Rampage! The Test at Davis Dam

Pair of Rams Small
Photography by Matt Avery

Road Test Review: 2013 Ram 1500 3.6-Liter V-6 Eight-Speed

By Mark Williams

When the all-new, high-tech 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 was slated for the 2013 Ram 1500, many questioned whether the V-6 originally slated for cars, minivans, crossovers and SUVs would really work in a half-ton pickup truck.

We knew Ford had updated its base V-6 and was having great success with the 3.5-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost V-6, so we knew we had to do something special to test Ram Trucks' smallest and newest entry-level power plant. Thankfully, we had a great template for extreme engine and truck testing.

For those who might recall, we drove two identically equipped 2011 Ford F-150 FX2 trucks when the EcoBoost engine was new. We attached a trailer to one, pushing it to its gross combined weight rating limits, and ran the other one empty. We drove those trucks from Southern California to the infamous high-altitude Eisenhower Tunnel grade outside of Denver and did further testing at the famous Davis Dam grade outside Laughlin, Nev. All totaled, we put close to 2,400 miles on both Fords and came back with some great data and impressions. (For the full 2011 F-150 EcoBoost story, click here.)

For this test, however, given our timing of mid-February, driving and testing on Interstate 70 out of Dillon, Colo., without snow chains (on the truck and trailer) was out of question, so we took our two Ram 1500s on the California-Arizona-Nevada portion of the test. This effectively cut our loop in half, but still gave us a chance to test our two trucks on level and steep grade roads to see how the little engines performed.

The Players

Pair of Rams 5 II

Both our 2013 Rams were two-wheel drive, had SLT trim packages and four full-size doors, rode on a 140.5-inch wheelbase chassis and used the all-aluminum Pentastar V-6 and TorqueFlite 8 transmission. However, instead of ordering both trucks with 3.21:1 gears and sacrificing towing capacity, or ordering both with 3.55:1 gears and sacrificing best achievable fuel economy, we opted to order one with the more fuel-friendly gearing to be driven empty (it came in True Blue Pearl) and the other V-6 with the gears that gave us the best towing capacity.

Our "tow" Ram 1500 (in Deep Cherry Red) came equipped with the air suspension package for better load leveling and rear-end control, as well as the Uconnect navigation system (with backup camera), RamBox storage bed, a 32-gallon gas tank and pivoting towing mirrors, all of which we thought would help during trailering duty. We should note those differences did create a slight weight difference between the two when we weighed them on CAT Scales (just more than 200 pounds) as well as a pretty good price difference. The final price for our blue Ram came to $37,490 while our red Ram with the air suspension, a few other towing essentials and RamBox was $43,630.

To see the window stickers and all the specific options on each truck, click here for the blue Ram or click here to see the trailer-tugging red Ram.

Drive Route

Blue Ram Road

Our route included diverse roadways with long stretches of freeway, quite a bit of city travel and cross-country two-lane highway cruising. We started our trip by taking the two Rams out of the Los Angeles basin and navigating through the Cajon Pass that cuts between the San Gabriel and San Bernardino mountain ranges at L.A.'s northern border.

The 10-mile climb with L.A. at our back topped out at 4,000 feet but then had us driving the relatively flat Mojave Freeway on our way to Barstow, Calif. Once in Barstow, we made a quick stop at a Pilot CAT Scale to get our Rams and trailer weighed (we wanted to make sure we did not exceed our maximum gross vehicle weight rating), and then we were back on Interstate 15 to Las Vegas.

The total weight of our red Ram and trailer was 10,860 pounds; the factory gross combined weight rating for the V-6 Ram 1500 (when equipped with 3.55:1 gears) is 11,200 pounds. Yes, we know that's just a little more than 300 pounds of payload but we travel light. (Thankfully, our test truck was not loaded to maximum GVW because if we had hooked up our horse trailer to the truck at that point, we would have been 1,100 pounds over our maximum GCW rating.)

By the time we got fuel in Henderson, Nev., our red Ram was just below a quarter tank (with its 32-gallon capacity) and our blue Ram was still registering well above half a tank (with its standard 26-gallon capacity).

Drive Route Map Rams IIOur drive route started in Los Angeles (A) then headed east and north over a small mountain range to Barstow, Calif., (B) running up the Baker Grade (C), finally making it to Henderson, Nev., (D) for fuel. After quick stops in Boulder City, Nev., (E) and Kingman, Ariz., (F), we did our testing at Nevada's Davis Dam (G) and outside Ludlow, Calif. (H), finishing our route in Norco, Calif., (I) to drop off the weighted horse trailer. Not shown on this map are the extra miles north and south driven on Highway 95 for additional fuel economy testing.

