Recently, the Jeep® brand unveiled a new Wrangler concept vehicle, in which SRT engineers have installed the popular 6.4-liter (392-cubic-inch) HEMI V8 engine from the Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack into the iconic off-roader. It wasn’t even a week later that spy photographers caught a pre-production prototype conducting shakedown testing on the streets of Metro Detroit. But it leaves us thinking, why the Wrangler and not the Ram 1500?
Sure the Ram Heavy Duty lineup has the amazing 6.4-liter HEMI V8 (also known as the “BGE” or Big Gas Engine) that delivers 410 horsepower and 429 lb.-ft. of torque, but there are packaging issues surrounding the intake according to our sources that have kept Ram from offering it in the 1500. We recently spent a week with the 6.4-liter HEMI in the off-road-ready 2020 Ram 2500 Power Wagon. Paired with the smooth-shifting TorqueFlite 8HP75 8-speed automatic, the BGE is a totally transformed motor now. But the SRT-based 6.4-liter 392 HEMI V8 would offer even more performance to the half-ton Ram.
In the Wrangler, the SRT-based 6.4-liter 392 HEMI V8 version produces 450 horsepower and 450 lb.-ft. of torque and is mated to a TorqueFlite 8HP75 8-speed automatic and equipped with a 3.73 gear ratio. It’s good enough to propel the Wrangler with a full-time two-speed transfer case and 37-inch mud-terrain tires to a 0 to 60 mph time in fewer than five seconds.
Earlier rumors placed a new 7.0-liter (426-cubic-inch) HEMI V8 variant of the 392 HEMI, in a more budget-friendly version of the TRX, called TR. However, our sources told us back in February of last year, that the engine had been scrapped as was the TR project.
A performance-based Ram 1500 with the 392 HEMI, either offered in a street-performance truck or a more affordable off-road package than the TRX, could shake up the pickup market. The SRT-based 6.4-liter 392 HEMI V8 can currently produce up to 485 horsepower and 475 lb.-ft. of torque in the Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack. The added power would put an additional 90 horsepower and 65 lb.-ft. of torque on tap to the Ram 1500, when compared to the current 5.7-liter HEMI V8.
The upcoming TRX will feature a full-time four-wheel-drive system, just like the Wrangler Rubicon 392 Concept. With the Ram Truck brand being no stranger to offering more affordable variants of its pickup lineup like that of the 2020 Ram 2500 Power Wagon and its more value-based 2020 Ram 2500 Tradesman Power Wagon, it makes sense to offer a more affordable option to the TRX.
There was a lot of praise surround the late-stage prototypes of the TRX when it comes to looks. The lifted blacked-out prototypes featured a lift, Fuel Vector 15-inch beadlock wheels, BFGoodrich All-Terrain tires, and Mopar Bolted-Wheel Flares. The look gave the Laramie Night Edition pickups on which they were based-on, a more aggressive look.
Earlier prototypes caught testing in Arizona, featured a Big Horn Crew Cab 4×4 model and a Middle-Eastern export version of a Limited Crew Cab 4×4, both featuring the same Fuel Vector 15-inch beadlock wheels and BFGoodrich All-Terrain tires, giving the trucks a more stock appearance.
So why can’t the Ram Truck brand offer a 392 cubic-inch HEMI offering? With the Ram 1500 outselling the iconic Wrangler, it makes sense to us for the Ram brand to offer the SRT-based motor in its half-ton lineup. Do you agree with us? Leave a comment below, we’d love to read your comments.