2013 - 2014 Ram 1500

The Ram truck has been around in some form or fashion since Dodge started making vehicles in 1914. The Ram as we know it today got its start when Dodge put the Ram name on the then-new 1981 full size truck. Of course, the biggest change happened in 2010 when Chrysler made Ram its own brand, pulling it from under the Dodge umbrella. Now called the Ram Truck brand, Ram has been making huge strides in truck development.

New for 2009 and refreshed again in 2013, the Ram 1500 is available in an almost limitless combination of cab, bed, engine, and options. Regular, Quad, and Crew cabs come with three bed lengths and three engine options that include the base 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6, the venerable 5.7-liter HEMI V-8, and the new 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6.

The Ram 1500 also represents some out-of-the-box thinking in terms of packaging. A five-link rear suspension replaces the traditional leaf springs and an available air suspension gives the Ram a boost for off-roading and trailer towing. The Ram also sports an eight-speed automatic transmission sourced from ZF. The unit helps the 1500 get exceptional fuel economy while still affording it good payload and towing numbers. The truck is also available with the “Ram Ram Box,” a set of toolboxes mounted within the bed rails that will hold anything from trailer hitches to ice and drinks.

While it’s not expected that the Ram 1500 will overtake the Ford F-150 in terms of sales volume, it is expected the Ram will be chosen for its creature comforts and smart new diesel engine.

UPDATE 7/16/2014: Ram Trucks has just announced the entire Ram lineup will comply with the SAE’s J2807 towing standards. Ram joins Toyota and General Motors in adopting the new standards, though Ram is the only automaker to adopt J2807 in for Heavy Duty trucks.

Click past the jump for the full review of the Ram 1500

Exterior

Ram 1500

The Ram 1500 retains its basic shape and looks, even though it has had the semi-truck look for over a decade now. The most obvious change on the outside is a grille that is one inch taller than the one in 2012, which is obviously why Ram teased us with the cheese grater-like grille pictures. In addition, the signature crosshair bars are now flush with the grille at the top and bottom.

Making the grille look different is not the only change up. The grille is also a mechanical component. As less air flow is needed to keep things cool under the hood, the grille actually closes, so air can flow over the Ram’s body more effectively, increasing fuel mileage.

The front bumper also saw some revisions, as Ram introduced vertical fog lamps into it, allowing for better lighting. on four-whee-drive models, buyers will also notice that the holes surrounding the front tow hooks are larger, easing your access to the hooks.

At first pass, the headlights look identical to the 2012 model, but looking closer you will notice it is now a quad-beam system — two headlight bulbs on each side. Chrysler claims that this will improve light spread, pattern consistency, and increase lumens by 30%. The headlights themselves are bi-functional halogen projectors and LED lighting makes up the turn, parking, and brake lights.

Chrysler has also added five new colors, bringing its total color offering up to 12. These new colors include: Black Gold, Copperhead, Maximum Steel Metallic, Prarie, and Western Brown.

The Ram also now features polished stainless steel running boards with a wheel-to-wheel design, which increases its aerodynamics and thereby raises fuel efficiency.

The last addition to this growing laundry list is an all-new 6’4" bed is now available on the Crew Cab models. The Ram Ram 1500 Crew Cabs were the largest available cab on the market and this addition of a larger bed now makes it the largest cab and bed combination. It may be a bear to parallel park, but it’ll haul everyone and everything.

Heading into the 2014 model year, the Ram 1500’s exterior remained unchanged.

