On the Road Review: Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit EcoDiesel


In January 1992, Jeep and Chrysler executives drove the all-new Grand Cherokee right through the glass doors of the arena for its debut at the North American Auto Show in Detroit. A unibody, midsize SUV built to compete with Ford’s Explorer, the Jeep’s fully independent chassis design was shared with the then new Mercedes ML wagon.

In some corners, pundits could say that the Grand Cherokee helped to save Chrysler — back then, and in 2009 when the economic collapse almost consumed Chrysler. Yet the promise of the next generation Grand Cherokee loomed on the horizon and in late 2010, the fourth generation GC debuted to raves. Sales managers have not looked back as the latest Grand Cherokee has been the brand’s top selling product until the Wrangler and the new compact Cherokee overtook its larger sibling in 2015.

Grand Cherokee sales continue to expand, part of Jeep’s worldwide growth. Last year, Jeep sold over 1.2 million vehicles worldwide, 70 percent of them in the USA. Not too shabby for a “niche” automaker that started in World War II, 75 years ago.

We have been fortunate to sample multiple Grand Cherokees through the years, including several diesel-engined versions. This latest Summit-trimmed (one of nine trim levels currently available) Grand Cherokee with the 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6 engine remains one of my favorite SUVs. Testament to the inherent virtues in this design, this six-year-old wagon still impresses despite the onslaught of newer, more expensive rivals.

One, the engine.

The Jeep’s Fiat-designed V-6 turbodiesel spins out 410 pound/feet of peak torque, power that is available very low on the tachometer right up to the artificially low speed-limiter. Acceleration is earnest, smooth yet robust at highway speeds. It is all too easy to be traveling at 20 mph over the posted limit and have no sense of your velocity — that kind of smooth. There is no clatter heard, never any obnoxious smells, and fuel stops would average out to barely one-two per month for the average daily driver who travels 12,000 miles a year or less — given the GC’s range of over 650-miles per tank. Of course, that driver may not be too inclined to pay the extra cost of the EcoDiesel ($5,000, with additional hardware and creature features) whereas a high-mileage traveler like myself (40-45,000-miles a year) would be.

The Jeep’s efficiency is inescapably brilliant; tow up to 7,400 pounds, carry tons of gear inside, and achieve higher mpg than the EPA estimates. It’s true; my first road trip from Auburn, Maine, to Springfield, Vt., and back — fast highway travel, long two-lane stints, urban grinding for 585-miles — resulted in 29.1 mpg, one mile per gallon better than the Fed’s highway economy guess. Second tank, 330 miles locally and up and down the Maine coast — 30.7 mpg. I believe this is RAV4 Hybrid territory — with full-time four-wheel drive, 5,000 pounds and that high tow capacity.

Two, the chassis

Since day one, the Grand Cherokee has been a uni-body design (like a car) that uses a fully independent suspension front and rear, again, like a car. Yes, the GC is taller, and heavier, but its handling and ride dynamics are predictable smoothly comfortable, and without the head-toss and rocking motions that several rivals render on less than perfect road surfaces. Add the new Quadra-lift air suspension, with settings for Park, Aero, Normal, Off-road I and Off-road II, and the Jeep handles as well as any other midsize wagon that stretches out to 190 inches. Key, besides the long-travel suspension — the elongated wheelbase of 115 inches.

Three, the interior

Jeep Grand Cherokee pricing starts at under $30,000 for rear drive Laredo models and escalates to over $70,000 with the new SRT Night 4X4 Edition. That is a big consumer range.

Summit trim pulls it off handsomely. Materials are soft-touch and complement the added components that make this a semi-premium environment. Semi-premium because the price (almost $60,000) is steep, however the value is apparent when compared to premium vehicles that offer less for much more money.

Big points makers here; the feel of the cabin and how everything works, well. The heated and cooled seats; very nice. The thick-rimmed leather steering wheel, heated of course, has fingertip audio controls that are simply the easiest, most efficient and safest way to make volume and preset selections. The U-Connect entertainment and information panel — still huge, still simple and intuitive, still among the very best. While others fumble with make-believe mouses and misconstrued hand motion sensors, the Jeep’s controls are elegant in their simplicity and help the driver remain in control — instead of vice-versa.

Add a dual-panel panoramic sunroof. Include heated rear seats. Add parking assist systems and forward braking assist. Keep one of the most driver-friendly dynamic cruise systems, augmented by blind-spot and cross-traffic assist programs. The GC’s dynamic cruise is a marvel; it never rushes to make hasty changes in speed, but never allows you to lose momentum as the gaps in traffic shift, with vehicles moving in and out of the detection zone of the forward radar beam. You can, very literally, follow cars through tollbooths without touching a single pedal, the Jeep slowing and accelerating with other traffic as well as seemingly detecting the actual tollbooth structures. Who doesn’t like a smart car that helps you drive better, without taking over control?

