Auto blogWed, 19 Nov 2014 21:00:00 EST
Offering a diesel engine in an American pickup is anything but new - Ford, General Motors and Chrysler all offer excellent and almost impossibly powerful oil-burning engines in their various fullsize trucks. What is new and novel about the 3.0L EcoDiesel, though, is its size, and the variety of vehicles that use it. It's the smallest engine, as far as displacement is concerned, currently offered in a large truck in the US, and, for 2014 and 2015, it is available in the Ram 1500 and the Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Though it may be small, it's got muscle. While 240 horsepower isn't particularly impressive these days, the engine's 420 pound-feet of torque more than makes up for that. The torque rating is even greater force than even the big 5.7-liter Hemi can muster. Chrysler's well-regarded eight-speed automatic transmission makes the most of all that bull-headed pulling power in both the Ram and Grand Cherokee. Chrysler claims the Ram EcoDiesel 1500 can tow as much as 9,200 pounds when properly equipped, which makes it "90-percent of the Hemi with a night and day difference in fuel economy."
Make no mistake; it's that promise of a sizable fuel economy improvement that many long-haul truckers will be most interested in. In the Ram 1500 that we tested for our Tech of the Year competition, the diesel engine costs $2,850 more than the gas-fed V8, and Ram estimates that EcoDiesel buyers will pay off their investment when compared to the Hemi engine in less than three years, which is considerably less time than the 4.5 or so years the average buyer will keep his or her fullsize pickup. The more you drive, the more you'll save, and the math proves equally as effective in the Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Need a cargo van, but nothing too big? Fiat Chrysler Automobiles could have the answer in the form of its new Ram ProMaster City. Essentially a domesticated version of the Fiat Doblo, the ProMaster City joins the Ram family as the baby brother to the larger ProMaster (née Fiat Ducato). But if you've been wondering how much one will set you back, Auburn Hills has now announced pricing.
The 2015 Ram ProMaster City Tradesman Cargo starts things off with a $23,130 MSRP, plus a $995 destination charge. Upgrade to the Tradesman SLT Cargo and you'll be looking at $24,655, while the passenger-oriented Wagon and Wagon SLT start at $24,130 and $25,655 respectively (again, plus $995).
The base delivered price of $24,125 makes the new Ram ProMaster City more expensive than its competition, with the Nissan NV200 the cheapest in the segment at $21,605, the Chevy City Express starting at $22,950 and the Ford Transit Connect starting at $23,125 (all prices including destination fees).
If you've been waiting for Chrysler to shoehorn its new Hellcat engine into the Ram 1500 pickup, you may be waiting a while. Our compatriots at Car and Driver spoke to Ram CEO Bob Hegbloom about the prospect of a Hellcat pickup, and his answer was less than promising: "At this time, I would say no."
That doesn't mean it'll never happen, but does suggest that such a project is not currently in the cards. Which is a bit of a shame, considering how the last Mopar muscle truck turned out. The Dodge Ram SRT-10 was powered by essentially the same V10 engine as the Viper, channeled (in the short-cab version anyway) to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual. The supercharged, 707-horsepower Hellcat engine now available in the Challenger coupe and Charger sedan is even more powerful, and would make one heck of a performance truck - the kind that, long-travel suspension aside, might make some enthusiasts forget all about the Ford F-150 SVT Raptor.
In the meantime, we're still holding out hope that the Trackhawk name registered by Chrysler recently will point the way towards a Hellcat-powered Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT. Where would you most like to see the Hellcat engine pop up next?
It seems like auto buyers throughout the whole world outside of the United States and Canada have a plethora of small pickups to choose from to fit their needs. In fact, there's one just south of the border that might be perfect for many American consumers - the 2015 Ram 700.
The little, front-wheel-drive pickup is a badge-engineered version of the Fiat Strada, which is also sold in Mexico. The powertrain is limited to a 1.6-liter four-cylinder making 115 horsepower and 119 pound-feet of torque with a five-speed manual gearbox. However, buyers can choose between either a two-door, two-passenger body or a three-door, four-person version (pictured above and right) that's also available with a locking front differential. While the 700 isn't big, the two-door version still offers a cargo capacity of up to 1,554 pounds, and opting for the three-door still allows for 1,433 pounds of goods.
Prices for these little trucks aren't bad either. The two-door is priced at 182,900 Mexican pesos ($13,576 at current rates), while 241,900 pesos ($17,955) gets customers the three-door.
Mopar is heading to the SEMA show in Las Vegas with a fleet of customized vehicles that appeal to enthusiasts of all stripes. There's a Dodge Viper ACR concept that follows in the lineage of the supercar's great road racing past, and a custom Ram ProMaster that might just be the ultimate outdoor party machine.