2013 - 2014 Standard Exterior Features

  • 17-by-7-in steel wheels w/ Goodyear 265/70R17 tires
  • 160-Amp Alternator
  • Tinted Glass Windows
  • Sentry Key Theft Deterrent System
  • Variable Intermittent Windshield Wipers
  • Automatic Headlamps
  • Class IV Receiver Hitch w/ 7 Pin Wiring Harness
  • Trailer Tow with 4-Pin Connector Wiring
  • Black Door Handles
  • Black Front Bumper
  • Black Grille
  • Black Instrument Panel Accent
  • Black Rear Bumper
  • Black Vinyl Floor Covering
  • Body-Color Fuel Filler Door
  • Manual 6-Inch x 9-Inch Black Mirrors
  • Gray Upper Fascia
  • Spray in Bedliner

2013 - 2014 Standard Exterior Dimensions

Overall Body Width79.4 in.
Overall Height74.6 in.
Overall Length209 in.
Wheelbase120.5 in.
Overhang (Front/Rear)40 in./48.4 in.
Track (Front/Rear)68 in./ 67.5 in.
Bed Height20.1 in.
Bed Length76.3 in.
Bed Width Wall-To-Wall66.4 in.
Bed Width Wheel-To-Wheel51 in.
Coefficient of Drag (Cd)0.360

Interior

Ram 1500

Truck interiors often get overlooked, as they have a history of just being a place to sit and steer. With buyers now using trucks as daily drivers, the Ram came to the plate with some drastic restyling. Ram did away with the shifter altogether and replaced it with an on-dash knob that allows you to shift gears. Plus the four-wheel drive interface has been changed from a knob to a push-button type.

Chrysler stresses that the front and rear occupants of its full-size pickup will experience the same levels of comfort. The armrests now feature soft-touch materials, which keep your arms comfortable for the long haul. In addition, Chrysler upgraded all of the upholstery to "premium materials," which rids you of that cheap feeling to some interiors.

There is now an 8.4-inch next-generation Uconnect system available on the 2013 and up Ram. To make room for this new screen, Chrysler has to redesign the center stack. The vents and all of the trim around the vents look more refined and have a more angular appearance.

Also changed up is the climate control interface. It now has an almost luxury car look to it. It is about time those three big knobs in the center of the dashboard went away. You can also choose to adjust the HVAC system using the aforementioned Uconnect system instead of the knobs, if you so desire. The new switch bank, which will control various features on each truck, is positioned under the HVAC controls, which can also be controlled using the Uconnect system.

Ram 1500

Adding a little flare to the interior are multiple "Ram" emblems. There is a chrome one on each door, a chrome one on the dashboard and a raise "Ram" logo inside the storage compartment above the new touch screen. In addition, each Ram model will have its own interior styling. For example, Laramie Longhorn models will feature a special burled wood trim set.

Even the gauges were revised, as Ram swapped the fuel and temperature gauge with the battery and oil pressure gauges, putting the former in the lower part of the speedometer and odometer, and placing the latter two near the top of the instrument cluster. The gauges themselves are completely redesigned and more refined looking.

Underneath the gauges is a standard 3.5-inch LCD screen that displays vehicle information and operation. Optional on the SLT models, and standard on the Sport, Laramie and Laramie Longhorn models is a 7-inch TFT screen under the gauges that allows you to customize it and certain settings on your Ram.

For 2014, the interior essentially carries over unchanged, but there are two changes. The only change to the standard equipment is the switchover to F1234yf refrigerant in the standard air conditioning. On the options list, you’ll see an all-new front park assist system.

2013 - 2014 Standard Interior Features

  • Air Conditioning
  • Speed Control
  • Tilt Steering Column
  • 12-Volt Auxiliary Power Outlet
  • Heavy Duty Vinyl 40 / 20 / 40 Split Bench Seat
  • 4-Spoke Steering Wheel
  • Behind the Seat Storage / Bin
  • Electronic Vehicle Information Center
  • Uconnect® 3.0 AM/FM Six-Speaker Audio
  • Urethane Shift Knob

2013 - 2014Standard Interior Dimensions

Cargo Capacity57.5 Cubic-Feet
Head Room - Front39.9 in.
Hip Room - Front62.9 in.
Leg Room - Front41.0 in.
Shoulder Room - Front66.0 in.
Passenger Interior Volume62.5 Cubic-Feet
Seating Capacity - Maximum Seating3
Seating Capacity - Standard Seating2

Engine and Drivetrain

Ram 1500

Let’s have a look at what makes this thing tick, shall we? First we all stand in applause at the news that Chrysler finally scrapped the 215-horsepower, 3.7-liter V-6 as the standard Ram 1500 engine. Truck lovers across the nation will rejoice at this news.

