A diesel engine appeals to many fleets because it offers better fuel economy and overall range, and its torque facilitates fleet applications that require towing and hauling. A new diesel option available to fleets is the 3.0L EcoDiesel V-6, which is now available in all 2020 Ram 1500 models and configurations.
Recently, Automotive Fleet magazine had an opportunity to test drive the turbocharged 3.0L EcoDiesel V-6 both on- and off-road and test its towing capabilities. This is the third generation of the 3.0L EcoDiesel, which is almost completely redesigned, allowing it to deliver increased torque and horsepower.
One of the strongest takeaways from my test drive was the quietness of the new engine at idle, on-road highway driving, and hauling a payload. There are minimal levels of noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH). Heat-treated aluminum cylinder heads use individual bearing caps to reduce friction and minimize NVH. The engine block is cast with compacted graphite iron, which provides strength to dampen vibrations, but weighs less than gray cast iron. The compacted graphite iron bedplate adds rigidity to the block. The EcoDiesel V-6 uses a forged steel crankshaft and connecting rods for strength and durability.
The EcoDiesel is mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission in the 2020 Ram 1500. The EcoDiesel’s low torque peak and the Ram 1500’s quick-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission provide drivers with consistent performance, especially when towing is required. For instance, the 3.0L EcoDiesel V-6 is rated at a 480 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,600 rpm, a 14% increase from the previous-generation EcoDiesel V-6 that peaked 400 rpm earlier. Horsepower increases 8% to 260 hp at 3,600 rpm.
These significant gains in engine output add up to a big increase in the EcoDiesel’s maximum tow rating. The new 2020 engine is rated to pull as much as 12,560 pounds, the highest diesel tow rating in its class. This represents a significant improved over the second generation 3.0L EcoDiesel V-6 engine.
In addition, the 2020 Ram 1500 is capable of hauling 2,300 pounds of payload. Its link-coil rear suspension gives the pickup exceptional stability and handling on and off the road and allows for load leveling or adjusting the ride height, which expedites cargo loading and hitching a trailer.
Several significant changes contribute to the new EcoDiesel’s improved dynamics and fuel economy performance, such as redesigned cylinder head intake ports that improve swirl and flow, increasing performance and fuel economy.
The engine also contributes to corporate sustainability goals with its introduction of a dual high-pressure and low-pressure exhaust gas recirculation system, a first for a diesel engine in North America. The EcoDiesel’s existing high-pressure EGR, with cooling exhaust gases drawn from the exhaust manifold, is augmented with a low-pressure EGR system that draws exhaust gases after they exit the diesel particulate filter. The addition of cooler, low-pressure exhaust gas makes a significant contribution to improved fuel economy and lower oxides of nitrogen (NOx).
In addition to the EcoDiesel, another new feature for the 2020 Ram 1500 that fleet users will find useful is its new Multi-Function Tailgate, which folds down like a traditional tailgate or opens with a 60/40 split, providing easier access to the bed.