2019 Ram 1500 eTorque V-6: Real-World Fuel Economy

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After driving the all-new 2019 Ram 1500 eTorque packages (both the V-6 and V-8 options), we thought you might want to know, in more detail, how the standard eTorque V-6 with the eight-speed transmission performs in the real world. Thankfully, Ram allowed us some extra time with a mid-level Big Horn Quad Cab 4x2 (a little less than $44,000) for a leisurely drive from Lexington, Ky., to our offices in downtown Chicago.

The Big Horn came standard with the 3.6-liter Pentastar eTorque V-6 that offers an EPA fuel-economy rating of 20/25/22 mpg city/highway/combined for the 4x2 and 19/24/21 mpg for the 4x4.

During our initial 400-mile highway-biased run (with one stop for lunch), we covered the distance in a little less than seven hours and averaged 25.7 mpg — not bad for a 4,900-pound (we weighed it) half-ton pickup. Once delivered to Chicago, other test drivers were able to run the truck through a more suburban- and city-biased drive cycle, gathering even more observations and insights.

To begin, one driver noted that one of the best things about this new powertrain is how it doesn't drive like a normal hybrid vehicle with the normal power and thrust penalties you have to endure. Since eTorque only uses the smallish battery-pack-supplied electric drive system (really just an assist system) on takeoffs and to help smooth out the stop-start modes, it's fairly invisible to detection unless you're really hunting for the assist points. For a vehicle of this size, the eTorque does provide noticeable off-the-line assistance, making it feel stronger than you'd expect.

In fact, several of our test drivers noted they appreciated added "pickup" at stop signs and stoplights, but they didn't appreciate that they couldn't call up some kind of screen or interactive graphic to let them know when the system is helping them. Clearly, Ram is prioritizing the idea of maximizing efficiencies with a more subtle system when providing added thrust at takeoff (about one half of the first tire rotation) or when the transmission upshifts and downshifts between gears, rather than providing some kind of intrusive and dynamic new technology. Our only quirk with the system came on slower-speed neighborhood driving, where the transmission had some trouble with the 1st-to-2nd and 2nd-to-3rd shift points; they were just a touch too harsh, which is likely, we suspect, about fine-tuning the software.

The system is designed to be transparent, and with the exception of a small amount of launch and gear-shifting softness as well as a fairly aggressive stop-start/stop strategy, it is. However, we noted that the truck responded more "traditionally" with the Tow/Haul mode engaged, which also disengages stop-start. Additionally, given that the system is invisible, there is no dedicated screen or icon to let you know when you're benefiting from the added technology (at least for the V-6; the V-8 does offer a microscopic "Eco" light). We think that's a missed opportunity.

From the comments of several of our test drivers, if you're sensitive to throttle feel, you'll notice some subtle launch and shifting benefits. Otherwise, you're likely not to notice any differences from non-light hybrid versions at all. Still, we'd like to see more transmission settings to more fully utilize the benefits of the battery power — some kind of possible sport mode, maybe a more aggressive eco mode and how about something extra (since we're in Chicago) for snow? Surely giving the driver more options and functional control of the benefits would be a good thing.

During four different trips with the Big Horn Quad Cab, we found a pretty good variety of abilities. From loaded with family and gear to long and empty cruises, here's what we recorded.

Trip One:
35-mile trip in rush-hour traffic with an empty pickup in moderate (68-70 degrees Fahrenheit) temperatures: 21.7 mpg

Trip Two:
94-mile trip with some suburban traffic getting out of town for a long trip to Indiana in mild (75 degrees F) temperatures. Two adults and child, plus all the overnight gear and toys: 23.0 mpg

Trip Three:
147-mile trip from Indiana, back to Illinois and back to Indiana with hotter temperatures (81-84 degrees F) but a lighter load and heavier throttle foot (but minimal traffic): 21.2 mpg

Trip Four
85-mile trip from Indiana to Illinois with a full load of gear and family, plus the hottest temps (88 degrees F): 24.2 mpg

Manufacturer images

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I think the GM version is 86 volt. At least the battery is, perhaps they step it down. But yeah, Ram is not the first. GM beat them by 3 years.

Alright guys, here's a question for you.

Can you name the American company that sells a base model half ton pickup with mild hybrid drivetrain AS STANDARD EQUIPMENT?

I agree that GM sold Silverados and some full size SUVs with mild hybrid capabilities, but please acknowledge that RAM is making it standard equipment on their base model. GM's hybrids were as rare as hens teeth. You're gonna see a lot of RAMs (with hybrid) very soon.

