The 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel is on the way for customers who have been asking for a diesel-powered light duty pickup. The new turbodiesel engine joins the 3.6-liter V-6 and 5.7-liter V-8 gas engines on the option list, but will the 1500 EcoDiesel motivate Ford and GM to offer a turbodiesel in their half-ton trucks? And should Ford and GM even consider a diesel-powered full-size truck?
Diesel-powered light-duty trucks isn’t without precedent: Ford once considered a 4.5-liter turbo diesel V-8 engine for the F-150 pickup, about the same time GM was developing a 4.5-liter Duramax turbodiesel engine for GMC Sierra 1500 and Chevrolet Silverado 1500 trucks. Development of both engines has been put on hold.
Chrysler went with a smaller 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6 for the 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel, which it shares with the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee. In that SUV, the 3.0-liter turbodiesel is rated 240 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque, with mileage as high as 30 mpg highway. Backed by an eight-speed automatic transmission, the powertrain in the Jeep is tow-rated at 7400 pounds.
Pricing hasn’t been announced for the 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel, but we expect a premium over the 3.6-liter V-6 and 5.7-liter V-8 gas engines. Chrysler cites internal research showing customer demand for a diesel-powered half-ton pickup, and we wonder how many will actually buy a 1500 EcoDiesel when it goes on sale later this year. Should Ford and GM offer diesel-powered half-ton trucks in response to the 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel? Share your thoughts below.