The rest of our route took us past the Hoover Dam to Kingman, Ariz., and then headed to Laughlin, Nev., down Highway 68 past Davis Dam. Much of our time testing was spent on the Davis Dam hill climb on the Bullhead City, Ariz., side of the Colorado River. With our tests complete, we ran up and down Highway 95 to collect more mileage. We also spent time outside Ludlow, Calif., to conduct some level-ground testing before we finally completed our loop, heading back to Los Angeles.

As for our horse trailer, we went to our friends at All American Trailers Inc. in Norco, Calif. This smaller double-axle two-horse trailer was much shorter and only included 25 100-pound stall mats in the trailer, bringing the weight to 5,500 pounds, compared to the 9,000-pound trailer the Ford F-150 FX2 pulled.

We used a conventional 2 5/16-inch ball hitch without much drop and a standard seven-pin plug. Although we didn't measure the exact tongue weight, we're guessing it was a little on the high side. We found the load-leveling air bags wanting to give the trailer a small amount of front tilt to keep the truck riding level, but in doing so the front tires at times felt a little light. It would have been nice to have some kind of manual adjustment for the rear air bags to drop that rear end just a bit.

On the Road

Blue Ram Interior

While driving, most of our speeds were set by the Ram and trailer, usually running between 65 and 68 mph. We let the truck communicate to us what speed felt right. Given that we had a rather large slab-sided trailer behind us — with tendencies to push us around in crosswinds and when we passed semitrucks — we never felt the need to push to or past 70 mph. Thankfully, most of our weight was flat on the floor of the trailer, so stability was never an issue. We ran the whole tow test with the Tow/Haul setting engaged, which meant resetting the button each time we started the rig. We ran the blue Ram normally.

Both trucks were filled with 87-octane fuel, per the owner's manual. While behind the wheel of either truck, we liked the fact that both SLT-trimmed trucks gave us a good amount of engine information: transmission, crankcase and radiator temps as well as exact tire pressures and engine hours.

Because our red Ram tow truck had the Luxury preferred package (denoted as 22G on the sticker), we also got the 7-inch display screen that sits between the tachometer and speedometer in the gauge cluster. Included in this setup is a dedicated trailer/towing information screen that lets you keep track of how many miles you've been towing your trailer and exactly (in real time) how much brake pressure you are using through the integrated brake controller. We found this especially important when monitoring our speed on steeper downhill sections.

Red Ram Interior

Testing Event — Davis Dam

In order to test the two Ram 1500 V-6 engines to their fullest, we knew we had to take them to one of the longest and steepest, in fact, one of the most notorious hill climbs around: Davis Dam. This is the hill that the Society of Automotive Engineers' J2807 towing standards call out specifically. The section we chose averages between a 5 and 6 percent grade and allowed us to get a relatively straight and unobstructed run for more than a half mile.

We first tested the red Ram with the horse trailer and got our best time to 60 mph with 31.9 seconds. That doesn't sound impressive, but it's worth noting that almost half of that time was spent getting from 50 to 60. In fact, the zero-to-50 time for the Ram and 5,500-pound trailer was 17.7 seconds. We're guessing the eight-speed makes a shift either from 3rd to 4th, or 4th to 5th, right around 50 mph and drops quite a bit of the engine rpm.

In our quarter-mile timing on Davis Dam, the red Ram got its best time of 24.35 seconds at 55.5 mph, just a touch quicker (but slower) than the 2011 Ford F-150 EcoBoost we tested (pulling that 9,000-pound trailer) on the same section of road. The Ford managed a best time of 24.56 seconds at 58.47 mph.

Towing Chart Rams II
 

Quarter-Mile Towing Perfomance

Red Ram & Trailer -- 24.35 sec. @ 55.47 mph -- Davis Dam

F-150 EcoBoost & Trailer -- 24.56 sec. @ 58.47 mph -- Davis Dam

Red Ram & Trailer -- 21.11 sec. @ 66.47 mph -- Level Ground

F-150 EcoBoost & Trailer -- 21.02 sec. @ 67.21 mph -- Level Ground


Our blue Ram (with the 3.21:1 gears) got to 60 mph on the same section of the Davis Dam run in 9.71 seconds and did the quarter mile in 17.57 seconds at 79.4 mph. And since we had the red Ram anyway, we thought we'd run the truck without its trailer to see how it compared — 3.55:1 versus 3.21:1 (remember, the red Ram weighed 220 pounds more). The red Ram got to 60 mph in 9.74 seconds and covered the quarter mile on the Davis Dam section in 17.50 seconds at 79.87 mph, practically right on top of the 3.21:1-geared blue Ram. For reference, both Rams are at least 1.5 seconds slower than the Ford EcoBoost on the same road.

