In the new third generation of the full-size SUV, a 2.5-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine replaces the previous 3.5-litre naturally aspirated V6. The 5.23-metre-long SUV is based on a front-wheel drive platform and comes with optional all-wheel drive.
Legal requirements are the main reason for the increased use of smaller, more economical engines and the strong focus on electric vehicles. Starting in 2035, California wants to ban new registrations for cars with combustion engines. The action by the California Air Resources Board requires all new cars sold in California to stop producing tailpipe emissions. 35% of newly registered cars and light commercial vehicles must be zero emissions by 2026, 68% by 2030, and 100% by 2035. Six other states have adopted California's plan.
US customers who purchase a new, high-depreciation vehicle must also pay a depreciation tax. However, the so-called “gas guzzler tax” does not apply to SUVs and pickup trucks because the policy dates back to 1978 and those segments were considered purely work vehicles at the time.
In addition to car buyers, manufacturers also have to pay if their cars use too much fuel. General Motors had to pay $128.2 million (about 117.2 million euros) for the years 2016 and 2017, and Stellantis had to pay $235.5 million (about 215.3 million euros) for the period from 2018 to 2019. Penalties are collected for each model that does not meet the standards. It is multiplied by the number of damaged vehicles. NHTSA administers the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) program and continually increases the amount of penalties.
Stellantis discontinues Hemi V8 production
It is not surprising that eight-cylinder engines are gradually disappearing from the models of the big three American companies. A piece of American automotive cultural heritage is dying. GM is currently developing a new generation — perhaps the last — of the small-block V8. This will be built as long as there is demand.
At Stellantis North America, formerly known as Chrysler, Hemi V8 engines will disappear from the engine range in the next few years. The Dodge Charger, Dodge Challenger and Chrysler 300, which are based on the old and frequently modified Daimler-Chrysler platform, are nearing the end of production. In 2024, the new Charger will come as a coupe exclusively with an electric motor.
The new six-cylinder petrol engine, called 'Hurricane', gradually replaces the 5.7-litre naturally aspirated V8 engines in the Stellantis range. In the Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer, the old 6.4-liter V8 is only available in the base model. Since the 2023 model year, the extended Jeep Grand Cherokee and Grand Cherokee L are no longer available in the U.S. with a V8 under the hood, and customers can choose between a naturally aspirated V6. Or a plug-in hybrid. Two-liter, four-cylinder turbo engine.
Shortly before its replacement at the end of 2023, the old Dodge Durango is still available with a 5.7-liter V8, a 6.4-liter V8 in the SRT 392, and a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 in the SRT Hellcat.
The powerful upper models signal the end of the V8 engine
Before GM, Ford and Chrysler finally say goodbye to naturally aspirated or supercharged V8s, there are still a few SUVs and pickup trucks with V8 engines currently available. The Jeep Wrangler 392, Ram 1500 TRX, Cadillac Escalade V and Ford F-150 Raptor R represent the pinnacle of V8 performance in their series. Under the hood of the Wrangler-rival Bronco, Ford doesn't install a V8, but rather a 2.3-liter turbo four-cylinder or a 2.7-liter turbo V6.
The 6.2-liter V8 is used in GM's full-size SUVs like the Chevrolet Suburban, Cadillac Escalade and GMC Yukon. In competitors Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator, a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged gasoline V6 is the only engine.
On the full-size pickup side, naturally aspirated V8 engines are still available in all three models from the Big Three. The Chevrolet Silverado, Ford F-150, and Ram 1500 offer a wide range of engines. Ford and Ram compete with the Raptor R and TRX for the highest performance in their class. Both have power packs of more than 700 horsepower under the hood, accelerating the heavy vehicle to 100 km/h in less than five seconds. Manufacturers offer their experience in developing powerful eight-cylinder engines.
A major chain heading towards the electric future
Chevrolet, Ford, and Stellantis have already introduced electric counterparts for some SUV and pickup truck models: the Ram 1500 REV, Chevrolet Silverado EV, and Ford F-150 Lightning. The Cadillac Escalade also gets an electric counterpart with the 2024 Escalade iQ.
With the successor to the Lightning, previously known only as Project T3, Ford will build a pickup truck based on a dedicated electric architecture for the first time in 2025, and wants to continue the F-Series' decades-long run of success. .
From a naturally aspirated V8 to a four-cylinder turbo or an exclusively electric motor: in the USA, the Big Three will sort out their big-block engines in the coming years. Before that, the Hellcat, Coyote, and LT engines could actually accelerate with the powerful upper trims. The time begins when the series is divided, in many cases, into a combustion engine model and an electric model. These devices share a model name, but technically nothing in common.
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