Ram Trucks has managed to eek out another mile per gallon from the already fuel-efficient Ram 1500 EcoDiesel pickup, proving the Detroit Auto Show wasn’t all about brawny off-road trucks. Ram’s new class-leading numbers are EPA-certified at 21 mpg city, 24 mpg combined, and 29 mpg highway. The upgraded mileage comes thanks to the HFE, or High Fuel Efficiency package. But technically, the Ram HFE is no different than any other Ram EcoDiesel, including its engine, transmission, and gearing specifications. It all comes down to equipment packaging and aerodynamics.

Engineers figured out the low-optioned Tradesman trim level combined with the shorter Quad Cab and six-foot, four-inch bed offers the slipperiest shape of the truck line. Add to that the prior knowledge of the wheel-to-wheel running boards and a tonneau cover’s ability to cut drag, and you’ve got the most aerodynamic Ram yet.

This makes the HFE a full 12 percent more efficient than the next-closest competitor, the 2.7-liter EcoBoost-powered 2015 Ford F-150, rated at 26 mpg highway.

For current Ram EcoDiesel owners, adding the same tri-fold tonneau cover and extended side steps would likely result in improved fuel economy as well. Just don’t expect 29 mpg with a four-wheel-drive, Crew Cab truck.

Thankfully Ram didn’t neuter the Ram of its towing and hauling capabilities with tall gears, skinny tires, or a wimpy ECU tune. The truck is still able to haul 1,614 pounds in the bed and tow 8,050 pounds on the hitch.

Click past the jump to read more about the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel HFE.

  • Year:
    2015
  • Engine:
    V6
  • Transmission:
    eight-speed auto
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    240
  • MPG(Cty):
    21
  • MPG(Hwy):
    29
  • Torque @ RPM:
    420
  • Energy:
    turbodiesel
  • Displacement:
    3.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    8.5 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    125 mph (Est.)
  • Layout:
    Front Engine, Rear Drive
  • Price:
    32000 (Est.)
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2015 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel HFE - image 610994

The Ram HFE still makes use of the Active Grille Shutters that open and close depending on cooling needs of the engine. When shut, air is diverted up and over the truck rather than through the engine bay and frame rails. Surprisingly, the truck comes standard with 20-inch wheels. Ram says the Goodyear tires provide the least rolling resistance of the truck’s current crop of stock rubber. Also available to dress up the base Tradesman is the body-colored front fascia from the Ram Express trim level. Selecting the HFE is the only way to get that sporty fascia and EcoDiesel on the same truck.

Spotting a HFE Ram is obviously best done by the HFE badge on the tailgate. Otherwise, the truck looks normal to the casual observer. The Ram Express front fascia, side steps, and tri-fold tonneau cover are the other give-a-ways as to the HFE’s fuel-sipping capabilities.

Interior

2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel - Driven - image 565289

Laramie trim package shown/Not optional on HFE
There’s no difference here: all the same adornments – or relative lack thereof – found in the Tradesman trim level are present. Cloth seats and the base radio are the norm. Ram hasn’t announced detailed packaging yet, but things like power windows and locks might even be an optional extra as they are of the standard Tradesman trim level.

As a whole, the Ram HFE offers seating for six on its two bench rows. Rear leg is more compromised than in the larger Crew Cab, but there’s enough space for teens.

Drivetrain

2015 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel HFE - image 610993

At the heart of the operation is the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6. No modifications were done to the drivetrain at all, so things are just as they are on a non-HFE Ram. The compact diesel produces a respectable 240 horsepower at 3,600 rpm and 420 pound-feet of torque at 2,000 rpm. Bolted to that is the TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission from ZF that provides smooth shifts and quick responses.

Having driven a few Ram EcoDiesels, I can say the truck really does perform well. The average consumer probably wouldn’t even notice the engine from behind the wheel. Accelerating to 60 mph only takes 8.5 seconds and NVH is well controlled, even at full throttle.

Prices

2015 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel HFE - image 610992

Ram did not announced pricing for the HFE trim level at its launch. Expect a nominal price hike over base Tradesman EcoDiesel price of $34,610 to cover the added wheels, side steps, and tonneau cover.

Competition

2015 Ford F-150

2015 Ford F-150 - image 537937

Ford’s new 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6 is the next best choice in the fuel economy show down. Rated at 19 mpg city and 26 mpg highway, the EcoBoost is only a few mpgs under the Ram. Considering an EcoBoost-equipped F-150 costs less than the Ram EcoDiesel and the difference in gas and diesel fuel prices, overall running costs would likely be cheaper with the Ford.

The twin-turbocharged V-6 isn’t afraid of work either. Boasting 325 horsepower and 375 pound-feet of torque, the engine is able to lug around an 8,500-pound trailer.

