With our friends in the U.S. getting set to celebrate their Thanksgiving in a few weeks, today’s tester was something I was thankful for through our Canadian turkey long weekend.
Thankful because it was a pickup truck, so fitting all our stuff on the covered cargo bed for a wet and windy family road trip to Cape Breton was not an issue.
But I was more pleased because it averaged 8.2 litres/100 km from Dartmouth to Inverness and back.
That result bettered its EnerGuide 8.8L/100km highway fuel economy rating!
The Warren-Michigan-built 2015 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel, in Quad Cab 4X4 trim, was indeed a fuel miser for a pickup fully capable of hauling five humans, towing 9,200 pounds and carrying a payload of up to 1,400 pounds.
All of that haul-tow ability came courtesy of its torquey 3.0-litre EcoDiesel V6 engine which was partnered to its TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission.
Together, the powertrain system provided an outstanding combination of fuel efficiency and an impressive 420 lb-ft of torque, which resulted in explosive acceleration from a standing start.
That’s actually more torque than the 5.7-litre Hemi-endowed Ram!
Driving in and around the city was an effortless task, while parking and backing up into and out of tight spots was aided by, err, my careful driving and its available ParkView rear back-up camera and its Park-Sense front and rear park assist system (options for $875).
Front and rear heavy-duty shock absorbers (extra heavy on the rear) noticeably softened up the rougher portions of one dirt road we visited.
At highway cruising speeds, the 3.0 diesel churned along smooth and quiet at just barely 2,000 rpm. Power was more than at the ready when called upon for a quick pass manoeuvre while quick lane changes were done with car-like agility.
My tester sat atop P275/60R20 BSW all-season tires on 20×8-inch semi-gloss black aluminum wheels ($600) which looked great with its Blue Streak Pearl paint.
Braking down from speed was exceptional.
Aiding in the Ram’s excellent highway, city and rougher dirt-road drive characteristics was a cabin that provided great comfort for front-seat passengers aboard its premium cloth bucket seats.
My 10-way powered driver’s seat included two-way lumbar support, which made for a content lower back on our long-distance drive.
My test week was on the chilly side where we experienced our first few frosty mornings, so I appreciated the heatable seat.
I also liked that my Ram asked me, on its touch screen, upon cold-morning startups if I wanted the various heat settings that it so kindly chose for me.
Its HVAC system worked to perfection quickly clearing the frost-bitten windows and warming up the cabin to toasty faster than it took my toaster to pop the kids’ Pop Tarts.
As all that was going on, the steering wheel was heating up, too; and not just at the three and nine positions either as the heat spread the entire circumference of the leather-wrapped wheel.
Rear-seat passengers also had the option to warm their bottoms. All that heat was part of the comfort group ($700).
Highlighting the Ram’s centre-stack area was its swag Uconnect 8.4-inch touchscreen which was simple to use and navigate when it came to selecting stations on FM or satellite radio, getting music from my iPhone, or managing the various vehicle settings. It’s easily one of my favourite infotainment setups.
Its media hub also included an SD card slot along with USB and auxilliary input jacks; the convenient 115-volt power outlet powered my son’s laptop on the C.B. drive.
There were plenty of cubbies and drink holders throughout, while the deep armrest bin could hide said laptop.
I only had a couple of complaints about my tester — there were no running boards to make entry easier and the rear seat cushions were a tad on the hard side.
I did like that the 60/40s folded up flat, exposing a wide, spacious cargo space for a lot of stuff (think tool boxes and whatever else contruction-type folks haul to and from the job site).
On the whole, the Ram 1500 Outdoorsman EcoDiesel, with its 4X4 capability, is an excellent all-road, all-weather driver that offers good cargo-haul and towing capability.
I felt comfortable behind the wheel in all drive situations and appreciated my commanding view of the road.
The interior on my tester’s trim level was fantastic and its Uconnect is one of the best infotainment systems in the industry.
Yes, I was thankful for my week with the Ram 1500, but like my mother’s delicious Thanksgiving turkey stuffed with my father’s awesome dressing, it had me longing for more.
2015 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel Outsdoorsman Quad Cab 4X4
- Engine: 3.0-litre EcoDiesel V6
- Transmission: eight-speed TorqueFlite automatic
- Horsepower: 240 hp
- Torque: 420 lb-ft
- EnerGuide fuel economy ratings (litres/100km): 12.1 city, 8.8 highway (realized 12.2 city, 8.2 highway)
- Fuel tank: 98 litres
- Towing: 9,200 pounds; includes tow hooks, Class IV receiver hitch
- Other features included: electronic shift-on-the-fly part-time transfer case; four-wheel disc anti-lock brakes; tire pressure monitoring system; remote keyless entry; engine block heater; air conditioning; cruise control; fog lamps; anti-spin differential rear axle; front and rear rubber floor mats; transfer case skid plate shield; front suspension skid plate; steering-wheel-mounted audio controls; auto-dimming rear-view mirror; dual-zone climate control; power folding exterior mirrors, soft tri-fold tonneau cover, navigation ready
- Base price: $43,195
•Price as tested: $57,615