Ram has been going through some regulatory issues with its 3.0-liter EcoDiesel engine, so it wasn’t surprising that the all-new 2019 “DT” generation launched with only gas motors. For 2020, though, the EcoDiesel is back, but it’s been updated to make more power and torque than ever.
The last-generation 3.0-liter VM Motori diesel made 240 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque in the WK2 Jeep Grand Cherokee and “DS” Ram 1500. Those vehicles—particularly 2014 to 2016 models—were the subjects of class action settlements resulting from claims by the Department of Justice that Fiat Chrysler had used and failed to disclose certain engine control strategies that had resulted in unacceptably high emissions.
But those setbacks haven’t stopped Ram from offering the torquey, efficient goodness of compression ignition, as the brand eventually got the last-generation DS truck, now dubbed the Ram 1500 Classic, back on the market with the aforementioned 240 HP diesel engine. And now, the new DT truck is getting a diesel motor, too, and it’s a new third-generation unit making a whopping 480 lb-ft of twist at 1,600 rpm and 260 HP at 3,600 rpm.
If you’re curious about what makes this a “third-generation” engine, Ram says it has a new water-cooled Variable Geometry Turbocharger that promises both improved responsiveness and efficiency.
In addition, the brand says the intake ports have been revised to improve swirl, and the Exhaust Gas Recirculation setup now incorporates a low and high pressure system. The new low-pressure EGR, Ram says “draws gases after the diesel particulate filter, thus minimizing turbocharger energy losses, which increases fuel economy.”
The revised engine’s compression ratio is down from 16.5:1 to 16:1, injector nozzles have been updated, and Ram says pistons with thinner rings and new coatings on the wrist pin and side skirts reduce friction. The brand also mentions improvements in NVH resulting from changing the wrist pin offset and from using a light, two-piece metal/polymer sump.
Ram says the 2020 1500 EcoDiesel is “America’s most powerful half-ton diesel pickup,” though that doesn’t seem quite right, since Chevy’s upcoming 3.0-liter inline-six diesel is slated to make 277 horsepower—17 more than the Ram.
Still, the Chevy is rated at 460 lb-ft of torque, and the F-150 diesel only makes 440, so the Ram’s got them beat, there. And in the truck marketing world—torque is all that matters, so this is a big deal.
We’ll learn more about the 2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel’s pricing and gas mileage numbers later, but according to Ram, the vehicle is “expected to lead the segment on fuel economy.” For reference, the Ford F-150 diesel scores 30 MPG highway and 25 combined, so this should be good.
The press release also says the new Ram EcoDiesel’s max trailer tow rating is a respectable 12,560 pounds, only 190 lower than that of a 5.7-liter V8-equipped DT Ram, but higher than the F-150 diesel’s 11,400 pound capacity. (I’m not sure how much the Silverado 1500 Diesel will tow).
Returning triumphantly in the fourth quarter of 2019, the 2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel will be available in all Ram 1500 trims.