By on August 24, 2018

2019 Ram 1500 eTorque

If the pithy sub-title to this review sounds familiar, give yourself a pat on the back. Or an extra carrot during feeding time. “Fresh horses” is a term deployed to describe steeds that riders substitute in place of the exhausted horses that grew tired during a long ride.

When Ram introduced its new 1500 pickup back in April, it was clear to all that the company shovelled many cubic acres of cash into revamping its exterior, chassis components, and interior. Lighter, sleeker, and more luxurious, about the only thing missing at launch were tweaks to the venerable Hemi V8 – an apparent lack of fresh horses, right?

The company promised tweaks in the form of a forthcoming mild hybrid system appended to both the truck’s V6 and V8 engines. Now, those fresh horses are here and we had a chance to let them run.

Fair warning: there will be ample technical detail in addition to driving impressions. Those who are solely interested in the butt dyno can skip to that section, located towards the end of this review. I appreciate your enthusiasm. Thanks for clicking.

Now we’ve gotten rid of those losers, let’s jump into the meat of this mild hybrid system as it pertains to the 2019 Ram 1500. Marketed under the eTorque banner, a key intention is to deliver gains in fuel economy. As an aside, they should have given it a more “truckified” name like PowerWatt or VoltMax or Continuity Drive. I hear Flux Capacitor was already taken.

2019 Ram 1500 eTorque

Anyway, the eTorque system comprises a belt-driven motor generator unit with a 48-volt battery pack. Chief amongst its responsibilities is to enable a quick and seamless start/stop function, allowing the mechanical starter to rest until the next ignition cycle. It also provides a short-duration torque addition to the engine crankshaft in certain driving situations, a trait which smooths out power delivery. The unit also handles brake energy regeneration duties, said to improve system responsiveness and efficiency.

The 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 is now available only with eTorque, while it appears as a $1,450 option on the 5.7-liter Hemi V8.

2019 Ram 1500 eTorque

2019 Ram 1500 eTorque

The underhood bits of the electrified system are surprisingly different depending if it is lashed to the six- (305 hp/289 lb-ft) or mighty eight-cylinder (395 hp/410 lb-ft) engine. The Pentastar eTorque unit is liquid cooled and mounted on the front of the engine. The Hemi eTorque unit is a Marelli system, air cooled and mounted toward the top of the engine in the traditional alternator location. Think of them as fraternal brothers: same parents, similar dispositions, completely different looks.

2019 Ram 1500 eTorque

Both eTorque motor generator units employ a pair of belt tensioners to keep the 8-rib drive belt tight when the unit is generating electricity or adding torque to the crankshaft. Keen-eyed readers will note the Hemi engine has separate belts for the water pump and eTorque system.

No matter the number of cylinders, the belt-driven motor generator unit replaces the traditional alternator. With the gas-powered engine running, this unit feeds 48-volt current to a 430 watt-hour lithium-ion Nickel Manganese Cobalt (NMC)-Graphite battery. The battery pack includes a 3-kilowatt DC-to-DC converter to maintain the battery’s state of charge and convert 48 volts to 12 volts to power the Ram 1500’s accessories and charge its conventional 12-volt lead-acid battery.

2019 Ram 1500 eTorque

This 48-volt battery is about the size of a carry-on suitcase and resides in the truck, mounted vertically to the cab’s back wall on the driver’s side. Absent of removing seats, carpet, and a copious amount of trim, one would not know it is there. The case is insulated to dampen noise from the dual cooling fans. Cooling air is drawn from inside the truck and vented via the built-in cabin exhausters. Everything – underhood bits, new battery, the works of it – apparently add about 90 pounds to the truck.

Driving impressions? Well, for starters, the stated additional torque numbers (up to 90 lb-ft for the V6 unit and 130 lb-ft for the V8) cannot simply be added to existing torque ratings. Rather, those numbers are potential launch torque additions, extra units of twist available very early in the rev range. There are a gazillion variables (ambient air temperature is one) at play, so it is also incorrect to broadly state each engine receives that much extra torque off the line.

2019 Ram 1500 eTorque

However, the eTorque does contribute to a feeling of more oomph when accelerating from rest. A drive in an V8 eTorque Ram proved the unit’s worth during start/stop instances, where the engine alit in jig time compared to other systems I experienced.

Helping the transition is a brake pedal sending signals from an incremental-type switch, rather than an on/off-style switch. Mike Raymond, Chief Engineer for Ram 1500, said this allows the truck to know when the driver is starting to release the brake pedal, signalling eTorque to get on the go and prepare for internal combustion. The start/stop is defeatable via a handy button mounted near the 4×4 controls.

2019 Ram 1500 eTorque

On the road, the eTorque system in a truck with standard rear end gears offered more kick-in-the-pants under initial acceleration compared to a standard Hemi, an engine with whose power delivery I am endlessly familiar. This alertness is a bonus, considering the eTorque could’ve solely been a fuel economy play.

Ram expects a two or three mpg bump in fuel efficiency on the V6 (final EPA numbers aren’t in yet). The feds have rated the Hemi, though, to the tune of +2 mpg city and +2 mpg combined when compared to the non-electrified V8. Your author averaged an indicated 20.2 mpg on a two-hour drive over mixed surfaces. Diesel? Don’t expect that until at least next year. Math nerds will note spending $1,450 to get a 2 mpg gain will take seven years to pay for itself, assuming 15,000 miles of annual driving at an average fuel price of $3/gallon.

