By Patrick Rall
It has been years since Chrysler built a half ton pickup with a manual transmission option aside from the high priced SRT10 models. While the take rate of Ram 1500 pickups fitted with a clutch pedal were very low in their final years, many half ton Ram owners still pine for a manual transmission…preferably with the 5.7L Hemi.
Based on those pleas for a Hemi-powered Ram 1500 that offers gear banging fun, I bring you the DF Question of the Week: should the Ram 1500 feature a manual transmission option?
The advantages of an automatic transmission in the Ram 1500 are clear as they remove the “hassle” of having to shift your own gears. In the past, vehicles equipped with manual transmissions have traditionally been more fuel friendly than those fitted with an automatic transmission but advancements in self-shifting transmission technology have made modern autos just as efficient as manual models. This technology has also made modern automatics every bit as durable as manual transmissions so those who prefer a manual for its hard-working capabilities can now rely on the standard automatic to do the heavy pulling. When you look at the fact that these modern automatics are just as sturdy and efficient as a manual transmission coupled with the low take rate of manual transmission pickups in their final years during the second generation of the Ram (again – SRT10s not included), it makes sense why Chrysler opted to kill the manual option.
On the other hand, even with the improvements of automatic transmission technology over the past ten years there is no denying that a regular cab Ram 1500 with a 400 horsepower Hemi V8 and a 6-speed manual transmission would provide gobs more driving excitement than an auto gearbox. In addition to being better for things like towing in wintery weather or digging through deep mud while offroading, there is simply no question that a manual transmission would make driving the Ram 1500 far more engaging for those who know how to use the clutch pedal.
The Chrysler Group already has a sturdy 6-speed manual transmission that is hard at work behind both the 5.7L and 6.4L Hemi-powered Challengers and while that unit would likely need some beefing up to endure the abuse of “truck use” – this low take rate transmission would likely make a great many prospective Ram owners happy.
So, should the Ram 1500 feature a manual transmission option? Click here to head into our poll thread to cast your vote!