Did you ever think you’d hear the words Ram 1500 eco-diesel, fuel-efficient, and family car in the same sentence?
Something happens when you go from a family of 4 to a family of 5. Suddenly the sedan and any small to mid-size SUV is out of the question. If you can manage a 2-row SUV it’s going to be a big ol’ gas hog.
And so, you’re left looking at 3-row SUVs or a minivan. If you’re like me, the minivan is a no-go. Which leaves that big SUV that drinks away your bank account. Unless… you like trucks! Then you just might get to have it all… your dream car, enough room for everyone, and a good fuel economy too!
This Review is All About Our Experience. If you’re looking for the facts, you’ll find those here.
There are a couple of really great 4-door pickups on the market with fuel economies to rival sedans. And they all have back seats big enough to seat three adults… or even three child seats! The one I’ve got my eye on is the Ram 1500 Eco-Diesel.
I’ve been watching this truck since its debut and I’ve driven it a number of times, including the week it won the Truck of Texas award at the Texas Truck Rodeo. And since then the 2020 Ram 1500 has gone on to win almost every single major truck award in the nation.
Besides for the fact that it’s a work of art, the 2020 Ram 1500 Eco-diesel boasts a fuel economy of up to 32 miles per gallon on the highway. Ask your big SUV to do that. I bet it can’t.
Note: The 32 MPG highway average is based on the two-wheel-drive configuration of the truck. If you opt for a 4×4 configuration that will drop to around 24 MPG.
The Largest Interior You’ve Ever Seen in a Truck
Is it a truck, or a living room? The backseat alone feels like it goes on forever. Because we just welcomed baby #3 we’ve been looking for something that we could not only fit a teenager, a kid in a booster, and an infant seat in, but something we could grow into and the kids still be comfortable in a few years when they are all bigger. The Ram 1500 fits the bill. We put all three kids across the back and checked for space. They had plenty. No excuses for “Mom, he’s touching me!” in this truck! Even the teen, who is taller than mom, had loads of space on either side and legroom to spare.
The front seats are roomy too. Even with the giant console between them, you won’t feel a bit crowded. My husband is a big guy, and he just loved how comfortable the Ram’s seats were. We purposely took the whole family on a full-day road trip to test the comfort and it passed the test for every one of us.
I also took the truck grocery shopping. The kids all came with me, and we picked up enough groceries to feed six people for a full week. It was raining that day, so we put the groceries in the cab with the kids. My teen sat up front, and we put up the smaller side of the 60-40 split backseat to accommodate the grocery haul. We could have brought home groceries for three weeks!
And it’s not just space. It’s luxury, too. While the model we drove was the Ram Rebel, which is a little edgier and sportier than say the Lonestar, Laramie, or Limited editions, it still felt like a top-of-the-line pickup truck in every way. The black leather was soft and the red accents in the dash, console, and seat badging were a beautiful contrast.
14 Drink Holders, 10 Charging Options, 2 Glove Boxes, and a Massive Configurable Console
Oh yeah, and storage under the back seats too. Seriously, this truck has it all and we haven’t even gotten started on the optional Ram Boxes you can get under the floor mats in the rear of the cabin, or the Ram Boxes you can opt for in the sides of the truck bed. If places to hide your gear is something you’re concerned about, you need to check out this truck. Personally, I’d opt for all the things, plus the bed partition that allows you to set up a sort of blockade to keep your grocery haul and smaller items near the end of the bed instead of having them roll around and then having to climb into the bed to retrieve them.
How About That Tailgate?
Trucks these days come with a variety of add-ons that help to make them more than just a work truck. One of these newfangled design features is a tailgate that does more than just open flat. Ram’s multifunction tailgate is my favorite. It boasts a split gate that can swing on side-hinges, or remain locked and open flat. The side-swing is incredible for vertically challenged people like myself. I can open the door-like gate segments and walk right up to the bed of the truck to load and unload. No leaning over the gate trying to reach my stuff, or hurting my back trying to lift up, over, and past the gate to set something heavy in the bed.
Safety First: Putting Mom’s Mind at Ease
If you’re looking at a truck for a family car, safety features will be one of your main concerns. I know that for me, things like a latch system for child seats, a backup camera, blindspot monitoring, cross-traffic, and pre-collision alerts and lane departure warnings are a really big deal to me. I want my whole family to be safe! We’ve come to expect these features in family cars like SUVs and mini-vans, but they are also available on a lot of pickup trucks! The model we drove was equipped with all of these which really set my mind at ease and helped convince my husband that this truck (Yes, I really did go online and build what I want!) really could replace that minivan he’s been teasing me about needing.
The 2020 Ram 1500 Eco-Diesel is Ready for Your Next Adventure
Whether it’s a trip to the grocery store or a road trip to spend the weekend off-grid in the mountains, this truck easily transitions from everyday family car to workhorse. The 3.0L EcoDiesel V6 engine combines 480 pound-feet of torque and an available half-ton diesel towing capacity of 12,560 pounds… plenty of power to tow a decent sized camper, boat, or trailer!
For our family who lives 25 miles from the nearest town and makes the trip there and back 3-4 times a week, something with a good fuel economy is a must. This would tempt me to choose a 2-wheel drive truck for that advertised 32 MPG. But we also like to primitive camp in out-of-the-way places, we live on a mini-farm that requires we drive off-pavement and haul hay, compost, lumber, etc and the roads between home and town flood on a regular basis. So, the 4-wheel drive truck which averages 24 MPG is probably a more practical choice for us. But that’s still an incredible fuel economy for a vehicle this large. And we’d never have to worry about getting it stuck while we’re out exploring.
Love at First Drive
After a week in the Ram 1500 Eco-Diesel pickup truck, I’m more convinced than ever that our family needs a truck. And my husband agrees 100%. Will it be this one? We’ll have to wait and see!
Disclosure: Ram sent me the 2020 Ram 1500 Eco-Diesel Rebel to drive for a week. All opinions are my own.