2019 Ram 1500 eTorque

Hitching a V8-equipped Laramie Longhorn to a 6,000-pound horse trailer amplified the eTorque’s eagerness to shove the Ram off from a standing start with increased vigor. Prodding the throttle from rest elicited an initial briskness not found in the standard Hemi but the extra huff disappeared once up to speed.

Here’s another takeaway: what else will FCA do with this technology? And where else will it appear? A Ram exec said the system is not intended to provide more juice to, for example, line the bed with multiple 110V outlets (there are two in the cab and one in the RamBox already) but imagination dictates one could, just maybe, deploy electric power-adders. As for eTorque’s application elsewhere, there’s nothing stopping FCA from installing it on anything that’s powered by a Pentastar or 5.7L Hemi. Those in the know say that course of action is all but assured.

Fresh horses, then? Well, fresher, at least. It’s not an all-new powerplant, but an eTorque equipped Ram definitely makes better use of the existing engine’s available ponies. Like real-life fresh horses, the driver is provided a smoother and more energetic ride. The Ram’s bonus is that these steeds will also eat fewer oats.

2019 Ram 1500 eTorque

[Images: Matthew Guy/TTAC]

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101 Comments on “2019 Ram 1500 eTorque First Drive – Fresh Horses...”


  • avatar

    I respect what FCA is trying to do here, especially since they likely can’t pay for a new engines.

    However, these systems both strike me as huge hacks, particularly the air-cooled variant with that looong belt on the Hemi.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    F150 and, especially, Guangzhou-Guadalajara Motors (GM) have a big problem on their hands –

    This RAM, in all its trims and iterations, is the best looking, inside and out, highest quality, most solid, absolutely perfect pickup truck, and is going to steal significant market share and unit sales from Ford, and especially, Chicom Silverado/Sierra.

    Look at this perfect balance of mature, restrained, clean design, inside and out, with great materials.

    NO BRODOZER BS. NO DRIPPING WITH PLASTICHROME (GM).

    I’m not the traditional pickup truck buyer, but the new RAM Rebel is something that actually has me anticipating like few other vehicles do.

    GRAND SLAM RAM!

    *This pickup is more proof that RAM is run by real, honest to goodness product people, who sweat the big and small details, and actively solicit feedback from consumers, in addition to dealers.

    ASEEMBLED IN THE USA OF 76% OR BETTER USA-FAVRICATED PARTS!!!

    BOOM! SUCK IT CHREVY CHINERADO/GMC CHIERRA!!!

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      “highest quality”

      That would be a first considering the fact that Ram trucks tend to get the worse durability ratings from JD Power, Consumer Reports, Vincentric etc.

      I hope this system works better in the cold than their air ride system.

    • 0 avatar
      seabasstin

      Not to randomly contradict you but.
      Like the others you cited it IS A BRODOZER.
      In fact all trucks on the market currently except for Nissan frontier/Honda Ridgeline and maybe base level colorado/ranger are brodozers.
      Until we get non offensive REAL light trucks and UTS we only have garbage on the market. Real Stupid, useless garbage. 20mpg? What the hell is that? Seriously what the hell. American market trucks have been and continue to be an just an offensive joke satisfying the show of needs of bros while ignoring the real needs of the many.
      Until they change their ways, ford transit connect/sprinter/promaster etc are the only serious work/practical vehicles worth considering.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        So, every car that isn’t a Versa S is a show-off image mobile? Oh, wait, broad assumptions based on personal bias only apply to vehicles you dislike.

        • 0 avatar
          weekit

          I remember a while ago you called a 4runner an ego-mobile.

          Now you make a reply like this. Are you a troll?

        • 0 avatar
          HotPotato

          Where did he say anything about a Versa S? He pointed out that American pickups seem optimized for showing off rather than work and there are more practical, useful, economical choices for a work vehicle. A strongly stated opinion but not wrong (unless your work involves towing).

      • 0 avatar
        Lockstops
      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        @Seabasstin – Has it ever occurred to you, a lot of us wanted the trucks you mentioned to work out for us?

        But they suck. They’re overpriced and underdeliver, provide poor value and non impressive fuel economy with very limited features, options/packages and capacity.

        Vans are great for a very narrow set of trades and uses. They’re either for cargo or passengers. Choose carefully.

        • 0 avatar
          OzCop

          Don’t like them, don’t buy them. Why knock them if you have no intentions of buying them? I DO buy them, and have had very good luck from Ram, Dodge, and other Chrysler products. Didn’t your mom ever tell you that if you have noting good to say, don’t say anything?

          I get it that some people have a particular dislike for certain cars and trucks, among other items, but what is the point of tearing them apart in a forum such as this, where some of us do indeed buy and currently own a particular brand? Have you ever changed anyone’s mind about their particular purchase?

          If a person buys something and then they regret it due to issues with a particular brand, I have no problem with them blowing it up over social media…that’s an expected reaction. Purely speculating that a particular vehicle is a piece of junk is a different animal…

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        “satisfying the show of needs of bros while ignoring the real needs of the many.”
        A laymen i.e. someone not into trucks won’t be able to tell the difference between a Limited and XLT driving past on the morning commute. A Lariat can do the same work as an XL.
        No one really needs any vehicle unless it is actually used to put food on the table. People want mid to high end trim pickups and as long as people buy them, car companies will make them.