Four, the Jeep Factor

Without a doubt, Jeep has been the savior for Chrysler and is now the cash-cow for FCA as it weathers the storm of bad small car decisions and poor overseas sales results from the other Italian-based operations. The Jeep mojo is in high gear; Wrangler sales are still hot, the compact Cherokee is overtaking previously established rivals, while the sub-compact Renegade is saving FCA’s assets in some low-performing markets. Throw in the growing sales of the Grand Cherokee, with 10 percent take rates on this efficient diesel powertrain, and it is good to be a Jeep brand dealer.

Coming: the Wrangler redesign is slated for 2018 on-sale dates. Jeep also promises a Wrangler pickup, finally, as production moves to a remodeled Toledo factory. AER currently makes a Wrangler Brute pickup, for just $41,000 — plus the cost of your Wrangler Unlimited. That is a very steep Wrangler, no matter how beautiful the sample truck looked at the Jeep dealer in Keene, N.H., during my Grand Cherokee drive-through.

Shortly after you read this, you will (perhaps) be able to order the newest Grand Cherokee model: the Hellcat-engined Trackhawk. A 707-hp supercharged Grand Cherokee 4X4 is just what every lobsterman’s wife in Stonington is going to want to shoot over the Deer Isle causeway when the surf is up. Sure sounds appealing to me.

And finally, Jeep suggests that the three-row Grand Wagoneer will debut in two years as well. This long overdue Dodge Durango derivative should also have an EcoDiesel option, because the newest Wrangler will too.

As I said, it has to be good to be a Jeep dealer today.

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Full Review: 2016 Ram 1500 LaramieL Limited EcoDiesel

May 12, 2016 11:04 AM MST

Images from our review of the 2016 Ram 1500 Laramie Limited

Images from our review of the 2016 Ram 1500 Laramie Limited :Dan Croutch

Model: 2016 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel Laramie Limited 4×4 Crew Cab.

Drivetrain: 3.0L V6 EcoDiesel with 240 HP @ 3,600 rpm and 420 lb.-ft @ 2,000rpm.

Price as tested: $52,000 USD – $26,145 US base Tradesman 4×4

Infotainment: Uconnect 8.4 with navigation, touchscreen. Reverse camera, Bluetooth, USB, SDCard playback. Apline nine speaker surround with subwoofer.

Comfort: Fully ventilated heated and cooled front seats. Heated ventilated rear bench. Full leather seating surfaces.


 

Overview

In 2014, Ram introduced something revolutionary in the half ton pickup market: a mid-duty diesel engine. Two years on, the EcoDiesel still leads the segment for torque produced and overall fuel economy. Now, with the tier topping Laramie Limited trim, high end truck owners have access to the class leading mileage of the EcoDiesel engine. Featuring full leather interior, the Ram 1500 Laramie Limited is adorned with interesting interior design flourishes. Matching embroidered stitching in seats, doors and center console add to the classy feeling of the interior. Road noise is muted, though still present at highway speeds.

Ride of the Ram 1500 Laramie Limited is softened by the standard four corner air suspension, easily making it the most comfortable riding truck on the market. Ride height is fully adjustable: from low loading height to off road. The truck will automatically raise or lower ride height while driving, achieving optimal aerodynamics at highway speeds. Punctuating the experience is the EcoDiesel engine, mated to a smooth, eight speed transmission. Both perform exceptionally well. Mileage is exceptional for a full sized pickup, as is the shifting performance of the transmission.

Scores:

Performance/Mileage: 9/10

Comfort/Ride: 9/10

Practicality: 4/5

Entertainment/Infotainment: 7/10

Reliability: 4/5

Total: 33/40 – 4/5 stars

Performance/Mileage

It’s difficult to compare the performance of the Ram 1500 Laramie Limited EcoDiesel to its gas engine competitors, or Hemi powered twin. A diesel’s driving dynamic is very different than the driving dynamic of a gas engine. While the EcoDiesel lacks the acceleration and performance punch of gas powered competitors, it’s no slouch. At speed acceleration is good, taking advantage of gobs of low end torque. There’s plenty of power and pickup available when asked, if slightly delayed. However, the somewhat muted driving dynamics lend well to one of the Ram 1500 Laramie Limited’s strengths: mileage. An eight speed transmission performs flawlessly. Shifting under acceleration and standard city driving is smooth, barely noticeable. Engine power is managed well by the transmission, keeping the revs in the sweet spot during acceleration, but settling things down nicely while cruising.

