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2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel vs. 2014 Ram 2500 - Sibling Rivalry

Which Ram Is Right For You?

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For the first time in the clean-diesel era, truck buyers have a tough choice to make: light-duty or heavy-duty. The 2014 model year has ushered in significant improvements to the entire Ram truck line. Ram has become the first manufacturer to bring to market a diesel engine available in a ½-ton pickup since the ’90s and has revolutionized the ¾-ton by introducing the first-ever factory five-link rear suspension in a heavy-duty application. These trucks have both thrown off the ties that have historically bound their segments, and by breaking with tradition Ram has created two exceptional machines.

This move has, however, created a lot of questions surrounding these new pickups. Will the 1500 live up to Ram’s reputation without a Cummins? Will a 3.0L V-6 be powerful enough? Can the Ram 2500 still tow as well as it used to? It was for this reason that we felt it to be our duty to acquire both of these trucks and run them side by side through a series of real-world tests. We set out to not only answer these questions but also to help people decide which truck is the right one for their needs. At the end of the day, not everyone needs a ¾-ton, but everybody should be driving a diesel.

At the end of the day, not everyone needs a ¾-ton, but everybody should be driving a diesel.

The Test Subjects
To compare two different classes of trucks may seem like blasphemy to some, but when we look at the hard facts, these two are more similar than they seem at first glance. Keeping things as close to real-world as possible, we ordered our testers outfitted as most would buy them, and as similarly as possible. Both trucks are crew cab four-wheel-drive shortbeds, and both are trimmed in premium packages. The two trucks are also dimensionally similar, as they share the same sheetmetal from the grille back to the C-pillar, and they both come equipped with the same five-link-style rear suspension. Marking the only notable difference in options between our subjects is that the Ram 1500 was delivered with the company’s optional air suspension, Ram Boxes, and 20-inch wheels. And while both are equipped with shortbeds, the 1500’s measures 5 feet 7 inches, and the 2500’s is a slightly larger 6 feet 4 inches.

2014 Ram 1500
Fast Specs
Vehicle model: 2014 Ram 1500 Laramie Crew Cab 4x4
Base price: $44,925
Price as tested: $55,205
Engine type: 3.0L V-6
Engine block: Compacted graphite iron (CGI)
Cylinder heads: Aluminum, four bolts per cylinder
Valvetrain: Chaindriven DOHC, 24 valves
Aspiration: Single variable-geometry turbocharger, air-to-air intercooled
Fueling: Bosch high-pressure common-rail with CP4.2, solenoid injectors, and 29,000-psi injection pressure
Mfg hp: 240 hp at 3,600 rpm
Mfg torque: 420 lb-ft at 2,000 rpm
Transmission: ZF 8HP70 eight-speed automatic
Transfer case: BorgWarner 44-44
Axle ratio: 3.55:1
Suspension (front/rear): Independent upper and lower A-arms with air suspension/Five-link with track bar and air suspension
Steering: Rack and pinion with electric power assist
Brakes (front/rear): 13.2-inch ventilated disc with two-piston caliper/13.8-inch disc with single-piston caliper
Wheels/Tires: 20x9-inch chrome-clad aluminum wheels with 275/60R20 Goodyear Wrangler SR-A tires
Curb Weight: 6,040 pounds (as tested, full fuel, no driver)
Payload capacity: 1,140 pounds
Towing capacity: 6,700 pounds
Gross combined weight rating: 12,800 pounds
Fuel capacity: 26 gallons
DEF capacity: 8 gallons
Emissions controls: EGR, oxidation catalyst, DPF, SCR

Performance Specs (as tested)
Vehicle: 2014 Ram 1500 Laramie Crew Cab 4x4
0-60: 8.9 seconds
¼-mile: 16.8 seconds at 82.0 mph
60-0: 137.4 feet
Rear wheel hp: 202 hp at 3,620 rpm
Rear wheel torque: 325 lb-ft at 3,160 rpm
Average mpg: 22.83 mpg
Best mpg: 28.47 mpg
towing mpg: 19.46 mpg