Pricing for the 2.7-liter EcoBoost F-150 starts at $30,275 when equipped with the extended cab and six-foot, six-inch bed.

Chevrolet Silverado

2014 Chevrolet Silverado - image 511530

Like Ford, Chevrolet doesn’t currently offer a HFE-style trim package. The Bow Tie has done it before with the XFE Silverado, but getting the most mileage from Chevy requires sticking with the V-6.

In the similarly configured Double Cab, Standard Box Silverado equipped with the 4.3-liter V-6, the EPA rates the truck at 18 mpg city and 24 mpg highway. Towing does trail the others here, coming in at 5,600 pounds. Power ratings are also in third place at 285 horses and 305 pound-feet. Customers can jump to the 5.3-liter V-8, however, for the extra power while getting 16 mpg city and 23 mpg highway.

Prices for the so-equipped Silverado start at $31,325 for the V-6 and $1,095 more for the V-8.

Conclusion

2015 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel HFE - image 610994

The Ram 1500 EcoDiesel HFE offers class-leading fuel economy while retaining great levels of towing and hauling capabilities. I suspect this will become a popular trim package thanks to the inevitable marketing coming its way and its (estimated) low cost. Of course, you can buy a lot of fuel with the $4,000 you saved by sticking with the 3.6-liter V-6 gas engine, especially considering the price difference between diesel and gasoline.

Either way, Ram now builds a full-size truck that gets darn near 30 mpg. That’s an impressive feat, to say the least. Expect the Ram HFE in dealers this spring.

  • Leave it
    • Added cost of EcoDiesel option over base V-6
    • Added cost of diesel fuel over gas

Truck Finder:

Competing Vehicles

Press Release

The Ram Truck brand today announced that it will add a new, more fuel-efficient model to its half-ton truck lineup and further extend its claim on the industry’s highest fuel efficiency rating.

2015 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel HFE - image 610992

The 2015 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel HFE will deliver the highest fuel economy among all fullsize truck competitors — 12 percent higher than the next-closest competitor. Its “HFE” designation is Ram’s way of highlighting this model’s excellent fuel efficiency.

Ram EcoDiesel HFE gets an EPA-certified 29 mpg highway fuel economy rating. EcoDiesel HFE’s city and combined mpgs are 21 and 24, respectively, also highest among all pickups.

“Fuel efficiency is at the top of truck buyers’ priorities, and Ram is the recognized benchmark for the industry,” said Bob Hegbloom, President and CEO – Ram Truck Brand. “Twenty-nine miles per gallon cuts through the clutter. Ram invested in powertrain technologies and those are paying real dividends in the wallets of our customers.”

The fuel economy king features a unique trim package on the popular Ram 1500 Tradesman Quad Cab four-door body, with a 6-ft. 4-in. bed and 20-inch wheels. The Ram EcoDiesel also is available with a body-colored fascia adopted from the Ram Express model, which gives the Ram EcoDiesel HFE a sporty exterior appearance not offered on other EcoDiesel-powered Ram 1500s. Class-exclusive wheel-to-wheel side steps and a tri-fold tonneau cover offer owners a double-bonus: greater functionality and best-in-class aerodynamics contributing to better fuel efficiency.

“The Ram 1500 EcoDiesel delivers dominant fuel efficiency across five configurations and nine trims,” said Mike Cairns, Director – Ram Truck Engineering. “The Quad Cab is a widely purchased configuration which delivers the best aero benefit of any half-ton truck.”

Ram 1500 EcoDiesel HFE models will also get a new HFE badge that heralds its MPG claims.

2015 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel HFE - image 610993

The EcoDiesel HFE will go on sale late first quarter of 2015.

Ram 1500 — the most recognizable pickup on the road — delivers best-in-class fuel economy with a truckload of pioneering, fuel-saving systems and first-in-segment technologies: TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission, stop-start system, thermal management system, pulse-width modulation and active aerodynamics, including grille shutters and air suspension. The Ram 1500 delivers an outstanding combination of best-in-class fuel efficiency, unsurpassed torque and a surplus of towing capability.

The EcoDiesel-powered Ram 1500 earned a 29 mpg rating from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the best highway-cycle test result ever achieved by a full-size, half-ton pickup. It also exceeds the EPA highway rating for the top-ranked small pickup.

2015 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel HFE - image 610994

Ram truck offers models designed for a wide range of buyers, including outdoorsmen, tradesmen, first-time buyers and ranchers. Laramie, Laramie Longhorn and Laramie Limited trims are designed to meet the high expectations of affluent pickup truck buyers looking to combine capability with sophistication. Featuring premium materials, such as full-leather seating, real wood interior components and modish design, Ram offers a refined luxury alternative uncommon in pickups.

View the full press release Hide press release
Press release
What do you think?
Close