GM had eTorque optional. It's standard on RAM 3.6 engine. It's also completely different electric motor on 3.6L . It's watercooled, because of electric fan for the engine cooling.

I see that the big block Corvettes are really sticking it to the wee engine Ford GTs in the weathertech sports car Championship. GO CORVETTE!

Posted by: GMSRGREAT | Sep 16, 2018 5:36:15 PM

I see Chevy is getting thoroughly trounced in NASCAR by Ford and Toyota.

Ford 13 wins
Toyota 11 wins
Cheverolet 2 wins.

And over in Indy Car...

Honda 10 wins
Chevrolet 6 wins.

“ Alright guys, here's a question for you.

Can you name the American company that sells a base model half ton pickup with mild hybrid drivetrain AS STANDARD EQUIPMENT? “

FCA is not an American company.

@ Brick: why isn't Ford able to compete in Indy car?

Can you name the American company that sells a base model half ton pickup with mild hybrid drivetrain AS STANDARD EQUIPMENT?


If the answer is NONE, just say it.

My point is that presently RAM is the only half ton pickup in North American that offers a hybrid as standard equipment.

Posted by: Let's Make Ford Great Again | Sep 15, 2018 8:54:12 PM

good luck with that. Ford has always been the everyman brand, translation CHEEP!

*papajim ,
And you completely drop your initial argument.
Then you resort to personal attacks ONLY.


And still, you don't apologize or admit you were wrong.

Now we all know your true colors.





Sounds decent so far. No earth shattering MGP but a bump none the less along with more power off the line so the questions become of price (even if/when standard it adds to the $$), and reliability. One can be answered quickly on paper... the other takes a long time to see. Hopefully it works out. Would love to see more hybrid options in trucks.

Actually I think the RAM etorque gas mileage is amazing.

25 years ago you were lucky to get 20 mpg Highway with an auto/V8 big-3 pickup. Now we have a halfton RAM 1500 that gets 20 mpg CITY.

Ford has done a TON of development with hybrids but you can't find a F150 hybrid in dealerships yet.

@ papajim

The new e-assist is a lithium battery. It is offered now in both Silverado and sierra trucks

Standard 5.3L with 8/spd
Start/stop technology
Lithium battery


It also gives + 44 TQ and +13 HP

Along with E85 compatible. Which with the 5.3 already gave you around +30 HP and TQ

That combo is almost in neighborhood of 6.2L.

I have yet to drive bother in laws but he really likes it. Commutes to work in city driving and gets 20 mpgs.

The new e-assist is a lithium battery. It is offered now in both Silverado and Sierra trucks


Not quite. Last I checked it is exclusively an option for buyers of the LT and LTZ trims. Did that change?

My only point being that RAM makes it standard on their base model half ton. That impressed me.

@ Papajim

You could be right, maybe the Sierra was only 2016-2017 out in California?

His is an LT model. I think out the door with incentives he paid $34K. MSRP was $45K. So I thought he got a heck of a deal on a truck with those options!

Yes, I agree with everyone on here, GM needs to offer MORE on their lower trim models.


They do offer it. Only in SLT package though. So yes, even the GMC makes you step up to leather.

Offer it in an SLE model. Come on GM

GM's got a lot invested in the new 2.7 engine making a big splash. Now might not be the right time product-wise to make a big deal of the hybrid---until the impact of the new 4 cylinder is clearly understood.

GM needs to offer MORE on their lower trim models....Posted by: TNTGMC | Sep 17, 2018

I don't think GM brass views it that way. They are paying a price for their ATP strategy, so they want to play down/dirty in the half ton popular-price segment (under $35k).

Look for GM to bloody a lot of noses in the work-truck market. The 4.3 extended cab six-speed in plain trims should be a tough price competitor up against the 3.3 Ford XL and the RAM 3.6

Despite the excitement surrounding the new hybrid base-model RAM there will be corporate procurement officers who shy away from a truck with as many question marks as an all-new RAM pickup, and I think that GM hopes to exploit it.

Papajim are you saying GM is setting up to go hard for fleet sales?

Here's the thing...if you can REALLY afford a $45K+ truck....meaning you pay cash for it, MPG isn't much of a financial factor. Unless of course, 25mpg in a truck just makes you feel better. For me, give me the reliability and cost of ownership of a V8.

Papajim are you saying GM is setting up to go hard for fleet sales?
Posted by: Just the truth | Sep 17, 2018

Absolutely not.

Instead I think that GM wants to equip its dealerships with the tools to kick butt. If that dealer is in a market where he needs to play in the work-truck space---he's covered.

GM's strategy is to keep pushing average transaction prices (ATP) higher. Most of their dealers want that, but some dealers don't have a big enough market to do it.