Replacing that useless hunk of metal is a far more useful 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 that cranks out a respectable 305 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque. This finally puts the Ram 1500 up there with the base level F-150. This V-6 is rated at 17 mpg city, 25 mph highway and 20 mpg combined, when equipped with two-wheel drive and the standard eight-speed automatic transmission.

Ram 1500

The HEMI 5.7-liter V-8 will remain the top engine but with 5 horsepower more than the 2012 model. This engine will also feature Chrysler’s MDS system, which shuts off cylinders at cruising speeds and variable-valve timing. In total, this V-8 will pump out 395 horsepower and 407 pound-feet of torque. Ram tweaked the 5.7 to 410 pound-feet of torque for the 2014 model year. This setup nets the Ram 14 mpg in the city and 20 mpg on the highway with two-wheel drive, and 13 mpg city and 19 mpg highway with four-wheel drive.

Ram 1500

New for 2014 is a 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 engine, making the Ram 1500 the only light-duty pickup with a diesel engine. This turbocharged, DOHC diesel engine puts down 240 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque. Like the 3.6-liter engine, the 3.0-liter comes standard with an eight-speed automatic for optimal fuel efficiency.

Ram 1500

That same class-leading eight-speed automatic transmission will come standard with the 3.6-liter engine and it will be an option on the HEMI. The standard transmission with the HEMI will remain that six-speed automatic, though it’s only available in the Express trim level.

Towing Standards: SAE J2807

The Society of Automotive Engineers has developed towing standards that basically rate a vehicle’s ability to tow a load. It’s much like the EPA’s fuel economy rating system in that it’s a third party evaluation to test the claims of an automaker.

The SAE tests are done in the real world at the Davis Dam grade on Arizona state road 68. The tests evaluate the truck’s cooling capability, launch and acceleration performance handling and braking performance, and the truck’s overall structural integrity.

Simply put, SAE is testing to confirm a vehicle can actually and safely two a claimed amount of weight without overheating, becoming hard to control, or suffering structural damage. The GM twins, the Chevrolet Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC GMC Sierra 1500, along with the Toyota Toyota Tundra are the only trucks currently complying to the SAE J2807 towing standards. What’s more, Ram is the only tuck maker to have J2807-certifiedits Heavy Duty lineup that includes the 2500 and 3500 series trucks.

Here are some highlights of the Ram Truck lineup’s towing abilities:

  • Ram 1500 V-6 with 3.6-liter gasoline Pentastar – Unsurpassed 7,600 pounds
  • Ram 1500 V-6 with 3.0-liter EcoDiesel – Best-in-class 9,200 pounds
  • Ram 1500 V-8 with 5.7-liter gasoline HEMI – 10,650 pounds
  • Ram 2500 V-8 with 6.4-liter gasoline HEMI – 16,300 pounds
  • Ram 2500 with 6.7-liter Cummins diesel – Best-in-class 17,970 pounds
  • Ram 3500 V-8 with 6.4-liter gasoline HEMI – 16,420 pounds
  • Ram 3500 with 6.7-liter Cummins diesel – Best-in-class 30,000 pounds

The ability to tow 30,000 pounds is amazing for the select group of truck owners who actually pull such loads with their Ram 3500, but what’s perhaps more impressive is the Ram 1500 Ram 1500 ’s 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6. It’s rated to tow 9,200 pounds and still earns a best in class, EPA-certified 28 mpg on the highway when not loaded down. Call us impressed.

Suspension and Chassis

Ram 1500

The 2013 and up Ram 1500 has an available air-ride system that you can control manually or allow the truck to automatically control. The five settings for this system area normal ride height, aero mode, off-road 1, off-road 2, and park mode.

The normal ride height mode will place the Ram 1500 at 8.7 inches of ground clearance from the ground to the door sill. This will automatically adjust back to the correct ride height as the load on the truck increases.

