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Ram Hemi 4×4: +2 mpg

Hemi engine with ZF HP8 8-speed transmission

The U.S. government has released fuel economy data for the Ram 1500 4×4 with the eight-speed automatic and Hemi V8 engine, presenting a more complete picture of the 2013 Ram’s fuel economy.

Drivetrain Hemi V6 4.7
6 speed RWD 14/20 n/a 14/20
8 speed RWD ? 17/25 n/a
6 speed 4×4 13/19 n/a 14/19
8 speed 4×4 15/21 16/23 n/a

A high-efficiency V6 Ram (not shown in the chart) easily trumps Ford’s turbocharged V6 models, achieving 18 mpg city, 25 highway. The base V6, though, is nearly as efficient, with 17 mpg city, 25 highway. (Real life usage is likely to show more of a difference.)

The Hemi achieves roughly the same mileage as the 4.7 V8, but provides much more power; one may credit the cylinder shutoff feature for some of that. Rumor has the 4.7 finally ceasing production this year.

The eight-speed is good for two miles per gallon in the one configuration where one may directly compare it with the six-speed, putting it much closer to the V6. One can project that rear-wheel-drive setups (which are lighter and lower) with the eight speed and Hemi should be capable of around 16 city, 22 highway.

The two transmissions are both based on similar planetary gear setups, albeit with another planetary gear in the eight-speed, but the new Torqueflite 8 has a much faster torque converter lock, extremely fast shifts, and many other features to reduce friction and power loss. It also has a much wider range than the older six-speed, which helps highway mileage and allows for more economical axle ratios.

While no official figures have been released yet, test drivers have said that the eight speed feels “much, much faster” than the six speed. Switching from a five speed Mercedes automatic to the new eight speed in Chrysler’s large cars, with the V6 engine, dropped 0-60 times from around 8.7 to around 6.6 seconds, a dramatic improvement; the difference in Ram acceleration is likely to be less noticeable. (Thanks to Allpar member mentalicca.)

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