2014 Ram 2500
Fast Specs
Vehicle model: 2014 Ram 2500 Laramie Longhorn Crew Cab 4x4
Base price: $52,200
Price as tested: $66,480
Engine type: 6.7L I-6
Engine block: Cast iron
Cylinder head: Cast iron, six bolts per cylinder
Valvetrain: OHV, 24 valves, solid lifters
Aspiration: Single variable-geometry turbocharger, air-to-air intercooled
Fueling: Bosch high-pressure common rail with CP3 and solenoid injectors
Mfg hp: 370 hp at 2,800 rpm
Mfg torque: 800 lb-ft at 1,600 rpm
Transmission: 68RFE six-speed automatic
Transfer case: BorgWarner 44-46
Axle ratio: 3.42:1
Suspension (front/rear): Three-link with track bar, coil springs, and stabilizer bar/Five-link with track bar, coil springs, and stabilizer bar
Steering: Recirculating ball, hydraulic assist
Brakes (front/rear): 14.17-inch disc with twin-piston caliper/14.09-inch disc with twin-piston caliper
Wheels/Tires: 18x8-inch polished aluminum wheels with 275/70R18 Firestone Transforce HT tires
Curb Weight: 8,000 pounds (as tested, full fuel, no driver)
Payload capacity: 2,180 pounds
Towing capacity: 17,010 pounds
Gross combined weight rating: 25,000 pounds
Fuel capacity: 31 gallons
DEF capacity: 5.7 gallons
Emissions controls: EGR, DPF, SCR

Performance Specs (as tested)
Vehicle: 2014 Ram 2500 Laramie Longhorn Crew Cab 4x4
0-60: 7.9 seconds
¼-mile: 16.2 seconds at 86.6 mph
60-0: 146.2 feet
Rear wheel hp: 319 hp at 2,760 rpm
Rear wheel torque: 657 lb-ft at 2,340 rpm
Average mpg: 17.54 mpg
Best mpg: 19.97 mpg
towing mpg: 15.82 mpg

Highway Driving
The highway is where trucks spend most of their life—even four-wheel-drive models—so to adequately test these two we mapped out a 500-mile loop that would take us along both flat highway and up to nearly 5,000 feet of elevation, four different times. Our two professional drivers set the cruise control at 5 mph over the posted speed limit (75 mph) and swapped vehicle position at the halfway point. At the end of our drive, the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel netted an impressive 28.47 mpg, while the Cummins 6.7L-equipped 2500 knocked down 19.97 mpg.

On the highway is where the Ram 1500 with the EcoDiesel really excels. Power delivery from the 3.0L V-6 is extremely smooth and incredibly linear, accelerating briskly to well beyond the legal speed limit. While it doesn’t pack quite the same punch off the line as its Hemi-powered brethren (which, at 5.7L, is nearly twice the displacement of the VM V-6), passing is a nonissue thanks to the engine’s 420 lb-ft of torque. Sitting in the cab, one would be hard pressed to tell the truck is even running, let alone powered by a diesel. Ram engineers worked tirelessly to ensure the EcoDiesel was extremely smooth and quiet, and we would say their hard work has paid off. Shifting from the eight-speed transmission is polished and works well at keeping the EcoDiesel firmly in its powerband. Steering feel is effortless thanks to the electric power assist. It has good road feedback and a nice, on-center feel.

Stepping into the Ram 2500, the power difference is immediately noticeable, along with the increase in perceived turbo lag. The heavy-duty 68RFE six-speed transmission fires off quick and firm shifts, which are much more noticeable than the more refined eight-speed found in the 1500. While quieter than previous generations, inside or out you know when the 6.7L Cummins engine is running. Steering feel is somewhat heavy and a bit dead on center compared to the 1500, which helps to instill confidence when towing and aids in giving the truck a heavy-duty feel. While the Ram 2500 is primarily a workhorse, it rolls down the road straight and smooth, leaving very little to be desired.

Ride Quality
One of the biggest complaints about ¾-ton trucks that we have heard over the years has been about ride quality. Traditionally, to achieve the high payload and towing capacities, these trucks have needed an extremely firm suspension. Ram has now turned the heavy-duty world on its head with the introduction of the first-ever five-link coil spring rear suspension on a ¾-ton. Similar in design and upsized 10 percent from the smaller Ram 1500, the new rear suspension provides a smoothness that was previously only achieved with a trailer in tow. The Ram 2500’s ride is not soft, but it is no longer kidney-jarringly stiff. A comparison we can all relate to would be a leaf-sprung truck with 800 pounds of sandbags in the bed. The switch to a three-link-style front suspension provides far greater roll stiffness compared to the previous generation four-link suspension. Overall, we didn’t notice any increase in body roll or negative handling from the new style of suspension—only a greatly improved ride.

