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Ram has seen such positive customer feedback from its 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 and TorqueFlight eight-speed automatic transmission in the Ram 1500 that it's bringing the powertrain upmarket, and it's now going to be available in truck's Laramie trim level (Laramie Limited pictured above). The new choice means better fuel economy and lower pricing in one of the 1500's higher-end models.

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The fact that the Dart's launch has been a pretty dismal affair isn't what we'd call secret. Judging by its mounting inventories and poor critical reception, Dodge's successor to its unloved Caliber has struggled since it hit the market. And while both of those are difficult problems to address, at least their cause is well known - the powertrain.

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Chrysler is adding a third shift at its Warren Truck plant to meet demand for the new 2013 Ram pickup. And with tight supplies of its Pentastar V6, the company is also boosting output at its Mack Engine plant.

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Putting The Pentastar To Work

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Automotive News reports that Chrysler is replacing the cylinder heads on certain Pentastar V6 engines with "more robust" parts. The automaker hasn't detailed the problem behind the replacement, but says that there were around 1,300 vehicles across the country over the past few weeks waiting for replacement parts.

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While the top brass gets their minds made up as to whether there will be a next-generation Dodge Avenger, the folks at Dodge have gone ahead and added a new top trim to the current model. The 2012 Dodge Avenger SE V6 gets the Pentastar V6 tuned to 283 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque mated to a six-speed automatic, along with 18-inch alloys, dual exhaust, and a rear spoiler.

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The 2010 Jeep Grand Cherokee was the first home for Chrysler's Pentastar V6 engine. As you may recall, the powerplant was codenamed "Phoenix," and it was charged with replacing seven other engines in 11 models in the Chrysler and Dodge lineups. Along with it being a well-regarded piece of engineering, its sheer ubiquity goes a long way toward explaining how in just 18 months the Trenton, Michigan plant that produces it has cranked out a million of them.

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We can quit wondering why it took so long for Jeep to drop the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 behind the round headlights of the 2012 Wrangler. According to Wards Auto, the engine had to undergo more than a few tweaks in order to be fit for duty in the trail-rated Wrangler. Engineers had to start by moving the alternator up and away from the middle of the engine to provide for greater water-fording capability. A new intake was also fitted to increase the kind of low-end torque buyers demand on the trail

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It has been over 70 years since the first Jeep rolled off the assembly line. The legendary off-road machine was instrumental to the Allied victory in World War II, and it became such a big hit with servicemen that the CJ was built for civilians after the war.

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Sebring Replacement Gets A Seat At The Big Kids Table – Barely

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2011 Jeep Wrangler – Click above for high-res image gallery

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2011 Dodge Grand Caravan – Click above for high-res image gallery

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Dodge has big things headed our way for the 2011 model year, not the least of which is a thoroughly updated Challenger that seems to be much better equipped to go up against the likes of the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro. Up to this point, even those who loved the last generation's styling and optional Hemi engine had to admit that lower level models powered by the old 3.5-liter V6 engine were simply unable to match up against its lifelong mortal enemies from Chevrolet and Ford.

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2010 Dodge Challenger – Click above for high-res image gallery

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2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee – Click above to watch video after the jump

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Chrysler Pentastar V6 engine begins production – Click above for high-res image gallery

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Chrysler Pentastar V6 engine begins production – Click above for high-res image gallery

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While the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee wowed the crowds in New York, what lies beneath could be a key to Chrysler's recovery. The new 3.6-liter V6, called Pentastar after the company's five-pointed-star logo, replaces seven – count 'em, seven – of Chrysler's aging engines, and stands as the outcome of several years of development.

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