      • 0 avatar
        John Nunya

        LOL you called the Honda Ridgline a truck.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      End of discussion. The Great One has spoken.

    • 0 avatar
      Erikstrawn

      Deadweight, I agree with everything except the Dodge being “highest quality”. The GM trucks look like a committee of drunk flat-brimmed bros stapled as many chrome layers as they could to make the grill sit higher. This actually looks nice.

    • 0 avatar

      That RAM is one handsome looking truck. Much nicer than the new Silverado and the interior is leap years ahead of the new China Motors twins, including the Denali version of the Sierra.

    • 0 avatar
      indi500fan

      Hope they’ve done some work on corrosion.
      Rams rust like crazy here in central Indiana, I can only guess what they look like in Cleveland and Buffalo.
      5 year old Rams typically look worse than 10 year old Fords and Chevys.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        RAMs haven’t had significant corrosion issue since 2008 so you’re late.

        I’m going to start taking on road pics of all the 2-3 year old F150s with rear tailgate (and other spots) flaking ginormous sheets of paint clean off their aluminum shell – a prominent example I just saw yesterday on I-75 in Auburn Hills) – because once I post about 50 examples of such, there will hopefully no longer be an attempted defense of Ford’s ridiculous paint issues. AS 50 POCTURES SPEAK 50,000 WORDS.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        “Hope they’ve done some work on corrosion.” I have to agree. Ram trucks of similar or older vintage than my F150 (2010) tend to rust around the rear wheel cutouts. My neighbour put some flares on his to hide the rust through and rock guarded the rocker panels to hide that rust.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      I’m amending my opinion as I did not read the article closely enough.

      I can’t stand the fact that not only is the ridiculous eTorque system mandatory on this, but that it’s an additional $1,500.

      SCREW THAT NOISE.

      YOU CAN DO BETTER RAM, THAN THIS BATTERY PACK GARBAGE THAT’S ADDING UNECESSARY COMPLEXITY TO *NOT* SAVE SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF FUEL IN THE REAL WORLD.

      And if you can’t get V6 versions of this to get actual 17/25 EPA ratings and V8 versions to get official 16/22, you’re going to give Guangzhou-Guadalajara bragging rights on fuel efficiency.

      YOU CAN DO BETTER, PRODUCT PEEPS AND ENGINEERS AT RAM. GET YOUR SH*T TOGETHER – NOW!

      • 0 avatar
        MoparRocker74

        Its only standard on the V6–as if that’s anything but a bit player to begin with. You can still get Hemi goodness uninfected with hybrid stupidity. And I suspect that’s how the overwhelming majority will be sold. Love or hate the macho chest pounding attitude of truck buyers…they wont soon embrace prius is truck.

  • avatar
    pdog_phatpat

    I don’t think Ford has anything to worry about here. The Ram is very boring and already looks dated. The interior is much the same but you can add “busy” to that as well. All in all a safe, if feeble effort by Fiat. Zzzzzzzz.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    I applaud FCA for bringing this technology to market. It sounds like it simply makes a very good truck even better. Time will tell, but with a Hybrid F-150 on the way, this could be the start of a trend that I believe improves the already versatile full size truck even more.

    Gotta give Ram credit where its due. First with a light duty diesel in a half ton, and now the first usable electrification of the half ton truck. (GM’s half-baked mild hybrid trucks of several years ago were pretty useless IMO.)

    Take notes, Toyota, innovation is the key to success in this segment.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      GM did offer a “full” 2-mode hybrid Sierra and Silverado back in 2009.

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      How do you praise Fiat for this system that is a virtual copy of the GM BAS system, and then talk about how the GM system was half baked? My comment was going to point out how everyone, (myself included) laughed at the GM system when it came out, but now many manufacturers are copying it.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        As I recall from a conversation a few weeks ago, GM’s system put an electric motor inside the transmission housing, though I agree it served a similar purpose. Still, it was a 12V system and couldn’t offer the torque boost that this newer design offers with 48V.

        Back then, however, even the idea of a hybrid anything was panned by most–not just truck owners but nearly everyone outside of Toyota. Today the concept of a hybrid drivetrain is common and bringing trucks into it a logical step in improving economy for those trucks. These hybrid systems will, over time, migrate over to more electrified power until, one way or another, they will all be electric drive, drawing their power either from hydrogen fuel cells or batteries of one sort or another.

        The efficiency of electric drive is proven; electric motors convert over 90% of their energy into motion, unlike internal combustion engines which are at best, 40% efficient (diesel.) The remaining portion of that energy is lost as heat. Railroads realized that electric drive is far more powerful than diesel. They use the diesel engine to power a generator which drives the wheels, offering more torque at the bottom end especially, where the power is really needed.

        The point is that for all the complaining and whinging about trucks going hybrid, these hybrid trucks are only the first step in making trucks more powerful and more efficient.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      “Take notes, Toyota, innovation is the key to success in this segment”

      There’s truth there but it doesn’t take brand loyalty into account. Full size trucks are the only segment which I see adorned with Calvin stickers peeing on the logos of other brands and the evergreen “I’d rather be Strokin’ than Cummin”. And that’s just the war between domestic brands. Good luck breaking into that group with a Japanese marque.

