Is Ram Working on a New Turbo Pentastar V6? When Will Toyota Update Their Engine Lineup?
A recent report in AutoNews.com says Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles is looking to add turbocharging and direct injection to its Pentastar V6 engine. If this comes to fruition, it would seemingly improve the fuel economy of the engine and is a direct response to the new “highest EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings of any full-size gasoline pickup” claims of Ford’s new 2.7L EcoBoost. The race for best half-ton fuel economy supremacy is getting incredibly competitive.
For years, the V6 motor had long been the bastard stepchild of engine offerings in full-size trucks. The market and demand was simply dominated by the larger V8. This larger displacement engine had been seen as the only true truck motor with its massive towing prowess. Yet, the market seems to be changing. More and more pickups are being sold with smaller engines. These trucks are largely driven empty and only occasionally tow. As reported in Motor Trend, a recent Maritz market research study concurs with these statements. The authors polled new vehicle customers and found 67 percent of them don’t tow anything.
What does this mean for truck makers? The past marketing messages of best in class towing and payload aren’t as important as they used to be. It seems now more than ever, offering the best fuel economy is priority number one.
Ram’s Pentastar V6 Needs Improvement?
While truck makers are always looking to improve their products, the need has to be there. Meaning, there needs to be a sizable gap between what is in the marketplace and what the company offers.
In Ram’s case, the Pentastar V6 equipped 1500 greatest competitor is arguably the new Ford F-150 with the 2.7L EcoBoost engine. The disparity though, isn’t that great. The Ram 1500 V6 is rated at 17 city and 25 highway. This is just off of the F-150 at 19 city and 26 highway.
Of course, Ram further counters fuel economy claims by bringing up their EcoDiesel. And they are smart to do so with 20 city and 28 highway. The truth is the EcoDiesel has set a new benchmark and has surprised most everyone including Ram. They now sell one diesel for every five pickups across their entire truck lineup.
Ford Fires Back at Diesel
Naturally, Ford is fighting back at the diesel fuel economy claims. They point out the new 2.7L EcoBoost is a much lower upcharge. “For instance, the $495 option on the Ford is significantly less than the $4,470 3.0-liter Ram EcoDiesel option,” according to a press release. Ford rightfully insists this upcharge makes a difference and should be factored into who has the most fuel efficient truck.
Also, helping Ford’s argument is the recent downward trend of fuel prices. Taking the following prices into consideration of $1.99 a gallon for gasoline and $3.39 for diesel, a diesel truck owner will spend an extra $44.80 to fill up a 32 gallon fuel tank. This means a diesel owner spends $1.40 more per mile driving the truck.
For Ford buyers, spending less at the pump means the return on investment of the EcoBoost upcharge happens much more rapidly.
For consumers buying a new truck, there is a lot to consider. Both Ford and Ram make great points and each argument can be countered. For example, Ram says EcoDiesel owners will get a much better resale value when selling their truck. Ford counters by saying these customers won’t realize the fuel economy savings with dropping fuel prices and the average light-duty ownership being only 7 to 8 years according to Maritz research.
Also, there is the problem with comparing EPA testing numbers. Over the past few years, most consumers have become aware of disparities between the EPA numbers and real-world fuel economy. This has become such an issue that many large publications do their own testing.
What About Toyota?
All this news is interesting for Ram and Ford fans, but what about Toyota? While we have heard rumors and there have been small stories about Toyota offering small displacement turbo engines, nothing is official. Nor has news of a new diesel offering been announced. The stalwart 5.7L V8 has been a great engine for the truck maker, yet many are getting a bit restless for something new.
Will we see a new engine offering in 2015? Maybe. We know the new Tacoma will be at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show and this leaves the Chicago Auto Show as an interesting possibility for Toyota to announce something Tundra related. Historically, all Tundra announcements have been at the Chicago Auto Show.
What do you think? Can Toyota continue to sit on the sidelines or is it time to jump into either the diesel or small-displacement turbo engine arena?
Filed Under: Tundra News