Got a chance to drive a Dodge 1500 "eco diesel" yesterday at our local Dodge dealership.
This is definitely not a 24 valve Cummins. Much more Mercedes like engine which isn't a big surprise as its European.
We also drove a 5.7l Hemi V8 which gave a nice comparison. For just driving around they make similar power. The gas engine actually makes MORE noise, they've obviously worked very hard to make the diesel very quiet. Looking at the engine its small, it looks like the V6 in my Ranger.
Power-wise for acceleration they're similar which makes sense when you look at the numbers, I suspect if you're moving a lot of weight on a regular basis the diesel would do it for much less fuel. The gasser is supposed to average 15mpg, the diesel is rated for 22. For comparison my '03 Ranger only 15... The diesel is supposed to do 27mpg on the highway. I usually beat EPA expectations so I bet 30 won't be that hard to get.
The truck is nice, has a dial for gear selection although our gasser model was stripped down and had a conventional column shifter. Dodge only does 4 door extended cabs, not an access cab like the Ford we had tried but the two trucks we drove had shorter rear doors. One feature I really liked on the Dodge was the mirrors flip up for towing. Both that we tried had satellite radio which I hate paying extra for since I probably won't pay the subscription.
If I were going to buy one for me, considering my truck needs I'd buy the gasser. If I had a business or a farm where towing or hauling loads was normal but we didn't need a 2500 I'd buy the diesel.
Where does that leave us on buying a truck? We're leaning toward The Ford 150 although at this point I think its a money thing. I've been playing with Autotrader to open our search window to dealers farther away. I do need to pay a visit to our local Ford dealer but their website suggests they don't have anything in the range I want to pay.