2014 Ram 1500 Getting Diesel Option; Heavy Duty Ram Gets 6.4-Liter V-8
The combination of low-end power and good fuel economy make diesel engines a natural choice for trucks. And, if you look under the hood of many heavy-duty trucks--the Silverado 2500s and Ford F-250s of the world--you will in fact see diesels. Big, huge diesels, with massive displacements and ungodly torque specs. These are engines meant for towing heavy loads--big boats, houses, big boats with houses on them, etc.--and they're usually used for such, whacky diesel drag racing notwithstanding. Yet diesels have remained conspicuously absent from the much larger light-duty truck market, despite the ever-increasing demands on towing capacity and fuel economy. Leave it to Ram to put two-and-two together and throw its excellent 3.0-liter EcoDiesel engine into the 2014 Ram 1500. Currently available in the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee, the new diesel puts out 240 horsepower and an astonishing 420 lb.-ft. of torque; for those keeping score at home, that's more torque than even the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 available in the Ram. To top it off, it's connected to an eight-speed automatic transmission, a setup we've loved in the Grand Cherokee. Cost? Ram is a little cagey about that one, saying that it's, "$2,850 greater than a similarly equipped Ram 1500 with a 5.7-liter Hemi V-8" with the same eight-speed automatic. Using 2013 numbers, that puts it somewhere north of $4,000 extra over the standard V-6 engine. Efficiency, it seems, doesn't come cheap. We also don't have any official word about fuel economy, as Ram's being mum, and the EPA hasn't rated any of the new Chrysler V-6 diesel applications yet. Regardless of engine choice, there are other enhancements to the rest of the 2014 Ram 1500 lineup. All models now have access to the eight-speed automatic, regardless of engine. There are front sensors to help guide the Ram's enormous schnoz into a parking spot. The air conditioning system has been reworked to help increase fuel economy, an available load-leveling air suspension, and if you opt for the HFE V-6 model you even get stop-start technology that shuts off the engine at stops and restarts it when you start to move again. Hemi Duty Heavy Duty The heavy-duty version of the Ram also gets an upgrade, albeit in the opposite direction. Rather than upgrade the diesel that's already available, Ram now offers a 6.4-liter V-8 engine that delivers 410 horsepower, which Ram says is best-in-class. The heavy-duty Ram also gets a new air suspension for the 2500 model, and Ram fans looking to tow a fifth-wheel trailer can now add a goosneck mount in the 2500 model. Don't know what that means? That's probably because you don't tow, but for avid campers who must haul a portable house with them, it's important stuff.
Justin Bell drives a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 on a racetrack.