2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel: Which One Could I Afford?
July 3, 2015
Our 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel is pretty universally loved. You'd have to get one of our editors drunk to maybe hear a meaningful criticism of the beast. I mean, the thing pretty much stranded Dan Edmunds and his daughter in the middle of the road, and left us for a few weeks to diagnose and treat the episode, but I think even he is still a fan.
This truck just does so many things right: Great ride, uber roomy and comfortable, good electronics, sharp luxury cabin. Fiat-Chrysler wouldn't need to do much to convert this package into an Escalade killer (and perhaps they may, if the Jeep Grand Wagoneer, rumored for a late August dealer preview, ever amounts to anything).
Only problem is, I can't afford a $50,000 truck like ours. Even if I could, that $50k gets me much closer to a Cayman S. Expensive truck? Relatively-not-expensive Porsche? That's an easy decision for me.
So which Ram 1500 could I afford? How much am I willing to spend on this impressive full-sizer? First, I have to decide if I want a full-size pickup. I like the Chevy Colorado a lot, but not totally sold on it. And I'm not sold that the updated Tacoma will be all that much better, except for maybe an interior that finally realizes that it's 2015.
So full-size it is. First things first: SLT crew cab, 5.7-liter V8, 4x2, 6'4 bed.
Don't need 4x4 most of the year. I'll bring chains when I head into the mountains in the winter. Crew cab because this will be a family long-distance hauler, used for getaways and visits to grandparents between three and nine hours away. Big bed because we've found that the small bed is sometimes too small. The longer bed is a couple grand more, but we can recoup some of that by helping a few friends move, even if they only pay us in beer.
We're already brushing $40,000.
I'll skip heated front seats and steering wheel of the Comfort Group option package. Nice touches, but ultimately unnecessary in Southern California. I'll also skip the trailer two mirror and brake control group. Most I'd plan to pull with this is a small ski boat.
The Luxury Group package is tempting, with leather steering wheel, auto-dimming mirrors, larger gauge cluster display, steering wheel audio controls and other niceties. Think I might have to bite on this one, as well as upgrade to the larger touchscreen and better nine-speaker audio system.
Also have to bite on the rearview camera package. Nice to have on a truck of any size, and the Missus probably wouldn't drive the truck if it didn't have it. Add another $595.
I'll also opt for the optional Katzkin leather seats at an additional $1,400. Hard to go back to cloth once you've ridden in leather. Add in floor mats and we've got a nice $3,440 option package going.
With destination charges and a current rebate, that brings my truck to $43,460. And that doesn't get me that much closer to affordability. It's not unachievable - especially when that tech stock finally comes through - but for the moment, it's a reality check. Might have to live with those cloth seats and the smaller touchscreen. Might have to start with the Tradesman or Express model.
Or maybe just go classic-style Regular Cab, with the family up front just like in the old days, before sissy crew cabs. Dad stoically driving across a dusty highway, kid in the middle, sleepy head flopping between parent's shoulders. Bleary wife trying to catch some Z's with her face pressed up against the side window glass. Romantic.
I think I'd be riding solo in this kind of truck quite a bit. Let's see what Grand Cherokees are going for...
Dan Frio, Automotive Editor