The Ram 1500 chassis and suspension are carryover from the previous model years and performed exactly as expected. The ride is compliant enough to isolate its occupants from highway irregularities, but not so soft as to lose its truck-like feeling. Optioned onto our Ram 1500 was the company’s air suspension system, which replaces the coil springs at all four corners. This system allows for the vehicle to lower into an aerodynamic mode while at highway speeds for better fuel economy, and to rise up when increased ground clearance is required. It also has the ability to self-level to adjust for trailer tongue weight or a payload in the bed. At $1,695, the upcharge for the air suspension is so reasonable, there’s almost no reason not to check that box.

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103 comments
fanglemeister
fanglemeister

We should all thank Fiat profusely for forcing the other truck builders to move towards diesel in their own light duty trucks. That said, I'm betting a bunch of us will be holding onto our hard-earned money until a more reliable truck builder than Ram builds a better light duty diesel... Never again Mopar...sell me junk twice, shame on me.

Richard School
Richard School

Great article, however author needs to note he is wrong-these two trucks DO NOT share sheetmetal

Daniel Benner
Daniel Benner

Curious to see how much DEF they each used over the course of the test. The 1500 got 20 mpg towing 7k, WOW!

Gary Wilder
Gary Wilder

I agree... Diesels are the key to Power!

Jake Fast
Jake Fast

Dodge diesel is the only good truck on the road!!

Nic Bergounous
Nic Bergounous

Like i said before. Ford puts cummina motors n their very own trucks. 650s and 750s. That shld b the end of it right there. The 6.7 cummins is good enough for their heaviest of duty trux. Nuff said

Mark E Sutter
Mark E Sutter

Funny seeing ford people saying ford is leader, than why the Hell are you yanking for ford motor out and putting in a Cummins? Come out of closet and openly say I love dodge.. lol. DODGE has been my choice for 20 years. I own a 2011 3500. Love it

Richard L. Yeager
Richard L. Yeager

I was a huge dodge fan.... Till fiat bought them out. Doesn't seem right living in the USA and driving a foreign truck

Nic Bergounous
Nic Bergounous

And yes i knw they have some v8 s n big rigs also

Nic Bergounous
Nic Bergounous

I think its funny all these people knocking brand new diesels. Ive had an 08 cummins and now a 13. The new dodge trannies r not junk. For high horspower. Theyre actually using the built 48re trannies. Even the chevy guys r using those. The newer 68 re trannies r great. I didnt have n e probs n my 08. And n my 13. Im just amazed. And if u get the laramie edition with the digital dash. And the tooled leather its just as nice as the fords imo. Id b happy with n e new diesel. Just stating the facts. It wld c that cummins motor wld b more expensive 2 out n their own truck b ing that the ford motor is built n house. And since like 06. Theyve had like 3 different motorz. That makes me wonder? And ivr heard bad things about all those motors. Honestly i cant think of 1 problem the cummins motors have had? Im n constructions and ive been c ing alot of new fords. And i ask every 1 if theyve had problems? So far the newer 6.7s. Frm what ive asked have been no problems even tho i read they di have problems with the injectors. I recently talked to the flooring contractor who has a 08 ford dually diesel. 210k miles. And hes had 3 motors n it. Trues story. If he comes back. Il take a pic and post it. He spent 14k. On his new crate motor. Because he said it was cheaper than a new truck since it was paid off. And on the positive side he thinks he fixed the problem. By putting n a new bigger radiator. He was told it was frm towing and not letting it cool down. By idling. Wich. Its a double edged sword. Because the new dpf diesels your not supose 2 let them idle for 2 long. It clogs the dpfs. So good luck with your 6.4. Im sure my 6.7 cummins inline6 will outlast the ford. To me straight 6 is a true diesel. Most big rigs r straight 6s. It duznt matter about how many cylinders. Its stil a 408ci. Thats bad ass

Doug Enseleit
Doug Enseleit

Has nothing to do with power or reliability, it's all about the dollars. Ford can get the 6.7's for a song, thats the only reason.

