By Zach Vlasuk - Updated Date: 9/1/2012
The mpg war has finally reached the full-size truck market, and the 2013 Ram 1500 is on the front lines. Armed with advanced fuel-saving features, including an available engine stop-start system, 8-speed automatic transmission and electronic air suspension, the new Ram 1500 mixes a measure of practicality with full-size utility. The new 305-horsepower V6 engine is powerful enough to tow up to 6,500 pounds, and yet capable of delivering a class-leading 25-mpg rating on the highway. In order to effectively challenge the Chevrolet Silverado, Toyota Tundra and Ford's best-selling F-150, the 2013 Ram 1500 can also be had with the Chrysler Group's state-of-the-art Uconnect Access infotainment system. Simply put, Ram has raised the stakes with its new 1500 series pickup.
If you've been searching for a rugged full-size truck that packs the latest in in-vehicle entertainment along with best-in-class fuel economy, the 2013 Ram 1500 should be at the top of your list.You May Not Like This Car If...
Every modern full-size truck on the market can handle virtually anything you throw at it. So if durability and towing power are your chief requirements in a full-size pickup, choose your favorite brand and schedule a test drive.What's New for 2013
To the casual observer, the new-for-2013 Ram 1500 might look like a carryover from last year. Under the skin, however, the 1500 series offers a new fuel-efficient Pentastar V6 engine, 8-speed automatic gearbox, multi-mode air suspension, next-generation Uconnect infotainment system and a host of supplementary fuel-saving technologies.Driving It Driving Impressions
The new Ram 1500 takes the old automotive epithet of "drives like a truck" and transforms it into a compliment. While ideal for towing, most pickups employ a less-forgiving leaf-spring rear suspension setup. The Ram 1500, on the other hand, utilizes a coil-spring rear suspension to provide a high level of comfort with or without a heavy load. The difference in ride quality between the coil-spring configuration and the available air suspension is minimal, but the pneumatic system's multiple ride heights aid fuel economy, load-in height, ingress/egress and ground clearance for extreme off-road situations. Power from the new Pentastar V6 is adequate, but if you plan to tow over 5,000 pounds we suggest opting for the torque-rich HEMI V8. Outward visibility is surprisingly good in most directions, though a bit of road and wind noise does penetrate the cabin while cruising at highway speeds.Favorite Features
High technology doesn't need to be highly complicated. Case in point, the Ram 1500's available Uconnect Access is perhaps the most intuitive full-featured infotainment system on the market. From its enormous 8.4-inch touch screen to its conversational voice-recognition software, Uconnect Access is the new benchmark in vehicle connectivity.
A versatile full-size pickup needs a versatile suspension system, which is why the 2013 Ram 1500 offers electronically-controlled air suspension. With the push of a button, ride height can be lowered for ease- of-access to the cabin and cargo bed or raised for up to 10.7 inches of ground clearance.
Like the majority of contemporary Chrysler products, the 2013 Ram 1500 features higher quality materials and tighter panel gaps throughout the cabin. Since the standard front seats lack sufficient support for long drives, we recommend trading up to the optional 10-way power driver's seat. Rear-seat legroom is ample in quad cab configuration, while crew cabs equipped with the regular 6' 4" box offer an additional six inches of legroom without sacrificing bed length. Located within the center gauge cluster is a newly-offered 7-inch Multiview information screen, which displays nearly 350 digital readouts to help keep drivers aware of pertinent vehicle information.Exterior
The new Ram 1500's exterior benefits from a handful of subtle cosmetic enhancements, including restyled headlamps with LED turn signals, a new grille and LED taillights. In addition, the entire wheel lineup is new this year. The 2013 Ram 1500 series will continue to offer the entry-level Tradesman model, which has on-the-job steel wheels, vinyl flooring and vinyl-trimmed seats. A longer cab comprised of large rear doors helps distinguish crew cabs from quad cab models, while every 1500 variant offers the brand's exclusive Rambox cargo management system in the rear fenders.Notable Standard Equipment
The 2013 Ram 1500 is available in a multitude of body styles, bed lengths and trims. Unlike the Toyota Tundra, the base Ram 1500 includes automatic headlight control, a removable/locking tailgate, cruise control and a USB port for portable music devices. The popular Sport model adds a retuned dual exhaust system, unique styling cues and massive 22-inch forged alloy wheels. Standard safety gear includes six airbags, all of the electronic stability aids one reasonably expects from a 2013 model-year vehicle and a hill-start assist feature designed to help prevent the truck from rolling backward when starting off on a steep incline.Notable Optional Equipment
With almost two dozen packages to choose from, the 2013 Ram 1500 can be custom-tailored to suit your individual requirements. The most enticing option on the menu is unquestionably the new Uconnect Access infotainment system with its 8.4-inch touch screen and user-friendly interface. Additional options include a heated steering wheel, 10-way power driver's seat, rain-sensing windshield wipers, 115V household power outlet, air suspension and an engine stop-start system to help save fuel when idling. Since the steering wheel does not offer a telescoping function, taller drivers should consider adding the power-adjustable pedals.Under the Hood
The previously-optional 4.7-liter V8 is now standard issue on the Ram 1500. The new Pentastar V6 delivers 42 percent more horsepower and 20 percent better fuel economy than the outgoing 3.7-liter V6, while the current HEMI V8 gets a 5-horsepower bump thanks to the addition of electric power steering. The class-exclusive 8-speed automatic transmission can be matched with both the 3.6-liter V6 and the HEMI V8.
305 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
269 lb-ft of torque @ 6,175 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/25 mpg
310 horsepower @ 5,650 rpm
330 lb-ft of torque @ 3,950 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: TBA
5.7-liter Hemi V8
395 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
407 lb-ft of torque @ 3,950 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: TBA
The 2-wheel drive 2013 Ram 1500 Tradesman in regular cab form carries a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) around $22,500. Sport models begin just under $33,000, with the fully-loaded Laramie Longhorn Crew Cab coming in around $50,000. Despite a price increase for the 2013 model year, the base Ram 1500 remains one of the most affordable vehicles in its class. By comparison, the Ford F-150 and Chevrolet Silverado 1500 start closer to $24,000. To see what buyers in your area are really paying for the new Ram 1500, be sure to take a look at our Fair Purchase Price before heading to the dealership. On the resale front, we expect the Ram to retain slightly below-average residual values.