2020 Ford F-150 Power Stroke vs. 2020 Ram EcoDiesel: Half-Ton Diesel Showdown
I recently wrote about the likelihood that Ford may discontinue the 3.0-liter Power Stroke, after just a couple years of production. The market for this baby Power Stroke has been minimal, it seems amongst Ford truck buyers. On the flip side, Ram has offered their EcoDiesel engine in the Ram 1500 since 2014. In fact, the EcoDiesel is now in its second generation as it debuted in the 2020 Ram 1500.
It seems Ford and Ram are going in opposite direction when it comes to these similar 3.0-liter diesel engines. Ford has found little success with their smaller Power Stroke, while as many as 20 percent of Rams offered come with the EcoDiesel option. So why is that? Let’s look closer at the numbers to see if we can tell why.
Comparing performance of 2020 Ford F-150 with Power Stroke and with EcoDiesel
The 2020 Ford F-150 3.0-liter Power Stroke makes 250 horsepower and 440 pound-feet of torque, which is comparable but a little bit short of the output of the Ram EcoDiesel which makes 260 horsepower and 480 pound-feet of torque. So in this battle of the tape, the Ram edges out the F-150.
Honestly, the impressive torque both engines generate is impressive and is ideal for towing, especially those who tow a long distance.
When it comes to towing, which let’s be honest that’s what matters the most, the Ram 1500 with EcoDiesel leads the way over the Power Stroke F-150. The F-150 has max towing capability of 11,400 pounds, which falls just quite a bit short of the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel which has a max towing rating of 12,560. More than a thousand pounds difference in towing is a big difference to many truck owners.
As far as payload goes, again both trucks are very close, but once again the Ram edges out the F-150 with a payload of 2,040 pounds vs. 2,020 for the F-150.
Ford mates their 10-speed automatic transmission with the 3.0-liter Power Stroke F-150 while Ram offers an 8-speed automatic. Both transmissions are excellent, but with a few more gears, the 10-speed transmission of Ford seems to handle the turbo a little better than the Ram.
Fuel economy for Ram EcoDiesel and Ford F-150 Power Stroke
One of the main reasons consumers might consider the diesel options in their half-ton pickups is the fuel efficiency. And that’s certainly one of the best talking points of both of these engines.
The F-150 with the 3.0-liter Power Stroke has a max EPA rating 22 mpg/city and 30 mpg/highway. Meanwhile the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel has a maximum EPA rating of 22 mpg/city and 32 mpg/highway. When either truck comes with four-wheel drive, their fuel economy ratings are identical. So, once again, it’s practically a wash between these two pickups. My colleague Mary Conway wrote about how one version of the Ram EcoDiesel could get 1,000 miles on one tank of fuel.
Price comparison between Ford F-150 and Ram 1500
To be clear, adding either diesel engine to any truck trim costs several thousand more dollars. For Ford, the 3.0-liter Power Stroke adds about $4000 to the sticker while the EcoDiesel adds nearly $5000 more.
You have to crunch the numbers to see if that increase in price can be offset by the fuel savings. Unless you are towing a lot, over a lot of distance, it may not save you anything. And that’s not to say that some half-ton truck buyers just prefer diesel engines to gasoline ones. That’s certainly their prerogative.
Ford did well to offer the 3.0-liter Power Stroke on more trims instead of just the pricier, upper-tier trims. The F-150 XLT with the 3.0-liter Power Stroke has a starting price of $41,095. Some of my readers commented that many dealers had a lot of inventory for the baby Power Stroke F-150 and that could mean getting these for a lot less.
Conversely, for 2020, the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel has a starting MSRP of $38,585 on a two-wheel drive Quad Cab Tradesman.
Which truck is better? The Ram EcoDiesel or the Ford F-150 Power Stroke
Well, as you can you see the numbers are very close. A slight edge goes to the Ram EcoDiesel and certainly the EcoDiesel is outselling the Power Stroke.
The question is why? The EcoDiesel seems to benefit from promotion and good PR from Ram. Meanwhile, Ford seems to treat the 3.0-liter Power Stroke as an afterthought. Which would make sense why Ford is considering discontinuing this engine after just a couple years.
Sales volume matters and the Ram EcoDiesel dominates the F-150 in that regard. I recently got to drive a Ram 1500 Rebel with the EcoDiesel and it was one of the best trucks I’ve ever driven. The only exception being the 2017 Ford Raptor, which I wrote about being my all-time favorite truck.
The EcoDiesel is quite and confident and seems to be in favor with half-ton truck buyers, while Ford’s 3.0-liter Power Stroke has not been accepted and might be on life support.
I'd love to hear your comments about why Ram seems to be succeeding with the EcoDiesel than Ford is with the 3.0-liter Power Stroke. Leave a comment below.
Jimmy Dinsmore has been an automotive journalist for more than a decade and been a writer since high school. His Driver’s Side column features new car reviews and runs in several newspapers throughout the country. In addition to being a nationally syndicated automotive columnist, Jimmy is also author of the book “Mustang by Design” and “Ford Trucks: A Unique Look at the Technical History of America’s Most Popular Truck”. Follow Jimmy on Facebook, and Twitter.