Chrysler adds diesel engine to light-duty Ram

CHELSEA, Mich. — Chrysler is adding a diesel engine to its light-duty Ram pickup truck lineup. The company is promising the best fuel economy of any full-size pickup in the U.S.

Bob Hegbloom, director of the Ram brand, said Friday the 3-Liter, six-cylinder diesel Ram 1500 would get better mileage than the 25 mpg that the current gas-powered V-6 gets on the highway. The six-cylinder Ram is tops in the industry now for highway mileage. The company will release exact mileage figures at a later date.

Chrysler says the new turbocharged diesel makes 240 horsepower and has 420 foot-pounds of torque, giving people the power of a gas-powered V-8 and the fuel economy of a smaller gas engine. Chrysler says the 2014 Ram will be the only light-duty diesel pickup on the market.

It’s the same diesel engine now sold in the Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV, which gets 30 mpg on the highway. But Hegbloom said the heavier pickup won’t get 30 mpg.

The diesel will cost $2,850 more than a Ram with Chrysler’s Hemi V-8 engine and eight-speed transmission. Hegbloom says the diesel will pay for itself in gas savings in under three years.

People have been asking for a light-duty diesel in pickups for 15 years, Hegbloom said.

“Now that we’re the only ones with a light duty diesel application, those people will come in and consider us,” he said.

The 2014 Ram will start at $24,200, excluding shipping costs, with a 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 and a six-speed automatic transmission. The 2014 versions will be $200 to $300 more than the comparable Rams now on the market.

Chrysler is scrapping a 4.7-liter V-8 engine in the Ram for 2014.

Chrysler does plan to offer a big 6.4-liter gas-powered V-8 engine in its heavy duty 2500 and 3500 Ram pickups.

The pickups will start arriving in showrooms In the fall. The diesel version will reach dealerships in the fourth quarter.

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