Ram beats Ford, GM V6 towing; diesel towing

2013 Ram 1500

The 2014 Ram 1500 now leads normally-aspirated V-6 pickup towing capacity at 7,450 lbs. The best-in-class number was achieved fairly simply — by adding a “more robust parking gear” (most likely a stronger pawl) to the eight-speed “TorqueFlite 8” transmission.  Mike Cairns, Ram Truck Chief Engineer, wrote, “There was more towing capacity in the V-6 Ram 1500 but we needed to upgrade the transmission to hold the truck and trailer when parked on steep grades. Now that we’re building the transmissions ourselves, the improvements are included in the new assembly.”

Ram also finalized towing numbers for the exclusive Ram 1500 EcoDiesel. In a 2WD, two-door, long bed configuration, the new EcoDiesel will tow up to 9,200 lbs. The new diesel engine approaches V-8 towing capability with a small but powerful 3.0-liter V-6, and best-in-class fuel efficiency of “better than 25 MPG” on the highway. The gasoline V6 achieves 17/25 mpg in standard trim and 18/25 with a high-efficiency model.

Ford, the sales leader, claims a peak tow rating of 6,700 pounds with the 3.7 V6, but up to 11,300 pounds with the 3.5 liter turbocharged engine, and up to 10,000 pounds with the V8 (for conventional, non-fifth-wheel towing).  The 2013 Ram 1500 with eight speed and V8 had a tow rating of 11,500 pounds.

Tow ratings can be somewhat misleading, because each manufacturer calculates them differently. All four major pickup makers were to use SAE standards, but after Ford reneged on the deal, GM and Ram dropped their commitments as well.

In addition to having class-leading naturally aspirated V6 tow ratings, Ram has the highest gas mileage ratings. The VM diesel option is expected to have fuel mileage similar to the V6, with less horsepower but more torque than even the Hemi V8. In our test drive, we found the Grand Cherokee with the diesel to be surprisingly responsive at all engine speeds, while the V6-eight speed Ram was responsive but with more of a delay as the transmission downshifted to get the engine into its power band. In sprints, the V6 option should be faster than the diesel, but in highway passing, the diesel may have an edge; regardless, for those who frequently tow or carry heavy loads, particularly on steep grades, the diesel’s readily available torque will be a major advantage.

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Ram leading in van growth

With a nearly 47% year-over-year increase as of the end of September, Ram leads the market in commercial van sales.

Nine months into 2016, Ram has sold 39,214 ProMasters — 26,544 full-size ProMasters and 12,649 compact ProMaster Citys.

In September, monthly sales of Chevrolet and Ford vans fell, while Ram van deliveries were up more than 10%. The big ProMaster outsold every full-size van that didn’t wear a blue oval or a bow tie.

Read the full story: Ram leading in van growth  »

What’s behind the 2017 diesel delays?

2017 Ram and Jeep diesels are reportedly being delayed — but the same is true of diesel engines from nearly all automakers, as the EPA rushes to crack down on diesel emissions cheats.

So far, according to Automotive News’ groundbreaking report, only Jaguar and BMW have been given permission to sell diesels in the US. Others have to wait, pending testing clearance, thanks to Audi-Volkswagen cheats.

Read the full story: What’s behind the 2017 diesel delays?  »

Canadians get cheaper Pacificas

2017 Chrysler Pacifica minivans

Chrysler Canada is now selling a complete line of Pacifica minivans in Canada, with the base LX and Touring models added to Touring-L, Touring-L Plus, and Limited.

All 2017 Chrysler Pacificas are made in Canada at the award-winning Windsor Assembly Plant; the plant built 70% of all full-size minivans sold in Canada last year (including Caravan and Town & Country).

The LX lists for C$37,995,

Read the full story: Canadians get cheaper Pacificas  »

Ram Commercial’s relaunch

ram commercial video

Ram’s “Ram Commercial” division made its full public debut yesterday with a multidimensional ad campaign, four years after being established.

The campaign covers television, print, digital, video and social media. The first ad, “Time,” showed up on yesterday’s NFL game, showing the “surprise and delight” of small businesses with Ram vans. Print ads will appear in magazines including Forbes, Professional Builder, and Remodeling.

Read the full story: Ram Commercial’s relaunch  »

What do you think of the “Chief” blue? (updated)

Jeep is set to launch a new color, “Chief,” according to James Mooney — who backed up his assertion with an image from the Jeep brochure available on-line.

The color hasn’t hit the Build & Price system yet. It seems to hearken back to the popular bright blues of the 1970s and 1990s; we have also  seen a 1920s Chrysler in a slightly more aquamarine, but still factory,

Read the full story: What do you think of the “Chief” blue? (updated)  »

Ram leading in van growth

What’s behind the 2017 diesel delays?
2017 Chrysler Pacifica minivans
Canadians get cheaper Pacificas
ram commercial video
Ram Commercial’s relaunch

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