It’s Ram vs. Ford vs. Chevy all over again, diesel-style. The 2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel bursts back onto the full-size diesel truck scene with some impressive-on-paper numbers. Those who go for Ram’s diesel truck will get higher torque and a higher towing capacity compared to any of its rivals, but that’s not the full story.
Ram was first with a non-heavy-duty diesel truck, and we liked it so much that, thanks in large part to that powerplant, the 1500 became our 2014 Truck of the Year. Now Ram’s got competition. Ford makes a diesel variant of its best-selling F-150, and the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 will offer a diesel, too. The 2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel packs a built-in-Italy 260-hp 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6 under its enormous hood, with 480 lb-ft of torque routed through an eight-speed automatic. That compares well to Ford’s 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6 with 250 hp and 440 lb-ft of torque, routed through a 10-speed automatic.
As for Chevy, the 2020 Silverado 1500 diesel is rated at 277 hp and 460 lb-ft, from a 3.0-liter inline-six that’s mated to a 10-speed automatic. So the 2020 Ram 1500 diesel looks good on paper, especially with its 12,560-pound class-leading towing capacity. But a lot can be hiding behind impressive numbers. When MotorTrend drives and actually tests the 2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel, will we notice the way the automaker has minimized NVH, or might we find—as we did with the F-150 diesel at last year’s Truck of the Year competition—that the truck suffers when it’s attached to a trailer? Considering the Ram 1500 has earned the MotorTrend Truck of the Year award three of the last seven years, we have high hopes.
When you’re between big jobs, you might appreciate the Ram’s improved fuel economy. The automaker is keeping that card close to its chest, but plans to leapfrog Ford, which currently offers a rear-drive version of the F-150 diesel achieving an EPA-rated 22/30 mpg city/highway.
If the number you’re interested in starts with a $, know that 2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel pricing won’t be revealed until closer to when the truck goes on sale in the last few months of 2019. But Ram does tell us that the updated EcoDiesel engine will be offered across the lineup, from Tradesman—a trim that already won a MotorTrend comparison—to Rebel. As with other 2020 Ram 1500s, the diesel version will be offered with an air suspension. When the 2019 Ram 1500 became our 2019 Truck of the Year, we praised the coil-spring and air suspensions. None of that, however, is a guarantee of future success with this updated 2020 truck. For that, you can count on MotorTrend to review and test the 2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel and its competitors.
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