Easily the best part of the Ram 1500 Laramie Limited is the mileage it achieves. Despite being a fully loaded, full cab, half ton pickup, test mileage finished with a 24 MPG (9.7L/100km) average; better than the 22 (10.6L/100km) MPG combined EPA rating. Testing was split between approximately 75% highway and 25% city driving. Ram’s EcoDiesel easily achieves the posted 26 MPG (8.9L/100km) highway mileage, and gets 19 MPG (12.2L/100km) in city driving. Other tests have shown the EcoDiesel can easily make the combined posted EPA mileage even while towing 6,000 pounds. Total test distance was 525 miles (850km), and only required one fill up at the conclusion, consuming 20 gallons (78 liters) of fuel. In a full-fledged pickup like the Ram 1500 Laramie Limited, these are some astonishing numbers.

Images from our review of the 2016 Ram 1500 Laramie Limited

Comfort/Ride

Ride in the 2016 Ram Laramie Limited EcoDiesel comes courtesy four corner air suspension. In addition to adding practicality, the suspension cushions ride, and the results are excellent. Road bumps are easily soaked up by the air suspension. Long haul highway cruising leaves passengers, and driver, without any road fatigue. Air suspension is standard on the Laramie Limited, but available as an option on most other Ram trims. This is a highly recommended option. While the ride is soft and comfortable, the driver still has good feel of the road through steering wheel feedback. Turning radius is a bit wide, given the shorter length of the short box.

Seating comfort for driver and passenger is typical of the luxury truck segment. Leather surfaces are perforated, though not as soft to the touch as it appears. Seating is well padded, providing comfortable adjustability for driver and passenger. Memory settings allow for two unique driver positions to be stored. Rear bench seating is also perforated leather surfacing. Center row seating is moderately comfortable. Seat stiffness, combined with the sunroof bulkhead, makes for shorter headroom for the third passenger. Legroom is good for adult passengers. Heating is available for rear passengers behind the driver and passenger.

Images from our review of the 2016 Ram 1500 Laramie Limited

Practicality

Ram’s four corner air suspension may seem like a bit of a gimmick, but the effects on ride prove it’s more than that. Loading a truck at full height can also be tricky, which the height adjustability of the air suspension also addresses. There is some practical gain in dropping the overall bed height a few inches while loading. Ram lacks the tailgate or bumper steps that its competitors have, but access is reasonable at load height. Front and rear sensors assist with parking in tighter spaces, but a 360 degree camera does feel missing. Comfortable truck drivers won’t miss the visibility, however, as the Ram Laramie Limited’s side mirrors do a great job when parking. Wide turning radius makes some parking lot navigation tricky, taking it into account when picking spots helps mitigate the issue.

Ram has made excellent use of the interior space. Cubby and storage bins are found everywhere. A large, dual level center storage bin can fit surprisingly large items, from coolers to small bags. Rear storage is located under the bench, where Ram has opted to use compartments instead of open under seat storage. While this does keep items from rolling across the floor of the cabin, access is difficult with child seats installed. There are three LATCH anchor sets in the rear of the Ram Laramie Longhorn, and its width allows three full child seats to be installed relatively easily. While the Ram’s EcoDiesel does have less towing capacity than many other half tons, it’s capable of towing 7,500 pounds in test configuration. For most truck owners, this should be plenty. When configured, the EcoDiesel can achieve a maximum 9,000 pounds towing capacity.

Images from our review of the 2016 Ram 1500 Laramie Limited

Infotainment/Technology

Ram, as a member of the FCA family, shares its uConnect 8.4 system with many of the other Chrysler products. uConnect has always been a capable, well designed system, something which has seen significant improvements throughout it life. In the 2016 Ram Laramie Limited, uConnect is the best yet. Simple, fast navigation supplemented by accurate and easy to use voice recognition. Bluetooth pairing is among the easiest tested, and music plays through a capable nine speaker Alpine surround system. Complimenting uConnect’s large screen, there is a feature rich driver information panel centered between the gauges on the dashboard. Larger than most, visibility of navigation directions in the information panel is never an issue.

Lacking in the Ram Laramie Limited are some of the electronic driving aids which have saturated the market. Blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist, and adaptive cruise control, all technologies FCA has elsewhere in their fleet, are missing from the Ram Laramie Limited. Given the high end feature set the Laramie Limited offers, this feels like a missed opportunity.

