The 2013 Ram 1500 was supposed to be a typical refresh, but Ram Truck had seen the competition rework its trucks to a more thorough extent. This led the truckmaker to make a more aggressive redesign.
The Ram 1500 has been the perennial Bronze medalist in the full-size truck sales competition, and Ram Truck has made huge improvements recently with models such as the Tradesman, Outdoorsman and Express. But the 2013 Ram 1500 needed to be special.
New for 2013
Ram engineers started by improving the Ram's foundation. Liberal use of high-strength steel allows the half-ton frame to be stiffer, stronger and lighter. Use of aluminum for upper and lower control arms, as well as the massive hood, shaved even more weight off the truck.
The new frame was needed to accommodate a new airbag suspension, which is similar to the one used in the Jeep Grand Cherokee, to help with a smoother, more controlled ride, as well improving load leveling when towing. The five-position air system drops for better aerodynamic drag at speed and can be raised (for either two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive) for better ground clearance.
Big news is in the powertrain. Ram gets a 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine. Also new for 2013 is a segment-first eight-speed transmission, to be standard on the V-6 and an option with the bigger Hemi V-8. The midrange 4.7-liter V-8 gets the 65RFE six-speed automatic transmission only.
Other improvements include a significantly upgraded interior along with an exterior that has been tuned for better aerodynamics. Likewise, new technology like active grille shutters, electric power steering and engine start/stop technology are in play with certain models, as well.
Outside, the new Ram may look similar to the previous version, but the changes are significant. Engineers have closed the gaps in the front air dam and bumper to allow more air to get pushed up or around the Ram's big face. The rough edges in the hood and grille have been "sanded" smooth to help airflow. Overall, the improvements are significant, moving from a 0.387 coefficient of drag to a 0.363 Cd.
The new Ram also will offer new grille styles, dependent on trim level, as well as a new bifunctional halogen projector beam headlight option. The new headlights and LED accents are said to offer more light, a better pattern, and use less energy doing it. The taillamps also have been redesigned and sport multiple LEDs.
The 2013 Ram also will offer 12 colors, including five new shades. Black Gold Pearl, Copperhead Pearl, Maximum Steel Metallic, Prairie Pearl and Western Brown Pearl are all new. Other monotone and two-tone options are available.
Ram's interior design team remodeled the dash and center stack and included higher-grade materials and switches. The addition of the eight-speed automatic transmission, which is controlled by a rotary knob below the driver's air-conditioning vent, gave Ram a chance to create a more balanced, polished layout. With no need for a center console shifter, cupholders and storage opportunities are expanded in the armrest area.
There is a new gauge cluster in front of the driver, with a new 7-inch screen between the tachometer and speedometer.
The new center stack offers a huge 8.4-inch screen that will control all media, climate controls, navigation, as well as the Uconnect Access system that includes SiriusXM Satellite Radio channels and info, plus real-time weather and traffic.
The new interior has improved door padding and storage, a wider selection of more premium materials and textures throughout the front and rear seats.
Under the Hood
The 2013 Ram 1500's range of engines is vastly improved because of the Pentastar V-6, but that leaves both V-8s largely untouched from the 2012 models. For now, Ram says it will have the best fuel economy for any half-ton pickup, which could mean at least 18/24 mpg city/highway.
- Base 3.6-liter DOHC all-aluminum V-6 delivers 305 horsepower and 269 pounds-feet of torque
- 4.7-liter SOHC iron block/aluminum head V-8 delivers 310 hp and 330 pounds-feet of torque
- 5.7-liter OHV iron block/aluminum head V-8 delivers 395 hp and 403 pounds-feet of torque
The new eight-speed automatic transmission will be standard on the Pentastar V-6 and an option for the Hemi V-8. The six-speed automatic transmission will be the only choice for the 4.7-liter V-8 and the standard transmission for the Hemi 5.7-liter. The six-speed can be shifted manually through the gearshift, while the eight-speed transmission offers Electronic Range Select with a upshift and downshift switch on the steering wheel.
The new Ram 1500 has 48 new or upgraded safety features throughout the truck. Safety features include:
- Front, side, head and body multistage airbags
- All-speed traction control
- Electronic stability system
- Enhanced Accident Response System
- Energy-absorbing steering column
- Integrated trailer brake control (on the right side)
- ParkView backup camera
- Rain brake support
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