The 2013 Ram Ram Series earns an average Total Car Score for the Large Trucks segment.
The Ram may not enjoy the market share that its cross-town rivals do, but it has carved out a niche in the fullsize pickup market as a truck that’s technologically sophisticated and one that can be tailored to suit the specific needs of a wide range of enthusiast buyers. This year, especially, the Ram is bringing a lot of high-tech features to what traditionally has been a fairly low-tech segment.
Its base engine, for example, is no longer an anemic also-ran but a powerful and efficient V6 capable of producing 305 horsepower. It’s mated to a segment-first eight-speed automatic transmission, its broad gear selection intended to maximize fuel efficiency while also offering work-truck and towing capability.
For the truly fuel miserly, there’s the new Ram HFE, with stop/start technology squeezing the most mpg from the V6 -- an estimated 18 mpg city, 25 highway -- plus grille shutters and an air suspension that modify the Ram’s shape on the fly to optimize its aerodynamics. Off-roaders will also appreciate the air suspension, as it raises the truck’s ride height as much as 2 inches.
There are new tech features in the Ram’s cabin, as well, including the next generation of Chrysler’s Uconnect infotainment system (which can turn the Ram into a Wi-Fi hotspot), voice recognition technology, a customizable 7-inch multiview display in the gauge cluster, an 8.4-inch touchscreen in the center stack, and keyless entry and ignition.
Ram has been able to bring all these new features to market while keeping the truck’s pricing very close to last year’s levels. And it still offers specialty versions -- Outdoorsman, Tradesman, Express -- with features targeted at enthusiast niches of the truck world.
So while the Blue Oval and Bow Tie brands may sell more trucks, the Ram is more than a worthy competitor to those mainstream offerings and should be on any truck shopper’s list.
The 2013 Ram 1500 is a fullsize pickup truck available in three body styles, three bed lengths and a variety of trim levels. Powertrain choices include three engines, two transmissions, and two four-wheel-drive systems in addition to standard two-wheel drive.
The base engine in the Ram 1500 is a 3.6-liter V6 that produces 305 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque and is joined to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Two V8 options are available: a 4.7-liter engine making 310 hp and 330 lb-ft, and a 5.7-liter Hemi good for 395 hp and 407 lb-ft. Both V8s are mated to six-speed automatic transmissions, though later in the model year the Hemi will be fitted with an eight-speed automatic. All three engines can be ordered with a part-time 4WD system; a full-time on-demand 4WD option is available with the Hemi.
The Ram’s trim levels don’t follow the traditional good/better/best tiers but instead bundle options and accessories with specific user groups in mind. For example, the Tradesman work truck has few amenities -- manual mirrors, vinyl seats and flooring, manual air conditioning -- but is equipped with a Class IV trailer hitch, RamBox bedside storage boxes and a spray-in bedliner, which are options on most of the other models. The Ram Outdoorsman packages trailer tow, storage and powertrain features popular with hunters, fisherman and campers; while the Sport gets the Hemi V8, monochrome body pieces, aggressive-sounding dual exhaust and 22-inch wheels.
The highline Laramie Longhorn is outfitted like a luxury sedan: 20-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, power-adjustable pedals, premium leather upholstery, heated steering wheel, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, rear-park assist, backup camera, Bluetooth connectivity, navigation, and a premium 9-speaker audio system.
The EPA has not yet released fuel economy numbers for the 2013 Ram 1500, but the manufacturer estimates the V6-powered HFE model will get 18 mpg city, 25 mpg highway.
Properly equipped, the 2013 Ram 1500 is rated to tow up to 10,450 pounds.
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