Literally all-new from the ground up, the 2013 Ram 1500 pickup stepped into the spotlight in New York. With major change from its frame, suspension, body, powertrains and electronics, the recast Ram is out to claim more best-in-class accolades than you can shake a list at - including leadership in critical things like ride comfort, towing/payload capability and fuel economy.
Even at a glance, the 2013 Ram 1500 boasts a far more commanding presence. However that additional visual boldness also incorporates a host of aero-enhancing elements that give the new Ram wind-cheating primacy compared to its full-size pickup rivals. Things like a deeper front air dam, wheel-to-wheel tubular side steps and an available tri-fold hard tonneau cover collectively tidy up the new Ram's profile by six percent. The 2013 Ram 1500 is also the first truck to feature articulated grille shutters that automatically diminish drag by rerouting air around the vehicle when it's not needed for engine cooling. And all Ram models are fitted with standard low-rolling resistance tires.
For all of its other innovative features, the single most impressive bit of revolutionary design on the Ram 1500 is its mileage-enhancing eight-speed automatic transmission. First ever fitted on a pickup truck and operated by a trick dash-mounted e-shift rotary control that replaces the conventional shift lever, this new TorqueFlite 8 trans comes standard with the Ram 1500's new 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine. Despite making 305 horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque -- gains of 42 percent and 13 percent, respectively, compared to the old 3.7-liter it replaces -- this far more sophisticated motivator also is tabbed to deliver at least 16-percent better fuel economy numbers as a result of being paired with the new TorqueFlite 8. That's sufficient to earn it most fuel-efficient V6 pickup honors.
While the carryover E85-capable 4.7-liter/330-horse V8 will still be mated only to the existing conventional six-speed autoshifter, the TorqueFlite 8 also will be available in some versions of the 2013 Ram 1500 fitted with the optional 5.7-liter/407-horsepower Hemi V8. According to Ram, that combo will yield at least a 10-percent fuel economy advantage compared to the equivalent 2012 Ram model - and earn it the best-in-class V8 economy rating. Two other mileage-enhancing technologies also will make their debut on the new Ram 1500, both segment firsts. Standard on all models equipped with the TorqueFlite 8 is a new thermal management system based on an electronically controlled thermostat that speeds warmup intervals and keeps system temperatures at an optimal level under all conditions to net up to 1.7 percent better fuel economy. Certain Ram 1500s also will be fitted with a new start/stop system that can improve overall economy by up to 3.3 percent
Inside, the new Ram 1500 boasts an equally innovative -- and decidedly more people-oriented -- character. Upgraded materials, model-specific trim motifs, enhanced vehicle information systems with larger display screens and more user-friendly control layouts add new appeal to all Ram variants. For those who need to stay in touch while on the go, the 2013 Ram 1500 also introduces Chrysler's next-generation UConnect Access infotainment/telematics package that works in concert the Rams's new super-efficient Powernet electrical architecture. Fully upgradeable and featuring an 8.4-inch touchscreen display, the enhanced UConnect system interfaces with a new line of smart Media Centers to offer numerous online services as well as HD Radio, SiriusXM satellite radio, hands-free mobile calling and even an available built-in cellular phone connection and wireless Internet connectivity via the Sprint network.
Underpinning the new Ram 1500 is a redesigned frame that has even more strength and torsional stiffness than the current unit but is some 30 pounds lighter. Available in either a 120-inch or 140-inch wheelbase, it allows the most capable Ram 1500 model to tow 11,500 pounds or tote 3,125 pounds when fitted with the 5.7-liter Hemi -- both class-leading figures. In addition to a standard mechanical suspension that now features lightweight aluminum control arms, the 2013 Ram also will offer a new air suspension system with five driver-selectable ride-height settings. Beyond establishing a new benchmark for ride comfort in a full-size pickup, this chassis enhancement can increase ground clearance by up to two inches off road or lower the Ram 1500 by 1.1 inches in Aero Mode to improve fuel efficiency at cruising speeds by up to one percent.
Like the truck it replaces, this new Ram 1500 will be available in two-door
Regular Cab, four-door extended Quad Cab and four-door Crew Cab configurations and offer three bed lengths as well as rear- and four-wheel drive and no fewer than 11 different models/packages. The 2013 Ram 1500 will go on sale later this year. Pricing has not yet been announced.