GM and Ford each compete with pickups by having three basic models

Work trucks, middle market, and Love Boats

@ Brick: why isn't Ford able to compete in Indy car?

Posted by: GMSRGREAT | Sep 16, 2018 11:22:37 PM

A better question is why isn’t Chevy able to ( competitively ) compete in NASCAR?

@ Brick: why isn't Ford able to compete in Indy car?
Posted by: GMSRGREAT | Sep 16, 2018 11:22:37 PM
A better question is why isn’t Chevy able to ( competitively ) compete in NASCAR?...Posted by: Brick | Sep 17, 2018 12:58:23 PM

Ahem. This is an article about RAM hybrid pickups, gents.

@ Brick: why isn't Ford able to compete in Indy car?
Posted by: GMSRGREAT | Sep 16, 2018 11:22:37 PM
A better question is why isn’t Chevy able to ( competitively ) compete in NASCAR?...Posted by: Brick | Sep 17, 2018 12:58:23 PM

Ahem. This is an article about RAM hybrid pickups, gents.

Posted by: papajim | Sep 17, 2018 2:21:44 PM
You better remember this when YOU fall off topic - ie - ranting about stock prices, Ford BOM etc etc in an article that makes no mention of anything related

If you cede to your own advice, you will be told to S.T.F.U.


Brick, you'd have been way ahead to simply yield to my criticism, or even a wee apology. Instead you puff up like you're somebody. You ain't.

I'm gonna make my comments the way I want to and you'll either like 'em or not. But it won't faze me either way, because frankly your comments don't impress me much.

There are a few commenters I respect on this site, you just ain't one of 'em. Is that hard to handle?


Since you completely dropped your argument and resorted to childish emotional retorts, you admitted you were wrong without saying so. We all see your true colors.

Trucks and cars with range extenders are not a dream. It is now a reality.

@ PapaJoke


And remember. You get no respect, because you’ve earned no respect.


There are a few commenters I respect on this site, you just ain't one of 'em.

Is that hard to handle?

You better remember this when YOU fall off topic .....

Posted by: Brick | Sep 17, 2018 5:00:26 PM

What a hypocrite you are. You are the very one who injects auto racing into the conversation whenever a Mustang or Ford GT wins a race or comparison (which isn't often). Good luck in the remaining races at IMSA. My money is on the vette.

My 2018 F-150 4x4 2.7 tt Supercrew with FX4 and running boards is 5112 pounds. So 212 pounds more gets me 4x4 and crew cab? 4x4 is usually 225 to 250 pounds itself. The same Ram crew in 4x4 and crew would likely be maybe 50 to 75 pounds, but lacks the power.

Sure the Hemi with this option will be available, but that steel block v-8 will push it to be 175 plus pounds heavier than my Ford. That is nose weight.

As far as mileage is concerned, I have averaged just over 20 mpg in the last 5,424.5 miles, of the trucks 6720.8 total miles. I shouldn't have reset it, but when I did was the start of a 50 mile trip of towing about 7,000 pounds. The current tank is showing 21 mpg.

The above miles per gallon are based on my Ford being 6 percent optimistic, per real world calculations, so at 94%.

Not bad considering it also towed a small single axle trailer loaded to 2600 plus pounds when we moved a one time drive of 35 miles, and the fact I live in a very hilly area. That is also on 87 octane. I tried 3/4 of a tank of non ethanol 89, no better, if anything, less mileage. I also wait almost a minute when the truck is cold to let it idle down to 900 rpm from a high of 1400 plus before dropping it in gears. This also includes about 10 trips out into my field to dump brush, @ less than 10 mpg while doing so.

@Papa Jim: a Big Horn is no stripper truck, that would be a Tradesman.

Just to get beyond all the claims that enthusiasts make about different engine types and brands, real world versus EPA estimates, because these vary wildly, trucks vary wildly in so far as configuration and use, I'm going to rank what the EPA estimates show below and everyone can take that for what it's worth.