Images from our review of the 2016 Ram 1500 Laramie Limited

Reliability

2016 Ram 1500 Laramie Limited EcoDiesel is the third year of the latest generation of Ram, launched in 2014. Reliability data comes from truedelta.com, a collection of owner surveys for thousands of vehicles. Scores are based on repair trips per 100 vehicles, with small sample size data omitted.

Ram 1500, both EcoDiesel and Hemi models, score an average of 31 repair trips per 100 vehicles, giving it an “average” rating. When compared with many other similar American luxury trucks, the Ram 1500 Laramie Limited rates slightly better overall for reliability. More than 90% of problems have cost less than $499 to repair.

Images from our review of the 2016 Ram 1500 Laramie Limited

Conclusion

For 2016, Ram has packed a lot of standard luxury items into the Laramie Limited. With the EcoDiesel engine, a silky smooth transmission, and very comfortable air suspension ride, these exclusives help take the Ram Laramie Limited from a good truck, to an excellent truck. For buyers looking for a competent, mileage superior hauler with sedan like ride comfort, the 2016 Ram Laramie Longhorn is the only option.

Ram 1500 EcoDiesel repeats as overall winner in 2016 Canadian Truck King Challenge

by Chris Chase – October 14, 2015

2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel

For the second year in a row, the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel has won the top award at the Canadian Truck King Challenge. It was joined on the podium by the GMC Canyon Diesel, Ford Transit, and Mercedes-Benz Metris.

This year’s nine Truck King judges chose Ram’s light-duty diesel truck as the best of the bunch in the lucrative full-size, half-ton segment, beating out the Ford F-150, GMC Sierra, and Chevrolet Silverado.

GMC’s Canyon was chosen as overall runner-up, and winner in the mid-size pickup category, where it competed against the Chevrolet Colorado, and Toyota Tacoma.

In the commercial van category, Ford’s Transit became a repeat winner among full-size vans, a group that also included the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter in rear-drive and 4×4 configurations.

Finally, the Mercedes-Benz Metris was crowned best small van, in a field that also included the Ram Promaster City, and returning champ, the Nissan NV200.

2015 RAM 1500 EcoDiesel Road Trip

2015 RAM 1500 EcoDiesel Road Trip

Car-like comfort with towing capabilities

By Kevin ”Crash” Corrigan

There are any number of reasons for owning a pickup truck; you’re a farmer, a builder, you tow a travel-trailer/boat or you simply have piles of stuff you wish to move around on a regular basis. However, we can now add family road trips to this list as the 2015 RAM 1500 EcoDiesel is just about perfect for the task. I know, as I’ve just returned from totting up nearly 1,000 kilometres sampling the delights of New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia — and without once ever stopping to refuel.

Yes, with the RAM 1500 boasting best-in-class fuel economy of 8L/100km, together with an unrivalled (estimated) range of 1,225 km per tank, plus unmatched ride quality and a tow rating up to 9,200lbs (depending on model), why wouldn’t you take the family pickup on a road trip?

Perfect for the job!
To be honest, I wasn’t totally convinced when the company proposed the idea of a bunch of us journalists trekking around three of the prettiest provinces this country has to offer in pickup trucks. Surely a Grand Caravan would work better or even one of those classy new Chrysler 300 Platinum models. Style and luxury is what I want on a road trip, not cargo-carrying capacity for a mountain of garbage bags. After all, I wasn’t planning on making many trips to the local dump during my 3-day mini vacation!

Boy was I ever wrong! Not only did a number of fellow journalists beat the company’s 8L/100km fuel economy figure (not me, but then I was somewhat preoccupied playing with the incredible torque on offer – 420 lbs/ft), but the ride quality of the RAM 1500 was simply unbelievable. Air suspension on a pickup truck! The idea would’ve sounded ludicrous a few years back, but it certainly changes the way I view pickup trucks today.

Yes, while the scenery is beautiful down the East Coast, the same word doesn’t quite describe the road conditions; there are so many repaired potholes in places, certain roads compare to those patchwork quilts the locals are famous for making. Yet the available air suspension soaked these up with ease. Not only does the air suspension transform the vehicle into a car-like cruiser (the system lowers the vehicle at highway speeds for greater fuel economy), but the sideways bounce/shudder often associated with unladen pickup trucks on rough roads totally disappears. Basically, it transforms a capable workhorse into a luxurious riding SUV that’s simply perfect for a family road trip.

Power smart, power plenty!
The 3.0L EcoDiesel V6 is a marvellous feat of engineering, and for those who worry about new-fangled ideas, you can forget all that as this unit has been available in Europe for many years now. It is well tried and tested, and when coupled to the new TorqueFlite® 8-speed transmission, it is the perfect marriage of stump-pulling torque and gear-shifting smoothness.

