With Fuel Economy Estimates in, Ram Scores a Light-duty Diesel Win Against Ford

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
with fuel economy estimates in ram scores a light duty diesel win against ford

The Environmental Protection Agency has gotten around to tinkering with Ram’s l atest EcoDiesel V6, and its early findings should put a smile on the faces of the folks in Auburn Hills. However, the estimated fuel economy of the latest (and totally legal) 3.0-liter diesel comes with an asterisk.

While the oil-burning Ram 1500 does seem to beat out Ford’s 3.0-liter Power Stroke both in terms of power and efficiency, both Ford and Ram take a backseat to General Motors.

Boasting 260 horsepower, 480 lb-ft of torque, and an emissions-control system that shouldn’t lead to indictments and fines, the 2020 Ram 1500 Ecodiesel scores a much-needed victory over chief rival Ford. Recall that the Blue Oval’s new Super Duty line walked away with the torque, towing, and payload crowns in the HD field. On the EPA cycle, the Ram EcoDiesel is estimated at 22 mpg city, 32 mpg highway, and 26 mpg combined.

That combined figure comes in at 3 mpg greater than the rear-drive, Pentastar-powered HFE model. In comparison, Ford’s 3.0-liter Power Stroke ⁠— rated at 250 hp and 440 lb-ft ⁠— comes in at 25 mpg combined in rear-drive guise.

Adding four-wheel drive should knock the Ram’s combined figure down to 24 mpg, matching Ford’s 4WD diesel efficiency.

Should the EPA’s final figures land in the same place, Ram can feel satisfied in having trounced Ford in the light-duty diesel game. GM, on the other hand, can feel pretty smug about the whole thing, as its new Duramax 3.0-liter inline-six bears an EPA rating of 27 mpg combined. 4WD models combine for a similarly segment-topping 25 mpg. On the highway, the 2WD diesel Silverado/Sierra’s 33 mpg tops Ram by 1 mpg and Ford by 3 mpg.

That said, the GM truck’s 460 lb-ft falls behind Ram’s torque output, giving Fiat Chrysler a segment win in that category. The horsepower crown remains in GM’s hands, with 277 ponies.

Clearly eager to offer a Ram for all potential buyers, FCA chose to make the EcoDiesel mill an option on all 1500 trims, not just loftier models. Going the diesel route will set buyers back $4,995. At Ford, buyers will first have to equip their truck with a $4,345 options package before springing for the Power Stroke. The automaker recently made the engine available in its volume XLT model, having relegated it only to snazzier trims for 2018.

[Images: Matthew Guy/TTAC]

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  • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Oct 07, 2019

    Despite its challenges, it appears that the GM Truck Group has not yet forgotten Rule #5 of Automotive Design: - When you have plenty of torque (and a transmission that knows how to downshift correctly), set the effective gearing such that you are turning relatively low RPM's at highway speed.

  • Jfb43 Jfb43 on Oct 08, 2019

    The difference in MPGs between competitors is probably the axle ratio or something equally insignificant. Diesels in half-ton trucks don't make any sense to me. They don't do well enough with fuel economy to make the price point worth it and they don't tow/haul enough vs. the gassers to make it worth it either (you can just buy a 3/4-ton for that, and for less money). The small trucks and obviously the big trucks make sense for diesel. GM at least does it on the Canyonados; I'd like to see Ford and Toyota do it on their small trucks, too.

    • Hummer Hummer on Oct 08, 2019

      “ The small trucks and obviously the big trucks make sense for diesel. GM at least does it on the Canyonados;” GMs Colorado diesel gets worse fuel economy than this half ton Ram.

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  • Jim Bonham Full EVs are not for everyone, they cannot meet all needs. Hybrids do a much better job of providing the benefits of EVs without most of the drawbacks. I have a hybrid sedan with plenty of room, plus all the bells and whistles. It has 360 hp, AWD, does 0-60 in just over 5 sec.(the instant torque is a real benefit), and I get 29 mpg, average. NOT driven lightly. I bought it used for $25k.Sure, it's a little heavier because of the battery, motor, etc., but not nearly as much as a full EV. The battery is smaller/lighter/cheaper and both the alternator and starter motor are eliminated since the motor assumes those functions. It's cool to watch the charge guage show I'm getting energy back when coasting and/or braking. It's even cooler to drive around part of the time on battery only. It really comes in handy in traffic since the engine turns off and you don't waste fuel idling. With the adaptive cruise control you just let the car slowly inch along by itself.I only wish it were a Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV). Then, I'd have A LOT more EV-only range, along with even more of that instant torque. The battery would be bigger, but still a fraction of the size of a full EV. I could easily go weeks without using much, if any gas (depending upon my commute) IF I plug it in every night. But I don't have to. The gas engine will charge the battery whenever it's needed.It's just not as efficient a way to do it.Electric companies offer special rates for both EVs and PHEVs which lower your operating cost compared to gasoline. They'll even give you a rebate to offset the cost of installing a home charger. You can still get federal (up to $7,500, plus some state) tax credits for PHEVs.What's not to like? My next daily driver will be a PHEV of some kind. Probably a performance-oriented one like the new Dodge Hornet or one of the German Hybrid SUVs. All the benefits, sound, feel, etc., of a gas vehicle along with some electric assist to improve fuel economy, performance, and drivability. None of the inherent EV issues of cost, range anxiety, long charging times, poor charger availability, grid capacity issues, etc. I think most people will eventually catch on to this and go PHEV instead of going full EV. Synthetic, carbon-neutral eFuels, hydrogen engines, and other things will also prevent full EVs from being 100% of the fleet, regardless of what the politicians say. PHEVs can be as "clean" (overall) as full EVs with the right fuels. They're also cheaper, and far more practical, for most people. They can do it all, EVs can't.
  • Ron rufo there is in WaSHINGTON STATE
  • ToolGuy @Chris, your photography rocks.
  • ToolGuy No War for Oli.If you have not ever held a piece of structural honeycomb (composite sandwich) in your own hands, try it.
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