I find the EPA estimate to be right on for my personal vehicle even though it's a highly-held belief that gas-powered, DI, turbo engines won't meet their ratings. I've personally had all but one or two of my 80 tank fulls of gas in my 2015 F150 with the 2.7L Ecoboost within the 19/26/22 city, highway, combined range of my truck with an average of 24.1; a low of 21.7; and a high of 26.5 but with about 90% of my tanks falling in that 23-25 range, but I do have a regular cab short bed and 3.31 gearing that weighs only 4190 pounds, and so that makes a huge difference in my opinion what configuration you have and how you use it. Below is how the new 3.6L eTorque stacks up against the competition. It stacks up really well, and falls just short of the top fuel miser for a gas engines in the segment and ties two other power trains for top power train when looking at 4WD models. Here is how they rank in their highest mpg form*:

1. F150 2.7L Ecoboost 20/26/22
2/3. (tie) F150 3.3L V6 20/25/22
2/3. (tie) Ram 1500 3.6 eTorque 20/25/22
4. F150 3.5L Ecoboost 18/25/21
5/6 (tie) GM 4.3L Ecotec3 18/24/20
5/6 (tie) Ram 3.6L V6 "Classic" 17/25/20

Top 4WDs is a three-way tie now that the new Penstar is out with the standard eTorque feature. That power train and the F150 with the 2.7L Ecoboost and the F150 with their base 3.3L V6 all come in exactly the same; as high as 19/24/21.

*If I were to rank all power trains in every listing done by the EPA it would get very complicated, as Ford has different ratings for different payload levels, and so what I did was list each power train only once. For example, if Ford's 2.7L standard duty was first place and the above 6500 payload version was technically third place, I did not list it a second time, and this is why Ford's 3.5L Ecoboost made the list, as it beats out GM's 4.3L V6 and Ram's 3.6L V6 that does not have eTorque (the version sold in the "Classic" Ram 1500 truck).

I think it's also noteworthy that now all three domestics have really lined up their V8s very closely rated to one another from an mpg standpoint. The main difference being that the F150 V8 is always mated to a ten speed and is not available in different variants with lower mpg ratings within the same configuration. What I mean by that is that GM will sell two versions of their 5.3L V8; one will be a carryover, still mated to the six speed, and this version will be sold in the lower trim levels. This version has been predicted by GM to get worse mpg in the new designed truck than the same power train did in previous truck, but is not the one listed below. Ram has also come to compete versus the Ford V8, but in the case of Ram, one has to opt for the optional 5.7L Hemi w/eTorque to get a power train that competes with the V8 from Ford and the more advanced V8 from GM. In the case of Ford, you always get the V8 mated to the same transmission and the same engineering. In other words, you don't have to pay more for their highest-engineered power train that is supposed to be more economical.

1/2 (tie) F150 V8 (all) - 17/23/19
1/2 (tie)GM 5.3 V8 w/DFM 8-speed - 17/23/19
2. Ram V8 w/eTorque - 17/22/19

One other point that is noteworthy. It is very likely once that GM finally comes out with their all-new 2.7L Tripower 4 cylinder gas, DI, turbo engine that will be standard in some, but not all trim levels and will not be available as an option in any trim level; it will be the new champ of gas-powered fuel economy in a half-ton truck. At least that's my opinion.

It is really hard to tell what is going on with GM's 5.3L Ecotec3 with eAssist. Supposedly, it became 50-state available in the 2018 MY; it's mpg rating is the highest of all V8s, but just like almost anything GM comes out with that is not ancient power train engineering, they don't allow it in the lower trims or in less than one of the biggest and most expensive configurations. So in the case of this power train, at the build site, you can configure it as a crew cab and LT trim at a minimum and the price comes in as low as $44K. Keep in mind that a minimum-priced Silverado is around $29K and also keep in mind that someone can get a F150 with a 2.7L Ecoboost for around $30K and even a 3.5L Ecoboost for less than $35K, because Ford does not limit power trains much at all by trim level or configuration except for the new diesel.

Also, when GM spokespersons came out and talked about the 2019 truck; they said they'd be six power trains available. There is the carry over 5.3 and carry over 4.3; that's two. There is the 5.3L with the new DFM mated to an 8-speed; that's three. There is the 6.2L mated to a 10 speed available only in the "high feature" trim levels; that's four; there is the new diesel mated to the ten speed; that's five; and there is the new 2.7L 4 cylinder, DI turbo Tripower. That's six. This makes me believe that the Ecotec3 with eAssist is going to be phased out of their lineup, and it never really got started as far as I can ascertain as a power train that got any uptake in the market.

Tow rating for 2019 v6 etorq 3.21 rear end ballpark 6500 lbs...
Tow rating for 2018 v6 3.21 rear end ballpark 4500 lbs...
This gives a significant jump in capability for people who may want to have mild tow capability (boat /rev) and maximum fuel economy in a full size “do everything” daily driver... and hopefully no massive repair bills like when a turbo ships the bed...

electric vehicles are the future of transportation .I have Suggestion to smooth torque issues

electric vehicles are the future of transportation.I have Suggestion to smooth torque issues...Posted by: scott gaynor | Feb 16, 2019

@Scott G

You are correct. The EV is the future of transportation (the DISTANT FUTURE)

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