The new 3rd-generation 2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel engine is here. It’s a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6, and its built out of 80% new parts when compared to the old EcoDiesel. Here is a first drive review of this truck when towing a trailer and going off-road.
2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel
The new turbo-diesel is rated at 260 hp @ 3,600 rpm and class-leading 480 lb-ft of torque @ 1,600 rpm. The engine is backed up by an updated 8-speed automatic transmission that can handle the extra power and torque. The previous 8-speed had to handle “only” 420 lb-ft of torque from the older EcoDiesel.
The first towing opportunity comes during the Ram event near Duluth, Minnesota. The load is a boat and trailer that together approached about 6,000 lbs. The tow truck is a fully loaded 2020 Ram 1500 crew cab 4×4 Limited. The diesel engine option pushes the price of the truck very close to the $70,000 mark.
One thing is immediately clear. The work that Ram did to improve the sound characteristic of the engine make for a smother and quieter diesel then before. The diesel chatter does come around sometimes when slowing down at lower speeds, or idling forward – but this is a good and manly thing.
Several acceleration runs with the trailer in tow produced similar results. There is a little bit of a pause, perhaps about a second or less than a second, before the major power comes in. Once the turbo is fully spooled up, the acceleration builds, the engine revs freely to just over 4,000 rpm, and the transmission shifts quickly. It’s unclear where the second delay comes from, but I am guessing it’s more related to the tuning and not the actual engine hardware.
This engine has a redesigned turbocharger, combustion chamber/cylinder head design, update piston design, and an additional low-pressure Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR).
The starting price for a 2020 Ram 1500 Tradesman quad cab 2WD with the EcoDiesel is $38,585. This is the lowest starting price out of any half-ton diesel available now. Both, the Ford F-150 Power Stroke and the Chevy/GMC 1500 Duramax start in the low $40,000 range.
Official MPG ratings are not available yet. We plan to test the truck in Colorado soon, so please stay tuned for that.
Overall, the new EcoDiesel is an improvement over the previous generation. Is it truly the best half-ton diesel? We will have to test it back to back against the competition before we make the final call.