2013 Dodge Ram To Have 8-Speed Automatic
A source at Ram has confirmed that the next generation of the Ram 1500 will offer at least one eight-speed automatic transmission. This is expected to boost fuel economy by about five percent over the current model, but it’s unclear just how much this will add to the window sticker. At this time, the likelihood of an eight-speed transmission in a Ram HD truck is “low” – at least for that 2013/2014 time line. Still, the source said that an 8-speed was likely in an HD truck at some point.
When compared to the current five-speed transmission available on the Ram 1500, the new eight-speed’s additional gears will better utilize the V-8 Ram’s substantial horsepower and torque. Shorter low gears are also expected to address dissatisfaction with the Ram’s current transmission ratios, and increase its competitiveness in towing and acceleration.
The current EPA combined city/highway estimate for the Ram 1500 is 16mpg for both V-6 and V-8 Ram engines. Greater fuel economy is a point of competition in the pickup truck sector, so a five percent improvement, when coupled with better performance, is expected to make the new eight-speed transmission a bit of a game-changing option for Ram. At the very least, it will help Ram keep pace with changes expected at Ford, Toyota, and GM (see our most recent edition of Future Truck Rumors, which includes info on most 2013 and 2014 trucks).
In addition to better low-gear performance and improved fuel economy on the highway, the new eight-speed Ram 1500 will feature a smoother ride throughout all gears, with no sudden drops in rpm when up-shifting. Eight-speed transmissions are better able to maintain peak power ranges in any gear, so owners should also expect less overall engine wear and a possible longer engine life.
There is some concern that eight-speed transmissions are better suited to high-performance vehicles than working trucks. Their precision design results in narrow tolerances that may be vulnerable to simple issues like minor differences in oil viscosity and slight over- or under-filling. Truck owners accustomed to five- and six-speed workhorse transmissions from Toyota, Ford and others will soon have the chance to see if an eight-speed proves reliable in real-world maintenance and driving conditions.
At this time, there is no word that Toyota will be bringing an 8-speed automatic to the Tundra in time for the 2014 Tundra (due to be released in 2013).
Filed Under: Auto News