  • avatar
    northshoreman1

    A few questions:

    1) For the battery pack, “Cooling air is drawn from inside the truck and vented via the built-in cabin exhausters.” Does this mean the heated air from the battery is drawn back into the cabin to then be exhausted by the cabin’s exhausters? (I assume not, but ….) If it IS pulled back into the cabin, has the A/C been upgraded because of the additional heat load? What happens during the summer when the cabin air used to cool the pack is superheated due to summer heat/closed windows?

    2) Since the system is set to provide quick assist for start/stop use, if the stop/start is disengaged, what’s the impact on the truck drive character? Is the battery pack as effective in MPG increases? (I’m guessing that EPA estimates are based solely on stop/start being constantly engaged.) I guess the real question here is whether fuel savings are attributable only to stop/start, and the battery pack merely makes stop/start far less stressful.

    • 0 avatar
      2drsedanman

      Good looking truck. Seems overly complex for limited mileage gains. I guess the era of simple trucks is long gone.

      As a point of reference, my brother-in-law has a 2016 Ram, four door, 4×4 with the Pentastar v6. Highway and city mileage is equal to or better than my Sienna. I’m not in the market for a truck so I don’t know the rational involved in buying one. Is a few MPGs a deal breaker for someone who really needs/wants a truck?

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      @northshoreman: On your second question, I would portend that the stop/start will have almost no effect on fuel mileage outside of metropolitan centers where you tend to be stopped far more than you’re rolling. I also expect that under such conditions, even the hybrid will quickly run out of juice from such a small battery (only enough power for 1-2 miles of electric-only drive in a Tesla.) That said, the stop/start may save a few drops of gas but really isn’t worth the wear on the starter. They hybrid is where you’ll see your greatest savings, though is dependent on just how long the battery lasts considering the low speeds of inner-city driving. For the transition areas outside of city center and extending out to the suburban regions, the battery should be sufficient for the purpose, but a bigger one of at least a few kiloWatts (vs a mere 600 Watts or so) would help the truck realize a greater gain as the motor could help the truck accelerate to speed more easily, especially with a heavy load on board or behind.

  • avatar
    redapple

    I have to be honest. The full sizers are too big. Like 5/4 too much.

    But, if I were to buy one, without doubt my rankings would be:
    1- Ram
    2- Ford.
    3- The GGM twins.

    I have a great aversion to the GGM ones. Hencho made, fugly looks and i dont know. I just dont want to support that sheet car maker.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      I would put Ford last, especially since they’ve gone to aluminum bodies in their trucks. The only thing they’ve done right is keep the “suicide doors” on their extended cabs instead of those impractical front-hinged half-doors that Ram and GM have adopted.

      For all that you may not like the GM’s looks (the Chevy looks far better than the GMC AND the Ford), my personal experience with multiple Ford vehicles has been that they just don’t hold up. I average 8-10 years of ownership for most of my vehicles but I’ve never owned a Ford more than four years. For me, they’ve constantly nickel-and-dimed me with niggling repairs that, when you can’t fix them yourself, tend to cost hundreds to have repaired.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    There is only one kicker in the looks on these trucks. That badge on the hood looks really out of place. In pictures and in person.

    With the extra bottom end the V6 might not be such a penalty.

    • 0 avatar
      lzaffuto

      I don’t think it is nearly as bad as the giant R A M on that covers the *entire* tailgate on the back of some models. Good god that is tacky.

      • 0 avatar
        arach

        Funny. I love the giant RAM on the back. I’m not 50, I don’t want to look understated and elegant.

        • 0 avatar
          Flipper35

          I am 50 and don’t mind the giant RAM on the back. The hood emblem looks tacked on. I would have to find a way to fix that should I get one. Either an aftermarket hood or remove the plastic and respray the factory one.

          Then again, I like the old cross hair grill and Ram ornament on the hood.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        I don’t see how any of the badged or imprinted tailgates on any pickup can be dissed as “tacky” or overblown when it’s the exact same thing the mfrs. did 25-60 years ago.

        1957 Ford: https://s.hswstatic.com/gif/1957-1960-ford-f-series-5.jpg

        1960 Chevy: https://bringatrailer.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/1960_Chevrolet_Apache_10_4x4_For_Sale_Rear.jpeg

        1985 Dodge: http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_images/2/4883/4461/24707230005_large.jpg

        1988 Chevy:
        https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/1c/Truck_-_Back_2015.jpg/440px-Truck_-_Back_2015.jpg

        1990 Dodge: https://i.ytimg.com/vi/Ti-_1gd1RtE/maxresdefault.jpg

        Ford’s move to smaller emblems in the ’80s-’00s was the exception, not the norm.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      “With the extra bottom end the V6 might not be such a penalty.”

      Marketing liars with their massive 0 rpm torque figures to the contrary, eTorque not an extra power thing at all. The V6 system can deliver 12 horsepower at the crank. It also weighs another 120 pounds.

      It’s a fuel economy thing to expand the parameters of stop start and reduce alternator draw. It’s to keep the EPA happy, no more and no less.

      • 0 avatar
        MoparRocker74

        ” It’s to keep the EPA happy, no more and no less.”

