EcoDiesel, Part II: Fiat Chrysler's New Light Duty Diesel Aims to Anger GM and Ford, Not the EPA

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
ecodiesel part ii fiat chryslers new light duty diesel aims to anger gm and ford

The domestic pickup torque wars have flared up again. Following a brief period of dormancy that came after General Motors’ 3.0-liter Duramax 3.0-liter inline-six topped Ford’s 3.0-liter Power Stroke V6 by 20 foot-pounds (460 vs. 440), Fiat Chrysler has arrived on the scene to declare itself king of the hill.

For the 2020 model year, FCA’s EcoDiesel 3.0-liter diesel V6 returns, this time without the baggage and after-the-fact modifications ordered by the federal government. It also pulls harder than its competition.

After a model-year hiatus, the EcoDiesel will reappear in the Ram 1500 fold for 2020, this time generating 260 horsepower and 480 lb-ft of torque. The previous-gen engine, which first appeared in 2014, made 240 hp and 420 lb-ft.

Despite endowing the 1500 line with fuel economy Ford and GM couldn’t match, that older version gave FCA quite a black eye. A scandal erupted in early 2017 over the automaker’s use of undeclared auxiliary emissions control devices, forcing FCA on the defensive. The EPA launched an investigation while the Department of Justice hit the automaker with a lawsuit, forcing it to settle for a sum far less than the penalty handed down to Volkswagen. While the automaker never admitted fault in the affair, it did clean up the engine’s act.

This new mill has undergone significant changes. Among them, a new water-cooled turbocharger with variable geometry turbine, redesigned cylinder head intake ports, an updated exhaust gas recirculation system, and redesigned fuel injector nozzles. FCA claims these and other changes boost the engine’s compression ratio to 16.5:1 (up from 16:1) and make for “superb fuel economy and minimal levels of noise, vibration and harshness.”

“The new Ram 1500 EcoDiesel is America’s most powerful half-ton diesel pickup, following up on Ram’s Heavy Duty torque leadership and achieving what no other manufacturer has, with up to 480 lb.-ft. of torque in a 3.0-liter engine,” said Ram boss Reid Bigland, who’s currently suing his employer, in a statement.

Fuel economy ratings for the new EcoDiesel pickup have not yet been released, though Ram hopes its efforts deliver another bragging right. Buyers will be able to pair the new EcoDiesel with Ram’s adjustable air suspension, further boosting economy of the fuel variety.

As it stands, there’s already two boasts — the aforementioned torque figure, and the engine’s ability to tow 12,560 pounds. The F-150’s max diesel tow rating is 11,400 pounds; the Silverado 1500’s is still unknown. Indeed, Ram can’t yet claim best-in-class towing with any certainty.

Interestingly, Ram plans to offer the new EcoDiesel not just on the second year of its new full-size pickups, but on 2019 versions of its older-generation 1500 Classic. All Ram 1500 trims can be had with a diesel, FCA claims, including the Rebel.

Pricing and fuel economy will land closer to the engine’s fourth-quarter on-sale date.

[Images: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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8 of 26 comments
  • JimZ JimZ on Jun 10, 2019

    1994 7.3 liter Powerstroke: 210 hp, 425 lb-ft.

    • See 5 previous
    • DenverMike DenverMike on Jun 11, 2019

      @gtem The 6.0 PS is the best of both worlds. Big power/economy and before emissions. Don't believe the hype. Even commercial users that know what they're buying are happily spending 2X what '05 to '07 PS 6.0 F-250s and up, currently "book" for, when they're cosmetically and mechanically refurbished and bulletproofed. And they're better in many ways compared to new 2019 replacements costing 2X as much (after rebates).

  • Truckducken Truckducken on Jun 11, 2019

    Can it be modified to roll enough coal to cover the rear half of the bed in soot? ‘Cuz around here, that’s why people buy diesels.

  • Kwik_Shift Manuals are great theft deterrents though. 😉Sad when they're disappearing from many makes.
  • Arthur Dailey Confession here. 2 of the previous generation Rogues in our family over the past 5 years. Saw some cost cutting between the 1st and the 2nd one. On the 'new' one there are no cubbies on the back of the front seats, the ignition is not lit, and there is a marked difference in the front seats. The first Rogue has the most comfortable seats I have experienced since the heyday of the PLCs. Despite sciatica could drive that Rogue for hours with no issues. The seats on the 2nd Rogue create discomfort after 30 minutes. And everyone in the family has noticed this.The first Rogue drove seamlessly. Quiet and comfortable on the highway. On both we have averaged just over 29 mpg. The 2nd Rogue needs to be warmed up and driven slowly if left out overnight in minus 30 (f) or -0 (c) weather, otherwise the engine just revs and the speed does not seem to increase. The dealer has been asked to look at this multiple times but each time they claim that there is no issue. It also has the worst Bluetooth interface I have experienced. Otherwise, based on size, cost, the Rogues were chosen over Toyota/Honda. Both were/are leased so not concerned about long term values/reliability. And the 'new' Rogue came standard with heated seats and blind spot warning, which the Toyota/Honda did not without going up a couple of packages.However we should have bought out the first Rogue when the lease ended. During the height of the pandemic, it could have easily been flipped for close to double the buyout cost.
  • AKHusky L2 charger at home. My wife’s workplace has a couple of chargers and she is able to use one about half the time. Our town also has a number of free chargers and I use those occasionally if I’m going to be parked in that vicinity for at least an hour anyway.
  • Jkross22 That's a great looking shifter. Reminds me of the old school late 70s BMW manual - BTW TTAC, that would be a cool article to run - Best looking shifters in the last 30 years. My vote:Audi gated shifter from the R8. Should've offered that on every RS model and let people special order.
  • Ajla Maybe they should not have released several special edition Broncos when they couldn't even get regular trim orders out within a year?I'm not sure who is in charge of Ford's production but they deserve to be very fired.