How We Roll at the Detroit Show

Ram Express
A 2012 Ram with the six-speed matched with the 5.7L Hemi is our ride as we move around Detroit during the Detroit Show. The new trans offers all the same touch-shift capability as before, with the tap-up, tap-down switch on the column shifter, but offers the driver use of all six gears, something not possible in the previous five-speed (that did technically have six gears). 

The feel is good and the computer fuel economy readout is telling us we're getting around 21 mpg around Michigan freeways (loafing around 1800 rpm) for over 30 miles. We'll try to get as much of a feel for the new tranny and report what we can down the road.  


cool deal bout time ram lol

I have 2 questions the first question is do you have use of all six gears in auto? My second question is has this eliminated the tall first gear?

Hope it gets rid of the tall 1st. Ram is balls deep in the truck segment once again. Ford needs too make changes that count for the next model year to stay on top.

Glad to see you guys reviewing it cant wait. I dont expect much seeing that from what Ive seen/heard its really just a reworked 54rfe like the one I have in my Ram but it should at least be a slight improvment none the less.

Nice tweeks Ram. Real nice truck.

By the way. Playoffs started big today. Go Texans!

Who on god's green earth drives a 2 WHEEL DRIVE truck in Michigan????????????? Who?????????????????

That's pretty kool on the mpg 1mpg better but cant wait until they offer it with the new 8 speed auto if anything the mpgs should go up!

The so called "6 speed" in the 2012 1500s Rams are NOTHING MORE then a renamed version of the crappy 5 speed that debuted in the 2003 Ram.

When the driver doesn't use ERS, it shifts the exact same way, using the exact same 5 gears as the "old" 5 speed version.

Mark, please test a 2500 HD Ram Hemi. That has an actual 6 speed trans in it.

I say that Frontier wins the small truck race and Ram wins the full size truck race. RAM beats out the F150 for style alone, by a landslide.

Can you please tell us if this is the old five-speed, or the new six-speed, as in the 2500/3500 Hemi ? Still, it's the best looking truck out there !

The Ford Looks better.

As somebody already mentioned this 6-speed is the same trans and in auto acts the same as what it supposedly replaced only now you have access to 6 cogs when you're in manual shift mode.

The Hemi HD has a completely different unit with 6 cogs and proper ratio spacing. It was designed as a 6-speed trans, I believe based on the Aisin attached to the Cummins.

Based on this, there shouldn't be any difference and is nothing more than a gimmick for the most part. The 8-speed will be a real difference maker but not this.

Looks good.

Hope there's some promising new technology, pickups, and info this year.

Chrysler has the best looking trucks around by far, the others dont even come close !

Dodge RAM trucks RULE !! 21 mpg with a V-8 and wrapped up in that gorgeous body !!

Hmmmmm, sounds like it is just a tweaked 5 speed. The MPG doesn't strike me as very impressive either. I was pulling 20-21MPG out of a 2011 1500 Ram 4X4 that I rented while visiting Alaska this past summer. Like others have posted, the 8 speed tranny when it comes out should be interesting. Dodge does make a great truck though.

@Detroit Auto Show Bob "Who on god's green earth drives a 2 WHEEL DRIVE truck in Michigan????????????? Who?????????????????"

Anyone who actually knows how to drive. That's who.

Wow, I am surprised that they aren't rolling in a POS EGO BOOST or CRAPTOR. I am sure the next article will be about a CRAPTOR or EGO BOOST powered truck though.

ford is going to use new metals and more carbon fider in the production of the f-150 plus and in weight savings from using a ecoboost and the saving will add up to 500lbs-700lbs.
if you have not open up a tailgate in the new super duty you will find out how light they are. i was blown away.
the ecoboost 2.3l 4-banger should be good for at least 300hp and 330lbs.
that will make all v6 and some older v8 look like the model T
with weight saving, more aerodynamic and lower friction-lower mass engine should net about 18/25mpg yes in a truck

The HD Hemi Ram rolls with a six-speed based on the 68RFE, and called the 66RFE.

From, and regarding the HD ram: "A six speed automatic, the 66RFE (based on the heavy duty 68RFE) replaced the five speed, adding strength and providing a lower first and higher top gear."

From what I remember, it's the guts of the 68RFE, placed inside the 545RFE casing. But please excuse my (possibly wrong) data as I can't find the bit on as I write this.


and yes it will cost more $1-2,000 but compared to the $5-10,000 dollar diesel that would get about the same mpg

if you make fun of a ecoboost you are making fun of your small displacement turbo diesel Cummins because in order to make that power natural aspirated you would need to go from at least a 6.7l to a 10l Cummins and fuel economy would fall faster then you could say stop.

