Ram announced Tuesday that its 2021 1500 Tradesman HFE EcoDiesel trim goes toe-to-toe (tow-to-tow?) with the segment's most efficient diesels, offering 23 mpg in the city, 33 mpg on the highway and 26 mpg combined. That's good enough for a first-place tie in the segment, as those numbers now match those of Chevy's Silverado 1500 with the 3.0-liter Duramax oil-burner.
"Ram is committed to innovation and powertrain leadership, and as the no-compromise benchmark for efficiency and performance, we continue to listen to customer input by offering unsurpassed fuel economy," said Ram boss Mike Koval Jr. "The Ram 1500 is America’s most powerful half-ton diesel pickup with 480 lb.-ft. of torque and the most capable light-duty diesel with towing capability up to 12,560 pounds, and delivers up to 1,000 miles of range on a single tank of fuel."
From a glance at Ram's specs table, it appears the HFE EcoDiesel configuration (based on a Crew Cab Tradesman with the 5-foot 7-inch bed) is good for 8,210 pounds of trailering and 1,780 lbs of payload. It's worth noting that the Chevy matches the HFE's fuel economy while also providing more towing capability. You can trade the HFE's small fuel economy gain for a bit more towing capability by going to a 3.92:1 rear axle. That will buy you another 1,700 lbs of towing. Even more towing capacity (specifically, the 12,560 lbs maximum quoted above) comes with the Ram 1500 Quad Cab EcoDiesel.
Standard equipment for the HFE includes 20-inch aluminum wheels, a black grille and bumper cover, a tonneau cover, step rails and some perfectly decent cloth seats. The HFE EcoDiesel is available in one of a whopping two finishes: black or white. Exciting.
Ram says the HFE will start to appear on dealer lots in the second quarter, and the truck will start at $43,935 (including $1,695 for destination).