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Next Ram to get new Pentastar, automatic

by David Zatz on

In years past, Chrysler would usually take a changed engine design and use it across the board as soon as it was tested. More recently, it seems that they are phasing in changes as cars go into new generations, possibly to avoid  the expense of recertification.

PSU - PUG engine

Thus, the new “PSU” (PentaStar Upgrade) V6, which debuted this year in the popular Jeep Grand Cherokee, will likely not appear in the Ram 1500 until the next generation arrives — according to the investor chart, in 2018.

When it does show up, it will be coupled to the second-generation eight-speed with 500 Nm of capacity (368 lb-ft). The V8 and diesel will re-appear, hooked up to a ZF-made 750 Nm-rated second-generation automatic (553 lb-ft). These automatics have numerous changes, including a wider range.

The next car after the Grand Cherokee and Durango to get the new Pentastar is an open question. In theory, the 3.2 could be dropped and the new 3.6 used in the Cherokee.

The Pentastar changes play to its strengths. The V6’s low-end torque allows the engine controller to keep it at absurdly low revolutions most of the time, with a 600 rpm or so idle speed, but the automatics it’s connected to (except in Wrangler) have quick multi-gear downshifts for more responsiveness.  The PSU has more low-end torque, for faster response from idle or cruising speed, and lower parasitic losses, increasing gas mileage. Peak horsepower rose slightly in the Grand Cherokee, but real world performance should feel better than a mere five horsepower would suggest.

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