Recently, I had an opportunity to spend a week in the 2014 Ram 1500 Tradesman EcoDiesel. A certified work truck, the Tradesman didn’t have power windows, door looks, or exterior mirrors. But it did have the 3.0L EcoDiesel V6 and an 8-speed automatic transmission. Since the guys are planning on an Ike Gauntlet run in a truck like this one, I’ll defer the whole review to them, and cover some of my observations that I had over the week.
It’s MSRP is $32,020
For your money, you get the $4,000 EcoDiesel engine that is rated at 20 city, and 28 highway miles-per-gallon. You also get the $500 8-speed automatic. In addition, this truck was equipped with the $130 sliding rear window, $330 trailer tow mirror and brake controller, and a $660 Uconnect 5.0 stereo with satellite radio, Bluetooth handsfree and audio, and a touchscreen interface.
I personally enjoyed the more expensive radio, as I use my phone for listening to music all the time. For me, that’s a must on any vehicle I purchase. Depending on your needs, you may be able to skip the trailer towing group or the sliding rear window. The sliding rear window is manual, and not powered.
The EcoDiesel and 8-Speed Combination is Excellent
The EcoDiesel engine makes 240 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque. This is a near perfect combination to the optional 8-speed automatic. Shifts are imperceptible, and downshifts are rev-matched near perfectly. Very seldom have I driven a vehicle where the combination of the engine and transmission felt just right, but this is definitely one of those experiences.
It’s Very Fuel Efficient
Ram claims that the truck will get 28 MPG on the highway. Without changing my driving habits at all, I frequently saw 31-32 MPG. My overall for the week which included a lot of stop-and-go driving and about 900 miles was 28.2 MPG. With over 700 miles to a tank of diesel, you can go a long time without having to refuel the truck.
Overall I was happy with the Tradesman. In the real world, I’d want power windows and door locks, but I knew that going in that it wouldn’t have them. The seats are comfortable, even if they are vinyl, and would be easy to clean when dirty. The EcoDiesel engine is a costly add on compared to the overall price of the truck, but it is an option box I’d definitely check.