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Ram’s Pentastar makes Ward’s Ten Best Engines list

by Bill Cawthon on

Pentastar-Wards-WebChalk up another win for Ram and the Pentastar V-6 engine. The 3.6-liter powerplant installed in the Ram 1500 pickup has been named to the 2013 Ward’s 10 Best Engines list. This makes three consecutive years for the Chrysler V-6 and the first time since 2009 that an engine in a full-size pickup made the grade. Incidentally, the 2009 winner was the Ram with the 5.7-liter HEMI winning its sixth award in seven years.

“The supremely smooth Pentastar has impressed us in muscle cars, SUVs, CUVs, minivans and luxury sedans, and now it turns in another stellar performance in the fullsize Ram pickup.” wrote the WardsAuto editors.

Despite the Ram’s two-and-a-half tons, the WardsAuto editors said, “..the Pentastar summons a boatload of low-end torque and can tow 6,000 lbs. (2,271 kg), all the while sounding burly and confident and delivering best-in-class fuel economy.”

Ward’s also called out the new thermal management system that brings engine and transmission fluids to operating temperature more quickly, which cuts down parasitic losses and improves fuel efficiency 1.7%.

Noteworthy this year is the fact that all the 2013 winners are internal combustion engines: there are no electric vehicles; hybrids or diesels on the the list.

Ten WardsAuto editors selected the winners after evaluating 40 new or significantly upgraded engines in daily driving in the Detroit metropolitan area from October to early this month. To be considered, the engines must be offered in regular-production, U.S.-spec vehicles with base prices below $55,000 that are or will be offered for public sale no later than the first quarter of 2013.

Engines were rated on power, technology, observed fuel economy, relative competitiveness and noise, vibration harshness characteristics. Since the goal is to get real-world experience with the engines, there is no instrumented testing.

This year’s winners:

  • 3.6L Pentastar DOHC V-6 (Ram 1500)
  • 3.0L TFSI Supercharged DOHC V-6 (Audi S5)
  • 2.0L N20 Turbocharged DOHC I-4 (BMW 328i)
  • 3.0L N55 Turbocharged DOHC I-6 (BMW 135is coupe)
  • 2.0L EcoBoost DOHC I-4 (Ford Focus ST/Taurus)
  • 5.8L Supercharged DOHC V-8 (Ford Shelby GT500)
  • 2.0L Turbocharged DOHC I-4 (Cadillac ATS)
  • 2.4L DOHC I-4 (Honda Accord Sport)
  • 3.5L SOHC V-6 (Honda Accord)
  • 2.0L FA DOHC H-4 Boxer (Subaru BRZ)

Read the entire WardsAuto articleLearn more about the Pentastar engine

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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