As far a modern engines go, Chrysler’s 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 is one of the most versatile, finding its way into everything from the Jeep Wrangler to the Dodge Challenger.
Still, with fuel economy standards getting tougher worldwide, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) thinks it’s time to give the Pentastar an upgrade.
According to Automotive News (subscription required), FCA plans to add turbocharging and direct injection to the V6 in the near future. These upgrades will increase efficiency, but could perhaps boost power as well.
The first Pentastar Upgrade (PUG, not the most flattering acronym) V6 is expected to launch in late 2015 with a refresh of the Jeep Grand Cherokee. That’s fitting, as the big Jeep was the first vehicle to get the original Pentastar V6, back in 2010.
Like the current version, the Grand Cherokee’s upgraded Pentastar will displace 3.6 liters. However, a 3.2-liter V6 is also planned for the next Chrysler Town & Country minivan, due in 2016.
That engine will be combined with Chrysler’s nine-speed automatic transmission to dramatically increase the Town & Country’s fuel economy. A plug-in hybrid version of the minivan is also a possibility.
Meanwhile, the 3.6-liter version could also find its way into the Ram 1500 pickup truck, helping it to better compete against the newly aluminum-bodied Ford F-150 and its turbocharged EcoBoost engines.
Given the number of applications for the current Pentastar, FCA’s planned revamp could have big ramifications across the company’s very diverse lineup.
Rivals have had much success with turbochargers and direct injection, though, so it seems safe to say that a good engine is poised to get better.