2013 Ram 1500 Safety/Uconnect: Deep Dive


There are almost 50 different and unique safety features on the 2013 Ram 1500; some are passive, some have predictive software behind their reactions, and some will likely never be used in the life of the vehicle. Ram even gave us a sheet with all the different systems identified and located on a new truck () and we've identified most of them here. Look for crash test data and a segment comparison closer to when the truck is tested by the government later this year. 


The 2013 Ram 1500 utilizes both active and passive safety and security features that will make the new truck one of the safest vehicles on the road. Standard equipment on the truck will be six airbags that include smart-sensor multistage driver and front-passenger bags; side curtain airbags for front and rear passengers; seat-mounted side pelvic and thorax airbags, and other technology to provide the driver with more awareness around the vehicle.

Other safety features with a more truck-friendly quality include a host of electronic stability control technologies, such as trailer-sway control, hill start assist, advanced traction control and many others. One feature we believe will be popular is the new push-button start and one-touch central locking that can lock and unlock the doors, RamBox and tailgate at the same time. 

With so many safety features and technologies, we’ll list all the ones we know about here (in alphabetical order, with some of our favorites at the top). More features may be coming, given what we’ve heard from engineers who tried to build in significant upgradability into the electrical skeleton. We’re pretty sure as new models come out over the next several years, we’ll see these upgrades used.


