SPIED: Ram 1500 Mule Spotted with Four-Cylinder Engine?
Could Ram Be Preparing a Downsized Engine or a Midsize Pickup?
Spied this weekend was something that has us scratching our heads: a Ram 1500 mule with an inline four-cylinder engine. What are Ram engineers cooking up? Could this be another downsized, light-duty turbodiesel engine, or is Ram using the 1/2-ton mule to test the powertrain of a midsize pickup to compete with the GMC Canyon and Chevrolet Colorado?
The closeups are grainy at best, but they still leave no question as to the configuration of the engine, with its cylinders in a line. Currently, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles only offers the mighty Cummins I-6 and a variety of four-cylinder engines in an inline configuration in the U.S., and it’s not likely the company would spend money developing a light-duty gasoline I-6 for the Ram 1500. That leads us to one of two conclusions regarding the perplexing engine under the hood of this test mule; it’s either a light-duty diesel for the Ram 1500 or a possible base engine for an upcoming midsize pickup.
If it’s the former, the engine could be a federalized, emissions-legal version of the 2.8L VM Motori I-4 used in the overseas Jeep Wrangler. Making 200 hp and more than 300 lb-ft of torque, a 2.8L diesel V-6 could serve as an economy-minded option over the similarly torquey 3.6L Pentastar V-6. Although it wouldn’t win many races, a four-cylinder diesel Ram would undoubtedly improve on the brand’s already impressive diesel fuel efficiency.
Another possibility is that Ram is using this 1500 body as a test mule for a midsize pickup. Chevrolet offers a 2.5L I-4 in its Colorado, and Ford is anticipated to slot a four-banger under the hood of the upcoming Ranger, so it wouldn’t be out of the question for Ram to offer a Dakota redux with an I-4. Currently, the Fiat Chrysler stable offers a 2.4L I-4 with 184 hp and 171 lb-ft, slightly less than the 200 hp and 191 lb-ft in the Colorado I-4.
We at Truck Trend have other theories about this unusual engine. One staffer is convinced it’s the internal combustion side of an upcoming gas-electric hybrid. Another suggests it’s the upcoming 2.0L Hurricane turbocharged I-4, an engine slated for the Jeep Wrangler JL. Whatever it is, we hope to learn more about it soon, because we’re extremely curious.
Source: SpiedBilde Photography