By on October 9, 2017

2016 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel HFE, Image: FCA

Looking for a full-size pickup with class-leading fuel economy? Can’t lick that diesel addiction, but not willing to go heavy duty? Since 2014, the Ram 1500 HFE has been your full-size, light-duty diesel go-to, at least until the Environmental Protection Agency yanked the model’s certification for the 2017 model year.

Following this year’s minor disagreement (the EPA wanted to know what those undeclared auxiliary emission control devices were all about, Fiat Chrysler said it was no big deal), as well as the federal investigations and lawsuits that followed, the thriftiest Ram is back on the market. In late July, environmental regulators finally gave the model a clean bill of health, certifying it for sale in the U.S.

However, Ram EcoDiesels are only now finding their way onto dealer lots.

According to Automotive News, two months passed before the first 2017 Ram 1500s equipped with the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 became available to customers. Small numbers began appearing at dealerships in late September. Still, that doesn’t mean customers eagerly awaiting the model’s return will have an easy time finding one.

Though production kicked off in early July as certification drew near (and after FCA revamped the engine’s emission-control system), many dealerships still haven’t received their orders. Cars.com lists a single new 2017 Ram HFE for sale in Newton, North Carolina.

Visitors to Ram’s website might also be hard-pressed to discover the HFE. The fuel-sipper doesn’t appear in the model overview window, though a mention of 420 lb-ft of torque appears if visitors scroll down far enough on the Ram 1500 landing page. Under the detailed specifications tab, the EcoDiesel doesn’t show up in the engine or option groups sub-menus. Only if a prospective buyer utilizes the website’s build and price tool will they quickly discover Ram sells a rear-drive Tradesman HFE for a starting MSRP of $37,895. That’s an $11,400 increase over a base Tradesman, though the diesel version includes four doors (as well as a $6,250 cash allowance for California customers).

The engine remains optional on other trims, but, at $4,270, it’s nearly triple the cost of upgrading to a 5.7-liter V8. Equipped with an eight-speed automatic, the Ram EcoDiesel (in rear-drive guise) manages 29 miles per gallon on the highway and 21 mpg in the city. The same engine does double duty in the Jeep Grand Cherokee.

It’s quite possible FCA will have to keep the 2017 model in production for some time, as 2018 EcoDiesels are not yet certified. Meanwhile, the same fix applied to 2017 models is now available to owners of 2014-2016 EcoDiesels. FCA claims the software modifications won’t impact fuel economy.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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15 Comments on “Now Legal for Sale, 2017 Ram EcoDiesels Remain Thin on the Ground...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “Following this year’s minor disagreement (the EPA wanted to know what those undeclared auxiliary emission control devices were all about, Fiat Chrysler said it was no big deal), as well as the federal investigations and lawsuits that followed, the thriftiest Ram is back on the market. In late July, environmental regulators finally gave the model a clean bill of health, certifying it for sale in the U.S.”

    Unless FCA screwed up in its filing procedures regarding the aux devices, they should sue EPA for damages.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      “undeclared auxiliary emission control devices” should’ve been declared by FCA. That EPA wanted to know what the existing, but undeclared, objects were/are. FCA said “they are there”, the EPA said “very nice, we approve.” Hardly lawsuit material.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        IF FCA screwed up in its paperwork, then yes, but if all the rules were followed it seems like grounds for a suit due to lost sales and bad pr.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          the whole point is that they didn’t follow the rules because they failed to declare the presence of AECDs. That it was rectified so quickly means they acknowledged their presence, gave sufficient proof to the EPA that these AECDs either don’t activate in normal use, or if they do activate they only do so under allowed circumstances.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Ding ding.

            There are times in life where your not in trouble for possessing something unless you look like you’re trying to hide it.

            EPA: “Anything to declare?”

            FCA: (hands over paperwork) “Nope I think we’re done here.”

            EPA: (looks under hood of ecodiesel) “What do we have here?”

            FCA: (red-faced) “Oh THOSE AECDs! Completely forgot about them.”

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            So FCA screwed up the process, then everything happened as it should and the system actually worked. Kudos.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          FCA was in the wrong.

          The EcoDiesel was programmed to skip “regen mode” under very hot or extremely cold conditions, or just “full throttle”, in efforts to reduce warranty claims.

          That’s all, it’s “no big deal”, as FCA states, but it shows their lack of confidence in the engine’s “bulletproofing” and longevity.

          • 0 avatar
            TwoBelugas

            Wasn’t the regen mode in diesel engines implemented to deal with new strict emissions standards put in place around 2008 and the DPF causes nothing but headaches for the owners ever since?

            So the time FCA designs a mechanism that reduces damage to an engine and lets it last longer, people are complaining they did engineering work?

            LOL

          • 0 avatar
            whynot

            No one is complaining that they did engineering work. But you have to make sure everything is properly documented and submitted to the relevant authorities (EPA in this case) so they know what exactly you are doing.

            Pulling fast ones and failing to disclose, especially after the VW fiasco, just suggests you are trying to hide something and is going to result in extra scrutiny and thus delayed certification.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Did you miss the fact that the software was changed and that they will be recalling the 2016 and earlier models to update their software to bring those vehicles into compliance.

      No the cheat may not have been as extensive as the VW one but it was still illegal and they had to change things to get the certification which is why it took so long for them to get approval. Ok and the fact that like VW they tried to put one over on the EPA twice.

      The first submission didn’t declare the AECDs while the second submission declared them but not that they failed to meet standards. Which of course is why they had to go back to the drawing board, develop a new calibration and submit that.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    I think the diesel fuel price premium and the initial cost price premium really hurts anything that’s not a big HD version needing big rig torque.

    The economics aren’t there short term (fuel cost per mile) or long term (maintenance with all the add-on devices).

    • 0 avatar
      whynot

      The diesel only makes sense if you tow a lot.

      If you are really concerned about fuel economy/fuel costs in a pickup then it makes more sense to just go with the smaller V6 gas engine, especially since some of them like the 2.7 Ecoboost in the F150 are fantastic.

      • 0 avatar
        klossfam

        All I can say as a past owner for a 2015 RAM Laramie EcoDiesel is it got great mileage (22.4 mpg combined “hand calculated” during my 33K miles)…and mine was very trouble free…

        If you look at a site like Fuelly, F150s with the 2.7T average 18.5 mpg in the real world and the EcoDiesels average about 22.5 mpg. It’s a BIG difference although as noted, the ‘upcharge’ for the diesel power train is substantial…

        While I owned it, diesel in my area was usually the same or less than regular unleaded (still is about the same). Plus I’m on the border and drove a lot in Ontario where diesel is the LOWEST priced fuel.

        The 3.0T VM Motori is great power plant for a half ton…

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      Don’t forget increased maintenance and repair costs.

  • avatar
    John Powell

    What about the increased maintenance on the eco-boost? They were a nightmare. The diesel particulate filters is just another way of selling environmental products. All the the particulates in the air in the U.S. is only 5% from diesel exhaust. While 30 % comes from China, maybe we just need to stop the earth from rotating and the wind from blowing. Then we could could lay off many government people whi just make jobs for themselves.

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