Despite the current-generation Dodge Durango seemingly having been put into production immediately after the solar protoplanetary disk focused enough cosmic debris to assemble our humble little planet, it still moves in decent volumes in the United States. Officially in service since MY2011 (a little more recent than previously stated), sales of the 3rd-gen Durango are still going strong near the end of its life cycle. Deliveries run about 65,000 per year. That’s roughly the same annual volume it’s had since a mild refresh in 2014, and rather impressive considering the model has gone largely unchanged — save for a few performance-focused updates in its later years.
Unfortunately, this heavyweight doesn’t offer idyllic fuel economy. It’s decent for a vehicle with a curb weight between 4,500 and 5,500 pounds, and I’m routinely impressed with the highway miles Dodge manages to eek out from its big V8s, but it’s not ambitious in an era where maximizing mileage is an almost mandatory pursuit. The best the Durango can muster is 19 city/26 highway with its entry-level Pentastar V6.
That is, until the mild-hybrid variant arrives in 2020.
For the majority of this year, Ram fans have been limited to a single choice of powertrain in the new 2019 Ram 1500 pickup truck. The stalwart and sonorous 5.7-liter Hemi V8 was the sole available selection for ages, with the eTorque-assisted V6 and V8 motors scarce on the ground until recently.
The feds have at last doffed their cloak from over the eTorque V6 and officially stamped an EPA mileage rating on it. Buyers satisfied with a two-wheel-drive truck powered by six cylinders will find themselves in command of a pickup rated at 25 mpg.
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.
Earlier today, we found out that the 2019 Ram 1500 will be offered with a mild hybrid option dubbed eTorque. Official fuel economy figures are not out yet, but FCA estimates the hybrid system should show around a 10 percent improvement over current figures. The system employs a motor-generator driven off the crankshaft that is similar to the GM BAS system in some ways.
The novel part of the Ram system is that it does not require liquid cooling on the V8 version and is instead air-cooled, which should reduce costs significantly.
This year at the North American International Auto will surely be known as the “Year of the Pickup,” with Ford introducing it PowerStroke F-150, Chevy hauling the wraps off a new Silverado, and Ram rolling out a new truck for the first time since 2009.
After months of speculation and hundreds of spy photos, the 2019 Ram 1500 has finally arrived. Here’s what you need to know before the jump: weight is down 225 pounds, the ram’s head logo is back, and both V6 and V8 Rams will be available as a mild hybrid. Wait, what?