We should identify that our test numbers are not meant to be compared with other "best-time" outlets. We were not at sea level, some of our testing was done on public roads, there was wind and we don't consider ourselves to be fast drivers; however, all these tests were performed in exactly the same way each time, and on exactly the same portions of road upon which we've tested in the past. For that reason, these new Ram V-6 numbers are comparable to each other and to the Ford FX2 testing we did earlier.

Testing Event — Level Ground

Our level-ground testing was done near Ludlow, and our Ram and trailer combination pulled a zero-to-60 time of 16.77 seconds. Here again, the red Ram and 5,500-pound trailer pulled only slightly slower than the Ford F-150 FX2 EcoBoost with the heavier trailer over the same course. In the quarter mile on level ground, our red Ram pulled its load across the finish line in 21.11 seconds at 66.5 mph, again right on top of the Ford numbers of 21.02 seconds at 67.21 mph.

In comparison, the unencumbered blue Ram ran a zero-to-60 time in 7.83 seconds and did the quarter mile in 16.09 seconds at 88.4 mph. We ran the red Ram through the same test a second time without the trailer (with slightly drier and windier conditions) and found it to be just a touch slower than the blue Ram, running 16.13 seconds at 87.2 mph in the quarter mile. Again, as you might expect, both Rams were more than a second slower than the untrailered and more powerful EcoBoost Ford F-150, which ran the quarter mile on the same road in 15.37 seconds at 93.32 mph.

Unloaded Charts Rams 2a II

 

Quarter-Mile Unloaded Performance

Blue Ram Empty -- 17.57 sec. @ 79.35 mph -- Davis Dam

F-150 EcoBoost Empty -- 16.03 sec. @ 87.48 mph -- Davis Dam

Blue Ram Empty -- 16.09 sec. @ 8.39 mph -- Level Ground

F-150 EcoBoost Empty -- 15.37 sec. @ 93.32 mph -- Level Ground

 

Other Issues

The most significant feature in our Ram testing had to be the invisibility and performance of the all-new ZF eight-speed transmission. With so many close-ratio choices now at the engine's disposal, whether towing or running completely unloaded, the transmission feels more like a continuously variable transmission than a hard-hitting, shift-clunking automatic. When towing (and in Tow/Haul mode), we found the transmission to be perfectly comfortable holding the right gear long enough on steep hill climbs to deliver all the power we needed.

That said, it did take us some time to get comfortable with the engine buzzing in the 4,000-to-6,000 rpm range when climbing a steady, long grade. And no matter what the gear-changing circumstances (up or down), we can't remember ever being in a full-size pickup truck that so smoothly moved from one gear to the next. The TorqueFlite 8 doesn't so much shift gears as it transitions from one rpm rev range to the next. Our only peeve with the setup was that we couldn't find a way to monitor what gear we were in without going to the manual shift thumb button (another feature we're nonplussed about). Even if you shift manually, it only tells you what gear you last selected — even if the computer determines you need a down- or upshift "right now." We do like the fact that when you do shift manually, you can set a gear "ceiling" that the transmission won't shift past.

Red Ram Engine

As well as the new eight-speed did in performance testing and when highway cruising, we also think it's at least partly responsible for the fairly impressive fuel economy numbers we got during our test. Over the course of the entire trip, and including the sections where we did our "best number" testing, the average fuel economy for our blue Ram was 22.7 mpg. If you remove our truck testing at Davis Dam and level ground, the average is well above 23 mpg overall. During certain stretches of highway in the high deserts on the way to Las Vegas we were actually closer to 26 mpg.

Our trailering red Ram averaged a decent 10.7 mpg (all pieces of the drive and tests included), with a best fuel economy reading over 300 miles of 11.6 mpg. Likewise, if you removed the section of our test where we collected the Davis Dam and level track performance numbers, the real average mpg would likely be right in between those two.

One feature we appreciated in both trucks but that seemed especially aimed at helping us with our mileage performance was the small, green "Eco" light that comes on when you are driving efficiently or when the computer senses your vehicle is being efficient. After a time, we found ourselves trying to modify our normal driving habits to keep the light on as much as possible. And having our Tow/Haul button on the whole time did not seem to deter the Eco light from promoting better driving habits one bit. Although we have no way of knowing, we're guessing that little piece of motivation could have translated to as much as one additional mpg on our 1,400-mile tow test. Of course the same light worked in our empty blue Ram 1500, but the fact that we were running it at the same speeds as our fully loaded red Ram meant it was getting some good mileage numbers anyway. Still, we like the effort by Ram Trucks here.

Ram MPG Chart II
What is not noted on this average fuel economy (calculated at each fillup) mileage chart is that our Davis Dam testing was done near mile 400 and our level ground testing was done near mile 650. The dips in the mpg readouts for both Rams are a direct result of the wide-open-throttle runs. If those two testing sections were removed, average mpg gets better by one-half mpg.

