Ram announced it was shutting the gate on the production of the 1500 class 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 EcoDiesel engine during the autumn months of this year. Starting January 2023, the EcoDiesel engine will become a past tense. This is a shame because everyone liked the compact diesel option for the Ram 1500 pickup truck. More importantly, everyone liked the EcoDiesel rated 28-33 mpg and proven 1,000 miles of range it could reach and exceed. Fellow auto journalist Dan Edmunds proved this claim with a 2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel by driving from Duluth, Minnesota, to Dallas, Texas, on a single tank of diesel for The Drive.
So why is Ram killing this engine? Well, for starters, Ram is ditching the EcoDiesel’s production to make room for the electric half-ton pickup truck variant coming in 2024. This new EV truck will go tailgate-to-tailgate with the Ford F-150 Lightning and Silverado EV in the next evolution of the truck wars. In fact, 2022 marks the 10th anniversary of the current Ram 1500 generation. So the current Ram 1500 is soon going away along with the EcoDiesel engine to make room for the next best thing. But the question isn’t what will replace the V6 EcoDiesel, but whether it will be missed.
A Brief but Impressionable History
The EcoDiesel underwent three generations during its development from when Ram first unveiled it in 2014. The gen three turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 EcoDiesel boasts a rated 260 horsepower and 480 lb.-ft of torque. In addition, if optioned in the Ram Tradesman HFE (High Fuel Efficiency) trim with 2WD, the V6 diesel truck carried a brag-worthy rating of 32 mpg. More importantly, it offered a competitive max-towing capacity of 12,560 pounds.
I had a chance to test drive one of the last “new” 2022 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel trucks before they are all banished to the used dealer lots of any town U.S.A.
What the EcoDiesel engine option offered was the diesel truck lifestyle without the rolling coal bro-dozer stigma of its Heavy-Duty siblings.
The Last “New” Test Drive of the Ram EcoDiesel
I had a chance to test drive one of the last “new” 2022 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel trucks before they are all banished to the used dealer lots of any town U.S.A. The model shown in this article came dressed in the higher-tier Limited trim equipped with the 10th Anniversary edition interior package. Its Patriot Blue Pearl exterior color sparkled under the sun even when frosted in a layer of Texas dust. The chrome EcoDiesel badge on both sides of the hood stood out in the sea of blue paint. This is in addition to the truck’s chrome grille, bumpers, and 20-inch polished aluminum wheels.
Inside, the $2,145 cost for the 10th anniversary limited edition package gets you premium quilted stitch leather upholstery, a jeweled rotary dial, a suede headliner, and a 19-speaker Harman Kardon sound system. In addition, there is a 10th anniversary limited edition emblem stamped in the center console positioned so that resting your forearm won’t cover it.
As with all Ram Trucks of this generation, stepping inside the Ram 1500 Limited EcoDiesel is like putting on a premium leather glove.
As with all Ram Trucks of this generation, stepping inside the Ram 1500 Limited EcoDiesel is like putting on a premium leather glove. You’re greeted by a warm and inviting cabin shielding you from the outside elements. The plush seats and spacious interior further remind you that this is not your grandfather’s vinyl bench seat old Dodge.
The first thing you notice about the EcoDiesel is how quiet it is, which is a stark contrast to the rumble and brimstone of the 5.7-liter, 6.4-liter, and Supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI V8. Pressing the ignition button and the only reminder that you’re driving a diesel truck is a faint clatter before dying down to a smooth hum. The sound of the turbocharger spooling is more audible than the engine itself. As a result, the EcoDiesel is a torquey wolf in sheep’s clothing. A working truck’s grunt is hushed to a church whisper.
On the road and off, the Ram 1500 Limited glides thanks to its four-wheel air suspension. This suspension can be raised or lowered for varying terrain with a button push. Although the Ram 1500 does feel bulbous when driving on narrow off-road trails, one cannot ignore how comfortable it is to drive. Moreover, the EcoDiesel’s 480 lb.-ft of torque is only a throttle input away from getting you out of any sticky terrain.
Gone but Not Forgotten
The EcoDiesel engine certainly left an impression on the truck market. It balanced torque and fuel economy and set a bar that current electric pickup trucks can’t reach. But nothing is perfect, as achieving that headline-making 1,000-mile range required paying diesel fuel prices to fill up a 33-gallon tank. That detail may have been enough to make some truck buyers figure that if they are going to pay $70k for a full-size truck and pay diesel fuel prices, they might as well get the full-size engine.
Nevertheless, progress waits for no one. So while there’s never going to be a new 3.0-liter turbocharged EcoDiesel engine in 2023, these trucks will live on and may become an underrated gem. It’s a unique engine, similar to Ford’s Power Stroke 3.0-liter diesel, which also expired in 2022. These full-size trucks with clattering V6 engines may catch the eye of collectors or become a rare sighting at ICE-only cars and coffee meets of the future.