2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel Tradesman Regular Cab First Drive
In the Land of Loaded Pickups, Basic Workhorses Still Exist
Most press cars we test are well-equipped mid- or top-level trims, and although there is a fair amount of loaded pickups roaming suburbia, not every consumer needs or wants a loaded vehicle -- especially for a workhorse. Although fully loaded half-ton truck prices now crest the $60,000 mark, bare-bones models can be had in the mid-$20,000 range. With its Spartan feature list, the two-wheel-drive 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel Tradesman regular cab with an 8-foot bed should fit the bill for most work truck needs.
Finished in Bright White Clear Coat paint, our bare-bones tester features black painted bumpers, grille, manual side mirrors, and exterior door handles. It also rides on silver-painted 17-inch steel wheels wrapped in 265/70R17 all-season tires. Inside, a 40/20/40 split Black/Diesel Gray vinyl bench seat seats three across. The vinyl seat is complemented by a black vinyl floor.
Being a base model, our 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel Tradesman Regular Cab Long-Bed 4x2 also has crank windows, manual locks (no remote), manual side mirrors, manual climate control, and the basic Uconnect system with 3.0-inch screen, USB, auxiliary jack, and six speakers. Other standard features in the $26,390 (including $1,195 destination) base price include automatic headlights, a Class IV receiver hitch, trailer tow four-pin to seven-pin wiring harness, locking tailgate, spray-in bedliner, full-size spare tire, cruise control, tilt steering column, 12-volt outlet, and tinted windows.
Our tester is also equipped with the $4,000 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 (800-amp battery, upgraded cooling system, 26-gallon fuel tank, and a 3.55 gear ratio) and $500 upgraded eight-speed TorqueFlite 8HP70 automatic transmission. Other options include the $660 Uconnect 5.0 system (Bluetooth, temperature and compass gauge, voice command, 5.0-inch touchscreen, SiriusXM radio, overhead console, and rearview mirror with microphone), $330 for folding trailer tow mirrors and trailer brake control, and $140 manual sliding rear window. The as-tested price came to $32,020.
There is something honest and pure about the two-wheel-drive Ram 1500 EcoDiesel Tradesman Regular Cab with 8-foot bed and its manual accessories. Need to unlock the doors? There's a key and lock cylinder for that. Want to roll down the windows? There's a hand crank for that. Do the exterior mirrors need to be adjusted? Roll down the windows and push on the glass piece. (Hopefully there is a passenger to adjust the other side.) Too hot or too cold? There are three manual dials for the climate-control system. Need some fresh air? The manual sliding rear window can be opened by reaching back.
A behind-the-seat storage bin with dividers can be used for tools or other items. Although the Ram 1500 Tradesman features a bench seat, the center seat folds down for a center armrest with three cupholders. The armrest also features a storage compartment large enough for a standard-sized clipboard or notepad. Although there is also a standard 12-volt outlet, we question why there isn't a standard 110-volt outlet in the work-oriented Tradesman like there is in our long-term Ram 1500 Outdoorsman.
The Ram 1500 Tradesman is easy to drive around town. Although our tester is only a two-wheel-drive model, it has a somewhat high driving position offering good visibility overall. The only complaint could be the driver's side B-pillar, which blocks the view when checking your blind spot. Despite being a base model, our tester featured lots of safety equipment including front airbags and side-curtain airbags, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, traction control, electronic stability control, and automatic headlights.
Around town, the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel Tradesman regular cab 4x2 feels much quicker than our 2014 Ram EcoDiesel Outdoorsman Crew Cab 4x4. And at 5,095 pounds (manufacturer estimate) versus 5,990 pounds for our long-term Ram, it should be. With 240 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque from the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6, the two-wheel-drive regular cab long-bed pickup will chirp the rear tires through the intersection -- even with traction control on -- if the throttle is applied too aggressively.
Although we weren't able to test the 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel Tradesman Regular Cab 4x2 at the track, we did test a 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel Tradesman Crew Cab 4x4 and can compare those numbers to our long-term 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel Outdoorsman Crew Cab 4x4. The 5,700-pound Ram 1500 EcoDiesel Tradesman Crew Cab 4x4 reached 60 mph in 8.6 seconds -- 0.2 second quicker than the long-term Ram 1500 Outdoorsman. Both trucks finished the quarter mile in 16.6 seconds at nearly the same trap speed: 81.5 mph for the Outdoorsman and 81.6 mph for the Tradesman. The slightly quicker 0-60 mph time and trap speed are likely due to the 290-pound weight advantage.
Both Ram Crew Cab pickups produced similar handling numbers, as well. The Ram 1500 EcoDiesel Tradesman Crew Cab 4x4 pulled 0.72g average around the skidpad and lapped the figure eight in 29.2 seconds at 0.67g average. In comparison, our long-term Ram EcoDiesel Outdoorsman Crew Cab 4x4 pulled 0.76g average around the skidpad and lapped the figure eight in a slightly faster 29.0 seconds at 0.56g average. The most notable differences between the two trucks are the Outdoorsman's adjustable-height air suspension and 20-inch wheel and tire combo (versus 17-inch wheels for the Tradesman).
Although the two 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel Crew Cab 4x4 models offered similar performance (despite the differences in wheel diameter and the air suspension), there is no way to make an educated guess about the performance of the 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel Tradesman Regular Cab 4x2. Although all three pickups share the 140.5-inch wheelbase, the two-wheel-drive model with 17-inch wheels has a larger turning radius than the four-wheel-drive models regardless of wheel size (45.1 feet versus 39.8 feet).
With 51 inches between the wheel wells and 98.3 inches (8 feet, 2.3 inches) of bed length with the tailgate up, the 2014 Ram 1500 Tradesman can easily swallow a stack of standard-size sheetrock flat in the bed. Payload capacity for the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel Tradesman Regular Cab 4x2 is rated at 1,510 pounds, and maximum towing with the 3.55 gear ratio is rated at 8,200 pounds. Gross vehicle weight is 13,500 pounds. An available 3.92 gear ratio increases towing and gross vehicle weight by 1,000 pounds. Fuel economy for the two-wheel-drive Ram is EPA-rated 20/28/23 mpg city/highway/combined; four-wheel-drive models are rated 19/27/22 mpg.
The 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel Tradesman Regular Cab 4x2 with 8-foot bed and 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 should fit the bill for most work truck
The chart below displays test numbers on a 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel Tradesman Crew Cab 4x4; the First Drive above covers the 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel Tradesman Regular Cab 4x2.
|2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel Tradesman Crew Cab|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$40,495|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front-engine, 4WD, 5-pass, 4-door truck|
|ENGINE||3.0L/240-hp/420-lb-ft turbodiesel DOHC 24-valve V-6|
|CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)||5700 lb (59/41%)|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||229.0 x 79.4 x 77.5 in|
|0-60 MPH||8.6 sec|
|QUARTER MILE||16.6 sec @ 81.6 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||132 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.72 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||29.2 sec @ 0.67 g (avg)|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON||19/27/22 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS., CITY/HWY||199/140 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB||1.01 lb/mile|