The Ram 1500 is the only half-ton pickup truck to offer a diesel option, but that won’t be true for long.
While Nissan has said it will offer a new diesel option for the Titan, Toyota is also investigating a diesel powertrain, with a source familiar to the project informing AutoGuide that diesel Tundras are already undergoing testing.
Speaking with Tundra chief engineer Mike Sweers, he wouldn’t confirm or deny the reports but did say that the earliest any such option would arrive would be 2017. The reason for the date is that new Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) regulations come into place then, essentially making any current diesel engine irrelevant.
According to Sweers a diesel designed to meet current emissions regulations would be obsolete in 2017 while an engine designed to run past 2017 would, presumably, be either uncompetitive, too expensive or both in the current market.
Despite that, the next-generation Nissan Titan is rumored to launch in 2015 and will be powered by a 5.0-liter Cummins turbodiesel V8 making around 300 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque.
Currently, the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel makes use of a 3.0-liter turbodiesel making 240 hp and 430 lb-ft of torque enabling it to tow 9,200 lbs while achieving 27 MPG combined.
Sweers spoke highly of diesel engines and commended Ram for the risks they took with the new 1500, including not just the diesel, but also the air ride suspension and eight-speed transmission, commenting that the gambles appear to have paid off.