The Ford F-150 has been the rock star of the half-ton truck world lately. Coming off an across-the-board power train refresh for 2011 and higher-than-expected sales of its EcoBoost V-6 engine, it seems as though nothing can stop its dominance of the half-ton market. But Ram might have something to say about that. Besides the recently-announced major refresh for 2013, including a new eight-speed transmission and all-new Pentastar V-6, there could be another surprise in the Ram 1500 lineup in the near future: a diesel engine.
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Previous speculation centered on a Cummins-sourced V-6 or V-8 engine for the Ram 1500, but it appears the leading candidate to power the diesel half-ton is Fiat's own VM Motori 3.0-liter V-6 turbodiesel. If that seems like a small engine for a fullsize truck, keep in mind that it produces more than 400 lb-ft of torque, on par with the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8. In case there's any doubt that a diesel Ram 1500 is inching closer to the showroom, witness these photos of a one with the characteristic green pump handle being inserted into its filler neck.
The turbodiesel Ram will probably fall well short of the EcoBoost's 365-hp peak power figure -- current versions of the engine produce in the neighborhood of 240 hp -- but with close to the same amount of torque and possibly better fuel economy than the EcoBoost's 16/22 mpg, Ram's unique entry could prove to be the next big thing in the half-ton market.