By Patrick Rall
During interviews with various sources at the Geneva Motor
Show, Chrysler Group CEO Sergio Marchionne stated that the replacement for the
Jeep Liberty – a currently unnamed vehicle expected to debut at the 2013
Detroit Auto Show – will be powered by a new 3.2L Pentastar V6 while also
coming with a new 9-speed automatic transmission.
The new 3.2L Pentastar V6 will join the current 3.6L
Pentastar that is offered in almost every product in the Dodge lineup shy of
the Dart and the Caliber. We can expect
that the new 3.2L V6 will offer more than the 210 horsepower and 235lb-ft of
torque produced by the current (and very old) 3.7L V6 in the Liberty while also
offering superior fuel economy to that of the 2012 Liberty.
Helping in the effort to offer incredible
fuel economy will be a new ZF-built 9-speed automatic transmission similar in
design to the 8-speed unit currently offered in the Dodge Charger V6 models.
While the new 3.2L Pentastar is currently only slated for
use in the Jeep Liberty replacement, it would be stunning for Chrysler to
produce an engine for just one of their brands so perhaps we will see the 3.2L Pentastar,
the 9-speed ZF transmission or both in a Dodge production in the not-so-distant
future. The most obvious choices in the Dodge lineup would be the Avenger and
Journey, which both have rather balmy 4-cylinders as their base engines. The 3.2L V6 mated to the new 9-speed
transmission could offer better power and better fuel economy than the current
2.4L 4-cylinder “World Engine” while also allowing Dodge to boast of a
4-cylinder-free yet very efficient engine lineup.
As for the new 9-speed transmission, as automakers like Chrysler add more and more gears to offer both low RPMs on the highway and strong acceleration – it will be interesting to see how high the number of gears will go before consumers begin to complain about it being excessive.