We took our red Ram to the guys at K&N Engineering for a dyno run to see how strong the 24-valve DOHC 3.6-liter V-6 performed at the rear wheels. After a few experimental runs, and although the 6th gear offers a 1.00:1 gear ratio (traditionally the best gear for dyno pulls), we found our best numbers in 3rd gear, where the all-aluminum engine produced 257 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 220 pounds-feet of torque at 5,900 rpm. As you can see, this engine likes to rev, but when it does, it doesn't seem to use too much fuel even when pulling close to its maximum gross combined weight rating.

The Verdict

The new Pentastar V-6 for the Ram 1500, regardless of what other Chrysler cars have it under the hood, looks to be a pretty good entry-level engine for the half-ton truck. Throttle response is especially quick when empty but even when under a heavy load, the torque is managed so well that it's likely to make some drivers think that they're driving a small V-8 rather than a base engine option. We attribute much of that feeling to the quick and smart TorqueFlite 8 transmission and its tight gearing.

With the eight-speed's deep 4.71:1 1st gear (considered in the old days to be a granny low gear) and two overdrive gears (0.86:1 and 0.67:1), even a fairly short rear axle gear doesn't feel the slightest bit hesitant off the line or unresponsive when passing during highway cruising. We found the downshifts to be quick and solid, with more smoothness than we've seen in any other entry-level truck transmission; still, we would have felt better if we could have seen what gears we were in.

Additionally, we liked every one of the optional towing features on our red Ram and — from our point of view — they were worth every cent of the $6,000 difference between the two pickups.

Blue Ram ZF 8-spd

We have yet to see any fuel economy numbers or get any seat time in the Ram's Hemi/eight-speed combination (actually a heavier-duty ZF transmission), but if the results are anything like we've seen in this test, the addition of more gears and a smarter computer controller could unleash even more potential out of that stronger V-8 option. In fact, it even gets us thinking that if Ram can make a stronger TorqueFlite 8 transmission for the Hemi, maybe there's hope that all the Ram heavy-duty trucks could get more gears sometime soon as well.

For now, especially with the announcement of the 3.0-liter V-6 turbodiesel coming next year (which could make the Ram 1500 the first half-ton to grab the 30-mpg brass ring), Ram is looking good with its three-level engine-option strategy. How other truckmakers respond will be fun to watch.

Special thanks to K&N Engineering, American Horse Trailers and Racelogic.

Comments

Good review, I'm also waiting for a review of the Hemi Eight speed so I can decide which motor I want when I buy my new Ram in the coming months.

I also wonder if they will eventually put this motor in some of the higher trim levels. I would like at least 20's and signal mirrors.

I'm not sure why you keep comparing times with the F150 EcoBoost, you should have the comparison with the base V6 in the F150. But wait, I forgot you guys have to be pro Ford.....

Cool test! Too bad workers are actively sabotaging new Rams because they don't want to work weekends:

http://www.tundraheadquarters.com/blog/2013/03/06/chrysler-workers-sabotage-ram/

Can't *imagine* buying a Ram when there's a good chance some PO'd union worker "accidentally" forgot to tighten some bolt somewhere.

I don't think it's pro Ford to compare to the EcoBoost, since the Eco has lower MPG ratings than Ford's entry level V6. But it is not a good comparison. It was a nice review but we all knew it would get killed by the EcoBoost in power and towing, but win the MPG war. I am surprised it had that low of MPG's when towing such a light load though. I think the EcoBoost probably beats that MPG when towing that weight but this new Chrysler 3.6 is definitely the king of MPG's when empty. The 8 speed sounds great too.

It was a good review, but honestly if your going to be pulling 6K up Davis Dam you'll probably opt for the Hemi, I am interested in the V6 because I don't pull more then 4K trailers on mostly flat ground, and usually its just a Daily driver so the V6 makes perfect sense for me.

eventually,

pentastar eight speed
vm motori eight speed
hemi eight speed
cummins aisin 6 speed

