The launch of the RAM 1500 Diesel is still a few months away, but that isn't going to stop us from continuing to bring everyone the latest news on the truck. This next bit of 'news' really isn't news as much as it is just wrapping up the specs and trim levels of the RAM 1500 Diesel into one article. It's no secret that this RAM is going to set the truck world on fire with it's excellent specs and countless options to make it all yours. So lets jump right into the specs and trim levels shall we?

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

Body Styles: Regular Cab seats three (3) and is available with either a 6-foot-4-inch cargo bed or 8-foot cargo bed. The Extended Cab, aka Quad Cab, can seat up to six (6) and comes only with the 6-foot-4 bed. The Crew Cab increases rear-seat legroom, and is available with either a 5-foot-7 or 6-foot-4 bed.

There are six (6) main trim levels: Tradesman, HFE, SLT, Sport, Laramie and Longhorn.

The Tradesman comes standard with 17-inch steel wheels, black bumpers/grille, automatic headlights, a locking tailgate, a sprayed-in bedliner, vinyl floor covering, air-conditioning, a 40/20/40-split front bench seat, vinyl upholstery, a tilt-only steering wheel, cruise control and a six-speaker sound system with auxiliary and USB inputs. Extended and crew cabs also have power windows and a folding rear bench seat. Options for the Tradesman include various equipment groups that allow you to add keyless entry, power locks and mirrors (and power windows on regular cabs), cloth upholstery, carpeted flooring, a 5-inch touchscreen audio display, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and satellite radio.

The HFE (high fuel economy) trim level (two-wheel-drive regular cab only) includes automatic engine stop-start (not available on any other trim levels), a mandatory 3.21:1 rear axle ratio (most other trims give you several rear-end gearing options) and a tonneau cover, all of which help optimize fuel economy. It has cloth upholstery and power accessories as standard, but Bluetooth remains optional.

The SLT includes all of the above amenities as standard (save for the spray-in bedliner and HFE-specific add-ons) and adds 17-inch alloy wheels, chrome exterior trim and dual gloveboxes. The optional Luxury Group adds power-folding outside mirrors (with integrated turn signals and puddle lamps), an auto-dimming rearview mirror, additional interior lighting, an overhead console (with garage opener), illuminated vanity mirrors and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls.

The Sport has all that standard, plus a tuned dual exhaust; body-colored grille/bumpers; LED running/turn signal lights; foglights; folding/auto-dimming outside mirrors (with integrated turn signals and puddle lamps); 20-inch alloy wheels; front bucket seats with a center console; a 10-way power driver seat; heated front seats and steering wheel; power-adjustable pedals; a 60/40 split for the rear bench seat; dual-zone automatic climate control; an 8.4-inch touchscreen display with a rearview camera; and the Uconnect Access system with voice control, text-to-speech messaging capability, emergency roadside assistance, streaming Internet radio (delayed availability) and 3G WiFi capability (via an extra-cost contract); a 115-volt power outlet and LED cabin lighting.

The Laramie trim level (available in extended and crew cabs only) comes standard with virtually all of the Sport's features, with a few differences (such as chrome bumpers/grille, two-tone paint and a front bench seat), along with added luxuries such as heated mirrors, driver memory functions, leather front seats (vinyl in the rear), a six-way power passenger seat, wood-grain/chrome interior trim and an upgraded sound system with a subwoofer.

The Longhorn (crew cab only) adds a mesh grille insert, the spray-in bedliner, tow hooks, a larger fuel tank, a remote ignition, front/rear parking sensors, HD radio, and a navigation system with traffic updates and a Yelp-based search engine. The Limited package adds air suspension, monochromatic paint, chrome side-step bars, automatic windshield wipers, automatic high beams, keyless ignition/entry, a leather and wood steering wheel, upgraded leather upholstery, ventilated front seats and heated rear seats.

*Many of the upper trim levels' features are optional on the lower trims. A variety of packages (depending on trim level) are available as well. The Lone Star (Texas only) and Big Horn (everywhere but Texas) are similar in that they bundle together a bunch of the SLT's optional equipment along with special badging and trim. The Outdoorsman (available only on four-wheel-drive trucks) includes gray bumpers, a larger gas tank, underbody skid plates, tow hooks, all-terrain tires, a limited-slip rear differential, cloth bucket seats with console, two-tone paint and fender flares. Other notable stand-alone options include an air suspension (optional for extended and crew cab models only), integrated weatherproof bins (called RamBox) and an integrated trailer-brake controller.


Powertrains and Performance

Standard on the Tradesman, HFE and SLT is a 3.6-liter gasoline V6 engine, generating 305 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque. The V6 is matched to a standard eight-speed automatic transmission. Rather than a traditional shift lever, the eight-speed is controlled by a rotary knob on the instrument panel. Two-wheel or four-wheel drive is available.

There are two (2) 4WD systems: Both have a low-range transfer case, but one is a traditional part-time system, while the other is more "luxury" with an on-demand Auto 4WD mode.

Standard on the higher trims (and optional on all other Rams) is a 5.7-liter V8 with 395 hp and 410 lb-ft. The V8 is matched to one of two automatic transmissions, a six- or an eight-speed. The six-speed is used only on the Tradesman. EPA-estimated fuel economy when equipped with 2WD and the six-speed transmission is 16 mpg combined (14 city/20 highway) and 15 mpg combined (13 city/19 highway) with 4WD. With the eight-speed automatic, EPA-estimated fuel economy improves to 17 mpg combined (15 city/22 highway) with 2WD and 17 combined (15 city/21 highway) with 4WD.

The optional 3.0-liter turbocharged diesel V6 will be available in eight (8) of the trim levels from the entry-level Tradesman through the luxurious Laramie Limited trim. The diesel is rated at 240 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque and comes with the eight-speed automatic transmission. RAM claims that the diesel truck's EPA ratings will top those of the gasoline V6 version. How that holds true remains to be seen, but from most reviews that does appear to be accurate.

Does the diesel justify the extra cost? Well, RAM says it will and according to writer Kirk Bell of the Chicago Tribune he agrees. Kirk reported on recouping the extra cost of the diesel and said:

If it delivers an average of, say, 3 mpg better than the V6, then it will take over a decade to recoup the extra cost of the diesel (assuming 15,000 miles per year and gas and diesel fuel selling for the same price). However, given the higher resale value of a diesel engine, Ram claims the diesel will pay for itself in just over a year, and it will offer more pulling power to boot
That's it folks! Hopefully this helps some of of who may be on the fence about buying one -- no idea who that could be. Drop us a line in the comments.