The diesel-powered version of the efficiency-focused HFE Tradesman trim is now the most efficient version of the Ram 1500 pickup you can buy.
Antuan GoodwinReviews Editor / Cars
Antuan Goodwin gained his automotive knowledge the old fashioned way, by turning wrenches in a driveway and picking up speeding tickets. From drivetrain tech and electrification to car audio installs and cabin tech, if it's on wheels, Antuan is knowledgeable.
ExpertiseReviewing cars and car technology since 2008 focusing on electrification, driver assistance and infotainmentCredentials
North American Car, Truck and SUV of the Year (NACTOY) Awards Juror
At one end of the 2021
trucks lineup is the 1500 TRX, a 702-horsepower beast that guzzles fuel like the apex predator that it is. At the other end of the spectrum, however, is the newly announced Ram 1500 Tradesman HFE EcoDiesel. Returning an estimated 33 highway miles per gallon, it's currently the most fuel-efficient member of the 1500 family, beating even the automaker's eTorque mild-hybrid models.
Diesels are known for two things: torque for towing and efficiency. The Ram 1500's 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 makes a solid showing of both; its output, stated at 260 horsepower and 480 pound-feet of torque, facilitates a respectable 12,560 pound towing capacity.
In its High Fuel Efficiency trim, the EcoDiesel's fuel economy is estimated at 26 combined mpg, breaking out to 23 city mpg and the aforementioned 33 highway mpg. That's only a single mpg better than the non-HFE diesel, but for comparison, the 3.6-liter eTorque mild-hybrid system returns just 26 highway mpg when spec'd at the same HFE Tradesman trim. Meanwhile, the dune-hopping TRX only musters 14 highway mpg, but who's counting?
The rest of the HFE Tradesman package is also designed to help the EcoDiesel with what it does best -- economy and efficiency. The trim is only available in a rear-drive 4x2 configuration with the crew cab body and the 5-foot, 7-inch bed, aided aerodynamically with a standard tonneau cover -- which probably contributes the most to the eco gains. The 20-inch aluminum wheels help keep weight down and a black front bumper and grille keep down cost. Use the also-standard side steps to climb into the cabin to find modest cloth upholstery on the seats.
Before you get too excited, we should note that Chevrolet's 2021 Silverado matches the Ram's 33 mpg on the highway when equipped with its 3.0-liter Duramax diesel 4x2, maintaining its position as the most efficient diesel in this class with a slightly higher 27 combined mpg estimate. Meanwhile, the Ford's F-150 3.0L Power Stroke 4x2 diesel isn't far behind at 29 highway mpg.
The 2021 Ram 1500 Tradesman HFE EcoDiesel will be available for penny-pinching prospective purchasers in the second quarter of 2021. You can have it in any color you want, so long as it's Bright White Clear Coat or Diamond Black Crystal, at an MSRP starting at $43,935 (including the required $1,695 destination fee).