighth Gear Ratio (:1) 0.67
Weight Information Amount/Size
Trim Curb Weight 4514.00 lbs
Base Trim Weight - Front 2493.00 lbs
Base Trim Weight - Rear 2021.00 lbs
Gross Axle Wt Rating - Front 3700 lbs
Gross Axle Wt Rating - Rear 3900 lbs
Curb Weight - Front 2493 lbs
Curb Weight - Rear 2021 lbs
Option Weight - Front 0.00 lbs
Option Weight - Rear 0.00 lbs
Reserve Axle Capacity - Front 1207.00 lbs
Reserve Axle Capacity - Rear 1879.00 lbs
As Spec'd Curb Weight 4514.00 lbs
As Spec'd Payload 1511.00 lbs
Maximum Payload Capacity 1511.00 lbs
Gross Combined Wt Rating 9500 lbs
Gross Axle Weight Rating 7600.00 lbs
Curb Weight 4514.00 lbs
Reserve Axle Capacity 3086.00 lbs
Total Option Weight 0.00 lbs
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating 6025.00 lbs
Wheels Amount/Size
Front Wheel Size 17 X 7 in
Rear Wheel Size 17 X 7 in
Spare Wheel Size Full-Size in
Front Wheel Material Styled Steel
Rear Wheel Material Styled Steel
Spare Wheel Material Steel

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