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Dodge Delivers New Ram 1500, adds V-6 option.

Lighter and as much as 20% more fuel-efficient.

by on Apr.06, 2012

Ram boss Fred Diaz with the new 1500 pickup.

There’s plenty of talk about small cars at the New York Auto Show, this week, no surprise considering fuel prices are rapidly approaching record levels. But Chrysler’s Ram division is betting even truckers want some good news on the fuel front – and is offering a new option with the new Ram 1500 pickup.

The maker pulled the wraps off a truck that is not only lighter but also will offer a new V-6 powertrain option that could boost fuel economy by as much as 20% over the pickup’s previous base engine.

All the Previews You Need!

The Ram 1500 unveiled at New York’s Jacob Javits Convention Center did not undergo the sort of dramatic styling changes of some previous generations.  But while it might look familiar that doesn’t mean the Chrysler brand simply stuck to the old formula.

Weight, the automotive mantra goes, is the enemy of efficiency.  So, by shifting to such things as an aluminum hood and control arms, lighter bumpers, a new bed design and other tricks, Ram was able to shave about 147 pounds off the weight of the new Ram 1500 V-6 model.

The V-8 versions also went on a diet but didn’t lost quite as much weight.

But the news likely to get the attention of budget-minded buyers is the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 that makes 305 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque.  In the never-ending battle for numerical leadership, Ram officials emphasized they’ve got a 3 hp lead over Ford’s 3.7-liter V-6.

But the new Ram 1500’s 5.7-liter V-8 also gets a boost, horsepower jumping from 395 to 407 with the 2013 model.

Then there’s mileage – which can have a big impact on the budget of a work truck owner.  Estimates suggest the new Pentastar engine will see as much as a 20% jump – which should translate into 17 City, 24 Highway, though the EPA hasn’t issued its formal numbers yet.

Significantly, with the introduction of a new, beltless electric power steering system and a new 8-speed automatic, Ram also will get about 20% better mileage with the V-8.

It remains to be seen how Ram 1500 buyers will embrace the V-6, but Ram can turn to rival Ford for guidance. That maker has now seen the two V-6 offerings in its F-Series line-up account for more than half the sales of the big pickup for the last 11 months in a row.

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