Aero mode drops the ground clearance to 7.6 inches, which increases the aerodynamic efficiency of the pickup, allowing it to perform better at high speeds and get better fuel economy.

Off-road 1 and off-road 2 lift the truck 1.2 and 2 inches, respectively, over normal ride height. This allows for a class-leading step-in height of 21 inches and a class-leading 10.7 inches of ground clearance. The 2013 Ram will also lead the class in departure angle (27.8 degrees) and breakover angle (24.2 degrees).

Ram 1500

The suspension system is fully independent on the front end with coil springs. Redesigned ball joints on the front end are also more durable than they were in 2012. the ball joints also feature better sealing properties to keep the lubricating grease from oozing out — the No. 1 cause of ball joint failure.

The final mode in the suspension system is park mode. This lowers the truck a full two inches from normal ride height to allow us vertically challenged folks to get into the cab easier.

Ram 1500

Out back, Ram has ditched the old school leaf springs in favor of a five-link suspension system with coil springs and shocks to control the bounce. The system gives a better ride than the traditional leaf springs, though it does cut the Ram’s towing and payload capacities in comparison with Ford Ford and GM. However, Ram is banking that the majority of 1500-series truck owners only occasionally haul or tow, and more routinely use their trucks as daily drivers. A more SUV-like ride will surely be appealing to that demographic.

Ram 1500

The chassis features low torsion attributes, which increase its stability and handling. This also decreases noise and vibration by a Chrysler-claimed 30%. In addition, the front frame rails feature 20% higher yield strength than they did in 2012.

Many of the frame rails are hydroformed, instead of welded, which decreases the chances of warping. The side rails are boxed, adding to the strength of the frame.

All of this adds up to a more comfortable ride, yet a stronger truck altogether. This also leads it into a much higher towing and payload capacity.

Fuel Economy Advances

Ram 1500

Since this was a main focus by Ram, we will give it its own little section. First off, the Ram 1500 will be the first pickup ever to feature an automatic start-and-stop system, which shuts the engine off at idle, conserving gasoline. Once you lift your foot off of the brake pedal the engine fires back up. In addition, all of your accessories continue working as they normally would, which means there must be some sort of modification to the air-conditioning system to allow it to run without engine power.

Transmission fluid is most effective at 190 degrees, so Chrysler fitted the Ram 1500 with a special system that keeps the transmission fluid at that specified temperature. It performs this task via a thermal exchange unit that the engine coolant runs through. This exchange unit directs warm coolant directly to the transmission lines, increasing its temperature prior to complete engine warmup.

In typical systems, you had to wait for the engine to reach operating temperature. Once it was hot, the thermostat would allow coolant to circulate into the radiator. At that point it would then heat up the transmission fluid. This small change up reduces friction enough to increase fuel efficiency by 1.7%.

Advancements to the structure of the Ram, which most buyers would never notice, increased the Ram’s aerodynamic performance by 6%. This decreased drag will certainly help in the mpg department, especially at highway speeds.

Weight reduction is an often overlooked factor in mpg. A restructured frame is 30 pounds lighter than the 2012’s frame. New cross-members in the bed shed an additional seven pounds. The new bumper is four pounds lighter than it was in 2012. Aluminum control arms on the front end drop a little bit of weight and the most noticeable by the buyer is a 26-pound decrease by adding in an aluminum hood.

Ram 1500

The drivetrain went on a diet too, as the V-6 drivetrain weighs in 76 pounds fewer than in 2012, and the V-8 drivetrain dropped 30 pounds. If you are keeping score at home, this is roughly a 143-pound drop on the V-6 models and a 97-pound drop on V-8 models when compared to 2012.

Ram also installed a pulse-width modulation system that decides where it can eliminate parasitic draws on the alternator. The less draw on the alternator, the less crag it creates on the engine, which is good for a 0.4% increase in mpg.

Also on the list for fuel savings are low rolling resistance tires. These are basically tires that are a little harder than the average tire and have a smoother tread pattern to reduce the amount of energy needed to roll them along the road. Once you replace the factory tires you need to make sure to get the equivalent tires, or you may get slightly lower fuel economy.

