Chrysler Group is looking to improve its Pentastar V-6s by adding add turbocharging, direct injection and other new technologies to allow for smaller displacement engines to power its vehicles.
The Pentastar Upgrade, or PUG as its being called, is part of the automaker's plan to meet strict corporate average fuel economy standards. Power and fuel economy is expected to increase even though the engine size will remain the same or possibly even shrink, according to a report by Automotive News.
The Pentastar line of engines, which were first introduced back in 2010 for 2011 model year vehicles, feature cylinder deactivation, the ability to run on an ethanol fuel blend and dual variable valve timing.
It is possible that the upgrade could feature turbocharging what are currently aspirated engines. Fiat's MultiAir variable valve timing technology will likely "remain," sources told Automotive News.
The V6 engine was introduced in the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee, and has since been added as an available option for the Ram 1500 and Jeep Wrangler.
The first improved 3.6-liter V-6 is expected to debut sometime towards the end of 2015 as part of an upgrade for the Jeep Grand Cherokee.
The Town & Country minivan is expected to drop its 3.6-liter V6 for a 3.2 option once it reaches showrooms in 2016. The engine will be powered by a nine-speed automatic transmission, and the minivan is expected to have a fuel economy of approximately 17 mpg city and 25 highway, a 25 percent increase over its current EPA estimates.
The 3.6-liter Pentastar is also currently the standard option for key Chrysler vehicles like the Chrysler 300, Dodge Challenger and Charger.
Chrysler made headlines this week for refusing to expand recalls for five vehicles equipped with potentially faulty Takata air bags, which the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration feels is putting the automaker's customers in danger.