“2013 RAM 1500: Plenty of Guts, lots of Glory”
For those of you who may not have been aware, Ram has been its own brand for quite some time now (since November, 2009) and is no longer to be referred to as a Dodge, and what started out to be a refreshening for the 2013 model year, has emerged as an all-new truck with a host of choices.
There are many class firsts featured in the new Ram 1500 lineup which offers what the marketing department spokesperson outlined as a simplification of the packaging process and model availability, but is in reality somewhat confusing to the non-insider. The former ST or base trim will only be available to fleet customers. Regular consumers will have the Tradesman or Express models to choose from as an entry level. SLT trim level trucks will be offered as Outdoorsman or Big Horn models, followed by Sport and Laramie models, available in Longhorn or Limited trim levels.
Engine choices include: an all-new 3.6-liter DOHC, 24-valve Pentastar V6 that delivers 305 horsepower at 6,400 rpm along with 269 pound feet of torque at 4,175 rpm; a 4.7-liter SOHC, 16-valve, 310 horsepower V6; and a 5.7-liter HEMI, 16-valve V8 that cranks out 395 horses and a whopping 407 pound feet of torque.
The transmission lineup offers: a six-speed automatic as standard fare for trucks with the 4.7-liter engine and available for 5.7-liter V8-powered trucks; or a ZF 8HP45 eight-speed automatic with new Electronic Rotary Shift (called TorqueFlight 8) as standard for trucks with the 3.6-liter V-6 which is optionally available with select V8 equipped trucks – manual shifting is made possible by thumb operated switches (for up and down) located on the right side of the steering wheel.
The Ram 1500 is available in either a rear (2WD) or 4WD configuration; with the latter offering two transfer case versions- a Part-time or On-Demand system. Differing rear axle ratios are also available.
Cab configurations include: a Regular Cab; a Quad Cab; and a Crew Cab, with varying box lengths depending upon the cab chosen. Box lengths include: Short – 5’7” (Crew Cab 2WD only), or 6’4”. An 8-foot long box is available on Regular Cab models only, while the 6’4” box becomes a long bed for Quad and Crew cabs.
Design-wise, the 2013 Ram 1500 trucks still display an “in-your-face” presence, but with a more aerodynamic form (best in class coefficient of drag at 0.36 CD), with models differing dramatically in terms of exterior features, with Sport versions exhibiting a bolder, more aggressive and athletic persona. The new Ram grille is now taller and integrated within the upper fascia panel. The classic crosshair grille now takes on a more streamlined and cleaner appearance. Fog lamps are oriented vertically, flanking the grille. The premium quad halogen projector headlamp design is an all-new bi-functional affair with 15 amber LEDs for park/turn/position lamp and three amber LEDs for the side marker. Taillamps are in the same LED configuration, but in red. A new wheel-to-wheel polished stainless running board improves aerodynamics and adds accessibility to the forward portion of the bed. There are 12 different colors, including five new shades, and both monotone and two-tone schemes are available.
The interior, with its innovative new features and technologies is more akin to a luxury sedan. Chrysler’s Uconnect system with Human Machine Interface is both attractive and intuitive for system operations and connectivity. Interior color treatments are elegant, and complement exterior colors. Genuine wood trim accents add a luxurious touch – a far cry from the exposed interior metal panels of yesteryear.
The new 2013 Ram 1500 truck is perhaps the most impressive hauler available in today’s truck marketplace. The entire lineup delivers a nearly unbelievable variety of comfort and convenience features too many to list here individually. The available Air Ride suspension provides four ride height levels for ease of loading, unloading and aerodynamic operational efficiency on the road.
