Ram kick-started the trend of putting diesel engines in full-size pickup trucks, but a diesel option was conspicuously absent when the Ram 1500 emerged from a redesign for the 2019 model year. Now diesel is back in the 2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel, and ready to take on the competition.
Ram’s 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 produces 260 horsepower and 480 pound-feet of torque. That’s 20 hp and 60 lb-ft more than the previous-generation EcoDiesel engine. The Ram 1500 EcoDiesel also boasts more torque than the rival Ford F-150 and Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra diesels. However, the Chevy and GMC twins, which go on sale later this year, have 277 hp. Instead of competing directly with the American automakers, the Nissan Titan uses a much larger 5.0-liter turbodiesel V8 in a beefed-up XD model, designed to bridge the gap between full-size pickup trucks and heavy-duty models.
One of the main reasons to choose a diesel engine over gasoline is fuel economy. Ram claims the EcoDiesel will “lead the segment” in that area, but hasn’t released any actual numbers. The automaker did say the EcoDiesel will have a maximum towing capacity of 12,560 pounds, which tops the Ford F-150 diesel’s 11,400-pound rating (General Motors hasn’t released figures for the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra diesels yet). Ram did not specify the 2020 EcoDiesel’s payload capacity, however.
In addition to the EcoDiesel engine, Ram will continue to offer gasoline 5.7-liter Hemi V8 and 3.6-liter V6 engines, the latter with mild-hybrid assist. The previous-generation Ram 1500 will also remain on sale as the Classic, with an older 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 available as an option.
Because it was redesigned for the 2019 model year, the Ram 1500 doesn’t get any other significant updates for 2020. A multifunction tailgate was added late in the 2019 model year. Ram claims its ability to open in four different ways will be useful to buyers, but the fancy tailgate also seems like a ploy to one-up GMC’s Multi-Pro tailgate.
The EcoDiesel engine will be available on all 2020 Ram 1500 trim levels, including the Rebel off-roader. That will mark the first time Ram has offered a diesel engine in the Rebel. Diesel production starts in the fourth quarter of 2019; pricing will be announced closer to that time.
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