Photo of 2016 Pentastar V-6 courtesy of FCA US.

Photo of 2016 Pentastar V-6 courtesy of FCA US.

FCA US has improved its Pentastar V-6 engine for the 2016 model year by increasing fuel economy by more than 6 percent and raising torque by more than 14.9 percent, the company has announced.

The new 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 will debut in the 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee mid-size SUV, and when added to the Fiat 500X compact SUV will be paired with rear-axle disconnect technology that allows the vehicle to operate in front-wheel drive for certain driving conditions.

The updated Pentastar V-6 uses two-step variable valve lift and cooled exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) to deliver greater efficiency. A new intake manifold includes longer runners to enable torque boost. FCA has also increased the compression ratio to 11.3:1 and included high-tumble intake ports and shrouded combustion chambers. Eight-hole fuel injectors with optimized atomization increase power.

By redesigning several of the components, FCA engineers have reduced the engine's weight. The new engine weighs as little as 326 pounds depending on the application. FCA reduced weight by four pounds despite adding 13 pounds of new content.

When powering the 2016 Grand Cherokee, the new Pentastar V-6 improves output to 295 hp from 290 hp.

For 2016, FCA US engines can run on the E-15 ethanol blend.