Although it won't arrive in dealers until early March, official EPA figures for the new 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel have just been published and they show the industry's first full-size light-duty diesel pickup also ranks as the segment's most fuel-efficient. Pairing a 240-horsepower/3.0-liter turbocharged diesel V6 that makes a stout 420 lb-ft of torque with the industry's first and only 8-speed automatic transmission, this 50-state hauler boasts a precedent-setting 28-mpg highway rating in rear-drive configuration. That gives the new Ram 1500 EcoDiesel a 3-mpg edge over its closest full-size challenger -- the rear-drive Ram 1500 HFE, which gets its motivation from a 305-horse Pentastar V6 that's also linked to an 8-speed TorqueFlite autoshifter. Capable of towing 9,200 pounds, this new diesel-powered Ram also holds an identical advantage in highway mileage over the best-selling compact pickup, a 4-cylinder Toyota Tacoma. 

Also: 2014 Compact SUVs at a glance 

If that's not enough, coupling its benchmark highway stat with a stellar 20-mpg city mark earns the 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel another EPA best-ever honor in the form of a 23-mpg combined figure. By way of comparison, the most frugal 2014 Chevy Silverado/GMC Sierra 1500s and Ford F-150 models powered by gasoline their standard V6 engines are rated at 20 mpg and 19 mpg, respectively, in that collective category. 

Also: 10 Best Luxury Cars Under $40,000

The EcoDiesel V6 is available on any 2014 Ram 1500 model save for a 2-door/shortbed variant or the Ram Sport that comes standard with the Hemi V8. Pricing for the EcoDiesel starts at $30,465 when fitted to the entry-level  rear-drive/2-door Tradesman, which represents a $4,885 bump over its base sticker price. The division has yet to release pricing or EPA numbers on any 4-wheel drive versions of the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel.

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