2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel: A Brief Look At The Changes & Updates

  • The 2020 Ram 1500 receives a more powerful EcoDiesel engine. 
  • Horsepower and torque increase by eight and 14 percent respectively. 
  • The Italian-built diesel mill will arrive in the fourth quarter of this year.   

The redesigned 2019 Ram 1500 remains a tough, durable, and smooth-riding truck. However, it came to market without the previously optional 3.0-liter diesel V6, more commonly known as the EcoDiesel. But it’s not the end of the world. The Pentastar 3.6-liter V6 and 5.7-liter Hemi are still worthy of praise. However, one can’t help but wonder why Ram is holding back on the EcoDiesel.

Is it a matter of waiting for the right time to strike?

Maybe.

After Ford and GM’s announcement of new light-duty diesel engines, along comes Ram with their V6 EcoDiesel. Coincidence? Maybe, maybe not. Still, it’s no surprise the 2020 Ram 1500’s new diesel motor is more powerful and torquey than the one it replaces.

The EcoDiesel Has More Power & Torque

Ram uses the same 3.0-liter displacement as before, albeit re-tuned to churn out 260 horsepower and 480 lb-ft. torque. By comparison, the previous EcoDiesel produced 20 less horsepower and 60 lb-ft. less torque. Thank you, Ram (said every diesel truck buyer).

The engine is fitted with a forged steel crankshaft and connecting rods. It’s a dual overhead camshaft (DOHC) design with four valves per cylinder and a 60-degree angle between the cylinder banks. Ram opted for a compacted graphite iron block, which weighs less than grey cast iron.

This hike in power is courtesy of lighter aluminum pistons, redesigned intake ports, and new high-pressure fuel injection and EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) systems. Ram also threw in a water-cooled VGT turbocharger with variable vanes. And by changing the compression ratio to 16.0:1 from 16.5:1, Ram was able to coax the EcoDiesel into producing more power at higher engine speeds.

The high-pressure (29,000 psi/2,000 bar) fuel injector nozzles were redesigned to match the newly-optimized combustion chamber. Photo: FCA US LLC.

Ram 1500 EcoDiesel: How Does It Compare To Ford & Chevy?

It’s actually pretty good. If the numbers stay where they are, Ram will have the advantage in the torque department for half-ton trucks. The 3.0-liter Power Stroke diesel V6 in the Ford F-150 is good for 250 horsepower and 440 lb-ft. of torque. The Ram 1500 EcoDiesel has 10 more horsepower and 40 more lb-ft. of torque.

On the other hand, the Chevy Silverado’s 3.0-liter Duramax (in-line six) churns out 277 horsepower, which tops the EcoDiesel’s 260 rating. The Duramax Silverado 1500 produces 460 lb-ft. of torque, a healthy number but still 20 lb-ft. shy of the EcoDiesel. When compared to the Duramax Silverado, Ram’s mill has more on the low end.

There is some variance as to what point these trucks hit their peak torque. For example, the new EcoDiesel produces its peak torque at 1,600 rpm. And while GM’s mill peaks earlier at 1,500 rpm, it does best Ford’s Power Stroke, which comes higher at 1,750 rpm.

The EcoDiesel uses a forged steel crankshaft and connecting rods for strength and durability. The aluminum alloy pistons are cooled on the underside via oil jets. Heat-treated aluminum cylinder heads use individual bearing caps to reduce friction and minimize NVH. The chain-driven overhead camshafts employ roller-finger followers. Photo: FCA US LLC.

The 2020 Ram 1500 Can Move Mountains

Well, not exactly a real mountain but you know what I mean. The point is, this new EcoDiesel will haul like no other with 480 lb-ft. of torque. Having mountains of torque means having the power to move heavy loads. While the Ford F-150 Power Stroke is good for 11,400 lbs. when properly equipped, the 2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel has a maximum towing capacity of 12,560 lbs.

I’m not exactly sure how to best visually represent 12,560 lbs. All I can tell you is the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel can tow the weight of four Volkswagen Golfs.

