How do the new 2019 Ram 1500 V6 and V8 gas engines compare when pushed near their limits with a 7,000 lbs trailer on the Ike Gauntlet™ – world’s toughest towing test in the Rocky Mountains at 11,158 feet above sea level? What is the difference in the real world? How much more performance do you get with a V8? We are about to find out!
By the way, both of these new trucks are equipped with Ram’s eTorque mild-hybrid system. The V8 eTorque costs $2,645 more than the base V6 eTorque setup. What are you getting for the extra cash? This is precisely why we run this test.
Both trucks have an electric motor that is connected to the driveline via the serpentine accessory belt under the hood. Both trucks have a small 0.4 kWh battery on board to store regenerated energy. The V6 has an electric motor that adds up to 90 lb-ft off the line, and the V8 adds up to 130 lb-ft. Both only provides assistance while sitting in traffic and just getting going. Once, the gas engine comes into it’s torque, the electric motors are disengaged and total power specs are same as before.
- 3.6L V6: 305 hp / 269 lb-ft of torque; 8-speed auto; 3.55 rear axle
- 5.7L V8: 395 hp / 410 lb-ft of torque; 8-speed auto; 3.92 rear axle
The Ike Gauntlet™ route is the same as we used in previous years. It’s an 8-mile stretch of I-70 highway between Dillon, CO and the Eisenhower/Johnson tunnels at the top of the Continental Divide. It’s a 7% grade with over 2,000 feet of elevation gain.
- Ram 1500 Tradesman 4×4 Crew V6 eT: as tested at just over $44,000
- Ram 1500 Limited 4×4 Crew V8 eT: as tested at just over $66,000
The Ram Limited was pretty much fully loaded with every option, including air suspension.
This is a special towing comparison where we are using a 7,000 lbs trailer to compare just these two trucks and their engines/powertrain. This trailer load basically maxes out the Ram 1500 Tradesman 4×4 crew cab, but the V8 could technically carry a trailer that is about 4,000 lbs heavier.
As such, we have some freedom to downshift the transmissions manually on the way down. We are still counting brake applications, but we are trying to find all the nuances and see how the transmission and their grade braking algorithms behave on the way down.
In the end, the V8 eTorque with the more heavy duty 8-speed transmission and the 3.92 rear differential ratio performed better on the way down. It was able to hold the truck and trailer down the mountain, thus needing fewer brake applications.
On the uphill, the V6 struggled more than the V8 and that’s not a surprise. The coolant and engine oil temperatures on the V6 truck were going up, as it was working very hard. However, the truck never felt like it pulled back power or went into limp mode. It kept giving it all it had. The V6 was about 41 seconds slower up the mountain, but surprisingly – both V6 and V8 trip computers reported the same 4.7 MPG.
In the end, the V6 eTorque performed well, and it would be a good towing vehicle for trailer that weigh less than 7,000 lbs. However, if you need to tow a bit more, and if you need to cross mountainous terrain – then the V8 is an important investment.
Join the trailering fun in the video below.