The last fuel economy-boosting component is the elimination of a belt-driven power steering pump, which uses engine power to run and therefore eats up fuel. Its replacement is an electric pump that uses no engine power to operate, which increases fuel economy by 1.8%.

Safety

Ram 1500

The 2013 Ram will feature a plethora of safety features. As for airbags, there are plenty of them: two front air bags, front and rear curtain air bags, and pelvic thorax air bags.

It also features seat-belt pretensioners, which keep you in your seat during an accident, standard electronic stability control, trailer sway control, and anti-lock brakes.

The Ram will feature an optional "Enter ’n Go" keyless entry system which unlocks the doors and starts the engine without any more action than waling up to the truck. The remote keyless entry system has also been expanded to work for the RamBox storage system and the tailgate lock, so one press of a button locks the entire truck down.

Also available on the 2013 Ram 1500 will be automatic rain-sensing wipers.

Pricing

Ram 1500

The 2013 Ram 1500 starts out at $23,400 on the Tradesman model and tops out with the Laramie Longhorn model, which comes in at $44,585.

In 2014, the base Tradesman’s price increases slightly to $24,200. A new trim-topper has been added for 2014, the Laramie Limited. For $48,680, the truck seemingly competes with the likes of Cadillac or BMW.

Ram 1500 Pricing

Model2013 Base MSRP2014 Base MSRP
RAM 1500 TRADESMAN$23,400$24,810
RAM 1500 EXPRESS$25,850$26,995
RAM 1500 HFE$28,510$29320
RAM 1500 SLT$27,960$33,040
RAM 1500 BIG HORN$33,620$30,240
RAM 1500 OUTDOORSMAN$34,020$34,585
RAM 1500 SPORT$33,245$34,855
RAM 1500 LARAMIE$38,925$38,775
RAM 1500 LARAMIE LONGHORN$44,585$46,185
Ram 1500 LARAMIE LIMITEDN/A$48,680

Competition

2014 Ford F-150

Ford F-150

When you want to buy a pick-up truck, we are pretty sure that the F-150 is the first truck that comes to mind. It offers best-in-class engine lineup, delivers best fuel economy and looks great. However, with the new Eco Diesel engine the new Ram 1500 might gain a huge advantage in front of it.

For the F-150, customers can choose between four different engines, ranging from a standard 302 horsepower 3.7-liter V-6 up to a very powerful a 411 horsepower 6.2-liter V-8. A new addition for 2014 is the Tremor edition, which receives a 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine that delivers a total of 365 horsepower and hooks to a 4.10 rear end for optimal acceleration.

Chevrolet Silverado

Chevrolet Silverado

As of 2014 model year, the Silverado is entering a new generation - a wise move from Chevrolet if you consider that the pickup remained unchanged ever since 2007. The model will be offered with a choice of three new EcoTec3 engines: a 4.3-liter V-6, a 5.3-liter V-8 and a 6.2-liter V-8, but no diesel option.

The 2014 Silverado is priced from $24,585.

Conclusion

Ram 1500

In conclusion, we say that 2013 Ram 1500 rose to the occasion and the 2014 model year simply tweaked it a little. The new Diesel option is a phenomenal addition for a light-duty pickup and the optional front parking sensors are a nice touch.

Unfortunately, the Ram now has to find out what it is going to do about the F-150 SVT Raptor and the Tremor. These two performance trucks give the F-150 additional cred on and off road. We’re sure Ram Ram will come up with something to at least contest the Tremor, but we’re not too sure what its engineers have up their sleeve.

Ram 1500
LOVE IT
  • 305-horsepower V-6
  • The only light-duty diesel truck
  • 28 mpg EcoDiesel with 9,200-pound tow rating
  • High-tech features that put the competition to shame
  • Luxury car-like interior on higher-end models
LEAVE IT
  • The high-tech gizmos could bite you after 100K miles
  • No high performance model to compete with SVT Raptor and Tremor
  • No manual transmission offered
  • Starts getting pricy with options

What is your take?

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