the next generation V8 (4.7) will die out next year and the hd will probably get the eight speed on the hemi in 2014 my. cummins will most likely drop the chrysler 6 speed auto soon and the six speed manual by next generation. the so called six speed in the 1500's is a "filler transmisson" and will be gone by next generation as well. the hemi with the 65rfe is chrysler's cheapest powertrain for the ram to build. hemi is cheaper than pentastar, 4.7, vm motori, cummins. 65 rfe is the cheapest transmisson to build. that is why 90% of the 2013 rams on the lots are express quad and crew cabs with hemis and 65rfes. for all of the confused, chrysler is trying as hard as they can but are on limited resources and running at full plant capacity and adjusting to these new powertrains as well so even though the 2013 ram incorporated into its design, most of this stuff won't be on sale witout limited avaliablity until 2014. so if you want a hemi without power steering (for 5 more hp), a new frame and better aerodynamics, go for a 2013. if you want the grille shutters, eight speed, pulse width modulation, start/stop, air suspension, pentastar, vm motori, blah blah blah wait till 2014 like everyone else. this could more than likely be the reason for low ram sales. my biggest question is, what are they going to do with the ram sport R/T? it has a 65rfe with 4.10. will the eight speed be avaliable on it? if it will, what rear end will it use? will they just quit the sport R/T name and just call it a sport reg cab short bed 2wd with hemi and eight speed? or will they replace it with an srt ram 1500 with an eight speed and 6.4 hemi (a 3.55 rear end with the eight speed and 6.4 would be fast enough and probably spin a lot)? if you look, the ram 1500 is eventually going to mimic the grand cherokee powertrain wise so the 6.4 seems like a no brainer. the 6.4 eight speed would be as fast or faster than the last srt10 ram.

Even without adopting the SAE J227 tow ratings I thought that it was interesting that the V6 Ram 1500 and Ecoboost F150 showed similar curves for the dam climb (towing their respective max trailer loads). Maybe the automakers are being fairly "honest" with their rankings right now.

i am asuming no complaints from the rotorary dial shifter? i would think not but most are critics. i was surprised about the difference between rear ends in acceleration times. heck you should have tested both trucks loaded and unloaded to see just how much of a difference there is between a 3.55 and 3.21. and are 3.92s avaliable?

The big news out of this story should be that a 2wd truck equipped with the base engine and what could be described at best as having a mid-level trim prices out between $37-43,000. Really? $43,000 for a 6 cylinder 2wd 1/2 ton truck. We all need to give our collective heads a shake...

You do realize the speed limit in California for vehicles towing trailers is 55 mph, right? You mentioned most of your test was run at 65 to 68 mph.

BigT, these are Crew Cab trucks with many standard features. It is a very advanced V6 with an eight speed tranny, we are not talking about your run of the mill regular cab work truck here and if you you should be albe to get plenty off the sticker, your probably looking at 25K out the door for one of these trucks.

Really seems like a fair comparison. The ecoboost crewcab in the last test with luxury package was 39,795 as tested vs 37,000 and 42,000 for these trucks. They averaged 21 mpg with the ecoboost unloaded in that test vs 23 with the ram. So you can get comparable mpg with significantly improved performance with the ecoboost for about the same price. Plus I think the ford is nicer overall.

Wow, that's some serious money! A Gear Vendors splitter/overdrive is about half the price installed. That's 12 speeds and darn near indestructible up to 30,000#.

http://www.gearvendors.com/prices.html

3 words: Hemi turbo diesel.

@Josh: I drove an 8 speed 3.21 geared V-6 crew and I don't know where somebody gets off thinking they can accidently hit the radio volume when turning the shifter, or vice versa. I found the rotoary knob differant, but it works fine when you realize it aint where my shifter is in the console or it's not on a column

On the Build and price site, no, 3.92 are not available.

The dealership I was at has a fairly steep hill in front of it, so since I have made it habit to just see what trucks will do in cruise @68 mph. My 2006 Chevy ext cab 4x4 with 3.42s and 4 speed, and 265/70 17s needed 2nd gear and about 4800 rpm, from about 1900 rpm. My 3.92 geared hemi quad 4x4 with 275/70 17s needs about 3,100 rpm, from about 1925 or rpm and that v-6 shifted down to 5th gear and only needed 3000 rpm, from a start of like 1600 or so rpm. I'm glad I never drove a Chevy 4.8 4 speed up the hill.

I can say on ramps are a riot with the v-6 8 speed, it gets moving!

Yeah, I realize cruise control isn't best used on hills. At some point you use it until it becomes so obvious you could make it up the hill with less downshifting, meaning cruise ussually makes it downshift too much. But I guess it depends on how smooth they make it, and power to weight, things like that. My Camry has enough gear and is @2950 pounds, so it doesn't need to shift, I can run it in cruise all day a 65 (or slower in most places)

I can relate to the the way he describes shifting. Since I have driven two 8 speed v-6s, and my X wife had a Jeep Patriot with the CVT, which is very smooth. Unlike my 2006 Chevy, or that PT Cruiser. I believe the common link is the 4 speed auto.

I do not put anything heavier than garbage bags in the back of my Ram. Thank God.

The reason why they are comparing it to the 3.5 EB is the EB is the most popular engine and the 8 speed Ram 3.7 is the only engine available in the 8 speed right now. I would compare all engines to the EB.

The Eco-boost actually did quite well in comparison. Power and acceleration are not a question, but it does look like the eco-boost gets better fuel economy towing the same size load as the pentastar. Plus vastly improved power. For similar money, it makes the Ram a tough sell.