Naturally, it’s a diesel, so you’ll notice a slightly different sound on start-up. However, once you’re underway in the RAM 1500 EcoDiesel, it is difficult to tell from a gas-powered unit. In fact, I found myself complaining mostly about the slight wind noise emanating from the side mirrors at highway speeds. Then again, it’s probably difficult to design large/useful truck mirrors while making them aerodynamically quiet at the same time.

Wonderful interiors!
Let’s be honest, if I had described any Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep interior as “wonderful” a decade back, you would have called me a big fat liar or perhaps suggested I was somewhat blind. In truth, it was the one area that truly let their products down. The company acknowledged this a few years back and told us that they would “Completely alter our viewpoint on interiors.” They certainly did! Check out any Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep product today and tell that me that I’m wrong, and the 2015 RAM range is no exception to this rule.

I like this product, and it appears I’m not alone!

RAM truck is the second bestselling vehicle in the Canadian market, and the company’s top-selling model.

2014 was a record year for RAM sales, with 86,590 units sold.

80% of all RAM pickups sold in the past 27 years are still on the road today; more than Ford, Chevy and GMC.

EcoDiesel
The RAM 1500 is the only full-size, light-duty pickup to offer a diesel powertrain option.

In 2015(To date), 1 in 4 Ram 1500 trucks sold in Canada came equipped with an EcoDiesel.

Almost half of EcoDiesel sales are conquest sales (buyers switching from other manufacturers products).

MSRP for EcoDiesel engine option is – $4,700

The RAM 1500 EcoDiesel models start from $39,295

Backed by a five-year/100,000km Powertrain limited warranty.

Conclusion
If you need a pickup truck in your life, you owe it to yourself to check out an EcoDiesel RAM. With the fabulous (and I do mean that) diesel powerplant available on all trim levels (even the base model), you’d be somewhat foolish not to at least take one for a test spin. I’d also urge you to check out a unit fitted with the optional air suspension, as it truly transforms the ride quality of a product not traditionally known for its comfortable suspension.

Luxury SUV ride, car-like fuel consumption, plus carrying capacity and a 9,200 lb tow rating: When you think about it, what’s not to like about the 2015 RAM EcoDiesel?

2015 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel Tradesman – First Drive

A regular cab diesel work truck with an eight-speed transmission, 8-foot bed, and vinyl floors

Apr 22, 2015
Photographers: Trevor Reed

2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel Tradesman - First Drive
We don’t get to drive as many work trucks as we would like. Usually, manufacturers’ “press fleets” are packed with fully loaded models with thousands upon thousands of dollars of added equipment listed on the window sticker. You can’t blame the automakers for wanting to show off all the latest and greatest features their new models have to offer, but we also like to see what you can get for a lot less money. That’s why we jumped at the chance to spend a weekend with a 1/2-ton ’14 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel Tradesman model with vinyl floors, hand-crank windows, and a few functional option packages that added up to just $32,520 out the door—which is around $8,000 less than a similarly equipped diesel-powered, regular cab 3/4-ton ’14 Ram 2500 Tradesman.
We used our time with the work truck to test it both on- and off-road while hand-tabulating the real-world fuel economy. We also filled it with a load of tree branches for transport to a green waste facility and handed the keys to a farmer who is currently shopping for a new 1/2-ton truck and tagged along as he did his nightly rounds to get his opinion. Here is what we found during our time behind the wheel.
2014 Ram 1500 Ecodiesel Tradesman Driver Side View
EcoDiesel and Eight-Speed Transmission

We started our road test with the exceptionally quiet EcoDiesel Tradesman edition of the Ram 1500 on the crowded streets of Los Angeles, where the engine and transmission combination performed great. Although there is a bit of electronic throttle hesitation/turbo lag, which makes the truck feel a little less snappy than a gas-powered 1/2-ton V-8, there are always gobs of torque available. While the transmission shifts often, we wouldn’t call it obtrusive or “shift-happy.” The gear changes are dialed in to maximize the performance of the engine and keep it working inside its torque band, allowing it to squirt in and out of lanes and keep pace with other vehicles in stop-and-go freeway driving. While we did not do any towing, the truck was equipped with an integrated trailer brake controller and a tow/haul mode. Our only complaints about the transmission would be the electronic gear selector that uses a dial mounted low on the center console instead of a shifter on the steering column, and the thumb-operated manual shift buttons that are not very usable.
After commuting with the truck, we escaped the city for a 140-plus-mile trip north over the steep Grapevine pass with a full tank of fuel. Using cruise control whenever possible and trying to stay less than 10 mph above the posted speed limits, we watched the trip computer’s average fuel economy figures creep upward from 28 mpg to 29, and then into the 30s. After filling the tank, we calculated the fuel economy based on the odome
2014 Ram 1500 Ecodiesel Tradesman Drive Selection Shift Knob
2014 Ram 1500 Ecodiesel Tradesman Gear Select Control
Off-Road Performance and MPG

