2015 Ram 1500 Outdoorsman 4×4 EcoDiesel: Little Big Rig [Review]


The 2015 Ram 1500 Outdoorsman EcoDiesel is the only light-duty diesel pickup truck sold in the United States at this time. Ram has positioned it with a focus on efficiency. So what is the EcoDiesel like to live with on a daily basis? Can its torquey V6 deliver fun or is it all about work? Is it the “little big rig”?

STATS Starting Retail Price As Tested Price HP / Lb-Ft
2015 Ram 1500 3.0L EcoDiesel $43,410 $50,760 240 / 420
EPA Rating MPG As Tested MPG
Rating:  LEASE IT! 19 / 27 / 22 23.6


EcoDiesel is motivated by the 3.0L V6 turbo-diesel with 240 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque @ 2,000 rpm. The power is delivered via the 8-speed automatic transmission. Yes, this is a small displacement engine, but it retains all the “truckiness” you could want. The engine fires up quickly – even at temperatures near freezing (30 F). There was no need to wait for the glow plugs at this temperature. There is the identifying diesel chatter at idle, but it’s quieter than the big Cummins in the Ram HD trucks.


The tester is a Crew Cab Outdoorsman with 4×4 and the low 3.92 rear axle ratio. This axle is not the best for ultimate fuel economy, but it’s fun for around-town driving. The truck uses all the low-end torque and gearing to quickly jump off the line. It’s accompanied by a satisfying and not very loud diesel hum. You can tell that this is a proper truck. 0-40 mph acceleration is impressive for a large and heavy pickup truck like this. We got a CAT scale weight of 5,840 lbs with a nearly full fuel tank. Acceleration beyond 40 mph is not as fun, but the 8-speed’s gear changes are quick and smooth.


The EcoDiesel excels at highway cruising. The cabin is quiet with well-controlled wind noise. The engine turns over at around 2,000 rpm to maintain 65 mph, and it does so effortlessly. We registered a 30.1 MPG highway average after 34 miles of cruising at 65 mph. This was not verified by a manual calculation (we plan to do this in about two weeks). EPA rates this truck at 19 MPG city, 27 MPG highway, and 22 MPG combined. These estimates are more than realistic. I averaged 23.6 MPG combined.

This Outdoorsman comes with an optional air suspension. The ride is smooth over most surfaces, but you can still feel pavement joints and cracks through the steering wheel and your behind. Once again, this truck reminds you it’s a truck, but not in a necessarily bad way.


The steering feels good and heavy, but it does not provide feedback on all of the nuances of road. It’s not a sporty SUV or crossover, and it’s not pretending to be either.

Being at the helm of the Outdoorsman EcoDiesel conveys a feeling of stability and confidence, not unlike piloting a heavy duty pickup. The difference here is that the Ram 1500 4×4 sits lower than the full-blown 2500 HD and feel more manageable in tight parking lots.


Of course, you can adjust the height of this truck with the air suspension. If somebody blindfolded you, put you behind the wheel of this EcoDiesel, set the truck in its tallest suspension position, took off your blindfold, and told you to drive – you may think that you are in a 2500 series truck.

This model comes with cloth interior, but it’s equipped with convenience features like heated seats and steering wheel that can be helpful after a cold night of camping in the woods. The Crew Cab is downright spacious. There is more than enough legroom, shoulder room, and head room in all seating positions. There is also a 110V outlet to help charge your essential.


The exterior of the Outdoorsman is finished ini a two-tone paint job (Blue Streak Pearl with black accents for this tester). There are beefy Goodyear Geolander tires on 17-inch rims for rugged looks and enhanced off-road traction.

Crew Cab 4×4 EcoDiesel is rated to tow a maximum of 7,660 lbs and carry a payload of up to 1,340 lbs. Although, if you add optional equipment of the Outdoorsman and throw in the Wrangler tires, then you towing and payload will decrease a bit from there.

On the TFLcar scale of:

  • Buy it!
  • Lease it!
  • Rent it!
  • … or Forget it!

I give the 2015 Ram 1500 Crew Cab Outdoorsman EcoDiesel a Lease It!

I am a big of diesel vehicles, and this Ram impressed me with it’s power and efficiency. I am struggling with the value and maximum payload parts of the equation. The as tested price of this Ram is $50,760. This includes the $4,270 for the turbo-diesel, $1,695 for the air suspension, and $1,545 for the Outdoorsman package. You also get the Uconnect system with navigation. However, there are still options this truck does not have checked off.

I would configure the EcoDiesel differently at a lower trim level, like the SLT, to bring the price down to around $45,725. This would make me more comfortable with the value equation. An EcoDiesel like this would be a Buy It! in my book.

I commend Ram for being the first to bring the EcoDiesel light-duty pickup truck to United States. It has a place in the Ram lineup as a unique “little big rig”.