Yea but the Pentastar gets three miles per gallon better when empty about a 12 percent increase without the complexity of a turbo

Just a couple of things here with this "test" 1) the F-150 should have been with the 3.7 for a true apples to apples comparo, 2) the 3.6 is NOT the entry level engine in the Ram line-up! that is the 4.7! as the 4.7 is the standard engine in the lowest level Tradesman and the standard, and ONLY engine in the SLT level, and in the Tradesman the 3.8/8spd is an option to the tune of $500 more, the tradesman in the ONLY trim to get the 4.7, and the HFE is the only trim to get the 3.6 not only standard, but is the only engine in that trim.

The real test will be in a year or so when we can put an 8-speed Hemi against the Ecoboost and Chevy's new 6.2. Nobody is going to have high hopes for the 6.2 so we could be easily impressed if it turns out to be anything other than a gas hog. I suppose the new Tundra could be invited to attend too.

as usual, you need a V8 in halfton trucks if you want to do any real work. A six is great for hauling loads of light bulbs or papertowels, but a V8 is the ticket for pulling a load.

I don't think most buyers will be as concerned with towing mileage as towing performance. If the future is pickups that can pull a 2-horse trailer on the weekend and still get 25 mpg commuting, that sounds good to me. Right now it appears the new RAM is alone with capability.

@Jason: The eight speed hemis are in transit right now to dealers.

It should be compared to a 3.7 FORD (the Ram is a 3.6).

You can compare whatever you like, but to make it a fair comparison, two non turbo engines makes it fair.

Also less cost then an Ecoboost. Not every plans to pull heavy. And how about the premium fuel needed for the Ecoboost, for when towing heavy?

I know this isn't apples to apples either cause it isn't the same route, nor as long of a drive. Here's the Ford towing less, with a smaller cab:

http://special-reports.pickuptrucks.com/2010/11/2010-v-6-fuel-economy-and-long-distance-ride-quality.html

Years ago Car and Driver or Motor Trend hooked up an F-150 with I think a 4.6 3 valve, and towed at max weight in the mountains, and got rather low mileage. The point was to just test max towing numbers, and the gas mileage drop.

I don't think there's any doubt about the 3.6 getting it done, mileage might be the sam as a V-8 when towing though.

So, Papa Jim, are you saying a person that needs to haul their horse to the trail ride/LOCAL horse show/rodeo should just get a v-8? Or if they pull a small trailer a few times a year? Or maybe they pull a lightweight bass boat, quite a bit of times a year?

Not everybody needs a v-8.

I think it's all based on how often you will tow, and how heavy. Where you live is part of it too. A truck that works in flat Florida won't always work here in northwest Arkansas, or in the mountains.

@Toycrushe
I do not know why you need the new Tundra why not just ask for a Supercharged one with the tow package?http://www.toyotaracing.com/trd/parts_catalog/superchargers/pc_supercharger_overview.html

@ Mark Williams

I think you fellas and gals should do this test with the 5.7 i-force in 4x2 as well. with maximum towing ratings on a tow package 4.3 loaded and one unloaded. I'll bet those steep gears in the Tundra will STILL produce unloaded mpgs well above 20mpg unloaded even though its still capable of 10k towing. this test should you do it would TRULY put a feather in the cap of the well engineered 5.7 and 6 spd. or for kicks use the 4.6 for the non towing rig, i bet it outdoes the fuel economy of the 8spd v6 in this test.

@Jason
A comparison between similar engines is a good idea. The 100cc difference between the engines would have a negligible affect. Not worth discussing.

You will have to wait for a forced induction Ram gasoline engine for a while to compare the 3.5 Eco Boost. This is rumoured to be a 3.2 supercharged Pentastar.

The Pentastar is being developed at a much slower pace than Ford's Cyclone engine series which includes both the 3.7 and 3.5 Eco Boost.

I'm wondering how much longer it will take Ram to bring this 8 speed out. It looks nice, but by the sounds of it they are/were having production problems. I hope it isn't the cylinder head issue.

I wouldn't want to be the first customer of it, but once the problems are resolved over a year or so it should be okay.

A lot of manufacturers have issues with new products, not just Ram.

@ trx4tom

the mileage towing this small load is TERRIBLE. i have towed 8k with my v8 tundra and gotten better than these numbers here. those mpgs on the towing rig are about as ridiculous as the ecoboost test which was COMPLETELY laughable!

@TRX4 Tom:

I'm in total agreement. I have friends that question my decision to purchase a Nissan Frontier when I could have had a full-size with similar fuel economy for not much more money. They don't seem to understand that I didn't NEED nor WANT a full-size with a V8.

Also - you're in NW Arkansas? I am too!

Welcome to the verbal arena, hemi lol; upon seeing your entry I lift my feet off the ground, because I know it will get deep in here.