        That’s probably the BIGGEST problem I have with this. Seriously…F$#! the EPA right in the neck!!! How many sales do EPA beauracrats account for? How much misery foisted onto paying customers are they responsible for? I place the EPA about 1/8″ higher than the IRS…subhuman scumbags who bring zero value to the table–no wait–NEGATIVE value with a budget of billions paid for by us.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      they need to bring back the old cast metal Ram hood ornament.

      http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5298/5428435053_5eeda5d9c6.jpg

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    One to two miles per gallon isn’t really all that much, unless you’re talking heavy in-town traffic. I’ve never been a fan of “start/stop” and while it may work, I get the feeling this is strictly an interim effort leading towards something far more drastic, as in a true, extended-range type of EV pickup. For working trucks this could do well but I expect most drivers will be turning the start/stop off and just using the extra boost as the amount of fuel saved by start/stop is minuscule at best.

    • 0 avatar
      W.Minter

      It’s an interim solution that will help on the large scale (fleet/fleets), it’s an almost aftermarketesque thing. I’m not a huge fan of 48V systems, but they are better than nothing, and they are imho a minimum necessity for broad stop/start system acceptance.

      OTOH, selling 48V systems is some kind of agile: release early, release often. They even A/B test 2 different versions in the wild so they can probably ditch one version soon.

      For work trucks, an electric a/c and and aux power outlet would be great, but you need an entirely new platform, based on Pacifica (or upcoming Wrangler PHEV) tech. Ford will be faster.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      “One to two miles per gallon isn’t really all that much,”

      improving a vehicle like this by 1 to 2 mpg has much more positive effect on everything than improving the economy of the Prius by 8 mpg.

      • 0 avatar
        HotPotato

        Thank you for mathing. This is an important observation and one that most people don’t intuitively understand. You reduce way more fuel consumption by adding a couple MPG to a gas hog than by adding many MPG to a gas sipper.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        “improving a vehicle like this by 1 to 2 mpg has much more positive effect on everything than improving the economy of the Prius by 8 mpg.”

        I’ve done that much just by changing the air filter to a high-flow version. That alone can add 2-4mpg on average, even without the stop/start technology. The stop/start just adds wear to the starter motor.

        • 0 avatar
          MoparRocker74

          “. That alone can add 2-4mpg on average, even without the stop/start technology. The stop/start just adds wear to the starter motor.”

          ^THIS^. Take it up a notch by straight piping the exhaust to get rid of the restrictions and it CAN get you more mpgs providing you aren’t always driving with your foot in it to hear that glorious Hemi roar…

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          What is this nonsense about adding “high flow” intake and exhaust to improve fuel economy. More air = more fuel.

          Also, the stop/start system in this truck doesn’t use a starter. It uses the Belt Starter Generator.

          A 2 MPG increase is 12% which is significant in this world. High mileage users actually stand to see a payback in a reasonable amount of time.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            It’s not nonsense, danio; it’s personal experience with five different vehicles over the last 22 years. Now, I’ll admit I drive somewhat conservatively (almost never push 70mph) but when I can achieve that same 2-4mpg difference whether it’s a 4-, 6- or 8-cylinder engine, then that high-flow filter (only about $50) is well worth the purchase price. Cars rated for 28mpg (a 6-cyl Camaro and a 4-cyl Saturn Vue) both broke 30mpg while the Camaro broke 32mpg. A V-8 Ford F-150 rated at 16mpg highway managed only 0.5mpg less than 20 running at 65mph over a 150-mile distance. I achieved 25mpg (have photographic proof) in a JKU Wrangler on I-81 and average 20mpg city, 26 highway in a ’97 4-cyl Ranger (as long as I keep it below 70mph.) That that’s not changing the exhaust on any of them.

            So no, it is not nonsense. It’s sensible driving combined with improved air flow that doesn’t force the engine to work harder just to pull in ENOUGH air.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            Could you provide some of this photographic proof, and possibly other documentation as well? Remember that the MPG calculators on most vehicles are inaccurate one way or the other.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            I could go into long technical explanations as to why “high flow” air filters won’t improve fuel mileage on vehicles with modern engine management, but it would be pointless.

            The best explanation is the simplest. If spending a few bucks more per car on a supposed “high flow” air filter netted any gain over the alternative, automakers would install them from the factory because of the immense importance placed on fuel economy. These things are studied to death.

            Billions are spent in search of minor improvements elsewhere, and they overlooked the air filter…sure.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          no it cannot. you’re a victim of placebo. The air filter restriction is practically NOTHING compared to the restriction of the throttle. the flow characteristics of the intake ducts and air filter only become significant at or near wide open throttle when the restriction of the throttle plate is at its minimum. And you are- practically speaking- almost *never* operating at or near WOT. At highway cruise if your throttle is cracked open more than 1/8th I’d be surprised. the restriction of the throttle dominates all of the engine’s pumping losses and is the main source of its inefficiency. The air filter doesn’t have d*ck to do with fuel economy unless it’s clogged so badly it can’t pass any air.

          Your anecdotal observations are not worth anything. it’s been shown time and time again that people will tend to drive more carefully/thoughtfully after they install a supposed “fuel saving” device and it’s their change in driving style which leads to the improvement in mpg.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            A verifiable effect on FIVE different vehicles and FIVE different engines is a placebo effect?

            Ah well, believe what you will. I even stated I had photographic proof with one vehicle but you don’t want to believe it.

