Automotive News reports Chrysler has big plans for its line of Ram pickup trucks. According to a group filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the new Ram set to debut next month will no only boast a Pentastar 3.6-liter V6 option, but an eight-speed automatic transmission and new lightweight axles as well.

The gearbox alone is said to reduce fuel consumption by as much as 12 percent compared to current models. Right now, buyers with an eye toward economy are forced to cope with an anemic 215 horsepower 3.7-liter V6. While Chrysler hasn't released any specifications for the Ram-bound Pentastar, the most powerful form of the 3.6-liter V6 currently available produces 292 hp.

The 2012 Ram 1500 yields just 14 mpg city and 20 mpg highway in its most efficient configuration, but the new hardware should help yield significantly improved figures and help the Ram line be more competitive against the Ecoboost-equipped Ford F-150. Chrysler is expected to reveal full details on the upcoming Ram in April.

In related news, Kicking Tires reports that the 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango will also be getting new eight-speed gearboxes, which ought to result in similar fuel savings for the 'utes as it does for the Ram.

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