@ auto show bob- I drove my 2wd every day last winter, and never thought 4wd would have made it easier or safer. Decent tires and $20 in play sand, and it'll make it through anything. You just have to pull your head out of your ass.

I agree Ram trucks look great and are also my favourite appearance-wise but the lack of a proper 6-speed in the 1500 (let alone the long rumoured 8-speed) is dissapointing.

How much longer are they planning to milk this dinosaur of a transmission? The power of the Hemi at least minimizes the feel of lag from gear to gear but I can't help thinking how much better that engine would be with a close ratio 6-speed.

Why do the Big 3 constantly do this? They introduce new models with old drivelines whether it's an old engine with a new transmission or an old transmission with a new engine. Sometimes it's even old engine and old transmission like GM did.

GM is the next new design so make it worth our while, please. Have something that can generate some excitement this time.

@ Mike

I think you're correct. That's what I remember reading on AllPar, too. I'm pretty sure it's been reported on PUTC as well in the past.

Just more marketing fluff on top of the same 4 speed transmission they were putting in the Jeep Grand back in 1998.


What would be really nice, is if it was the "new" Hemi six-speed; that lower first, and taller top gear would work wonders !

I just can't understand quite why it wasn't introduced model-wide last time ....

Maybe production/supply issues topped it for broader applications.

Shame !


Detroit auto Show, I also drive 2wd in winter, I agree those who lack driving skills should opt for 4wd, but those of us who now how to drive are perfectly fine with 2wd.

lol i like to see some these 2wd people plow snow over the bumper and keep going good for plowed roads not so good for woods unless you carry 2 tons in the bed lol

@johnny doe- with 600 pounds of sand, my truck pushes through 12" just fine. In the 18 years since I've been driving, we've never had more snow in SE MI in a single day. 4 years in the Keweenaw taught me that once the snow grabs your frame and axle tubes, 4wd doesn't get you much further.

if you make fun of a ecoboost you are making fun of your small displacement turbo diesel Cummins because in order to make that power natural aspirated you would need to go from at least a 6.7l to a 10l Cummins and fuel economy would fall faster then you could say stop.

I want a Ram 1500 with 392 HEMI !

@ Dan ,

Yep,so what it is a bullet proof transmission !! It made the Jeep a strong tow vehicle,and it can take abuse.At least Dodge has a new truck design,suspension,engine modifications.Ford had the H.D design since 1997 !! And the F-150 is ancient 2004 design,it looks so,so dated and odd,just like the Tacoma looks like its stuck in 1994.

@ online pharmacy review,

What ? The Cummins 6.7 is a 409 cubic inch !! It is not a small displacement !!!!

Semi's use 6 cyl as well, a big cubic inch Diesel 6 cyl are fine,but a gas truck a 6 cyl isnt fine !! The Eco-Boost without the Turbo is a dog,no torque,less h.p and it would use the more gas than the eco-boost in the f-150 !
The Eco-Boost cant beat a bigger displacement 345 c.i 5.7L Hemi in either excelleration or mpg !! Plus you have a eco-boost 6 cyl truck that sounds like a 1992 Ford Escort !

A 2wd truck won't be as good as a 4wd truck in the sticks and mountains in the snow and ice and off-road!

For normal driving, it will be fine but a dozen 50 lb bags of sand (600 lbs) takes away space from the bed!!!

When RAM has a truck with combined MPG of 25, coupled with their passion for styling, they will knock out Ford as the #1 USA Truck.

25 MPG for a light-duty, medium to small sized truck, is not that tough to do.

Only an idiot wood bye a 2 wd truck. Only a reel big idiot wood bye 2 wd and a Dodge . Chevy rules like Michigan State.

2wd suits my needs in OH, I'm not going to spend an extra 2500 dollars for the twice a year I might turn it on, and even then I've never gotten stuck, not to mention less maintenance and fuel costs.

@Detroit Auto Show Bob "Who on god's green earth drives a 2 WHEEL DRIVE truck in Michigan????????????? Who?????????????????"

Where does it say that this dodge is a 2wd? Just because dodge/ram dosent put those gaudy 4X4 stickers on the side of the bed on there express and sport models doesnt mean its not a 4x4. There is a small badge on the tailgate instead so until it is stated or we get some rear pictures we will never know

The "new" 6-speed in the 1500 is just marketing, its the same 545RFE, while the HD gassers use the 66RFE, which is the old 545's case, with the gears of the 68RFE (Cummins Auto).

The '09-'11 1500s can achieve the same number of shifts as the '12, you just have to use the bump shift function. 1st and 2nd are still way too tall: 1-3.00, 2-1.67, 3-1.50 (old 545 kickdown), 4-1.00 5&6 O/Ds.

