When I first started the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel, the range indicator showed nearly 600 miles. I drove it home from work and back several times before the needle even moved. Traveling half-way across Indiana and back seemingly made the gas gauge laugh in my face. Take a truck emtanked for gas-sucking HEMI V8s, install an efficient diesel under the buff hood instead, option the crew cab to the nines, and you have a truck that can tackle very long roads and carry its peeps in serenity.
Smooth Over-The-Road Style
It has that look, with what has become Ram’s trademark streamlined over-the-road semi style. Look close and you’ll see this generation bears a more aerodynamically efficient body, but continues the dropped front fenders that have been Ram hallmarks since 1994. A chrome grille emblazoned with RAM adds class – as do corner-following LED headlamps. Roomy Crew Cabs like ours were stretched 4 inches to provide stretch-out rear legroom. An innovative 60/40 split tailgate can fold down traditionally, or open on side hinges for raking out mulch, or more easily loading gear from the ground. Lockable “RamBox” cubbies in the bedsides hold tools – or beverages.
Travelers savor a cab worthy of a luxury bunk house. Decked in Laramie Longhorn trim, passengers are greeted with saddle leather seats, legit rough-hewn wood on the dash/doors, wood-and-leather steering wheel, and bronze finishes. Some competitors stitch cheap vinyl dash coverings that only look good, but the Ram’s feel like they belong in a Range Rover. It’s all just glittering gingerbread that accompanies heated/cooled front seats, heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, and a deep center console that rivals a YMCA locker for capacity.
There’s a full ranch of technology, too. The center of the barrage is a 12-inch tablet-style touchscreen for audio, navigation, and phone. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Bluetooth ease smartphone connections while safety is enhanced by adaptive cruise, forward collision warning with auto brake, lane keep assist, blind spot detection, rear cross traffic alert, and trailer sway damping.
Up To 32-MPG
Ram Heavy Duty trucks are renowned for their Columbus, Indiana-built Cummins engines, but Ram 1500 harbors an entirely different flavor of diesel. I love the way it purrs whether in town or slamming highways. The 3.0-liter turbo V6, connected to an 8-speed automatic transmission, delivers 260 horsepower and ground-churning 480 lb.-ft. of torque – adequate to move up to 12,560 lbs. of trailer. Adding to the truck’s ability to wander far and wide are fuel economy ratings of 21/29-MPG city/highway with four-wheel-drive (22/32-MPG rear-drive).
Ram’s refined manners travel beyond the powertrain to the chassis. This truck is hands-down the best riding pickup on the road with its air suspension system that can raise for off-roading, lower for sliding under hitches, and nearly lay down to improve aerodynamics on the highway. Over rough pavement and bridge ramps that would cause bouncing on most pickups goes barely noticed in the Ram. It sets the standard.
One could drive the Ram EcoDiesel from Indianapolis to Dallas with just one refueling stop along the way. In most autos that would seem a punishing endeavor, but the Ram is not most autos. It’s essentially a luxury SUV that can tow like a beast and get the fuel economy of a mid-size crossover. But, it all comes at a price. You can buy a Ram pickup for under $32,000, but this one rings up to $66,305. Competitors include diesel versions of the Ford F-150 and Chevy Silverado 1500.
2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel
- 5 passengers, 4WD Pickup
- Powertrain: 3.0L TDV6, 8-spd auto trans
- Output: 260 hp/480 lb.-ft.
- Suspension f/r: Air Ind/Solid axle
- Wheels f/r: 20”/20” alloy
- Brakes f/r: disc/disc
- Must-have features: Luxury, Engine
- Fuel economy: 21/29-MPG city/hwy
- Assembly: Sterling Hts., MI
- Base price/As-tested: $31,895/66,305