Preview: 2013 Ram 1500 trucks reviews ram car previews
2013 Ram 1500. Click image to enlarge

First Drive: 2010 Dodge Ram HD
Test Drive: 2011 Ram 1500 Laramie

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Article and photos by Grant Yoxon

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2013 Ram 1500

New York, NY — Selling full-size pickup trucks in North America is a competitive business and it is important to the bottom line of any of the Detroit Three (not to mention Nissan and Toyota) to keep ahead of the competition. In this market, the competition never rests.

So it is no surprise that Chrysler Group revealed a 2013 Ram 1500 at the New York Auto Show that is almost completely new from the ground up and, for a while at least, should give the Ram 1500 a boost in sales.

How new is almost completely new? The 2013 Ram 1500 will have a new frame, two new engines, an 8-speed automatic transmission, new air suspension, electric power steering, auto stop-start technology, new interiors, and the latest version of Chrysler’s Uconnect infotainment technology.

Preview: 2013 Ram 1500 trucks reviews ram car previews
2013 Ram 1500. Click image to enlarge

“The new 2013 Ram 1500 is the most capable, best-looking half-ton pickup in the world and delivers best-in-class fuel efficiency, new technology, and new features while upgrading the interior and exterior,” said Fred Diaz, President and CEO of Ram Truck Brand and Chrysler de Mexico. “With best-in-class towing and payload, best-in-class ride and handling and best-in-class aerodynamics, the 2013 Ram 1500 delivers unmatched content, performance, and capability to our customers,” Diaz added.

Chrysler expects its new 3.6L Pentastar V6 engine with variable-valve timing (VVT) to offer best-in-class standard horsepower with 305 and 269 lb-ft of torque while delivering best-in-class fuel economy for V6 trucks. New V6 features 42 percent more horsepower, 13 percent more torque and at least 20 percent better fuel economy when compared to the previous 3.7L V6 powertrain.

The 5.7L HEMI V8 with fuel-saving cylinder shutoff and VVT will provide 395 horsepower and 407 lb-ft of torque while also delivering best-in-class fuel economy for V8 trucks. Fuel economy is expected to be at least 10 percent better compared to the 2012 V8 powertrain. Also, the HEMI will deliver best-in-class towing and payload — 5,216 kg (11,500 lb) and 1,417 kg (3,125 lb) respectively, with Ram 1500 Tradesman Heavy Duty.

Preview: 2013 Ram 1500 trucks reviews ram car previews
2013 Ram 1500. Click image to enlarge

New for Ram and new for the segment is an eight-speed automatic transmission (TorqueFlite 8). This transmission will be standard equipment with 3.6L V6 Pentastar, doubling the amount of gears compared to the previously available four-speed automatic transmission. The new eight-speed also is available with the HEMI and, when it arrives later in 2013, will be the company’s first application with a V8.

The new transmission is operated by an innovative, dash-mounted rotary e-shift dial, replacing both column and floor shifters. The rotary e-shift enables intuitive operation with a direct and confident feel, even with gloves on. The convenient, dash-mounted, easy-to-understand and -operate system provides total control of the sophisticated eight-speed transmission and is Ram’s innovative approach to electronic shifters, already used in Class 6–8 trucks. This new design allows quick blind-shift transitions from Reverse to Drive when towing or navigating out of mud, snow, or busy parking lots and crowded worksites. The new rotary e-shift dial also yields space for more functional and usable storage in the console.