After reaching Kern County, we loaded the bed with tree branches and took them to the local green waste facility. Next, we picked up a friend and drove the EcoDiesel Ram into the oil fields, where white regular cab work trucks are the vehicles of choice for employers. We traveled some familiar dirt roads and were impressed by the smoothness of the suspension. The coilover front setup is comfortable and capable (even with the weight of the diesel engine up front) and, unlike a truck with leaf springs in back, the Ram’s rear end soaks up bumps and has less axle hop than we are used to, which is a very good thing.
The traction control works very well and only kicks in when needed (which should help keep heavy-footed employees from getting into trouble with the 420 lb-ft of torque on tap), but it can be turned off for when more conventional, tire-spinning driving is needed to climb steep hills. The front bumper is designed to help fuel economy with its low-hanging spoiler, but it can plow into the dirt unexpectedly until you get used to its close relation to the ground. The steering system is electric but feels good, is very predictable, and works well in all the driving conditions we threw at the truck, including some sideways blasts on wide dirt roads.
Even with no regard for fuel economy while driving off-road, the EcoDiesel returned a very respectable 20.11 mpg during this period. Our final tank of fuel was used driving in city traffic and on a highway trip south over the Grapevine (that included lots of stop and go once we got into Los Angeles County), resulting in an average of 24.48 mpg.
2014 Ram 1500 Ecodiesel Tradesman Tri Fold Tonneau Cover
Work Truck Amenities
A work truck isn’t supposed to be luxurious, but some modern conveniences are definitely welcome. The model we tested came equipped with just a few options, but the $650 Uconnect 5.0 audio and phone system seems like a good investment. Along with a 5-inch display, it includes Bluetooth phone connectivity with a built-in microphone and voice-control functions, so your employees should be easy to reach even while driving. The system is much easier to use than previous versions of Uconnect, and it comes with a year of SiriusXM satellite radio service.
There are two USB charging hubs and two 12-volt ports (one of each in the lower dash, and in the center armrest/seatback) along with an audio input jack. The standard air conditioning is simple, with only three easy-to-use knobs with familiar controls, which is just how we like it. Manual windows are just what you would expect, and the vinyl floor is easy to clean. Powered trailer-tow mirrors are not available on this model, so unless towing is the primary duty of the pickup (adjusting the manual mirrors was a pain), we would probably suck it up and order the $735 Power and Remote Entry Group. This package provides foldable, heated, standard-size power mirrors, remote power door locks, door map pockets, and power windows with a one-touch down function. Except for the reduction in size of the mirrors, this option seems like it would add a lot of usable value to the truck.
2014 Ram 1500 Ecodiesel Tradesman Gauge Cluster
What We Learned
We racked up more than 415 miles in the ’14 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel Tradesman, driving it in various conditions ranging from gridlock traffic to dirt roads to flat-highway cruising at 70-plus mph. It performed just like you would expect a 1/2-ton to in all the conditions we tested. Even with some off-road romping in the mix, we ended up with an end-of-test fuel economy of 25.02 mpg. That’s more mpg than the EPA highway ratings for the six-cylinder versions of the ’14 Chevrolet/GMC 1500, Ford F-150, or Toyota Tundra. While our first drive calculations are not as scientific as the EPA cycle, they seem to confirm (or maybe even exceed) the 20 city/23 combined/28 highway mpg government ratings for the EcoDiesel-powered truck. The current difference between the price of diesel and gasoline ($2.11 to $2.78 on average, nationwide), along with the added cost of the diesel drivetrain, can reduce the impact of the fuel economy savings, but the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel Tradesman should definitely be in consideration for anyone searching for a 1/2-ton work truck.
The ’14 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel Tradesman is equipped with a 3.0L V-6 that makes 240 hp at 3,600 rpm and 420 lb-ft of torque. It features a colilover front suspension with short and long A-arms and a coil suspension in the rear that provides a good ride both on- and off-road.

