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Category Archives: Diesel

Straight Eight: 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel

2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel

1. Frugal fueler
This Ram pickup uses the same diesel V6 as the Jeep Grand Cherokee I wrote about a few weeks ago. This is a bigger, heavier vehicle, so it wasn’t quite as thrifty, but I averaged a tick below 11 L/100 km in a near 50/50 mix of city and highway driving.

2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel

2. Torque for the whole family
That’s like driving a family sedan that can tow 3,900 kg (8,500 pounds). Towing requires torque, and this engine makes 420 lb-ft of it. In simpler terms, this guy would dig it.

2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel cargo bed

3. A huge truck that’s somehow still not big enough
If you order a Ram 1500 with the Crew Cab, you’re limited to a cargo bed measuring either five-foot-seven or six-foot-four. My test truck had the smaller, and less-useful, of the two. When you run out of room in the box for big stuff, fold the back seat up and the stowable cargo platform down to turn the back half of the cab into a large cargo area.

2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel Rambox

4. Boxed in
For smaller cargo, check out the optional Rambox compartments built into the side of the truck bed. Ostensibly, these were designed to carry tools and other work-related items, but after you’re done doing “manly” things, they’re also good for a decent load of groceries.

2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel headliner

5. Dodgy
Fit and finish in my test truck wasn’t fantastic. Some of the dashboard panel fits were a bit dodgy, and the headliner looked unfinished where it ended above the rear window.

2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel rotary dial shifter

6. Tune into gear
Why does the radio dial say P R N D above it? Just kidding: the Ram 1500 is the unlikely one of a few vehicles to ditch a conventional automatic transmission shift lever in favour of a rotary dial.

2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel

7. Riding on air
Ram is the only maker of full-size trucks to offer an adjustable air suspension. It’s neat for its smooth ride, and allows the truck to be lowered for easy entry and exit, or raised for extra ground clearance.

2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel pricing

8. Price chopper
Chrysler, Ram’s parent company, is notorious for generous discounts and incentives, which, if you were buying one of these trucks, would take some of the sting out of an as-tested $65,000 price tag.

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Posted by on September 9, 2014 in Diesel, Dodge, Ram, Trucks

 

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Straight Eight: 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee diesel

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1. A nice price – to start
The Grand Cherokee has been Jeep’s flagship model since1993. A starting price of about $40,000 makes it affordable for a comfortable, capable SUV, but that number reaches well north of $60,000 in Summit trim, and that doesn’t count the hip-hop video-worthy high-performance SRT-8 model.

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2. Diesel powered
With its optional 3.0-litre diesel V6, the Grand Cherokee is the only American-branded SUV offered with a diesel engine. That puts it in the same league as some pretty fancy competition, like the Mercedes-Benz ML-Class, Audi Q7, BMW X5, Volkswagen Touareg, and Porsche Cayenne.

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3. Fuel economy
My test vehicle averaged 10.5 L/100 km in city driving, a solid 25 to 30 per cent better than you could expect from the Grand Cherokee’s base gasoline V6, and about equal to a six-cylinder family sedan.

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4. Refinement
Modern diesels are known for their quiet, smooth performance. Jeep’s is quiet on the outside, but from the driver’s seat, it feels a little rougher and more truck-ish than most.

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5. Interior space
There’s less space inside the Grand Cherokee than its commanding exterior presence suggests. Hyundai’s Santa Fe is smaller on the outside but, subjectively, is about as roomy inside as the Jeep.

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6. Off-road capability
Pair the Quadra-Drive II 4WD system (the most capable of the three on offer) with the optional height-adjustable air suspension (my test vehicle had that, too), and you’ve got a luxurious truck that could go just about anywhere, if not for the tires obviously biased toward mall parking lots.

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7. Cool tech
Jeep uses a thin-film transistor (TFT) instrument panel in the Grand Cherokee, a technology that’s becoming common in upscale vehicles. It allows a customizable gauge display, and in this case can be toggled between a digital speedometer and a representation of an analog gauge.

8. Jeep vs. Porsche
The Grand Cherokee you see here costs nearly $70,000. So does the diesel version of Porsche’s Cayenne SUV. That’s a lot of money no matter what, but the phrase “$70,000 Porsche” has a much different ring to it than “$70,000 Jeep,” don’t you think?

 
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Posted by on August 6, 2014 in Diesel, Jeep, Straight Eight

 

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