            Not everybody drives like an idiot, JimZ. When you stay out of the throttle, you can realize the the economy improvements. In every case, I recorded before and after mileage as calculated, not as told by the computer. The difference is real, whether you accept it or not.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            it’s not about “driving like an idiot.” It’s that your results are not from controlled testing.

            see, when testing a hypothesis, you do an exercise called “Design of Experiments.” In DoE, you determine what variable you want to test the effects of changing, and in doing so *you have to hold all other significant variable/conditions constant.*

            so, if you wanted to test- say- the effect of an air filter on fuel consumption, then you design a test where you monitor a vehicle’s fuel consumption under controlled conditions. e.g. a chassis dyno in a lab. That way, when you test the other air filter(s) you are testing them in the same environment. Same ambient air temperature, same relative air speed, same fuel, same drive cycle, same *everything else.* because if you do not control all other variables, you CANNOT conclusively determine which one had an effect on the results, nor how much.

            You driving “FIVE different vehicles and FIVE different engines” is barely anecdotal. You didn’t control for any of the other possible variables. So you cannot state with any degree of certainty that your miracle air filter is responsible for any supposed increase in fuel economy.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            I’m not sure you realize this Vulpine, but you just inadvertently supported their argument.

            Curious what you did to control the myriad factors that can influence fuel economy so the presence of the filter was the one and only variable being tested. The subconscious change in driving behaviors jim mentioned above is one of those factors–particularly important since it too was in all five vehicles.

            edit: jim beat me to it.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @JimZ: Let’s touch on your points here…

            • it’s not about “driving like an idiot.” It’s that your results are not from controlled testing.
            — That is far too dependent on testing method. I test in much the same way the guys at pickup trucks dot com test, which seems to be controlled enough for my purposes.

            • see, when testing a hypothesis, you do an exercise called “Design of Experiments.” In DoE, you determine what variable you want to test the effects of changing, and in doing so *you have to hold all other significant variable/conditions constant.*”
            — So far, so good. But methodology is still the telling factor.

            • so, if you wanted to test- say- the effect of an air filter on fuel consumption, then you design a test where you monitor a vehicle’s fuel consumption under controlled conditions. e.g. a chassis dyno in a lab.
            — FALSE. You have set up a completely artificial situation which does not offer real-world results. Sure, a dyno can give you all kinds of numbers for horsepower and torque but the variables tend to be so small that they simply can’t show up in that kind of testing, even if you dyno the vehicle for a thousand miles or more.

            • You driving “FIVE different vehicles and FIVE different engines” is barely anecdotal. You didn’t control for any of the other possible variables.
            — Again, false. When each vehicle is run the exact same course under the same conditions, once with stock filter and once with a high-flow filter, you WILL see the difference. Real-world experience, not artificial. Those five vehicles have all made the exact same runs over the exact same stretch of highway for 150 miles AND have been fueled at the exact same gas station over the last 22 years. The Camaro and the Vue didn’t have an onboard computer so I clearly had to calculate the mileage. The subsequent vehicles I calculate simply because it’s a more accurate number than using the trip computer. They have ALL realized improved mileage after switching filters.

            And until all cars started coming with synthetic oil, I would realize another 10%+ improvement by going with a synthetic blend as compared to the original ‘natural’ petroleum oil.

            So yes, I can state with absolute certainty that my results are real. Each result has been re-calculated many times over the years with each vehicle, since I take the same route and drive at the same speeds (using cruise control) every time.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            And I can state with certainty you’re FOS.

            Between this and the NAFTA thread I’m amazed at how authoritatively people will speak on topics way out of their wheel houses.

      • 0 avatar
        el scotto

        Trifecta-Tune Super Lo-Flow Air Cleaners!

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    I wasn’t remarking on the e-torque b.s. in this.

    That’s an EPA b.s. item such as is stop/start deployed across all makes.

    97% of these will be sold with conventional V8s (prob 77%) and V6s (approx 20%).

    The RAM is a clear winner in styling, overall design, cool and actually useful features (RAM box anyone?), torsional rigidity, interior design and materials quality (both make look Chinese Mexirado GM twins of Chinerado/Chierra look like they are made in Bulgaria),’and the rest.

    Guangzhou-Guadalajara Motors (GM) new trucks hit every branch on the FUGLY TREE on the way down, and the Denali version of the Sierra might as well have been completely dipped in PLASTICHROME AND HAD ITS INTERIOR DONE BY SPRAY IN BEDLINER.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      p.s. – Despite Corey not being able to find button to disable start/stop in Dodge/RAM/Chrysler products (Durango review), it’s right on center stack down low next to other buttons, prominently displayed, with one touch turn off.

    • 0 avatar
      a5ehren

      It’s standard equipment on the V6, so you’re already wrong there. I don’t know why anyone would be against this, it gets you diesel-esque torque down low without the diesel downsides.

      The fact that it makes stop-start less obnoxious and saves you a little bit of gas is just icing on the cake.

    • 0 avatar
      dont.fit.in.cars

      Lipstick on a pig while trying to make a silk purse with a sow’s ear.
      Dodge looks great but it’s them bones getting the job done you put your coin on. Hard look at Dodge but every vehicle I test drove had a problem. Wheel shimmy, a pull to the right and the kicker was engine light. Only the 2500hd Cummins was measurably better but at 60k, a non starter.

