2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel Review
What’s not to Love?
Aug 20, 2019
Diesel power is back at Ram!
Engine: 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6
Output: 260 horsepower, 480 pound-feet of torque
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
U.S. Fuel Economy (MPG): Not yet rated
CAN Fuel Economy (L/100 km): Not yet rated
U.S. Base Price: $38,585 including $1,695 for delivery
U.S. Estimated As-Tested Price: $67,000
CAN Estimated As-Tested Price: $90,000
Yes, I know, technically it never disappeared. The mighty Cummins straight-six is still a mainstay of the brand’s heavy-duty pickups, as it has been for decades. But pedantic caveats aside, if you’ve lusted after the impressive fuel efficiency and stump-pulling torque delivered by compression ignition, you’ll soon be able to get a V6 EcoDiesel in the latest-generation Ram 1500, the company’s increasingly popular half-ton model.
Boasting numerous improvements over its predecessor, this engine provides an extra helping of both horsepower and torque, is smoother, quieter, and should be more economical to operate. Extensive changes to internal and external components deliver these laudable enhancements, which conspire to make it an even more appealing choice.
For this review, the powerplant in question was bolted between the front fenders of a crew cab Laramie Longhorn 4×4. This is basically the second-fanciest model in the Ram 1500 range. Despite the abundance of features, interior space and, ostensibly, weight, this rig still performed admirably in normal driving and even while towing.
The Inner Workings
But before diving into how this truck runs, let’s take a peek under the hood. Numerous refinements have been made to FCA’s EcoDiesel V6 for 2020. Even though this powerplant is now in its third generation, many fundamentals remain the same.
Starting with a few similarities, it’s a 3.0-liter V6, just like before. Chain-driven dual overhead camshafts operate four valves per cylinder via friction-reducing roller-finger followers. Once again, the block is cast of compacted graphite iron for incredible strength and reduced NVH, that’s noise, vibration and harshness. Within this foundation spins a forged crankshaft to which are attached forged connecting rods.
Filling this engine’s half-a-dozen bores are completely redesigned aluminum pistons. They’re fitted with thinner rings for decreased friction. The wrist pins have also been offset three-tenths of a millimeter from centerline to further cut noise. Special coatings on both the piston skirts and pins further reduce parasitic losses.
Forcing air into this bent-six is a new water-cooled, variable-geometry-turbine turbocharger, which is mounted at the back of the engine, kind of above the bellhousing area. This newly designed blower should enhance both efficiency and responsiveness.
Reworked intake ports promote more swirl in the combustion chambers and flow more air to boot. Improving efficiency, the compression ratio has been increased modestly, from 16-to-1 to 16.5-to-1. As for fuel delivery, the system has also been upgraded. It operates at 2,000 bar, that’s 29,000 PSI.
But what’s the result of all these changes? Well, the EcoDiesel now gives you the most torque in the half-ton diesel segment, up to 480 pound-feet at 1,600 RPM, more than F-150 or Silverado and an increase of 14 percent compared to its predecessor. Horsepower measures 260 at 3,600 revs, 8 percent more than before, a total that’s slightly less than the Chevy’s best. Here’s a quick specs-sheet showdown comparing the Detroit Three’s light-duty diesel pickups.
Ram 1500 EcoDiesel
260 horsepower, 480 pound-feet
Ford F-150 Power Stroke Diesel
250 horsepower, 440 pound-feet
Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Duramax Diesel
277 horsepower, 460 pound-feet