The Washington Times-Herald

Z_CNHI News Service

September 30, 2013

Ram 1500 breaks new ground as first light-duty truck with diesel engine

WESTLAKE, Calif. — Diesel engines and pickup trucks go together like peanut butter and jelly, but manufacturers have been surprisingly reluctant to put diesels in their light-duty trucks.

And it's not because there's no demand.

Truck buyers love diesels under the hood because they're reliable, long-lasting, fuel efficient and make more trailer-pulling torque than their gasoline counterparts. Until now, though, you could only get diesel power by upgrading to a heavy-duty truck.

If you ask the manufacturers about that, they'll tell you how traditional diesel designs are too heavy to work well in a light-duty chassis and how the government emissions requirements are stricter for the smaller, mass-market, half-ton trucks.

I'm a bit of a conspiracy theorist about it, though. Call me crazy, but I think a bigger reason is that car companies don't want to lose any sales of their pricey, heavy-duty trucks by offering a cheaper diesel model.

In any case, that's all about to change now that Ram is offering a small, fuel-efficient diesel engine in its Ram 1500 line. It's not the giant Cummins diesel from the Ram Heavy Duty, but a compact, 3.0-liter design that's engineered for fuel efficiency.

Ram calls it the EcoDiesel.

After driving several versions of the EcoDiesel, I think Ram could have a huge hit on its hands. Not only is it great for towing — I pulled a big boat up a steep grade without the Ram breaking a sweat — but it's also a lot more refined than you usually expect from a diesel engine.

Everybody is familiar with the loud clackety-clack of diesels that pull up beside you in traffic. With this one, though, those characteristic metallic clangs are almost imperceptible thanks to lots of sound insulation under the hood.

Text Only
Z_CNHI News Service
  • The Simpsons still going strong

    The groundbreaking animation first hit the air Dec. 17, 1989, but the family first appeared on television in "The Tracey Ullman Show" short "Good Night" on April 19, 1987.

    August 21, 2014

  • Police chief resigns over racial slur repost to Facebook

    A repost on his personal Facebook page of a racially-charged comment by the original poster of a comedy video has forced the police chief of an Oklahoma city to resign his office.

    August 21, 2014

  • Does Twitter need a censor?

    Twitter decided last year to make images more prominent on its site. Now, the social network is finding itself caught between being an open forum and patrolling for inappropriate content.

    August 21, 2014

  • sleepchart.jpg America’s sleep-deprived cities

    Americans might run on sleep, but those living in the country's largest cities don't appear to run on much.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Who should pay for your kids ACT?

    Thirteen states paid for 11th-grade students in all public high schools to take the ACT college admission test this year, with several more planning to join them in 2015.

    August 20, 2014

  • Pets.jpg Why do people look like their pets?

    As much as we might quibble over the virtues and vices of Canis domesticus, however, and over whether human nature is any better or worse than dog nature, even dog fanciers don't usually want to look like a dog.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Another stumble begs questions about Notre Dame

    Notre Dame's vaunted reputation for formidable athletics and serious academics is again sullied by a cheating scandal. Maybe the high standards of the Fighting Irish are just too good to be true.

    August 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ice bucket challenge trending up

    Internet trends are a dime a dozen these days. Everything from Tebowing to planking to the cinnamon challenge can cause a wave of social media activity that can last for weeks before fizzling out.

    August 19, 2014

  • Five myths about presidential vacations

    In the nuclear age, presidents may have only minutes to make a decision that could affect the entire world. They don't so much leave the White House as they take a miniature version of it with them wherever they go.

    August 15, 2014

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Debate filled with 'hate' gives Hamas a pass

    Political invective is dialed to the max, and everyone who disagrees is a "hater." But the hate police, who are so eager to cast labels, are ignoring the real wells of contempt in the Middle East.

    August 15, 2014 1 Photo