2013 Ram 1500 Will Get Pentastar V-6 Engine, Eight-Speed Automatic

By Trevor Dorchies | March 08, 2012
Chrysler has big plans for the 2013 Ram 1500. As revealed in papers filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the next Ram will get the award-winning Pentastar V-6 as the base engine, along with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The addition of the Pentastar V-6 engine comes as a welcome sign for the Ram 1500, as the new engine is much more fuel efficient than the 3.7-liter V-6 that's currently standard equipment. It's also more powerful. The current V-6 puts out a meager 215 horsepower and 235 pound-feet or torque, and we expect the Pentastar will put out around 270- and 290- horsepower. Besides the new Pentastar engine, the Ram 1500 will employ a ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic transmission which can already be seen in action in the Dodge Charger and the Chrysler 300. The ZF eight-speed automatic will also find its way into the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango. According to Chrysler's filling with the SEC, the eight-speed transmission will be responsible for increasing fuel efficiency to the tune of 11 percent and 12 percent from the one currently in use. As it stands now, the Ram 1500's V-6 engine is hooked to a four-speed automatic to churn out an EPA rated 14 mpg in the city and 20 mpg on the highway. With this filing, we think it's safe to say this new transmission will find its way into all of Chrysler's rear-wheel drive vehicles in the near future, with the exception of the heavy duty trucks.
In addition to the advance information on the new Ram, the filing also revealed a few other future product plans. According to the filing, an electric Fiat 500 is due out next year along with a Jeep Grand Cherokee that will run on diesel. Ram engineers are also currently working on a plug-in pickup that would have a range of 20 miles when running solely on electricity. Currently 140 trucks are being evaluated in different climates to see how the pickups will fare. Fiat's dual-clutch automatic transmission will begin serving the Chrysler 200 and Dodge Avenger is also scheduled to make its U.S. debut in the near future. The report also confirms previous reports that a ZF-sourced nine-speed automatic transmission will also service front-wheel drive cars. This gearbox reportedly improves fuel economy by 11 percent compared to the six-speed currently employed. Finally, the SEC filing reveals that engine start-stop technology is expected to play a major role across every Chrysler Group vehicle in the near future. Currently the European Jeep Wrangler uses start-stop technology and Chrysler claims 90 percent of its U.S. market will utilize engine start-stop technology by 2017. Stay tuned as more details about the 2013 Ram 1500 surface as its official North American debut is slated for the New York Auto Show next month. Source: Chrysler SEC Filing (PDF)