CO 2 regulations on heavy-duty transport are introduced in essentially all markets within the next decade, in most cases in several phases of increasing stringency. To cope with these mandates, developers of engines and related equipment are aiming to break new ground in the fields of combustion, fuel and hardware technologies. In this work, a novel diesel fuel injector, Delphi's DFI7, is utilized to experimentally investigate and compare the performance of ramped injection rates versus traditional square fueling profiles. The aim is specifically to shift the efficiency and NO x tradeoff to a more favorable position. The design of experiments methodology is used in the tests, along with statistical techniques to analyze the data. Results show that ramped and square rates- A fter optimization of fueling parameters-produce comparable gross indicated efficiencies. Tests were carried out at 1200 and 1425 rpm; for the latter engine speed peak efficiency was attained at considerably lower NO x levels by applying a ramped injection rate. Particulate matter emissions, on the other hand, are generally lower with the use of square profiles. Heat release analysis further reveals that ignition delays in ramped rate operation are quite long, hinting at vastly different spray behavior. The relatively low loads applied in this work only sustain the delays further. Altogether, this causes the potential of the rate shaping capabilities to be underexploited, as direct control over the burn rate is limited with the combustion system used in this work. The results emphasize the need to carefully select ramp slopes for a particular engine geometry, load and speed point, and additional operating parameter settings.