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Old 08-19-2014, 11:12 PM
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1 Year Review with the V6 Pentastar

Given some of the discussion, and debate, on the 3.6L V6 Pentastar: here is my review after one year with this engine.

I purchased my 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee with ORA I in August of 2013. Since then, I have logged 12k miles in a variety of conditions--but primarily as a single driver commuter.

Driving has been done in a mountainous region in the NW of the country experiencing conditions from over 100 F to -20 F.

Mixed mileage has been 22 MPG on average across the seasons, with less in the winter, more in the summer. Recently, I've seen increasing mileage as the engine breaks in.

All told, I am quite content with this choice, and would recommend the 6 to anyone who doesn't plan to regularly tow or haul heavy loads of cargo as I do not have experience with heavy loads to speak for the 6 in those conditions.

As I am a "light" user I cannot speak for the capabilities of this engine under heavy loads. That said, I drove a brand new Ram V8 HEMI for almost two weeks in the last month (warranty rental) with the 8 speed for comparison.

So what I can conclude is this: If you are a single commuter or light load driver then there is NO DOUBT that the V6 Pentastar is more than capable for your needs. In fact, this engine is down right NASTY when pushed into higher RPMs.

Coupled with the 8 speed, I can push this rig around with AUTHORITY. We're talking passes at 95+ in short seconds after putting the hammer down at 70 and getting pressed into the seat like a rocket takeoff from 0.

So, it is clear that this is a serious contender and by no means is anyone gimped by choosing the Pentastar.

That said, the experience with the quad cab big horn Ram with the 5.7L V8 is equally enlightening.

You do not have to flog it into the higher RPMS like the Pentastar unless you REALLY mean business. I was impressed with the extra torque available and would seriously consider this if towing or hauling heavy loads were regularly on the agenda. Especially at higher than usual speeds.

However, this engine felt like overkill 95% of the time based on my light usage. But damn, it was satisfying to go deep into the pedal and feel a monster come to life at my call.

So in summary, I would purchase the V6 Pentastar again without hesitation--it REALLY is a more than capable engine with the 8 speed. Even downright CRAZY when pushed to the limit, and I understand Jeep offering this engine in all trim levels (CAFE aside).

Certainly go for the 8 if you plan to haul or want bottomless power to tap into, but this Jeep is one heck of a ride either way!
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Old 08-20-2014, 07:39 AM
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Re: 1 Year Review with the V6 Pentastar

Although I agree 100% that the 3.6L V6 Pentastar is a fine engine for daily commuting, the weak link is the 8 sp transmission.

The 8 sp is not refined enough for my tastes. The shifts are downright truck-like at times, and there's too much hesitation when passing at 30+ mph in "ECO" mode.

IMO more software work is needed on Chrysler's part to improve the driveablity of the V6 8 sp transmission.
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Old 08-20-2014, 08:16 AM
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Re: 1 Year Review with the V6 Pentastar

I have a 2012 laredo, about 50,000 KM on it. 100% agreed that for most purposes the v6 is a great choice. Also 100% agreed that it needs to rev higher in order for it to come to life, if it's reving <= 2000 rpms you're just going to be maintaining speed or sunday-strolling your way through traffic

It's not necessary to mash the pedal either, just shift yourself and keep the revs higher up and it's a whole different experience compared to letting the computer shift when it wants. We have different transmissions, but mine is ridiculously eager to shift up and it drives me nuts at times.
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Old 08-20-2014, 08:19 AM
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Re: 1 Year Review with the V6 Pentastar

I have the 3.6 six cyl. Pentastar in my 2014 Jeep GC Limited. I took delivery of it in May and have 8,000 miles on it now.

I have towing experience. I towed my travel trailer (about 3,500 lbs.) from the midwest to the west coast and back. I was originally thinking about the Hemi, but I bought the Pentastar at the last minute hoping I was doing the right thing. I did! I almost never wanted for more power. Even through the mountains, the San Rafael Swell and the Eisenhower Tunnel at more than 11,000'. I was always able to maintain a very competitive speed with margin to pass. Engine and tranny temps were never too high. When I hit the desert, I was equally impressed, even when the outside air was 110 degrees.

It's a great package. I get 22-23 MPG in every day driving. My towing experience averaged 18 MPG over nearly 4,000 miles.
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Old 08-20-2014, 09:15 AM
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Re: 1 Year Review with the V6 Pentastar

The 6 does need more attention related to shifting, I agree, but the way I've handled that is to enter sport mode on entrance ramps or when I want to insure a quick take-off or responsiveness on unusually steep climbs. I've never felt a need to manually shift but that's just me. Sport seems well calibrated.

