Our staff loves a good pickup, especially if it gets great mileage and can tow our assortment of travel trailers, boats, and race cars.
So, when Chrysler introduced a new 3.0-liter diesel in its half-ton Ram 1500 this year, we couldn’t wait to get our grubby hands on one.
We’ve referred to the current Ram as the luxury car of pickups, with its plush interior, capable UConnect infotainment system, and cushy coil-spring rear suspension. Chrysler pulled off a rare feat: A half-ton truck fitted with a diesel engine, which features 240-hp and 420 lb.-ft. of torque. With a rotary-dial eight-speed automatic transmission, we got an impressive 20 mpg overall and 27 mpg on the highway. That’s decent for a midsized SUV, much less a Quad Cab pickup, and far better than other automakers' small, gas V6s.
On top of that, our Crew Cab truck with four-wheel drive and a 3.55 rear axle is rated to tow an impressive 7,750 pounds. The huge diesel torque makes towing easy and is remarkably quiet compared to the Hemi-powered Ram we tested last year, even if it lacks the Hemi’s roar and burble—and its acceleration.
Our Ram wasn’t cheap, though. In midlevel Big Horn trim, it rang up $49,155 with almost $9,300 in options, including the $4,000 diesel engine. That makes it at least $2,850 more than an equivalent Ram with a Hemi V8. It can pay off its extra cost in about four years.
Even so, we were happy to find this truck. When we started looking, it was hard to locate a Ram diesel that wasn’t spoken for, and most were even more expensive.
Now it’s a race for the keys on Friday afternoons.