Dodge Ram 1500 Diesel - Autoguide.com
Diesel pickups are nothing new. All of the domestics offer turbodiesel engines in their heavy-duty trucks, where the diesel's load-lugging ability is put to best use -- in fact, it was the Cummins six-cylinder diesel engine that put Ram (formerly Dodge) pickups on the map.
With fuel economy becoming a primary purchase consideration, the diesel engine offers a ready answer for half-ton trucks, and Ram is the first to take the plunge
A EUROPEAN DIESEL
Surprisingly, Ram isn't using a Cummins powerplant; its new 3.0-liter "EcoDiesel" V6 is made by VM Motori. Fiat, owner of Ram's parent company Chrysler, also owns half of VM, and that no doubt factored into this decision. (Ironically, General Motors owns the other half.)
But Ram says that light-duty diesel customers are very different from HD Cummins buyers, who want the whole big-rig experience, noise and all. Light-duty buyers are looking for fuel efficiency, preferably with the refinement they would find in a gas-engine pickup. Ram says they considered the Cummins 5.0-liter V8 that Nissan plans to use in the 2015 Titan, but it didn't deliver the experience or the economy they wanted.
Being fans of the Cummins engine ourselves, we were skeptical at first, but after driving the diesel-powered 1500, we see Ram's point. We hate to use that old cliché "you'll hardly know you're driving a diesel," but in this case it very nearly applies.
The VM doesn't shout its presence to the entire neighborhood the way the Cummins does; it's quiet, refined and unobtrusive, much like a diesel-powered Mercedes car -- a diesel for people who wouldn't go out of their way to buy a diesel.
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