The 3.0L EcoDiesel V-6 available in the 2014 Ram 1500.

The 3.0L EcoDiesel V-6 available in the 2014 Ram 1500.

Chrysler recently announced a number of updates to its 2014-MY vehicles, including a number of powertrain improvements. For 2014, Chrysler Group said it will offer two “firsts” for the auto industry, a new nine-speed automatic transmission and a front-wheel-drive-based 4x4 system with rear-axle disconnect. In addition, the automaker is introducing four new engines, including a new 6.4L HEMI V-8, a new 3.0L EcoDiesel V-6, slated for the 2014 Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee, a new 3.2L Pentastar V-6, which the automaker said it derived from the 3.6L Pentastar, and a new 3.0L EcoDiesel I-4 commercial truck engine.

The automaker will introduce the new 4x4 system on its all-new upcoming 2014-MY Jeep Cherokee, which Chrysler said is the first mid-size sport utility vehicle to feature a front-wheel-drive-based rear-axle disconnect system. Chrysler said this system will deliver four-wheel traction whenever it’s needed without the driver needing to control the system manually. The system can also automatically switch between two-wheel and four-wheel-drive whenever driving conditions warrant the change. Chrysler offers the system with a one- or two-speed driveline (PTU and RDM) and offers a locking differential with the two-speed PTU. The locking differential enhances control in off-road conditions and is selectable in any low-range terrain mode.

Chrysler’s new nine-speed transmission, also in the 2014-MY Jeep Cherokee, features more than 40 shift maps that correspond to specific conditions. The automaker said this range of points is designed to optimize shift quality and improve fuel economy, performance, and drivability.

The automaker is also offering a new AS66RC six-speed automatic transmission in the 2014 Ram chassis cab and a new M40 six-speed automated manual transmission in the all-new Ram ProMaster full-size van. The AS66RC six-speed allows for optional 45HP and 250 lb.-ft. left- or right-side power take-off (PTO), and when matched with a HEMI, Fuel Saver cylinder deactivation kicks in while the vehicle is in PTO mode. The new six-speed M40 is matched with the 3.0L EcoDiesel inline four-cylinder engine in the upcoming Ram ProMaster. The transmission is a manual but gear shifting and clutch functions work via a hydraulic actuation system, thereby delivering the efficiency of a manual but the functionality of an automatic, according to Chrysler.

For the new engines, Chrysler’s all-new 6.4L HEMI V-8 comes in two variants, one for Ram Heavy Duty pickups and another for Ram Chassis Cab models. The automaker said it optimized each engine for each vehicle’s respective duty cycle. The new engine can produce 410 hp at 5,600 rpm and peak torque of 429 lb.-ft. (582 Nm) at 4,000 rpm. The engine features Chrysler’s Fuel Saver cylinder-deactivation technology, which shuts down four cylinders to conserve fuel when power isn’t needed.

The new 3.0L EcoDiesel V-6 will be available in both the 2014 Ram 1500 and the Jeep Grand Cherokee and can generate 240 hp at 3,600 rpm and produce 420 lb.-ft. of torque at 2,000 rpm. The EcoDiesel V-6 is 50-state emissions compliant and uses exhaust gas recirculation controlled by an electric valve to help achieve this level of compliance. The engine uses selective catalytic reduction (SCR) that incorporates a diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) system that alerts the driver when DEF levels are low but still allows the engine to maintain full power. The DEF tank features heated lines designed to mitigate the effects of cold weather. The DEF tank holds eight gallons, and although the duty-cycle ultimately determines when it needs a refill, Chrysler said the typical interval is roughly 10,000 miles. The engine cooler, when used with 5W30 synthetic, helps contribute to a 10,000-mile oil change interval. Lastly, Chrysler said B-20 biodiesel has been validated and approved for use in this engine.

Next up is Chrysler’s new 3.2L Pentastar V-6, which is in the all-new 2014 Jeep Cherokee. The automaker said it shares a number of features with the 3.6L Pentastar V-6 that made that engine one of Ward’s 10 Best Engines for three years in a row and underwent 3.3 million customer-equivalent miles of testing before going into production.

The new 3.0L EcoDiesel inline four-cylinder engine debuts on the upcoming 2014 Ram ProMaster. It can produce 174 hp and peak torque of 295 lb.-ft. at 1,400 rpm. It features a common-rail fuel-delivery system that is managed by the engine control unit, which the automaker said helps improve fuel economy and reduce noise, vibration, and harshness. The engine was designed by Fiat and Chrysler adapted it for the North American market to meet regulations and improve performance.

Other features on the new 3.0L EcoDiesel I-4 engine include a heater, which is standard in Canada and optional in the U.S., which improves cold starts at temperatures as low as 40 degrees F. The engine also has a new EGR module, and the DEF system has heated lives. The DEF tank holds five gallons and requires a refill close to every 4,000 miles, according to the automaker. A low-level warning system alerts the driver when a refill is needed. Chrysler said its goal for this engine was reduced total cost of ownership, and that key engine components were designed for a long engine life.