Related: “The Hemi V8 roared to life.” Our full review of the Ram 1500 Longhorn.

For Work & Play

The good news doesn’t end there for Ram fans. With an innovative coil spring rear suspension and lighter body, the 2020 Ram 1500 straddles the fine line between work, play, and everything between. It still gets the eTorque mild hybrid system for 2020 to improve fuel economy while providing short bursts of power. Ram’s eTorque mild-hybrid powertrain resulted from an extensive redesign of their 1500-series trucks, the changes of which are already on the market for 2019.

However, Ram has yet to reveal fuel economy numbers for the new EcoDiesel – just that they expect to lead the segment.

“The all-new EcoDiesel engine and our eTorque mild-hybrid powertrain technologies deliver the highest available fuel efficiency for our Ram 1500 customers,” said Reid Bigland, Head of Ram trucks.

2020 Ram 1500 Rebel with an EcoDiesel engine. Photo: FCA US LLC.

Ram EcoDiesel: Manufacturing & Availability

The EcoDiesel is a $4,995 option, or a $3,000 premium over the 5.7-liter Hemi ($3,300 on Tradesman, Big Horn/Lone Star, Rebel, and Laramie base models). The Ram Tradesman Quad Cab Diesel 2WD, with a 3.6-liter V6 and the e-torque system, starts at $36,890. Add another $1,695 for destination.

Interestingly enough, this makes it the least expensive diesel half-ton pickup on the market today, and seriously undercuts the base Chevy Silverado 1500 diesel (in the same cab and 2WD configuration) by around $6,000. Meanwhile, the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel also tops the diesel F-150 XLT (also in the same cab and 2WD trim) by almost $7,000. The new Ram diesel also comes with a 5-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty and a standard 3-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper basic warranty.

The engine is produced at the FCA Cento facility in Ferrara, Italy. The 2020 Ram 1500 is built at the Sterling Heights Assembly Plant (SHAP) in Sterling Heights, Michigan. The EcoDiesel was one of Wards 10 Best Engines for three consecutive years (2014, 2015, 2016).

Alvin Reyes is the Associate Editor of Automoblog. He studied civil aviation, aeronautics, and accountancy in his younger years and is still very much smitten to his former Lancer GSR and Galant SS. He also likes fried chicken, music, and herbal medicine. 

Photos & Source: FCA US LLC.

  1. Will the MSRP for the ecodiesel be about in the $55K range. Debating whether to but a ’19 hemi now or and ’18 ecodiesel I’ve found. What do you think is the best choice to wait for the ’20 models? I’ve princed the hemi’s at bout $35K and the ecodiesel at $39K on which the dealer doesn’t want to move on the price.

    1. Hi Scott – we don’t know the exact MSRP for an EcoDiesel Ram yet. All of that pricing information is forthcoming. As for which is the best choice, I would look at it like this: Diesel engines (in general) tend to last longer than their gasoline counterparts and the EcoDiesel has a history of awards, including being one of Ward’s 10 Best Engines. However, you are paying a premium for the diesel and at the end of the day, the 5.7 Hemi can still tow more.

      You can always wait for the ’20 models but if you do that, they will likely go up slightly in price. My advice would be to get a 2019. We are in the summer months, heading towards fall and generally speaking, rebates get stronger as the year goes on. Right now, Ram is in the news for having really good rebates and incentives. In fact, Ram has pushed their rebates and incentives with the intent of knocking GM out of their long-held #2 position as the top selling truck in the market. The rebates are strong enough for Ram right now that Chevy dealers say it’s hard to compete with.

      I would personally take advantage of that and get a 5.7 Hemi. You can always wait for the 2020 models, but the rebates on those will not be as good initially becasue they will be brand new. Eventually new rebates and incentives will come out but that’s only if you can wait a year (give or take) to get a new truck. It’s hard to say how long Ram can keep up such strong incentives – but for now, they seem to be offering a lot for interested buyers.

      I hope all that makes sense?

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