You can get that, towing 8,000? On a flat stretch at 60 MPH, maybe.

Go find you some mountains and see how it does.

20 mpg highway......lol!

You will get your test, an 8 speed hemi vs your Tundra.

It may be on it's way but it's either out or it's not. It's Ram's fault for not getting the Hemi 8 speed out sooner. If you can believe it the 2013 debut was almost a year ago. April 4, 2012. If you want a 2013, orders are do by April. The 2014's start up in June. So they have just April and May to get all of these 2013 Rams here. The 2013 Ram came and went without much fanfare. It will be onto the 2014 GM's.

@Josh
This looks like a great test.

Since Fiat took control of Chrysler/Ram you have witnessed changes.

The Pentastar is pre-Fiat and is a legacy of that era.

Fiat having input into Rams might not be as bad as one would think. I do know Fiat brings bad images to some of you guys but Fiat has a lot of technology to offer. It might be European technology but the technology is sound.

Look at the future diesel Ram with a European diesel.

Fiat has experience in making all forms of industrial and transportation equipment so Fiat would definitely would have had input, maybe even Iveco, another good European truck maker.

I think with Fiat the Ram will become a better product, not like the Chrysler products of old, it will gradually improve through its involvement with Fiat.

As for the Hemi V8 I can see the demise of the Hemi. There is talk of a V8 version of the Pentastar, one day. I would think this will be a high output and flexible engine.

But it sounds like your disappointed by the length of time its taking to bring out the Pentastar 8 speed. All new things takes time.

Then it takes time to resolve unforseen problems that occur with new technology. Once released there will be niggly problem that will need to be ironed out, but it will eventually come together with a good vehicle.

But Ram will get there and will probably be a leader with pickups in the next 5-10 years.

@ArkFan86: I would say get the bed size that suits you. I myself need a bigger truck, that's just me, but I did like the Frontiers, but that would put me at max pulling weight most of the time, sometimes over. I had the Dakota quad, and it was too small. (the bed)

But I liked the Fronier over the Tacoma, maybe if I was wanting a four wheeler looking to play, the Tacoma is good.

Rough year for The Hogs. If Bobby was only a better motorcylce rider....lol. But that wasn't good at all.

Based on this article, it seems the Pentastar would more than meet my needs in a half-ton--offering reasonably acceleration for the truck to 'get out of its own way' while still offering exceptional gas mileage--for a truck.

Now I wonder what a Jeep Wrangler on the same route and tests would come up with. I don't horse my cars (trucks) around all that much, but I do know my '96 6-cyl Camaro surprised a lot of people who thought it carried a V-8 and got 32mpg on the highway.

@Jason the 2014s? You must mean that they start building GMs then. No worries.

Maybe the people desperate for an old GM that reminds them of a better time will be the only customers.

Ram will probably build 2013 MYs thru July if not August.

I don't get all the crying. Here it is in March, that's 1st quarter, right?

I don't know why it is that we get to thinking we need 2014 models out so early. I think Jeep has some out,as well as Fords, maybe?

But we will wait for a good laugh to see what GM's numbers will be.

I don't think they will sell that well. They still have just a 6 speed. Oh well, maybe their brakes will work, atleast a 1500, as they work quite well on GM 3500 duallys.

But no matter what happens, dealers will still have the highest rebates in town, darn near giving them away, and I will continue driving right past them.

@DW Fields
I hope the "production" Rams can achieve the same fuel figures that the PUTC testers are achieving. They also got good fuel figures from the 3.5 Eco Boost.

In Australia the Pentastar isn't getting the fuel figures that are being claimed, sort of similar senario to the Eco Boost engines.

Here is a cut and paste from a review. 15.4 litres per 100km or about 15mpg is quoted on my "cut and paste", this is from a 3.6 Pentastar. It might be a one off "bad" engine. But other reviews also state its heavy on fuel.

Maybe we get a different 3.6 Pentastar, but we have the same gas emission controls as the US.


FUEL ECONOMY

Jeep claims combined fuel consumption of 11.2 litres/100 km. During our review period we found Wangler auto slurped around 15.4 litres/100 km around town, and the combined figure was around 11.9 litres/100 km. On the open road the engine was quite a bit thirstier at 110 km/h than it was cruising at 100 km/h. At the higher speed we could not get below 12.3 litres/100 km.

But Ram will get there and will probably be a leader with pickups in the next 5-10 years.

@Big Al, You could very well be right. I caution Ford to watch out for Dodge here. I think Chevrolet is irrelevant now to be honest. Dodge however is going all out. Keep your eyes open Ford. Not that you need me to tell you that. I had a nice view of one of those Limited Edition Longhorns the other day and boy was it nice. I'd say about as nice as our new Platinum. If Ford wasn't around, I don't think I'd be going back to Chevrolet. I'd be going to the Dodge dealer. If there's any more Mike Rowe commercials left in the tank they need to be focused on Dodge, not Chevy.