Based on my experience with the 5.7L Ram on the same routine drives, if I had the HEMI Jeep I don't think I'd ever bother with sport mode. Whereas I enter it once or twice on most drives in the Jeep. So that's a difference for sure. I find it enjoyable to be even slightly more involved in the driving experience and fully using every liter of the Pentastar.

This is coming from someone who regularly flogged the crap out of a 4 banger before now so I never did mind that style of driving, but I also own a 1200cc Buell XB12X (RIP Buell Motorcycles you will be forever missed) so I KNOW what having bottomless torque means, which on the Buell meant being able to *will* a velocity and acceleration and simply "be there" with a simple twist of the wrist and a quick shift or two.

No Jeep is going to be close to that power to weight ratio (keeping the front down can be a challenge!), not even the SRT which I would love to try if ever given the chance.

In any event, I am satisfied and just wanted to help potential buyers get some additional perspective from my experience.

Finally, I feel like the transmission is generally smooth. Perhaps I've never owned a better one or I have different expectations, but I don't notice the shifting at all in most cases so it's never been something that has come up as a issue.
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Old 08-20-2014, 09:58 AM
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Re: 1 Year Review with the V6 Pentastar

22 mpg based on the EVIC or have you calculated it? My EVIC is 10% optimistic.


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Old 08-20-2014, 12:05 PM
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Re: 1 Year Review with the V6 Pentastar

I live in CO and have a 2012, so only the 5-speed transmission. I still think I made the right choice with the v6, and I drive into the mountains multiple weekends per month. Never felt like I needed more power. I don't tow anything, but I do go offroad and feel like it has much more than enough power to get into/out of any situation (haven't been stuck in mud or anything though).

I don't use the EVIC mpg calculation, I manually calculate by hand. My averages are usually around 18mpg for combined throughout the week. Haven't done a long enough road trip to say what it would be solely on highway miles.
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Old 08-20-2014, 12:22 PM
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Re: 1 Year Review with the V6 Pentastar

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Originally Posted by GCLimited View Post
Although I agree 100% that the 3.6L V6 Pentastar is a fine engine for daily commuting, the weak link is the 8 sp transmission.

The 8 sp is not refined enough for my tastes. The shifts are downright truck-like at times, and there's too much hesitation when passing at 30+ mph in "ECO" mode.

IMO more software work is needed on Chrysler's part to improve the driveablity of the V6 8 sp transmission.

Head hurts now.
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Old 08-20-2014, 05:28 PM
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Re: 1 Year Review with the V6 Pentastar

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Head hurts now.
well that's because he's had two bad experiences now with the 8spd, and if I was him I'd be done with Jeep period.
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Old 08-20-2014, 08:28 PM
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Re: 1 Year Review with the V6 Pentastar

I'm nearing 4k miles on mine, and I don't know if mine is different, but there's no harsh shifting and no lag at all when stepping on the gas. It's a late 14' build, April/May. Even off-road on steep inclines, over rocky terrain, and mud, it's been absolutely excellent.
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Old 08-20-2014, 10:28 PM
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Re: 1 Year Review with the V6 Pentastar

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well that's because he's had two bad experiences now with the 8spd, and if I was him I'd be done with Jeep period.
What does my Jeep have in common with my Buell? Both have been to the dealer far too many times (and more to come due to recalls and waiting for recall parts for the Jeep) yet I still love them both. Chrysler (and dealer) also did me good with a free Big Horn Ram quad cab HEMI rental for the almost two weeks I waited on a new (and redesigned I might add) oil pressure sensor.

Enjoyed the Ram, still missed the Jeep.

They have a good thing going--just need to work on the QC and build a bit more.

/2014 beta tester aka early adopter

As an off topic but nonetheless interesting aside, my favorite design aspect on the Buell XB12X is the fact that they had to add ACTIVE cooling when the bike is turned off so that it can be restarted again without waiting an inconvenient amount of time to cool.

Yep, rather than redesign the already quirky, innovative, and novel machine they were like "f*ck it!" and just slapped a huge fan in the frame to quickly cool the engine down after it was turned off. Garage engineering, but damn if I didn't love the result of a creative and brilliant engineer tinkering with experimental designs that somehow still made it to production.
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Old 08-20-2014, 10:29 PM
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Re: 1 Year Review with the V6 Pentastar

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Originally Posted by polizei View Post
I'm nearing 4k miles on mine, and I don't know if mine is different, but there's no harsh shifting and no lag at all when stepping on the gas. It's a late 14' build, April/May. Even off-road on steep inclines, over rocky terrain, and mud, it's been absolutely excellent.
Agree completely, shifts cannot be felt unless you are looking for them. Acceleration for a 2 1/2 ton 6 puts a big smile on my face, as does the handling and the exhaust note when you punch the go pedal. I'm averaging 26 mpg on EVIC with 4700 miles, but it doesn't matter. A great overall package; no need for the 8 for me.
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