Trucks & SUVs

Does the Ram 1500 Have a Manual Transmission?

Now that we’re starting to see the 2020 Ram 1500s on dealership lots, many drivers want to know if it’s possible to buy a version of the truck that has a manual transmission.

In the past, one of the biggest reasons to skip the automatic is because the cost of a manual transmission truck is usually several thousand dollars less. The manual transmission also provides drivers with more control of the vehicle during times when they need more power, such as dealing with steep grades, deep mud, or hauling heavy loads.

If you’re a fan of manual transmissions and like the looks of the Ram 1500, there are a few things you should know about the current drivetrain system the company has decided to install in the truck.

Does the Ram 1500 come with a manual transmission option?

2019 Ram 1500 Big Horn
2019 Ram 1500 Big Horn | Ram

The short and simple answer to the question about whether you can get a new Ram 1500 with a manual transmission is no. At this time, none of the major auto companies are producing a half-ton truck with a manual transmission. Even though driving a manual transmission is a lot more fun than letting an automatic transmission do all the work, and the manual transmission gives the truck more power and the driver more options, the demand simply isn’t high enough for the manufacturers to feel the need to deal with manual transmission.

As of 2018, only 3.7% of the vehicles sold in the United States had manual transmissions, which represented an 86.2% decrease from 1995. As fewer manual transmissions become available, fewer drivers learn how to drive a stick shift. It’s estimated that only 18% of current drivers can drive vehicles with manual transmissions.

If you can’t stand the idea of owning a truck that doesn’t have a manual transmission and you want a Ram 1500, you can shop around for an HD Ram 2500 & 3500. As recently as 2018, the company was still equipping a few of its 6.7L I6 turbo-diesel (350 hp / 660 lb-ft) trucks with a 6-speed manual transmission. Another option would be going through the hassle and expense of installing an aftermarket manual transmission.

What is the Ram 1500’s drivetrain like?

2019 was a big year for the Ram 1500 in terms of the drivetrain. That was the year Ram upgraded the system so drivers got more torque, improved performance, and overall performance. Ram is calling the new system the eTorque and it is a set up that is similar to what both GM and Mercedes-Benz install in their vehicles. The great thing about Ram’s eTorque system is that it turns the Ram 1500 into a hybrid.

The new system replaces the vehicle’s alternator. While the vehicle is running, the eTorque system generates electricity which not only charges the battery, but also helps the engine start more quickly, improves regenerative braking, increases the vehicle’s pulling power, and improves acceleration times. While these are great things that make the Ram 1500 more enjoyable, the change most drivers appreciated was how the eTorque system improves fuel economy by ten percent.

The eTorque system adds approximately 100 pounds to the Ram 1500’s total weight. The system includes:

  • One eight-rib belt
  • Two tensioners
  • One larger battery pack
  • One DC-DC converter
  • One motor/generator
  • Cables

The Ram 1500 is designed so that the eTorque’s battery pack is located along the cab’s rear wall. As a result of the eTorque system, Ram 1500s that have a 3.6-liter V6 engine have an output of 305 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque. The Ram 1500s that have a 5.7-liter V8 engine are capable of 395 hp and 410 lb-ft.

You’ll notice the increased torque when the engine is in low gear. 

While Ram has made some significant changes to the 2020 Ram 1500, they only tweaked the engines and drivetrain. One of the changes is the addition of a motor-generator which improves the V6 drivetrain by 90 lb-ft of torque. The same motor-generator adds an impressive 130 lb-ft of torque to the V8 drivetrain.