Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Ram's new diesel offering changes game

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Chrysler has put the world on notice it will not sit idle in the fiercely competitive truck market: it's the first to offer a diesel in a half-ton pickup, something consumers have for years been hoping to see.

There had been much speculation Toyota would be first with a diesel in the 2014 Tundra recently revealed in Chicago, but the Tundra debuted with only new sheet metal and a new interior. A diesel Tundra is still expected in the coming years, but Chrysler has now taken the lead and set the bar that much higher.

Beginning in the third-quarter of 2013, Ram will become the only brand to offer a small-displacement diesel engine for its half-ton line of trucks. The 2014 Ram 1500 will offer a new, 3.0-litre EcoDiesel engine, mated with the eight-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission.

The same turbo diesel engine is currently being rolled out in the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee and offers 240 horsepower and 420 lb.-ft of torque. It should deliver exceptional fuel economy and impressive towing capability.

Diesels have been offered in heavy-duty models, but this is the first time since GM stopped offering a diesel in 1999 that a diesel engine has been available on a North American half-ton.

"Truck owners have been emphatically asking for it, and Ram will be the only manufacturer to offer a diesel powertrain in the half-ton segment with the 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel," said Fred Diaz, president and CEO of Ram Truck Brand, Chrysler Group LLC.

"The half-ton truck market is incredibly competitive, and although we're honoured the Ram 1500 has received a number of prestigious awards, we cannot rest on what we have accomplished, we must keep pushing."

GM and Ford have taken different approaches to fuel-saving, with GM opting for cylinder deactivation and Ford opting for turbocharging its V6, while Toyota has made only minor changes to its two V8 engines.

There was no initial word on what the diesel option would cost.

-- Postmedia News

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 8, 2013 F9

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