So Chrysler has been aggravating all of us by doing its social media teasing via Facebook. Between the SRT Viper and the Ram 1500 teasing campaigns, we were about teased out. Just as it did with the Viper, Chrysler redeemed itself by finally releasing the actual production 2013 Ram 1500.
This new 2013 Ram 1500 made its debut on April 5th via a live webcast on, you guessed it, FACEBOOK! First and foremost, Chrysler’s focus with the new Ram 1500 was gas mileage, as pickups are falling drastically behind cars in this area, and soon buyers will not be able to fuel these monsters. Luckily, Chrysler has no plans to drastically reduce engine size or mess with the aesthetics of the Ram in order to increase mileage. There are just a few tweaks here and there.
The true test is if this pickup can catch up to its main competitors, the Ford F-150 , Chevrolet Silverado 1500 , and the GM Sierra 1500 . The only way that Ram can hope to catch up to these models is to significantly increase its V-6 output and lower the fuel consumption on the V-8 models.
Update 6/28/2013: Ram has just dropped the official details on the 2014 Ram 1500. This review has been update to reflect changes for the 2014 model year.
Hit the jump to read the full review on the Ram 1500.
We were under the impression at first that this new release was going to be just a model or trim line addition, but instead it is actually a restyling. The Ram 1500 will retain 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 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 Width||79.4 in.|
|Overall Height||74.6 in.|
|Overall Length||209 in.|
|Overhang (Front/Rear)||40 in./48.4 in.|
|Track (Front/Rear)||68 in./ 67.5 in.|
|Bed Height||20.1 in.|
|Bed Length||76.3 in.|
|Bed Width Wall-To-Wall||66.4 in.|
|Bed Width Wheel-To-Wheel||51 in.|
|Coefficient of Drag (Cd)||0.360|
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 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.
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 Capacity||57.5 Cubic-Feet|
|Head Room - Front||39.9 in.|
|Hip Room - Front||62.9 in.|
|Leg Room - Front||41.0 in.|
|Shoulder Room - Front||66.0 in.|
|Passenger Interior Volume||62.5 Cubic-Feet|
|Seating Capacity - Maximum Seating||3|
|Seating Capacity - Standard Seating||2|
Engine and Drivetrain
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. Oddly enough, this engine is the mid-grade powerplant.
The base engine on the 2013 - 2014 Ram 1500 is the same old 4.7-liter V-8 engine with 310 horsepower at 5,650 rpm and 330 pound-feet of torque at 3,950 rpm. This engine comes standard with a six-speed automatic transmission and nets the Ram 14 mpg city, 20 mpg highway and 16 mpg combined.
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.
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.
A class-leading eight-speed automatic transmission will come standard with the 3.6-liter engine and it will be an option on the HEMI. Though there is no mention of it, we assume the V-8 will include a six-speed automatic transmission standard, just as it did in 2012.
As earlier stated, the transmission will include a rotary shifter knob mounted on the dashboard. Chrysler claims that this knob delivers a confident feel, even with gloves on, so you can shift blindly, but we question that, unless there is a sort of indicating click or chime.
Suspension and Chassis
The 2013 Ram 1500 will now have available an 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).
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.
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
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.
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%.
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.
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.The rest of the prices will be released later.
Ram 1500 Pricing
|Model||2013 Base MSRP||2014 Base MSRP|
|RAM 1500 TRADESMAN||$23,400||$24,200|
|RAM 1500 EXPRESS||$25,850||TBA|
|RAM 1500 HFE||$28,510||TBA|
|RAM 1500 SLT||$27,960||TBA|
|RAM 1500 BIG HORN||$33,620||TBA|
|RAM 1500 OUTDOORSMAN||$34,020||TBA|
|RAM 1500 SPORT||$33,245||TBA|
|RAM 1500 LARAMIE||$38,925||TBA|
|RAM 1500 LARAMIE LONGHORN||$44,585||TBA|
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.
Gallery Ford F-150
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.
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 will come up with something to at least contest the Tremor, but we’re not too sure what its engineers have up their sleeve.
- 305-horsepower V-6
- The only light-duty diesel truck
- High-tech features that put the competition to shame
- Luxury car-like interior on higher-end models
- 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