White regular cab pickups are a common sight around the foothills of Kern County, California. We took the ’14 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel on the same roads used by oil field workers and found it to be comfortable, with plenty of power to climb two-wheel-drive-friendly inclines while returning more than 20 mpg.
Specifications
Vehicle: ’14 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel Tradesman
Body style: Two-door regular cab longbed
Engine: 3.0L V-6 EcoDiesel
Transmission: ZF 8HP70 eight-speed shiftable automatic
Drive type: Two-wheel drive
Cab: Steel
Pickup box: Double-walled steel
Frame: Steel ladder frame
Front suspension: Independent upper and lower short and long A-arms with coilover shocks and stabilizer bar
Rear suspension: Five-link with live solid axle, track bar, coil springs, and shock absorbers
Steering type: Electric power assist
Steering ratio: 17.9:1
Steering wheel turns (lock-to-lock): 3.3
Turning diameter: 45.1 feet
Rear axle: C235mm (9.25 inches)
Rear axle raito: 3.55:1
Braking system: Four-wheel antilock brakes with dual-rate tandem diaphragm vacuum
Front brakes: 13.2×1.1-inch ventilated discs with single-piston calipers
Rear brakes: 13.8×0.87-inch disc brakes with single-piston calipers
Tires: P265/70R17 Goodyear Wrangler SR-A black sidewall all-season tires
Wheels: 17×7.0 steel wheels
Curb weight: 5,088 pounds
GVWR: 6,600 pounds
Maximum payload: 1,510 pounds
Maximum trailer tow rating: 8,200 pounds
Dimensions
Overall length: 231.0 inches
Overall width: 79.4 inches
Overall height: 74.4 inches
Wheelbase: 140.5 inches
Front track: 68.0 inches
Rear track: 67.5 inches
Front ground clearance: 9.0 inches
Rear ground clearance: 8.7 inches
Front approach angle: 15.7 degrees
Rear departure angle: 24.1 degrees
Ramp breakover angle: 19.2 degrees

Engine Specifications
Engine: 3.0L EcoDiesel V-6
Configuration: V-6 60 degrees
Displacement: 3.0L (182 cubic inches)
Power: 240 hp at 3,600 rpm
Torque: 420 lb-ft at 2,000 rpm
Maximum engine speed: 4,800 rpm (electronically limited)
Bore x stroke: 3.27×3.60 inches (83×92 mm)
Head material: Aluminum alloy
Block material: Compacted graphite iron (CGI)
Valvetrain: Dual overhead camshafts with 24 valves
Fuel system: Common-rail, 29,000 psi (2,000 bar), and solenoid injectors
Fuel type: Ultra-low-sulfur diesel
Oil capacity: 10.5 quarts (7.8 liters)
Coolant capacity: 12.0 quarts (11.4 liters)
Emissions controls: Cooled EGR, oxidation catalyst, diesel particulate filter, and SCR with urea injection
Transmission Specifications
Transmission: ZF 8HP70 eight-speed shiftable automatic
2014 Ram 1500 Ecodiesel Tradesman Trailer Brake Controller
Gear ratios:
First: 4.71:1
Second: 3.14:1
Third: 2.10:1
Fourth: 1.67:1
Fifth: 1.29:1
Sixth: 1.00:1
Seventh: 0.84:1
Eighth: 0.67:1
Reverse: 3.30:1
Final drive ratio: 3.55:1

Standard Equipment
Exterior Features
Trailer tow hitch with four-pin connector wiring
Seven-pin wiring harness
Advanced multistage front airbags
Supplemental side-curtain front airbags
Electronic stability control
Antilock four-wheel disc brakes
Speed Control
Sentry Key theft-deterrent system
Power accessory delay
Locking tailgate
Manual door locks
Manual windows
Spray-in bedliner
Class IV receiver hitch
Halogen quad headlamps
17×7.0 steel wheels
P265/70R17 Goodyear Wrangler SR-A black sidewall all-season tires
Fullsize spare tire
Automatic headlamps
Tinted glass windows
Black door handles
Black front/rear bumper
Black grille
Interior Features
Air conditioning
Tilt steering column
Front armrest with storage compartment and three cupholders
Media Hub with USB and audio input jack
Six speakers
12-volt auxiliary power outlet
Electronic vehicle information center
Rearview manual day/night mirror
Behind seat storage bin
Black vinyl floor covering