@FordTrucks1
I really like the style of testing PUTC is doing, we don't have any test of our utes/pickups over here like this. I would like to see PUTC come over here and perform a similar test with our pickups.

The closest thing we have is a long term test where the journalist has a vehicle for up to 1 year and logs everything down and has an article once a month in a magazine on all the good and bad.

I agree with you about Rams future and Ford should look over its shoulder, not now but in 5 years or so.

But Ram has alot riding on this pickup.

So far there has been alot of hype, but no real results other than talk. But like I said Fiat is turning Fiat/Chrylser/Jeep/Ram in a better direction.

I do hope the Pentastar gets the claimed fuel economy, not like out Pentastars we have.

The only problem I see is the first year or so with the new Ram. I hope they provide a good warranty and treat the customer well.

I do think there will be a lot of warranty claims. I personally think the 3.6 Pentastar head problem has caused the delay with the 8 speed Ram.

But I have read that there are "electrical" problems at the factory producing the Rams.

In my job we get many intermittent electrical problems that are a nuisance. It's generally the electrical harnesses that are an issue. They can be hard to resolve.

But like I stated once Ram irons out all of the "niggly" problems it should be a good vehicle.

It might be wise to wait a year or so before you buy one, just so Ram can iron the problems out. Let someone else resolve them rather than you.

People think it isn't fair to compare the Pentastar to the ecoboost??? The Dodge is only pulling 5500lbs!! - LOL The ecoboost was pulling 9000lbs and only uses a 6 speed tranny. I would bet an ecoboost would still handily beat the hemi if you put 9000lbs behind both with similar gear ratio.....even with 2 less gears.

I agree with Jason. PUTC can't test what's not here.

The Hemi isn't a new, and you can't get it with the 8 speed yet - so no point in bringing that.

The middle range engine isn't new either - no point in testing that.

Ram made a big deal about their base V6 engine and it's the only engine that hasn't been tested.

So they are stuck with either doing nothing or testing the base V6 at Davis. Not that there is anything wrong with that. But if Ram had updated anything other than their base V6 I am sure PUTC would have brought that to Davis Dam instead.

43k for a V6 gasoline truck? No wonder I buy low mileage used forest service trucks.

@Paul
I think its a fair test, we all like to have more information on new vehicles and PUTC is providing that.

The test will also put to rest some myths and claims.

The only thing about the test is did Ram "tweak" any areas of the test vehicles?

But once, (whenever) the Rams hit the car yards and sell we can see what the real life performance of the pickups are.

I support PUTC effort in this test, more tests of pre-released vehicles is good. I do know it gives the manufacturers an opportunity to "talk up" there products.

But any manufacturer would do that, there in the business to sell using whatever techniques they can employ:)

I would like to thank PUTC for resolving the multi posting of my comments.

I find it odd though its occurred during a Ram article:)

It's not the perfect comparison but Davis Dam is extreme testing. At Davis Dam you bring the best newest engine/tranny combo.

PUTC was forced to bring the Ram base V6 to Davis Dam and compare it to the EB because Ram has nothing else new available. It wouldn't make a lot sense to have brought Ford's 3.7 to Davis because it is an entry level engine. PUTC did bring the 5.0 to Davis Dam - if they made that the comparison then everyone would say V6 vs V8 isn't fair.

Who's fault is it that Ram doesn't have anything new to compare to the EB at Davis Dam?

I would like to thank PUTC for resolving the multi posting of my comments.

I find it odd though its occurred during a Ram article:)

I just made a post and it is no longer on the site.

@Paul
I think its a fair test, we all like to have more information on new vehicles and PUTC is providing that.

The test will also put to rest some myths and claims.

The only thing about the test is did Ram "tweak" any areas of the test vehicles?

But once, (whenever) the Rams hit the car yards and sell we can see what the real life performance of the pickups are.

I support PUTC effort in this test, more tests of pre-released vehicles is good. I do know it gives the manufacturers an opportunity to "talk up" there products.

But any manufacturer would do that, there in the business to sell using whatever techniques they can employ:)

@Paul
I think its a fair test, we all like to have more information on new vehicles and PUTC is providing that.

The test will also put to rest some myths and claims.

The only thing about the test is did Ram "tweak" any areas of the test vehicles?

But once, (whenever) the Rams hit the car yards and sell we can see what the real life performance of the pickups are.

I support PUTC effort in this test, more tests of pre-released vehicles is good. I do know it gives the manufacturers an opportunity to "talk up" there products.

But any manufacturer would do that, there in the business to sell using whatever techniques they can employ:)



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