  • All-speed traction control: Senses drive-wheel slip and applies individual brakes to any slipping wheels and reduces excess engine power until traction is regained.
  • Brake-lock differential system: Allows the vehicle to maintain forward motion if one or two wheels lose traction by selectively and/or aggressively applying brakes to the spinning wheels.
  • Electronic stability control: Enhances driver control and helps maintain directional stability under all conditions. It provides the greatest benefit in serious driving situations, such as cornering, and it’s especially valuable when driving on mixed surface conditions including snow, ice or gravel. If there’s a discernible difference between what the driver asks through the steering wheel and the vehicle’s path, the system can apply selective braking and throttle input to put the vehicle back on the driver’s intended path.
  • Hill start assist: Helps drivers when starting a vehicle on an incline by maintaining the level of brake pressure applied for a short time after the driver steps off the brake pedal. If throttle is not applied within a short time, brake pressure will be released.
  • Integrated trailer-brake control: Allows you to automatically or manually activate the electronic brakes on properly equipped trailers for greater stopping power on downhill grades.
  • Lock on sync tire pressure monitors: This tire pressure monitoring system self-learns tire position after rotation or if the tire is moved to a new location.
  • ParkView backup camera: Provides a wide-angle view of the area immediately behind the vehicle and shows guidelines, which take steering input into consideration. Also aids in lining up a trailer to the vehicle’s trailer hitch. Depending on features, the image displays on the navigation screen or rearview mirror when the transmission is in Reverse.
  • Remote start: Starts the engine within a designated distance outside the vehicle by using the key fob.
  • Safety cage body structure: Protects occupants by managing and controlling energy in the event of an impact.
  • Trailer-sway control: Reduces trailer sway and improves handling in adverse towing conditions caused by crosswinds and traffic. The system monitors the vehicle’s movement relative to the driver’s intended path, then applies alternating brake pressure to slow the vehicle and then increases the pressure on one front wheel to counteract the sway induced by the trailer.
  • Tire pressure monitoring: Sensors in the valve stems of all four wheels send continuous radio frequency signals to a receiver to inform occupants when tire pressure is too low.
  • Advanced multistage air bags: Inflates with a force appropriate to the severity of an impact.
  • Antilock brakes: Senses and prevents wheel lockup, offering improved steering control under extreme braking and/or slippery conditions. Advanced ABS modulates each of the four brakes individually for optimum control and stopping performance.
  • Auto-reverse sunroof: The sunroof automatically reverses to the open position when an object that restricts glass movement is detected.
  • Auto-reverse window: Window automatically reverses to the down position when an obstacle that restricts glass movement is detected.
  • Rain-sensing wipers: Windshield wipers automatically activate during precipitation.
  • Belt alert: Periodically activates a chime and illuminates an icon in the instrument cluster to remind the driver to buckle up.
  • Brake assist: In a panic-brake condition, the system applies maximum braking power to provide the shortest possible stopping distance.
  • Brake override: When a disagreement exists between the throttle and the brake, the brake signal causes the engine controller to reduce engine power, allowing the operator to stop.
  • Brake/Park interlock: Prevents the automatic transmission from being shifted out of Park unless the brake pedal is applied.
  • Child-seat anchors: Latch system is designed to ease installation of compatible child-safety seats.
  • Child-protection rear door locks: Disables the rear doors’ inside-release handles via a small lever on the door-shut face.
  • Crumple zones: Designed to compress during an accident to absorb energy from an impact, decreasing transfer of that energy to occupants.
  • Digressive load-limiting retractors: A two-stage feature that limits the maximum force on the seat belt webbing to help absorb the energy of the occupant’s upper torso during an impact.
  • Energy-absorbing steering column: The manual-adjust steering column uses two hydroformed coaxial tubes that move relative to each other to allow the column to move forward for enhanced energy absorption during an impact.
  • Enhanced Accident Response System: Makes it easier for emergency personnel to see and reach occupants in the event of an accident by turning on interior lights and hazard flashers, and unlocking doors after air-bag deployment. It also shuts off the flow of fuel to the engine.
  • Height-adjustable front seat belts: Allows the driver and front passenger to raise and lower the shoulder belt to offer a comfortable fit.
  • Halogen projector headlamps: A high-output projection main beam is assisted by LEDs for improved light spread, pattern consistency, distance and more lumens.
  • HomeLink: Stores three radio-frequency codes to operate garage-door openers, security gates, security lighting or other radio-controlled devices.
  • Inside storage emergency release: A glow-in-the-dark release handle that can be used if someone is inadvertently trapped inside the RamBox.
  • Interior head-impact protection: Interior pillars above the belt line and instrument panel — including areas around the windshield and rear window headers, roof and side-rail structures, and shoulder-belt turning loops — are designed to limit head-impact force.
  • Keyless Enter ’n Go: When an individual enters the vehicle, sensors detect if the key fob is present and will allow the individual to push a button to start the vehicle without inserting the key into the ignition. (The driver must apply the brake pedal when starting normally.)
  • Knee bolsters: The lower instrument panel and the glove box door are designed to properly position the occupant, enabling airbags to work effectively.
  • Navigation system: Easy-to-use maps with audible turn-by-turn directions, more than 6 million points of interest and lane guidance.
  • Occupant restraint controller: Detects an impact and determines whether a crash is severe enough to trigger airbag deployment and whether the primary or secondary stage inflation is sufficient. In addition, the controller detects side impacts and determines whether the rail curtain and side seat-mounted (thorax protection) airbags should deploy. Engagement of the front seat-belt pretensioners is managed through the controller.
  • ParkSense rear-park assist: Detects stationary objects while at low speeds in Reverse. It consists of audible warnings for the driver and a visual display in the customer information center or in the rearview mirror, depending on truck options.
  • Power-adjustable pedals: Allows the brake and accelerator pedals to move toward or away from the driver to achieve a comfortable seating position.
  • Remote keyless entry: Locks and unlocks doors, RamBox and tailgate, and turns on interior lamps. If the vehicle is equipped with a security alarm, the remote also arms and disarms that system.
  • Rain Brake Support: The system uses the electronic stability control’s pump to occasionally push brake pads lightly against the brake rotors in rainy conditions to keep rotors dry and assure maximum braking performance.
  • Seat-belt pretensioners: During a collision, impact sensors initiate seat-belt pretensioners in the first row to immediately remove slack from seat belts, thereby reducing the forward movement of occupants’ heads and torsos.
  • Sentry Key engine immobilizer: When the key is inserted in the ignition, the controller sends a random number to the key, which has an embedded transponder with a preprogrammed security code. If the correct key is used, the engine is allowed to start. If a different key is used, the engine will shut off after only a few seconds.
  • Side guard door beams: Provides occupant protection during a side impact.
  • SmartBeam auto-high beams: During night driving, the system senses oncoming traffic and automatically switches from high to low beams and back again when the traffic has passed.
  • Standard side curtain airbags: Extends protection to all outboard front and rear passengers. Each side airbag has its own impact sensor that autonomously triggers the airbag on the side where an impact occurs. 
  • Uconnect voice command: Allows drivers to operate a Bluetooth-compatible phone. When the phone is initially connected, Uconnect can sync up to 1,000 contacts, which can then be selected by saying a contact name. It also allows drivers to switch radio modes, tune to AM/FM and SiriusXM Satellite Radio stations and request real-time info (such as fuel prices) from SiriusXM Travel.
  • Security alarm: Deters vandalism and theft, frequently lowering insurance premiums. System protects the vehicle from theft by monitoring door- and liftgate-ajar switches and the ignition circuit for unauthorized entry.