Optional Equipment
Customer Preferred Package 28B
Tradesman package
3.0L V-6 EcoDiesel engine: $4,000
800-amp maintenance-free battery
Maximum-duty engine cooling system
Oxidation catalyst
Cooled exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system
Diesel particulate filter (DPF)
Selective catalytic reduction (Urea-DEF) system
26-gallon fuel tank
3.55:1 rear axle ratio
8HP70 Eight-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission: $500
Trailer Tow Mirror and Brake Control Group: $330
Folding Trailer Tow Mirrors, Trailer Brake Control
Uconnect 5.0 AM/FM/BT: $660
Temperature and compass gauges
Uconnect Voice Command with Bluetooth
Integrated Voice Command with Bluetooth
5-inch touch-screen display
SiriusXM Satellite Radio with 1-year subscription
Rearview mirror with microphone
Overhead console
Rear sliding window: $140
Tri-Fold tonneau cover: $500
Pricing
Base price: $25,195
Base price: $29,695 (including diesel engine package and transmission)
Destination charge: $1,195
Price as tested: $32,520
EPA Emissions Ratings
MPG: 6
Smog rating: 5
CO2: 5 (438 grams of CO2 per mile)

EPA Fuel Economy Ratings
City: 20 mpg
Highway: 28 mpg
Combined city/highway: 23 mpg
Observed Fuel Economy
Highway only: 30.48 mpg
City and off-road: 20.11 mpg
Highway and city combined: 24.48 mpg
Test average: 25.02 mpg
First Drive:
Pros: Plenty of torque, excellent transmission performance, and smooth ride.
Cons: Electronic throttle/turbo lag and low-mounted dial-operated transmission shifter.
Our take: A great choice for people shopping for a 1/2-ton work truck.

Farm Truck Testing
To get an independent view of how the diesel-powered Ram 1500 compares to the competition, we gave the wheel to Walt Fisher, the owner and operator of Fisher Cattle Company and Orange Grove RV Park in Edison, California. Walt currently drives an ’08 GMC Sierra 2500HD with 240,000-plus miles and is shopping for a 1/2-ton truck for his daily driving along with some towing. When we pulled up with the diesel-powered Ram, he immediately gave it the once-over, checking out the engine bay and tires and pointing out where he would mount a gooseneck hitch. He said the towing capacity would not be a concern since he already has a fleet of four diesel work trucks in addition to his GMC for extra heavy loads. Walt took us on his evening rounds for his businesses, and after driving on some rough farmland roads and over a few train tracks, he said the truck had “all that you need out of a 1/2-ton—and more” (we assume the “more” means the diesel torque).
2014 Ram 1500 Ecodiesel Tradesman Engine Bay
When told about the fuel economy we had experienced, Walt said he grew up with the mentality of “How much mileage does that thing get?” and that fuel economy is a “huge” factor in all of his decisions about what to purchase, whether it’s a truck, tractor, or an airplane (Walt is also a pilot). He plans to buy a crew cab shortbed 1/2-ton truck but prefers to wait until a model has been out for at least a couple of years because, “There are things that can’t be tested until they are in the real world…there’s a reason they have recall notices.” While Walt is willing to wait to replace his truck, after driving the coil-sprung Ram, he convinced a plant manager in Colorado to check it out, which resulted in him going home with a 3/4-ton Ram 2500 diesel with a factory fifth-wheel hitch and air springs.
2014 Ram 1500 Ecodiesel Tradesman Walt Fisher
2014 Ram 1500 Ecodiesel Tradesman Rear Axle

Ram 1500 EcoDiesel Beats Ford F-150 EcoBoost in Fuel Efficiency

Ram EcoDiesel and Ford EcoBoost Comparison

The Ram EcoDiesel beat out the Ford F-150 2.7-liter EcoBoost in fuel efficiency during a recent comparison test
Photo: AutoGuide

Ford’s EcoBoost engine lineup is known for offering superior power, without sacrificing fuel efficiency—but it looks like this fuel efficiency just can’t hold up to the brand-new Ram 1500 EcoDiesel.

While it’s not surprising that the EcoDiesel is more fuel-efficient, since it burns oil instead of gasoline, it is surprising just how much more fuel-efficient the Ram truck is than the F-150. In a recent comparative review by AutoGuide, the diesel Ram didn’t just beat the F-150’s 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine—it also managed to achieve an average fuel rating that was slightly over the manufacturer’s claim.

Even though both trucks were driven with a light foot and on the same route, the F-150 didn’t even come close to reaching the Ram truck’s fuel efficiency. In fact, it didn’t even come close to the manufacturer’s claimed average fuel rating.

Along with boasting better fuel efficiency, the review also doted on the Ram EcoDiesel for its superior presence on the road, claiming it was more planted than the F-150—a negative about the Ford’s lower weight.

After this comparison, there’s no doubt that the battle for the industry’s best truck will continue full force.

News Source: AutoGuide