The redesigned 2019 Ram 1500 is only available with the 3.6-liter V6 and the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 right now, but this new half-ton truck will eventually be offered with the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel. This engine was introduced a few years back as the most fuel-friendly engine option in the half-ton segment while also offering excellent working capabilities and it went unrivaled throughout its first generation.

When the new Ram 1500 with the EcoDiesel hits dealerships, it will go head-to-head with the new Ford F-150 Power Stroke. I spent a few hours driving one of those new diesel F-150s last week and based on my experiences with both trucks – we can expect to see revisions to the EcoDiesel as Ram looks to one-up the Motor Company.

Driving the F-150 Power Stroke

Last week, I traveled to Denver, Colorado to drive the new Ford F-150 with the 3.0-liter Power Stroke diesel engine. We drove the truck through a variety of exercises, including towing, hauling, off-roading, a fuel economy challenger and an on-road portion without any additional load.

Even on steep hills in the thin Denver air, the new Power Stroke pulled the 5,000 pound test trailer beautifully and without the trailer, the combination of 250 horsepower and 440 lb-ft of torque made the newest F-150 surprisingly quick. The off-roading portion was predictably enjoyable, but really, the engine option doesn’t make all that big of a difference when it comes to the trucks ability to play in the mud.

However, on fuel mileage test loop that had a mix of dense traffic, stop lights, steep hills and highway curding, some journalists were able to get nearly 40 miles per gallon (average). Those folks were taking special measures to get those extreme MPGs like coasting down hills in neutral, accelerating very slowly and driving as gently as possible. I drove the truck normally on the fuel economy test loop and I averaged around 29mpg, which is still a pretty solid number for a full sized truck.

In short, while I haven’t tested the new Power Stroke diesel alongside the EcoDiesel, the F-150 packs a little more horsepower, a little more torque, about a ton more towing capacity and better fuel economy numbers than the Ram’s small diesel.

This means that when the next generation EcoDiesel engine arrives, we can expect that it will have come with improvements in every category, provided that the trend of one-upmanship from the past decade continues.

The EcoDiesel Numbers

The 2018 Ram 1500 with the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel engine offers 240 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque, giving the new F-150 Power Stroke an advantage of 10 horsepower and 20 lb-ft of torque. It seems well within the FCA engineers’ reach to beef up their small diesel to something in the area of 255 horsepower and 450 lb-ft of torque, although if this battle follows suit of the large diesel battle, we might see automakers focuses on torque figures.

In other words, the FCA team might boost up the torque by a larger number with less focus on horsepower, so the EcoDiesel could match the Power Stroke in horsepower while beating it in torque.

More importantly, when this stronger EcoDiesel is applied to the all-new 2019 Ram 1500, it should offer better towing and payload numbers than the F-150.

During the previous generation of the Ram 1500 (2018 model year), the Hemi offered about 1,400 pounds more towing capacity than the EcoDiesel. If that proves to be true for the next-gen Ram with the EcoDiesel, the Ram diesel would be in the same generation towing range as the F-150. If there is indeed more power, the gap between the EcoDiesel and Hemi could be narrowed, allowing the Ram 1500 diesel to have a higher towing capacity than the F-150 diesel.

Finally, the F-150 Power Stroke offers a narrow lead in fuel economy, but with the new 2019 Ram 1500 weighing less and coming with improved aerodynamics, the new EcoDiesel could leap back ahead of the F-150 diesel.