Should I buy a diesel pickup truck?

John Paul, AAA Northeast's Car Doctor, answers a question from a reader who wants some advice on a new truck purchase.

The 2019 Ram 1500.
The 2019 Ram 1500. –Dodge

Q. I’m looking into buying a new truck and I’m considering a diesel engine. Years ago, I had a Volkswagen diesel and I really enjoyed driving it, especially while getting 45 miles per gallon. Have you driven some of the new vehicles with diesel engines, and what do you think? 

A. The two vehicles that I have driven recently are the Jeep Wrangler and the Ram 1500 pickup truck. The Wrangler with the diesel really shows itself as an off-road vehicle. The almost instantly available torque allows for easy off-road maneuvering. Overall the Wrangler was quiet inside with only a bit of diesel clatter heard outside the vehicle. The Ram 1500 completely surprised me. I started the engine and didn’t even realize it was a diesel — the engine is that quiet. I never had a chance to “work” the truck, but with the bed empty I was averaging 25 miles per gallon.  Now there is a price that needs to be considered when buying a diesel. In the Jeep it was a $4,000 option. If a diesel is in your future, in my opinion to make it cost effective you would need to keep it for a long time to offset the additional diesel engine cost as well as the extra cost of diesel fuel. 

John Paul is AAA Northeast’s Car Doctor. He has over 40 years of experience in the automotive business and is an ASE certified master technician. E-mail your car question to jpaul@aaanortheast.com.

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