Doug Enseleit
Doug Enseleit

Cummins has turned out to be the SBC of the diesel world. Parts are cheap for them, theyr'e not overly heavy good reliability. Now dodge trannies on the other hand are simply shite!! Everyone knows it. Ford trannies are very strong and they're trucks are much stronger and look wayyy better, interior and exterior. I was actually considering doing a cummins swap in my 04 F350, traded in for 08 F350 and man am I glad I didn't. NOO stock cummins with bolt ons will touch my 6.4L with bolt ons!! FACT

Thomas Velasquez
Thomas Velasquez

To the guy saying his inline 6 cummins makes as much power as a ford powerstroke v8...well yeah it does there both have about the same amount of liters 5.9-6.0.......

Jim Selman
Jim Selman

That's why nobody has ever seen a powerstroke swap. Ivan Knight. All three have great quality independently.

Liam Knight
Liam Knight

Ford is the leader for a reason.. The best never rest.

Liam Knight
Liam Knight

GM and Mopar guys often switch to a Ford vehicle for a better chassis. Ford guys don't need to swap things around. They already have the best chassis and engines. LOL Ford is just getting warmed up at 500k miles.

Aaron Smith
Aaron Smith

Who cares what motor Ford has the 3 top selling trucks in the u s

Jay Denton
Jay Denton

240,000 on my 24v 5.9 programmed 130hp over, and still not a problem to speak of. I also had a Duramax with 130k programmed 200 over and no issues. (Tranny mods in both) Can't wait for my next diesel.

Rick Haas
Rick Haas

If you can't Dodge it, Ram it = JUNK! Worst POS I ever owned! I'd rather walk...

Kent Estes
Kent Estes

The dodges are just plain ugly, not my taste and don't care what engine it has.

Scott West
Scott West

When the 6.7 engine gets better MPG than my 5.9 I will buy a new one!

Rock Stronggo
Rock Stronggo

Love my diesel but fuel prices here in Canada have gotten out of control!

Justin Shutter
Justin Shutter

Mark Johnson 30 Mpg diesel truck why drive a prius

Juan Lara Montero
Juan Lara Montero

I agree with my Ford 7.3. But I recognaize that cummins is a great engine too.

David Smith
David Smith

With what I have spent fixing/repairing my 07 F-350 6. O(sh!t) I could have bought the 6,7 cummins motor!

Mark Olson
Mark Olson

do I get the truck in addition to my 5k a week?

Darius Skidmore
Darius Skidmore

Let's see the POS Ford run over 400,000 miles without doing anything to it besides basic maintence- and still gets 26 mpg hwy -- granted mine is a manual shift -- factory clutch went 280,000 before needing a replacement

Willy Conard
Willy Conard

all you guys bashing on dodge let me tell you something. beating on a truck constantly will wear out or break something. have fun bashing on your chevy to make it catch on fire. a truck is a truck. it does not matter what make model or year it is. if you take care of a truck, it will last.

Hunter Jones Hampton
Hunter Jones Hampton

Oddly I bought a '13 F-250 with the 6.7 diesel. The engine was a beast but I didn't like the truck as much as my 07 F-350.... I returned the truck after 2 days and got my old truck back.

Ryan Mckinney
Ryan Mckinney

To the guy that's says 8.3 is garbage your dumb they've been using that same motor since early 90s most of it is from a 5.9 they easily go over 500k I can attest to that

Hunter Jones Hampton
Hunter Jones Hampton

I love my 07 F-350 Fx4 Lariat.... that said, I wish I had known I could have replaced the engine with the Cummins before I put another 6.0 in it.... next time.

Willy Conard
Willy Conard

^ that's a soda can on wheels? sure doesn't seem like it.

Nic Bergounous
Nic Bergounous

Funny 2. People think the 6.7 cummins isnt tried and true.? It is. It useses. Alot of the same parts as the 5.9. And it was around n tractors before it made it n 2a truck

Nic Bergounous
Nic Bergounous

This william guy is on every post about diesels. Lol.

Daniel Benner
Daniel Benner

All you Trolls need to get over the FACT that Ram is KICKIN BUTT. Trolls also need to know, the days of the 5.9 and the 7.3 are gone.

Luis Garcia
Luis Garcia

Neither! Ecobeast or Powerstroke win win situation

Andrew Primrose
Andrew Primrose

Any new truck is good.emission equipment does them in.

Tyler Unrau
Tyler Unrau

the silver is so ugly i have to go puke

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