The 2014 Ram 1500 pickup is set to bolster its current claim to class fuel economy leadership by becoming the first of its competitive set to offer a new and even more efficient turbodiesel option. Crafted by VM Motori, the 3.0-liter force-fed EcoDiesel V6 is the same unit available in the Grand Cherokee. Here, too, it produces 240 horsepower and best-in-class peak torque of 410 lb-ft -- that's three more twist units than the Hemi -- and relies on a diesel oxidation catalyst, particulate filter and selective catalytic reduction to meet emissions requirements in all 50 states. Like the carryover 305-horsepower/3.6-liter Pentastar V6 and 395-horse/5.7-liter Hemi V8, this new EcoDiesel is backed by an 8-speed Torqueflite automatic transmission that also replaces the current 6-speed autoshifter on the Hemi. In addition to class-best V6 torque, Ram says a 1500 fitted with the EcoDiesel will deliver top marks in the mpg category, as well -- although it has yet to issue final EPA numbers.

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While the major news for the 2014 Ram 1500 is found underhood, the hot-selling half-ton pickup also will benefit from several across-the-board expansions to its standard features and options. Additional efficiency boosters include a variable-displacement compressor for the air conditioner along with pulse-width modulation for the blower that further reduces parasitic losses combined with a new humidity sensor and the latest, "greenest" F1234yf A/C refrigerant. The 2014 Ram 1500 also will come with a new cap-less fuel filler and offer its first-ever front park assist system.

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Pricing for the 2014 Ram 1500 will start at $25,295 when it goes on sale in the fourth quarter of this year. Stepping up to the EcoDiesel option will cost $2,850 more than a comparable Ram 1500 fitted with a 5.7-liter Hemi V8, and Ram execs claim that its greater fuel frugality will fully offset that premium within three years of normal use.

More Trucks and Diesels...

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