By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 2/14/2013
Bragging rights, thy name is the 2013 Ram. In the constant battle for power and hauling capability among heavy-duty trucks, the latest Ram is the new king of the hill with its class-leading 30,000-pound trailer capacity and monstrous 850 lb-ft of torque from its 6.7-liter Cummins diesel engine. This newfound strength enables the Ram 3500 to easily surpass its heavy-duty rivals from Ford and General Motors, which aren't exactly lightweights. Even in entry form as the Ram 2500 fitted with a 5.7-liter gasoline engine, these heavy-duty trucks offer impressive hauling capability. A version that can run on gasoline or natural gas is also available. Like its competition, Ram HD trucks begin around $30,000 and are offered in a wide variety of trims and cab configurations.
If you need to pull a class-leading 30,000 pounds – or just want the knowledge that your truck can – the Ram Heavy Duty has the muscle to do so. Meanwhile, its comfortable interior can coddle calloused hands and its sophisticated technology can keep you connected. Unlike its rivals, Ram HD trucks can be had with a manual transmission.You May Not Like This Car If...
Aside from aesthetics and certain proprietary infotainment features, choosing the Ford Super Duty or Chevy Silverado/GMC Sierra over the Ram HD may boil down to personal preference and brand loyalty.
Ram has increased the power and capability of its heavy-duty trucks, endowing more strength to its diesel engine and the truck's frame and suspension components. Inside, a freshened interior includes the next-generation of Chrysler's Uconnect information/entertainment system.Driving It Driving Impressions
With prodigious power from a gasoline- or diesel-powered engine, it's no surprise that the 2013 Ram Heavy Duty has stellar hauling capability. But the Ram HD also impresses in everyday driving. We were impressed with these trucks' ride comfort, overall refinement, and relatively quiet interiors. Though it lacks the softer coil-spring suspension found on the light-duty Ram 1500 pickups, the HD's new leaf spring setup improves ride quality and towing/payload capacity. Those who need their heavy-duty truck to also perform well in tough off-road environments should consider the Ram Power Wagon. This model gets through the rough thanks to 4-wheel drive, locking front and rear differentials, and even a built-in Warn winch.
CLASS-LEADING POWER AND HAULING
Whether you're really using all that might or just boasting, it's hard not to be impressed with these two figures: 30,000 and 850. The first is the maximum towing capability in Ram 3500 models, while the latter is the torque rating exerted from the 6.7-liter Cummins diesel engine that's used to haul such massive loads.
UCONNECT TELEMATICS SYSTEM
The Ram uses the latest version of Chrysler's information and entertainment system, dubbed Uconnect. In addition to working with mobile phones to allow hands-free communication, Uconnect integrates navigation, audio entertainment and text-message capability, depending on which version you choose. Uconnect also lets you remotely lock the vehicle from a cellphone or turn the cabin into a Wi-Fi hotspot.
Climb into a 2013 Ram Heavy Duty pickup and you'll find a very un-workman-like interior. Even base trims seem relatively polished, and a high-end model can feel like the furthest thing from a utility truck with its leather-lined and climate-controlled seats, heated steering wheel, and all-around fine craftsmanship. Models with regular cabs can seat up to three passengers across a bench, while 4-door models can seat up to six across the two rows or five when equipped with front bucket seats.Exterior
Ram Heavy Duty trucks are available in three cab configurations: 2-door Regular Cab, 4-door Crew Cab, and the even larger 4-door Mega Cab. Models with two doors come standard with an 8-foot bed, while those with four doors can also be had with a 6-foot-4-inch bed. Unlike the blocky designs of the Ford Super Duty and Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra HD trucks, the Ram continues with its snout-nose front and more rounded design. The available RamBox cargo management system offers secure storage bays built into the sides of the truck bed. A dual-rear-wheel setup is available, as is a factory-installed 5th-wheel and gooseneck hitch mount for towing extreme loads. Keep in mind that all heavy-duty trucks are sizable vehicles. If you plan to park one in a garage, measure accordingly.Notable Standard Equipment
Like its rivals from Ford and GM, features vary widely in the 2013 Ram HD line depending on trim level. Base 2013 Ram Heavy Duty 2500 ST versions, for example, are rather basic. They have air conditioning, a lockable tailgate, a black vinyl 40/20/40 split bench seat and a radio, but still have manual windows and door locks (you can save your arms the effort by spending a few hundred dollars on a convenience package). Moving to higher trims nets features such as an upgraded Uconnect system with Bluetooth, satellite radio and premium speakers. Top-end models, meanwhile, have refined interiors bathed in premium leather with heated/ventilated front seats. Safety features include stability control, hill-start assist and trailer sway control.Notable Optional Equipment
Among the Ram HD's long list of available features are the RamBox cargo-management system, a Cummins diesel engine, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror with video display for backup camera, a navigation system, premium cloth or leather seating, and upgraded sound systems. The bi-fuel system that allows the Ram HD to run on compressed natural gas (CNG) is available on the 2500 4-wheel-drive crew cab model with the 8-foot bed, in either ST or SLT trim. A cold-weather package includes an engine block heater and winter front grille cover.
The 2013 Ram Heavy Duty is available with a 5.7-liter Hemi V8 gasoline engine or a much more powerful 6.7-liter Cummins inline-6 turbodiesel. The diesel engine is available in two power outputs, with the upgraded version available exclusively on the 3500 making a class-leading 850 lb-ft of torque. The gasoline engine is standard on the 2500 and, for 2013, the 3500. A bi-fuel option allows the 5.7-liter gasoline engine on select 2500 models to also run on compressed natural gas. Power output is the same as with gasoline, and the CNG tanks are stored in the truck bed near the cab. The sole transmission for the gasoline model is a 6-speed automatic. Diesel models can be linked to a segment-exclusive 6-speed manual transmission or a 6-speed automatic. Diesel models also feature exhaust braking for improved stopping power. A new capless fuel filler on diesel models has side-by-side ports for fuel and the diesel exhaust fluid now used with these engines to curb emissions.
383 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
400 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
6.7-liter turbocharged diesel inline-6
350 horsepower @ 2,800 rpm (manual transmission)
370 horsepower @2,8000 rpm (automatic transmission)
660 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500 rpm (manual transmission)
800 lb-ft of torque @ 1,600 rpm (automatic transmission)
6.7-liter turbocharged diesel inline-6
385 horsepower @ 2,800 rpm
850 lb-ft of torque @ 1,600 rpm
2013 Ram HD trucks have a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) beginning just over $30,000 and can climb to roughly twice that when fully loaded, similar to their Ford and GM rivals. Pricing for the 2013 Ram CNG that can switch between gasoline and compressed natural gas starts just over $46,000. Before buying, be sure to check the Fair Purchase Price below to see what others in your area are paying for the Ram Heavy Duty. Resale values of Ram HD trucks have traditionally been slightly lower than those of their Ford and GMC/Chevrolet rivals, though 3500 models tend to fare better.