Ram 1500 improves with new engine

After a glory year in which the 2013 Ram 1500 pickup nailed several of the auto industry’s top awards, the 2014 model goes for the gold by offering a turbocharged diesel V6 engine. It is emissions-compliant in all 50 states and compatible with B-20 biodiesel.

The half-ton 2014 Ram 1500 is the only light-duty full-size pickup with a diesel option. The 3.0-liter engine produces 240 horsepower at 3,600 rpm and 420 lb-ft of torque at 2,000 rpm. No numbers for fuel economy have been announced yet, but the Ram 1500’s standard 3.6-liter gasoline V6 is rated at 18 mpg city and 25 mpg highway, so for now the diesel’s numbers can be estimated upward from there.

In another half-ton pickup category exclusive, the Ram 1500 offers an eight-speed automatic transmission, which is standard with the diesel V6.

Maximum towing capacity of the diesel engine is 9,200 pounds. The gasoline V6 can tow up to 7,450 pounds.

As with the previous Ram 1500, a 395-horsepower Hemi V8 is also available. It generates 410 lb-ft of torque and gets 15 mpg during city driving, 22 mpg on the highway – if equipped with an eight-speed automatic transmission – or 14/20 mpg with a six-speed automatic. The previously available 4.7-liter V8 has been retired.

The diesel engine is available, as optional equipment, only on Tradesman, Big Horn, Outdoorsman, Laramie, Laramie Longhorn, and Laramie Limited models of the 2014 Ram 1500.

Pricing for the 2014 Ram 1500 starts at $25,295 (which includes a $1,095 destination charge). Buyers who opt for a diesel version can expect to pay $2,850 more for their truck than a similarly equipped Hemi-powered model, or $4,500 more than a gasoline V6 version.

Model-year 2014 Ram 1500 pickups with a gasoline engine are available now at local dealerships. Diesel versions are scheduled to arrive in March or April 2014.

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