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Dodge Lifts Lid On 2014 Ram Trucks, Including MPG, Dashboard Tech

AUBURN HILLS -- Chrysler LLC Friday raised the curtain on the 2014 for its Ram pickups, including the model with the best fuel efficiency of any full-size pickup truck and the only diesel in a light-duty truck.

Dodge said it would achieve best-in-class fuel economy with a new 3.0-liter EcoDiesel engine featuring 240 horsepower, 420 foot-pounds. of torque and a TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission.

Also available will be a 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 gasoline engine that features 42 percent more horsepower, 13 percent more torque (305 hp, 269 foot-pounds of torque) and at least 20 percent better fuel economy when compared to the previous 3.7-liter V-6 engine.

And the big 5.7-liter Hemi V8 features fuel saving technology and variable valve timing, while offering a beefy 395 hp and 410 foot-pounds of torque.

The trucks maximize mpg with the eight-speed transmission and active aerodynamics, including shutters to close part of the grille and air suspension to lower the vehicle at highway speed, both designed to improve aerodynamics and mileage. The air suspension also provides a more carlike ride when the truck is empty.

The trucks also feature Chrysler's Uconnect Access system to access connected services and applications through an 8.4-inch touch screen display.

Pricing for the 2014 Ram 1500 starts at $24,200, plus $1,095 destination. The exclusive V-6 EcoDiesel with TorqueFlite 8-speed automatic transmission is priced $2,850 greater than a similarly equipped Ram 1500 with a 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 with Torqueflite 8 speed transmission.

Also new on the 2014 Ram 1500 is a front park assist system and host of efficiency, comfort and emissions-friendly refinements including a variable displacement compressor; pulse-width modulated blower; humidity sensor; and the latest technology in air conditioning refrigerant.

The new EcoDiesel -- developed and manufactured by VM Motor, a Chrysler supplier since 1992, is one of the most advanced diesel engines in the marketplace. Equipped with a diesel oxidation catalyst, diesel particulate filter, and selective catalytic reduction, it will be emissions-compliant in all 50 states.

The front park assist system uses four sensors located on the front bumper. The bezel-less, integrated sensors sequentially send out ultrasonic waves when the vehicle is driven in forward at low speeds. The system can detect objects as far away as 47.2 inches.

The sending sensor and adjacent sensors pick up the echo of a signal when it bounces off an object. Triangulation is used to determine relative distance, based on elapsed time between the outgoing signal and its return.

Readouts located in the cluster display (and audible chimes) notify the driver of front and rear object proximity.

Pulse-width modulation is a fuel-saving technology for the Ram 1500, which reduces parasitic electrical load. The technology not only eliminates unnecessary load on the alternator but also improves the durability of benefiting systems. Fuel delivery and the forward cooling fan are two systems that take advantage of PWM, adding an 0.4 percent improvement in fuel efficiency.

The 2014 Ram 1500 will carry additional uses of PWM technology and a host of new efficiency, comfort and emissions-friendly refinements. These include a variable displacement air-conditioning compressor pulse-width modulated vent blower and humidity sensor.

As opposed to a "fixed" displacement compressor, the variable displacement compressor automatically varies its pumping capacity to meet air conditioning demands rather than working in an on/off fashion. As a result, the variable displacement compressor lessens loads on the engine, reducing parasitic losses for enhanced fuel efficiency and helping to maintain a consistent cockpit temperature. The technology also reduces related noise and vibration annoyances.

When the interior cabin temperature is higher than what's desired (outside the automatic temperature control setting), the VDC increases refrigeration capacity until the desired temperature is reached. Once the temperature is reached, the VDC automatically reduces its capacity to maintain the desired temperature rather than shutting off completely.

The overall result is smoother compressor transitions, less noise and greater fuel efficiency.

Like the VDC, the pulse-width modulation blower continually controls fan speeds for optimal performance in all driving scenarios; quiet, efficient operation; and virtually unnoticeable performance. Not unlike other PWM applications that debuted on the 2013 Ram 1500, the pulse-width blower ensures an infinite amount of varying fan speeds to satisfy every customer-requested condition in relation to the air conditioning system.

The new humidity sensor is packaged behind the rearview mirror, and works in tandem with the PWM blower and VDC to continually measure the potential for humidity being formed on the windshield interior. While the sensor enables noticeable de-fogging benefits, it also enables the VDC and PWM blower to run at the most optimal speeds to expedite humidity reduction.

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