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JMO but from my experiences with 2nd gens and 3rd gens, 3rd gens are better quality all around, they hold up better. Especially the interiors and transmissions. The 5.9L will get worse mpg also.
I second that opinion. I love the 2nd Generation Rams but the transmissions aren't exactly known for their reliability and the 5.9L gets atrocious gas mileage. I borrowed my Dad's 1999 5.9L and used it move when I was back in college. I had to absolutely baby it to get 14mpg on the highway and I babied the crap out it. The interiors look nice but fall apart, my dad might as well not even have a dash, it's cracked and has a hole on the top. I wouldn't trade an 03 for an 01 that's just my .02 cents. Not to mention I have to imagine your truck is worth more money. You could always try to trade your truck up for a 3rd Gen, prices are good on those.
 
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