THE LONG wait for a diesel RAM 1500 is over, with the Australian launch of the RAM 1500 EcoDiesel variant.
The 3.0-litre V6 powerplant, pushing out 179kW and 569Nm (at 2000rpm), is only available in the top-spec Laramie model, with an asking price of $109,950 – a neat $10K above the price of the equivalent V8 petrol Laramie 1500.
Surprisingly, the 3.0TDV6 oiler uses more fuel, with a claimed combined fuel consumption figure of 11.9L/100km versus the 5.7-litre V8 RAM 1500’s claimed 9.9L/100km. This higher consumption can be attributed to the shorter final drive ratio (3.92:1 versus 3.21:1) fitted standard to the diesel-powered 1500. Real-world figures, however, may differ, especially when it comes to towing a heavy caravan/boat or doing a lot of off-road touring.
The Laramie 1500 diesel drops back to the rest of the diesel dual-cab 4x4 ute pack in terms of towing, with a rating of 3500kg (a full one-tonne drop compared to its 5.7-litre V8 stablemate’s 4500kg) and lags slightly behind the average with its 735kg payload capacity.
By taking these figures into account, RAM Trucks Australia sees the diesel model as the ‘lesser partner’ in terms of local sales volume moving forward. The majority of RAM 1500 sales to date have been to city-based buyers (with Laramie accounting for 60 per cent of those sales), and RAM Trucks Australia predicts rural buyers as the most likely to look to the diesel variant. It’s just a damn shame the big-brother RAM 2500’s monster 276kW/1084Nm 6.7-litre Cummins inline six-cylinder TD couldn’t be shoe-horned in there.
The RAM 1500 available Down Under is still based on the previous-gen model, with US buyers fortunate enough to have the option of buying the all-new DT RAM 1500. The Australian market model is the DS, with no word as to when the DT RHD version will be available; but you can bet RAM Trucks Australia is working away behind the scenes to get it here sooner rather than later.
4x4 review: RAM 1500 Laramie
This hasn’t stopped RAM Trucks Australia from enjoying sales success with this smallest of RAMs, with RAM Trucks Australia recently announcing its conversion facility – Walkinshaw Automotive Group’s Melbourne-based factory – moved to 24-hour production schedules to meet buyer demand.
Australian RAM 1500 Laramie buyers (regardless of powerplant) will also benefit from some MY19 upgrades on top of what is a relatively highly-specced and spacious dual-cab 4x4 ute that already offers four-wheel disc brakes, all-coil suspension, six airbags, a raft of safety features (but no AEB at this point), heated seats (all five, in fact), 20-inch rims, a big 8.4-inch touchscreen multimedia set-up (with nine speakers), and plenty more.
The only thing missing from the diesel model’s option list (which includes pearl and metallic paint and a tri-fold tonneau cover) is RAM’s popular RamBox Cargo Management System that utilises the interior of the tray sides. The MY19 RAM 1500 Laramie 4x4 Crew Cab is covered by a three-year/100,000km warranty.
It will be interesting to see how the local market reacts to the arrival of this diesel-powered RAM 1500, especially with its higher asking price, lower tow rating (compared to its petrol stablemate, and the (slightly) less-than-average payload when compared to the medium-sized dual-cab 4x4 ute segment.
However, with the petrol version selling gangbusters, the diesel 1500 may be only a slight gamble on RAM Truck Australia’s part. Filling that market segment, no matter how small it may end up being, still shows how serious the local distributors are in regards to getting more of these big rigs on the road.
Those looking to get in early on the RAM 1500 Laramie EcoDiesel will be stoked to know dealers have demos on sale now, with the MY19 stock to arrive in dealerships within the next two months.