66RFE uses a better spread with 3.33 1st.

Both of these are likely stop-gaps until the 8-speed comes in. Mate the 8-speed with the good 5.7L and you'll have a great combination. If they can beef-up the 392 for truck application and mate it to the 8-speed, it will be amazing.

OK I have had enough of this B.S. fuel economy claims. First Ford keeps advertising 22 or 23 mpg but of course doesn't tell anyone on thier comercials that this is in TWO FRICKEN WHEEL DRIVE ONLY MODELS. Now the Dodge 5.7 Hemi is now going to claim 21 mpg, but they won't tell you it's in TWO FRICKEN WHEEL DRIVE ONLY MODELS!

Let's take a poll here and ask owners how may of you own a TWO WHEEL GIRLY MAN TRUCK??? I mean seriously people, here in the midwest I would estimate that 95% of full size ext or crew cabs sold are 4 WHEEL DRIVE. I realize you don't need a 4 wheel drive in Texas or Florida but here in the midwest or northern part of the U.S. most people own a 4 wheel drive truck.

Go to any ford dealership and look at the 4 wheel drive models and the best fuel economy rating you will find on either the 3.7 liter V-6 or the 3.5 liter Eco-boost is 21 mpg on the highway. Does that beat GM's 5.3 liter V-8 that GM has had for years??? NOPE!

I ask this question again, who here owns a sisified two wheel drive truck?

"Where does it say that this dodge is a 2wd?"

Well, where does it say it is 4x4? It would have said so in the article if it was a 4x4!

Anyone who claims that two wheel drive goes through as much snow as a 4 wheel drive is flat out lying about it and is full os S..T! Sure, adding weight in the back of the bed does add traction but it's not even close to what a 4 wheel drive truck can go throug in the winter or off road.

Talk about trying to sell a bunch of B.S. to this board. and then they go and tell everyone that you just need to know how to drive with two wheel drive models. What a f-ing joke.

The next thing these morons will tell is that you don't need snow tires either. These people probably have ocean front property in Arizona they want to sell you.

@Michigan Bob I agree 100%, 4WD will move you through more snow than a 2WD, snow tires, weight, or whatnot. But is it sissified to own 2WD? No, you moron. My buddy in the air force station in georgia owns a 2WD truck because the chances of him encountering adverse conditions are low, and he doesn't use his truck to offroad. That is your problem. You might be right, but you can't be right without having to try make other people (who may or may not have a point) look stupid. That's why people troll you.

Just a question...if Chevy is more fuel efficient, why did they stop advertising 'most fuel efficient full size pickup' and start advertising 'most fuel efficient V8 fullsize pickup'?

2wd or 4wd is only as good as the moron behind the wheel

*sigh* All this vitriol. 2WD, 4WD, standard cab, extended cab, crew cab, short bed, long bed; people buy and drive the rig they want or need, not what somebody else tells them is best for them. At least, I don't. Who cares if a 3500HD (or equivalent) is the best-pulling truck on the road if I don't intend to pull 10,000 pounds or even 5,000 pounds behind it? Who cares if the cabin is the lap of luxury if all I'm going to do is haul dirt in the back and drive it with muddy clothes on? You people just disgust me!

I, for one, can drive a heavy, two-wheel drive car in places where even 4x4 SUVs have trouble. Granted, i'm talking icy roads, but the skill of the driver is far more important than the number of powered axles when it really comes down to it. I nearly watched a big Jeep Grand Cherokee slide off the mountain on Wolf Creek Pass in the middle of winter while I was driving a Ford Crown Victoria and had just successfully handled the same curve without incident. Don't tell me a 2WD truck can't handle Michigan roads in the winter.

How about talking sense and stop flaming everybody that doesn't share your opinions. All you do is show yourselves up as fools who don't know what you're talking about.

Oh, and if I get banned for what I just said, well good riddance. I read this site for the information and views of the users, not to listen to childish "my truck is best" rants.

Sorry for the delay on this. The Ram is a 4x4, although I'll admit it has a rather 4x2 stance. The big rims make it look like a street machine. Seems the transmission issues seem resolved. We now have access to all six gears through the PRNDL shifter tap-up, tap-down button. Would be nice to have a lower first gear like the HD version but doesn't look to be happening anytime soon.

Tight Ram 1500. Way to "Express" it! I hear the new Express models are now in both crew-cab configurations. Wicked cool and on a budget!

@bob- *yaawn* Oh boy, you sure do get boring to listen to. Last I checked 22 or 23 beats 21. Circumstances or not, which one gets better mileage? Please tell me.

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