      Appreciate your insight on origins and taking a strong look at Ford. The question is value. My Chevy’s WT wins over Ford XL. Lower and easier maintenance. 2.5 years in service with 157k at full payload and tow 96% of its life. If Ford drops the 7.0 in a F350 I’ll be happy to switch.

  • avatar
    arach

    Question for you Mr Guy:

    Can the Start/Stop be permanently disabled? or does it have to be switched off every time you drive it like “eco” cars often do? This will be a big deal for people who use it as a “work truck”

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      I didn’t try this but nobody else will let you leave it off as they don’t get the EPA credits that way. So I can’t imagine that FCA does it any differently.

      The stop start on these really isn’t all that obnoxious. It’s smooth both coming and going and while it can’t run the compressor on battery it did at least keep the HVAC fans going at a stop which is a damn sight better than my Ford did.

      The better solution would be, at least so long as eTorque/stop start is optional, just not taking the option. It’s $1500!

    • 0 avatar
      Lockstops

      Why do you and “work truck people” _need_ to have it switched off?

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        It may be a generational thing. I (usually) welcome auto start-stop, or at least don’t mind it, but my father won’t have any of it. When I pressed him about it, he eventually let on that he grew up with vehicles that didn’t take kindly to repeated shutoffs and restarts, and with many of his carbed vehicles, it was “better” in his mind just to let the thing run for even 10 minutes vs. having to go through the “hassle” of starting it up again.

  • avatar
    Dan

    I briefly test drove the V8s both with and without eTorque back to back at the beginning of the month when the eTorques first started to come in. Both 4WD crew cabs, both 3.21 axles (boo), both 18″ wheels with P tires, the eTorque was a Laramie vs a Big Horn which might have been worth another 50 pounds.

    Other than the presence of stop start (which was, by far, the least obnoxious version I’ve experienced yet) they were virtually indistinguishable. The eTorque had what felt like a little bit more engine braking and didn’t coast as far when you let off the gas approaching a stop. My butt dyno felt no difference whatsoever between the two from either a stop (with stop start disengaged) or a roll.

    FCA has to keep the EPA happy but from the buyer’s side the only thing it adds is $1500 on the sticker. That’s a lot of gas.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Give me eTorque in the V6 AWD Charger and 300 since I can’t have V8 and AWD in the current iteration. That would make me look long and hard at a Charger GT as a family car.

    • 0 avatar
      dont.fit.in.cars

      Charger trunk space for a family…my chuckle for the day. Great solo ride for a road warrior.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        What’s wrong with 16.5 cubic ft of trunk space? 4 doors, wide enough back seat for three car seats.

        The benefit of being Dad is that I only have to haul everyone occasionally and for shorter distances. Long trips fall to Mom’s taxi.

        I’d get a Charger R/T but my job means I’ve got to be there heck or high water. I’d prefer AWD.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        I had a Charger as a family car with 2 small kids and we took many long road trips will all their gear in tow…how much space you need?

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    The geek in me respects this tech, but I don’t see the point in a pickup truck.

    Now, if they offered it in the Charger/300, or Durango, as Dan was talking about, that’d be pretty cool.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Don’t forget the Grand Cherokee, lots of those are sold with V6 engines and honestly that’s a heavy mo’fo’ for its overall wheelbase and length.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        That too.

        Though I wonder where they’d put the battery in a sedan or smaller CUV – apparently it’s the size of a small suitcase per the article. That’s pretty easy to stick somewhere in a ginormous pickup, but a lot harder on a car or CUV, unless you intend to eat up most of the trunk.

  • avatar
    Lefty54

    What is the #1 rule around here?

    Rule #1- Never, ever buy new technology in its first year. This whole system looks like nothing but trouble to me. Give FCA a year or two to work the many bugs out and then buy it if you really want it.

  • avatar
    thornmark

    Stop/Start is really just a way of manipulating EPA tests. I read in real life it saves nothing but increases parts wear.

    The truth about engine stop start systems | Auto Expert John Cadogan

    “The real reason these automated systems exist in many new cars is so the carmaker can legally ‘game’ the official fuel consumption tests. We’ve discussed these tests before. They’re lab tests from which the official fuel figures are derived – and these numbers are very important to carmakers, because consumption is increasingly important to buyers.

    Unfortunately the tests are not very representative of actual driving. They’re just not – the official test numbers are always better than you can achieve out there, on the road, and that leads to a lot of customer dissatisfaction. Unfortunately.”

    • 0 avatar
      HotPotato

      Maybe “Expert John” isn’t. One of the things that annoys automakers most about the EPA cycle is that it gives very little credit for the MPG improvement of stop-start in the test, whereas stop-start makes a more significant MPG improvement in real-world driving. It’s also good for refinement given that even in luxury marques everyone’s slapping in shaky oversize fours that tremble at idle instead of, say, silky inline sixes. As for engine wear though…yep, I’d worry about that too.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Whether the stop/start (off-cycle) system nets any actual benefit on the EPA cycle or monroney label is nearly inconsequential. The mere addition of the technology nets specific credits on paper for CAFE calculations that reduce overall penalties.