We got an inside look at Mopar's cars that will be on display at the show, which also include a Dodge Challenger T/A concept, two crazy Jeeps and a Ram 2500 Outdoorsman that could change the way you camp. While these are some of our favorites, Mopar is bringing plenty to SEMA, so let us know your top choices in the comments section.
Between GM's ignition switches and Takata's airbags, it's been a big year for recalls, but they keep rolling in. The latest comes from Chrysler, which has announced a pair of recalls for certain heavy-duty pickups and SUVs.
The first issue revolves around the 6.7-liter Cummins diesel engine available in the 2010-2014 Ram HD trucks, including 2500 and 3500 series pickups as well as 4500 and 5500 series chassis cabs. In the affected units, "a terminal connector near the fuel heater may be subject to friction-induced corrosion," according to the first of the two announcements from Chrysler below.
The problem could result in overheating and fuel leakage. Chrysler launched its investigation following cases of overheating, none of which actually started a fire, much less an injury or accident. As a precautionary measure, however, Chrysler is instructing service technicians to replace the terminals on an estimated 381,876 Ram units around the world - the vast majority of those (314,704) registered in the US, another 59,432 in Canada, 1,803 in Mexico and 5,937 abroad.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has announced that it's looking into Chrysler Group's handling of a pair of recalls affecting roughly one million Ram pickup trucks. Reuters is reporting that the regulatory agency is focusing on the availability (or lack thereof) of parts and "poor communications" from the automaker in its investigation.
"Customers have been advised in accordance with the regulations governing recalls," Chrysler spokesman Eric Mayne told Reuters via email. "We are continually replenishing our supply of replacement parts. Chrysler Group regrets any inconvenience our customers may have experienced."
NHTSA disagrees, arguing that the recalls, which affect 972,000 trucks from 2003 to 2012, are being delayed by the lack of parts.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles already previewed its 2014 SEMA show lineup with some slick renders. Now, the automaker has finally showed us the actual cars, and among the group there are definitely some that stand out more than others.
Dodge is really showing off its muscle at this year's show with four concepts that all pump up the power of the brand's models. Perhaps most interesting among them is the Challenger T/A Concept (pictured above) in striking Sublime Green and matte black. It's meant to resemble the classic Trans Am racer from the '70s. Under the hood is a 6.4-liter V8, and to fit the vintage style there's a pistol-grip gearshift inside.
The Charger R/T also gets some attention with the Mopar concept that shows off what FCA's aftermarket performance arm can do. Mods include an updated body kit, cold-air intake for the 5.7-liter V8 and a coil-over suspension kit. Beyond that, the Dart R/T Concept looks a lot meaner with a black hood with duct work that leads straight to the air intake. The rest of the compact sedan is dolled up in O-So-Orange paint and is fitted with upgrades to improve handling like a coil-over suspension and big brake kit from the Mopar catalog.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is hauling a multitude of modified models to the annual SEMA show in Las Vegas this November, and the company is releasing the first teasing sketches of many of them.
Unfortunately, FCA isn't giving many solid details on any of the concepts other than saying the vehicles from Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram and Fiat all benefit from tuning from its Mopar performance brand. The teaser photos include a sinister-looking Chrysler 200S, Fiat 500 Abarth with two-tone paint and a scorpion on the hood, a red and black 500L, seemingly two different takes on the Jeep Renegade, a green Dodge Challenger wearing the T/A badge, an orange and black Dart, a very neon Charger, just the outline of a red and black Viper, a Ram ProMaster in Mopar livery and a Ram pickup called the Outdoorsman.
Take a look through the gallery to see what you think of the sketches for these concepts, and scroll down for the full announcement from FCA.
Ram has announced that it will be recalling over 43,000 vehicles as part of a pair of campaigns targeting its two main cargo haulers, the ProMaster and C/V Tradesman.
In the case of its newer offering, the 2014 ProMaster, 21,470 vehicles are being recalled so that Ram dealers can replace the head restraints. The current restraints apparently leave too large of a gap between it and the occupant's head. Of the over 21,000 vans being recalled, nearly 19,000 are in the United States while the remaining 2,500 are in the barren tundra we call Canada.
For the old C/V Tradesman, meanwhile, its recall has been prompted by an investigation into the side-curtain and thorax airbag sensors. It was found that on vehicles lacking rear climate and audio systems in the back, a gap where these components should be could "generate a resonance" that could affect the sensors' operations. 22,115 vehicles are affected, covering model years 2013 through 2015. As with the ProMaster, the vast majority of vehicles are found in the United States, while just under 4,000 are in Canada.