Uconnect Access

The next-generation Uconnect Access multimedia entertainment system debuts in the 2013 Ram. The new system uses a wireless platform to control and manage what amounts to a media center for the driver and passengers, sort of like combining a home or office computer with a smartphone.

Uconnect is controlled through a new 8.4-inch console touch-screen that also offers redundant controls for the radio and air conditioning. By the time the 2013 Ram goes on sale, Chrysler will offer an expanded SiriusXM channel lineup, with Sprint as the data partner for all the needed connectivity.

The 2013 Ram will be offered with two Uconnect platforms, called Media Center R3 and Media Center R4. The main difference between the two is that R3 does not have a navigation package or HD radio capability, but both can be added if the customer (or a future owner) wants them. Both packages offer SiriusXM radio, voice recognition, music playback and texting access via SD, USB and auxiliary inputs. (The R4 offers an extra USB port in the media console.) A CD player is located in the center console.

The R3 and R4 platforms include a built-in cellular connection that offers direct access to 911 emergency services with the push of a button on the rearview mirror. That same system will also provide regular vehicle health reports in whatever way the owner chooses. This connection will also allow smartphone owners to lock and unlock the doors, start the vehicle and flash the lights. Both Media Center applications will allow for extensive in-vehicle access to engine and electronic data via voice recognition or icons on the 8.4-inch screen.

The new Uconnect software can be upgraded without having to replace the existing setup. Many of the upgrades can be downloaded, like a smartphone, rather than physically replaced. All applications that currently exist on the system or downloaded in the future will be automatically upgraded wirelessly so customers will always have the most recent versions.

Uconnect can be controlled with buttons on the steering wheel as well. Volume, radio station select and media source are located on the left side, interfacing with the 3.5-inch information screen in the gauge cluster. Gear selection for the TorqueFlite 8 and cruise control settings are on the right side of the steering wheel. The voice activation button is also on the steering wheel, and it allows the driver to access the user’s contact list and any other feature the R3 or R4 system includes. 

The 2013 Ram will be the first Chrysler model — and possibly the first in the industry — to offer an expanded lineup of SiriusXM channels that will include 19 Latino channels with 10 that are commercial-free. The system will provide weather updates, gas prices and sports broadcasts, along with and movie listings from over 4,500 theaters, as well as traffic info. All new Ram buyers will get the Premier satellite-radio package for 12 months when they buy the SiriusXM package.



Like its 2012 predecessor, the new 2013 Ram 1500 will be available in three cab configurations — two-door Regular Cab, four-door Quad Cab and four-door Crew Cab — with three box sizes: 5 feet 7 inches, 6 feet 4 inches and 8 feet.

The new truck will be offered in 11 models/packages: ST, Tradesman, Express, SLT, Big Horn, Lone Star, Outdoorsman, Sport, R/T, Laramie and Laramie Longhorn.

Production of the 2013 Ram 1500 is scheduled for the fall. Regular Cabs will be built at the Saltillo Truck Assembly Plant in Saltillo, Mexico; Quad and Crew Cabs will be manufactured at the Warren Truck Assembly Plant in Warren, Mich.




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