Scott Burgess / The Detroit news
AUBURN HILLS -- The 2009 Dodge Ram could boast a 20 percent improvement in fuel efficiency, executives said Thursday morning.
The new Ram, which will roll into dealerships this fall, includes an improved 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 that has become more powerful and more efficient, said Mike Cairns, the Ram's chief engineer.
The new engine, which produces 380 horsepower and 404-pound-feet of torque, has become about 5 percent more efficient, he said. The additional mileage gains were credited to significant work to make the Ram more aerodynamically efficient and by cutting 80 pounds from the truck's overall weight.
"We expect to see a 10 to 20 percent gain in highway efficiency," Cairns said.
The 2008 Ram Quad Cab Laramie with a 5.7-liter Hemi gets 15 mpg in the city and 19 mpg on the highway. Raising the highway mileage to 23 mpg on the highway makes it one of the most efficient full-size pickups on the road. Four-by-four models using the 5.7 Hemi typically hit about 17 mpg on the highway.
"This is the best truck Dodge has ever made," said Dodge's director Mike Accavitti.
Dodge, the No. 3 pickup manufacturer in the United States, sold 358,000 trucks last year. However, high gas prices and changing consumer demands have caused Ram truck sales to drop 24 percent this year through April, according to Autodata Corp.
The new Ram touts 35 significant changes inside and out over the 2008 model.