No more wheezy V-6 in the Ram: Later this year, Chrysler will replace the base 3.7-liter V-6 in the base 2012 Ram 1500 full-size truck with a version of its new 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6.
A high-ranking Chrysler official, powertrain chief Paolo Ferrero, confirmed the change for the first time to WardsAuto today. While final horsepower and torque figures for the Pentastar in the 2012 Ram 1500 hadn't yet been released at the time of writing, the move will put Chrysler's Ram trucks (formerly Dodge trucks) on a level field against the 2011 Ford F-150, which gained a version of the Dearborn automaker's new 'Cyclone' Duratec V-6, a 3.7-liter engine making 302 horsepower and 278 pound-feet and returning 17 mpg city, 23 highway.
GM, however, still makes do with its 4.3-liter Vortec V-6 as the base engine in the 2011 Chevrolet Silverado and 2011 GMC Sierra—which is rated at just 195 hp and gets just 15 mpg city.
The Pentastar V-6 is rated at 305 hp and 268 lb-ft in the 2011 Dodge Challenger but is rated at 290 hp and 260 lb-ft in the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee. In any case, it will be a huge improvement in power, gas mileage, and probably other ratings over the old 3.7-liter engine currently featured in the 2011 Ram 1500.
Chrysler this past year started calling its Dodge trucks Ram instead; so the former Dodge Ram 1500 is now simply called the Ram 1500.
The automaker is phasing in the new Pentastar V-6, which made its debut last year in the Grand Cherokee, throughout most of its lineup, replacing existing V-6 engines. And its new owner, Fiat, has even grander plans for the Pentastar, which is due to be installed into a smaller, sub-Quattroporte Maserati sedan that's currently under development.