Watch for a pickup truck fuel economy war between Ford's F-150 EcoBoost and Chrysler's new Ram 1500 EcoDiesel.
Consumers finally will have a chance to weigh the benefits and running costs of a downsized turbocharged gasoline engine against a similar sized diesel in similar pickups with similar prices. We're talking about the 2014 Ford F-150 with its 3.5-liter EcoBoost gasoline V-6 and the new 2014 Ram 1500 with its 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6.
The stats: The F-150 XL SuperCrew starts at $32,010. The bump in price to add the EcoBoost twin turbo V-6 is $2,095. Add in the $1,195 shipping charge, and you could be out the door for $35,300, plus taxes and whatever fees the dealer tacks on.
The Ram 1500 Crew Cab with a Hemi V-8 and an eight-speed costs $33,870. The upgrade to the EcoDiesel punches the Ram's price up $2,850. Add in $1,195 for shipping, and the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel is priced at $37,915 before taxes and dealer fees. So the trucks are priced fairly closely.
What do you get for your money?
The F-150 spins the wheels through a six-speed automatic, while the Ram EcoDiesel does it through an eight-speed automatic. In terms of horsepower, the F-150 crushes the Ram, 365 hp to 240. But horsepower is not the most important measurement in truck engines. Torque, a measurement of the twisting power of the wheels, is a better measure of truck engine performance. An abundance of torque means a heavily laden truck can pull its load up a mountain road without struggling. Horsepower has more to do with a vehicle's top speed. The EcoBoost and EcoDiesel engines are tied at 420 pounds-feet of torque.