At the national press preview and product launch held in Nashville, Tennessee, journalists were afforded the opportunity to experience first-hand, virtually all trim and equipment levels in early iteration pre-production examples. My driving partner and I were able to test everything from a base Tradesman 1500 Crew Cab 4×4, with the new 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 and Torqueflite 8-speed automatic to a Ram 1500 Crew Cab Laramie 4×4 with 5.7-liter V8 power and 6-speed automatic, with an SLT trim 1500 Ram Quad Cab sporting the 3.6 V6 and 8-speed automatic thrown in for good measure. Pricing ranged from $22,950 for a Ram 1500 4×2 Regular Cab Tradesman SWB to $47,420 for a Ram 1500 4×4 Crew Cab Lamarie Longhrn. Add $995 Destination Charge for all models and configurations. Ram Truck marketing spokesperson, Dave Sowers assured us that added value and new content would guarantee outstanding value across the entire lineup. Pricing for the units tested were not available as equipped. 2013 Ram 1500 Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Prices will average just over 1 percent higher than 2012 prices. The 3.6L Pentastar V6 with the class-exclusive 8-speed TorqueFlite 8 transmission represent a $1,000 option over the 4.7L V8 6-speed offered on Tradesman models, and the Ram Active Level air suspension option will be priced at $1,595.
SUMMARY: Fred Diaz, President and CEO of the Ram Truck Brand and Chrysler de Mexico, Chrysler Group LLC is both passionate and enthusiastic about the new Ram 1500 truck stable offerings and it shows in this latest product offering. Ram product planners, designers and engineers did their homework thoroughly and ultimately hit a homerun with the 2013 Ram 1500. The new truck delivers a staggering and most impressive level of innovative features and equipment that performs beautifully in every respect.
Acceleration is more than adequate with the new 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, and even more impressive with the 5.7-liter HEMI V8. The new 8-speed automatic operates smoothly and efficiently – almost imperceptibly, and the ride quality is more sedan like than truck-like, even unladen.
Handling characteristics deliver car-like quality as well, thanks in part to the electric power steering, with an electric motor serving as an assist rather than a continuously-running hydraulic pump.
A major focus was directed toward outstanding fuel economy, with several strategies employed at gaining maximum efficiency – things like: the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 with variable valve timing and fuel save technology; the 8-speed automatic transmission; engine stop/start; electric power steering; pulse-width modulation; active grille shutters; low rolling resistance tires; thermal management system; air suspension; overall weight reduction; lower front air dam; interactive deceleration fuel shut-off; and wheel-to-wheel side steps or running boards.
Add an unsurpassed powertrain warranty and basic limited warranty to the Ram 1500’s amazing content level and you have what may well be considered to be the new best truck in America.
If you’re looking for a truck with “Guts” and want a glorious truck in any of its forms, you’re sure to be impressed by the Glory of owning a new 2013 Ram 1500.
SPECIFICATIONS: RAM 1500 Quad Cab SLT -‘13
|Base Price:||$22,950. – Ram 1500 4×2 Regular Cab SWB Tradesman|
|Price as Tested:||$47,420. – RAM 1500 4X4 crew Cab Laramie Longhorn. Add $995 Destination charge for all models|
|Engine Type and Size:||3.6-liter Pentastar DOHC, 24-valve V6 with electronic sequential, returnless fuel injection – E85 compatible|
|Horsepower (bhp):||305 @ 6,400 rpm|
|Torque (ft./ lbs.):||269 @ 4,175 rpm|
|Transmission:||Eight-speed automatic with adaptive control and Electronic Range manual Control- 5-clutch pack design with only 2 open clutches in any gear. Torque converter lock with turbine damper for low lock-up speeds in first through 8th gear|
|Drive Train:||Longitudinally-mounted front engine / Parttime four-wheel drive. 2WD High; 4WD High, locked, Neutral; 4WD Low locked|
|Suspension:||Front – Upper and lower “A” arms, coil springs, stabilizer bar, twin-tube shock absorbers, solid axle. Optional air suspension replaces twin=tube shocks and coil springs.
Rear – Five-link with tack bar, coil springs, stabilizer bar, twin-tube shock absorbers, solid axle. Optional air suspension replaces twin-tube shocks and coil springs
|Brakes:||Power-assisted dual-rate, tandem diaphragm vacuum four-wheel discs (vented front). 2-piston pin-slider caliper and ABS front with single-piston pin-slider rear|
|Tires:||Goodyear Wrangler SR-A P 265/70 R17 mounted on steel wheels|
|Length Overall:||231.0 inches|
|Curb Weight:||To determined by engine, transmission, cab configuration, bed size, drive configuration and accessories|
|Fuel Capacity:||26 gallons|
|EPA Mileage Estimates:||HFE 18 mpg city / 25 mpg highway|
|0 – 60 mph:||Not tested|