Only 1 Full-Size American Pickup Truck Doesn’t Offer an Efficient 10-Speed Automatic

Most automakers have found that full-size pickup trucks with more gears burn through less gasoline. For this reason, ten-speed automatics are rapidly becoming standard in the half-ton truck segment. But the Ram still does not offer a ten-speed automatic in its 1500 pickup truck. Instead, every Ram 1500 features a ZF-built eight-speed.

Is the 10-speed automatic transmission good?

Ford and General Motors jointly developed the 10R80/10L80 ten-speed pickup truck transmission. The automakers engineered it with three overdrive gears for efficient highway towing. They also chose ten gears total so their trucks would lose less power during shifts.

Black Ram 1500 pickup truck parked on concrete, a carport visible in the background, for a promotional photo.
2022 Ram 1500 Limited | Stellantis

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A truck with a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission loses a lot of power every time it shifts. During an average shift, its engine’s RPMs drop 25 percent. But the RPMs of the engine in a truck with Ford/General Motors’ new ten-speed only drop 20 percent during an average shift.

Ford and GM’s fuel-saving transmission has obvious appeal. Ford first introduced the engine in its F-150 Raptor. By the F-150’s 2021 refresh, Ford installed its ten-speed in every configuration of its half-ton truck. General Motors still uses an eight-speed automatic in its Chevy Silverado 1500/GMC Sierra 1500 trucks built with the base-model four-cylinder engine. But every other GM half-ton gets the new ten-speed.

What trucks offer a ten-speed transmission?

By the 2021 model year, most pickup truck manufacturers offer a ten-speed transmission. Ford, Chevrolet, GMC, and Toyota all offer 10 gears. Nissan only offers nine. Ram is at the back of the pack, still relying on an eight-speed transmission for all its half-ton trucks.

Advertising shot of the interior of a 2022 Ram 1500 pickup truck.
2022 Ram 1500 Laramie G/T | Stellantis

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When Toyota redesigned its 2021 Tundra, the automaker turned to Aisin to build a ten-speed automatic for the third generation of its full-size truck. Back in 2020, Nissan redesigned its half-ton Tundra and upgraded the truck’s transmission to a nine-speed automatic built by Jatco.

While Nissan doesn’t offer a ten-speed automatic, the only American pickup truck manufacturer not yet offering a ten-speed is Ram.

What transmission does the 2022 Ram 1500 have?

Chrysler first offered the ZF-built Torqueflite8 automatic transmission in its Ram 1500 trucks, alongside its Pentastar V6, for the 2013 model year. Today, every Ram 1500 has either a light-duty or heavy-duty Torqueflight eight-speed.

Detail shot of the shift lever of a Ram 1500 pickup truck with an 8-speed automatic transmission.
2022 Ram 1500 TRX | Stellantis

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If you order a 2022 Ram 1500 with the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, you get the 850RE eight-speed. If you configure the same truck with the 5.7-liter HEMI V8 or the 3.0-liter V6 turbo diesel, Ram upgrades your truck to the 8HP75 eight-speed automatic. Chrysler Group builds both the ZF-designed 850RE and 8HP75, under license, in its Kokomo, Indiana casting plant.

When you order a heavy-duty Ram pickup truck (2500 or larger) you have different engine and transmission options than in the half-ton. Ram builds its heavy-duty trucks with the 6.4-liter HEMI V8 as its base engine. This gasoline-powered engine also comes with a ZF-engineered eight-speed: the 8HP75’s LCV tune. If you opt for the 6.7-liter Cummins-built turbodiesel, Ram equips your truck with the 68RFE six-speed automatic.

If you opt for a Ram 3500 and spring for the high-output tune of the Cummins inline six-cylinder the 68RFE will not be enough transmission. The Cummins HO makes a dizzying 1,075 lb-ft of torque and is thus paired with a heavy-duty Aisin six-speed (the AS69RC).

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