  • avatar
    hoosierintexas

    Nice looking truck inside and out. But, I have owned two Ram 1500’s, a 2012 Lone Star edition (Big Horn for the rest of the country), and a 2015 Laramie. The 2012 had electrical problems galore, one time it was in the shop for 6 weeks while they tried to figure out what was wrong with it. Finally got tired of repair visits and traded it in on a 2015 with 45K. The 2015 was ok for the first 20K, then the electrical gremlins showed up. The AC and heater would stop working. They replaced the modules for the Uconnect a couple of times, the nav unit, and even the physical fan and temp control knobs. No luck. Hours later from picking it up you would be driving along and the AC would just stop working. No amount of resetting the Uconnect or starting/restarting would get it to work. Sometimes it would come back on, sometimes not. Living in SE Texas with no AC in August is a no go. Traded it in on 2018 Traverse for my wife and haven’t looked back. Dealer experience is better and I can start it up and the AC blows cold.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      @hoosierintexas: The problem was the PDM (Power Distribution Module), not any of those symptomatic issues. The PDM was a well-known issue (though rarely diagnosed) that started with the first Daimler-designed models. In selling off Chrysler’s electronics division to Bosch, the issues became worse and replacements were always on back-order. In most cases, to get the PDM replaced you had to bypass the Service Advisor and give your whole symptom list to the tech working on it… at which point the tech would get the proper part on order rather than addressing symptoms uselessly (albeit expensively for the owner, once out of warranty.)

      • 0 avatar
        hoosierintexas

        Thanks for the info. Not sure if it would have helped as they were able to duplicate the problem when it was in the shop. To be honest, after weeks of driving around in 100 degree heat and humidity wondering when the AC was going to cut out we decided to trade it in. It was no fun getting in the truck to go to lunch in a shirt and tie with a client and 2 miles down the road the AC stops in July. I tried two times with Ram and was burned both times. Never again. It’s too bad because like others on here have said, the Ram is the best looking of the bunch, but I don’t believe they are the best built.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          I can’t claim any experience with the RAM, specifically, but with other FCA products built more recently, I haven’t run into those issues nor am I hearing about such issues in the last 3-4 years, until yours.

          As an electronics technician myself, I suspect that the wave soldering technique used to mount the discrete components and ensure connectivity is set to lay too thin a layer of solder on the circuit boards. This can result in cold solder joints that will occur intermittently, developing as the car heats and cools over the change of seasons. Literally, the joints break and temperature alone can mean the difference between contact or no contact. I’ve fixed numerous in-cab controls by pulling the panel and re-soldering the contacts (often adding some where the solder is only barely enough to even make the initial contact.) After that, no more failure. But… dealerships don’t do that and rarely do they have those modules re-worked since the cost of disassembly and re-soldering can add up to the invoice price of a new replacement. (The owner is the one that gets stuck with a high price.)

  • avatar
    MoparRocker74

    I’m sure glad you can get the Hemi without this e-Turd garbage. Really? $1700 to save 2 mpgs? Yout would have to be completely ignorant or hopelessly fascinated with electric propulsion (neither is more than a fraction of a percent of FCA’s customer base) to plunk down your hard earned cash on this.

    Here’s a hint: $1700 will go a good ways towards a cold air intake and straight piping the exhaust, probably with $$ left over for a Pro Predator tuner. That’ll net you plenty of gains in terms of mpgs, hp/torq and the sweet sound of that beautiful Hemi. Best of all, then your rig is officially a hotrod, not a prius wannabe.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      I’m VERY P!SSED OFF THAT RAM BUNDLED THIS ETORQUE BATTERY PACK GARBAGE WITH THE V6, even if the take rat for the V6 might be less than 25% to 20%.

      I’m going to make SOME CALLS AND MAKE SURE THEIR HEADS UN-STUCK FROM THEIR A$$HOLES, STAT.

  • avatar
    MoparRocker74

    Speaking of mods…how much you wanna bet that the PCM driving this garbage has tentacles running head to toe on anything using it? Want a lift kit? Want to change the gearing? Want to do any tuning or hotrodding on the engine? Nope, youre screwed.

  • avatar
    427Cobra

    As an admitted Ford Fan-boy, I have to say that I just cannot warm up to the current Ford truck styling. To me, they look like a bad Chinese knockoff of an American truck. When it came time to replace my 2000 SuperDuty V10 4×4 supercab (which I loved), I looked at a leftover 2015 SuperDuty, but they just wouldn’t deal on it. I instead bought a 2016 Ram 2500 crew cab short bed 4×4 with the 6.4L Hemi & 4.10 gears. Got a GREAT deal on it, & I’ve been extremely happy with it… no issues whatsoever, though the transmission programming could be better. I got over 19 mpg on a camping trip to Mammoth. I LOVE the styling on the ’19 Rams… and hope it carries over to the heavy duties.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Has the Ozzie been banned? I kinda miss his missives about the chicken tax, Australia’s far superior auto engineering, how evil the UAW is, and how the US of A artificially protects their domestic automotive market. It kinda gave me a sense of finality. New QOTD: Which two commenters should be paired together? To be fair, TTAC could make it an anti-something 5some. Rack and stack the top five anti/pro-Japanese, top five anti/pro-GM, top five anti-pro Ford, top five anti/pro CUVs/Trucks. We see (and sometimes read them) on a regular basis. I think that voting for the top five in any selected category would only be fair. Clear the air so to speak.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      I’m guessing BAFO is on his annual vacation to the states to visit relatives. He always lies low when in the US, because I think he has a real fear that someone here will hunt him down ;-)


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