Now Legal for Sale, 2017 Ram EcoDiesels Remain Thin on the Ground
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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