Ram EcoDiesel: Increases in Power for 2020

SUE MEAD
Motor Matters

“Best in class” is a big title to hold. On the heels of last year’s redesigned Ram 1500 pickup that won nearly every light-duty truck award in the country, Ram has brought to market the new 2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel. The automaker calls it the most powerful diesel available in a half-ton pickup and has the highest towing capacity in its class.

The turbocharged 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 powerplant is optional on all trims for 2020 and is capable of towing a whopping 12,560 pounds. I recently drove this new third-generation EcoDiesel and can attest how pleasingly quiet this diesel truck is.

I drove the 2020 Ram 1500 Crew Cab Limited 4WD with the EcoDiesel engine in Minnesota to an off-road vehicle recreation area on the shores of Lake Superior, about 150 miles outside of the city of Duluth. I evaluated its ride and handling along highways and winding two-lane roadways, as well as on a 4WD course that included rock climbs, water crossings, steep uphills and descents, and muddy tracks. The truck performed competently on all and during a towing exercise to haul a 5,000-pound boat.

Most notable about the Ram truck is its large size, especially with its four full-size doors, plus its premium styling and trims, both outside and in; it was appointed in an upscale black leather cabin. It rode on 22-inch aluminum wheels and smoothed the ride with load-leveling and class-exclusive four-corner air suspension. The diesel engine was remarkably quiet in general, although the diesel sound was audible when towing up hill and when starting from a full stop, under heavy throttle input.

The newest EcoDiesel pumps out 260 horsepower at 3,600 rpm and gets 480 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,600 rpm. This equates to 8 percent more horsepower and 14 percent more torque that comes on at 400 rpm lower in the range. The new engine has improved levels of noise, vibration, and harshness, as well as better fuel economy.

To achieve the improved fuel economy and performance, engineers made several notable changes: A variable geometry turbine with water cooling brings better efficiency and an improved cylinder head intake port design increases fuel economy, efficiency, and performance. Other changes include a dual-loop system that is utilized in the exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system to minimize energy loss from the turbocharger, aiding in fuel economy. Additionally, higher-pressure fuel injectors were added to compliment the new combustion chamber that contains lightweight aluminum pistons, thinner rings, and low-friction coating for other improvements.

The 2020 Ram 1500 is available in seven distinct trim levels, in both 2WD and 4WD versions, and comes in special edition models and dozens of configurations. The newest rendition of the pickup has been designed with strong lines and bold, aggressive styling with an interior cabin that has been upgraded with a long list of appealing comfort and convenience, technology, and safety features; the diesel is added as a powertrain choice to the V-6 and V-8 gasoline engine options, and is a $4,995 upcharge. It is not available with Ram’s eTorque mild hybrid system.

The Ram 1500 comes as a quad cab with a 6-foot 4-inch bed or a crew cab with either a 5-foot 7-inch, or a 6-foot 4-inch bed. Electronic-locking and anti-spin limited-slip differentials are optional and provide extra traction in slippery situations; they appeal to many different owners who use their truck for diverse types of work — such as off-pavement locations, for towing a boat or horse trailer, or for those that travel long distances and are looking to save on fuel economy.

Technology and safety features are plentiful; the high-end Uconnect 4C technology package comes paired with a 12-inch touchscreen with split-screen capability, a 360-degree camera, and SiriusXM radio. Up to 19 speakers are available with the Premium Plus sound package. Safety features include adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, forward collision warning, and Ready Alert automatic braking. Parking assist options come with optional trim packages, as do power inverters, programmable cluster displays, heated seats and steering wheel, remote start, wireless charging, and USB ports in the front and rear.

The Ram 1500’s all-new 3.0-liter V-6 EcoDiesel leads the half-ton pickup truck segment in torque with 480 lb.-ft. and diesel towing capability of 12,560 pounds. The all-new third generation of the turbocharged EcoDiesel V-6 delivers increased torque and horsepower, along with superb fuel economy and minimal levels of noise, vibration and harshness to meet the needs of Ram 1500 owners.