3.6L Pentastar V6 Engine is Chrysler’s Versatile Workhorse

Chrysler has a versatile 3.6L Pentastar engine

If you are a car enthusiast or a fan of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) , you may have noticed one engine, 3.6L Pentastar V6 engine, is used on a variety of vehicles made by FCA.

In fact, ten FCA models ranging from the Dodge Charger to Ram 1500 to Chrysler Pacifica to Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid to the Jeep Wrangler, and even a few more, all have a 3.6L Pentastar engine on the lineup, but how? Each of those vehicles are so different from one another, and they all have a different fuel economy and produce a different amount of horsepower and torque? We’ll explain.

The engine is an award-winning 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 24-valve dual overhead cam (DOHC) gasoline engine that was introduced in 2011 as the Chrysler Pentastar engine. The engine also has VVT (variable valve timing), which is a newer engine technology that adjusts the timing of the intake and/or exhaust valves to improve the engine’s efficiency.

Except for the new Chrysler Pacifica and Pacifica Hybrid, the 3.6L Pentastar engine has the same bore and stroke (96 mm x 83 mm) and compression ratio (10.2:1) on all vehicles. The horsepower and torque each model’s engine is slightly different and these small changes can be attributed to the standard transmission, and sizes of the stock exhaust and headers.

However, the 3.6L engine in the new Chrysler Pacifica has a compression ratio of 11.3:1 and the 3.6L engine in the Pacifica Hybrid has a compression ratio of 12.5:1, and that brings us to the first explanation for performance differences.

The increase in both engine’s compression ratios is one factor that helps to make both versions of the 3.6L Pentastar engine more fuel efficient than the other 3.6L Pentastar engines.

But hold on — the Dodge Charger has a fuel economy of 19 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway and the Pacifica has a fuel economy of 18 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway — doesn’t the Charger have a better fuel economy?

Overall the Charger as a whole has a better fuel economy, but the Pacifica’s engine is more fuel efficient. The Pacifica is a much bigger vehicle than the Charger, so its engine is actually more efficient to be able to provide it with a fuel economy that is almost the same as a car that is a lot smaller.  In other words, if you were to take out both engines and put them in the exact same car, the vehicle with the Pacifica’s 3.6L Pentastar engine would be more efficient than the vehicle with the Charger’s 3.6L Pentastar engine.

The fuel economy of the 3.6L engine in the new Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid is even better than the fuel economy of the Pacifica. This particular engine has been named Wards 10 Best Engines a few times. This engine on the Pacifica Hybrid is fairly different than the other engines because it features the Atkinson combustion-cycle system, which helps reduce pumping losses to further improve efficiency. This engine has a combined city/highway fuel economy of 32 mpg.

Additionally, the Pacifica Hybrid is a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, so in addition to the gas engine, there is also a lithium-ion battery and two electric motors that can power the car as well.

Considering the emissions standards that manufacturers need to meet by 2025, perhaps the Pacifica’s two engines will be more popular across all FCA vehicles in the next few years. If you want to check out the Chrysler Pacifica, you can view Kendall Chrysler’s inventory here.

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