2013 Ram 1500: What Is It?
Chrysler’s Ram 1500 full-size pickups were traditionally sold under the Dodge label, but for the past few model years have been branded as Ram. Like other full-size pickups, the Chevrolet Silverado 1500, Ford F-150, and Toyota Tundra, the Ram 1500 is available in three different cab styles: 2-door regular, 4-door Quad Cab, and 4-door Crew Cab. Both the Quad’s and Crew’s rear doors have traditional front hinges and are able to be opened independently of the fronts.
Ram 1500 offers three different bed lengths depending on cab style and trim-level. The bed sizes are 5 feet 7 inches, 6 feet 4 inches, and 8 feet. Most Ram 1500 trucks are made in the USA. Standard-cab models are made at a Chrysler plant in Mexico.
2013 Ram 1500: What’s New
For 2013 Ram 1500 is significantly updated. Highlights include a new frame, available air suspension, a new 3.6-liter V6 engine, and retrimmed interiors. All V6 models also get a new “TorqueFlite 8″ 8-speed automatic transmission. In early 2013, most Ram 1500 models with the more powerful 5.7-liter V8 will get their own 8-speed automatic transmission to replace the 6-speed unit used at the beginning of the model year.
2013 Ram 1500: Model Lineup, Features, and Options
Ram is available in a wide-ranging selection of models that run from utilitarian work truck to leather-lined luxury hauler.
The range starts at the base ST which is only offered to fleet buyers and rises through Tradesman, Express, HFE, SLT, Big Horn, Outdoorsman, Sport, Laramie, and Laramie Longhorn. In Texas, the Big Horn model wears an alternate name: Lone Star. Rear-drive regular-cab Sport models can be equipped as the performance-themed R/T.
Tradesman lacks some creature comforts and looks a bit plain since it’s designed more as a work truck. It features a black grille, vinyl interior, and 17-inch steel wheels. Tradesman is available in all five of the possible Ram 1500 cab and bed combinations: regular cab with 6-foot 4-inch bed; regular cab 8-foot bed; Quad Cab with 6-foot 4-inch bed; Crew Cab with 5-foot 7-inch bed; and Crew Cab with 6-foot 4-inch bed. Most Tradesman models come standard with the RamBox cargo management system that includes lockable storage compartments built into the rear fenders; RamBox isn’t available with the 8-foot bed.
The Express includes many of the same features as the Tradesman but adds 20-inch alloy wheels and unique exterior trim. Express can be ordered in regular cab short bed, Quad Cab, and Crew Cab short bed versions.
The HFE model targets the best fuel economy numbers of any Ram 1500 truck. It is the only Ram 1500 model that includes a standard tonneau cover for the bed and an automatic start/stop system that can shut off the engine when the truck is stationary and restart it when the driver’s foot releases the brake pedal. Ram offers the HFE in only the regular cab short bed configuration.
SLT models share many features with the HFE including chrome bumpers, power locks, power windows, cloth upholstery, and 17-inch alloy wheels. SLT can be purchased in any of Ram 1500′s cab-and-bed combinations.
The Big Horn, and its Texan cousin the Lone Star, add upgraded interior trim, leather-wrapped steering wheel, 20-inch wheels, power driver and passenger front seats, and an upgraded radio. These trucks are not available with the regular cab.
As the name suggests, the Outdoorsman is aimed at hunters and off-road users. These trucks are available in all cab-and-bed configurations. They have unique exterior appearance, front bucket seats, skid plates, 17-inch wheels, and upgraded radio with 8.4-inch touchscreen control. The Crew Cab 4-wheel-drive model is available with an optional Mossy Oak Package that includes specific interior and exterior trim.
Sport (and by extension R/T) have more of a street-truck appearance. Sports come in all cab and bed configurations except for the regular cab long bed combination. Features include body-color side mirrors, specific interior trim, and a unique exhaust system. The R/T package for rear-drive regular cab Sports includes specific rear-end gearing, R/T grille badge, and a “performance” hood with twin scoops that are similar in appearance to those used on the Dodge Challenger coupe. The hood is optional for other Sport models.
Laramie adds leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, heated steering wheel, power-adjustable pedals, chrome-clad 20-inch wheels, and two-tone paint. Quad and Crew Cab models are available.
The Laramie Longhorn is the Ram 1500′s most luxurious trim level. The interior includes upgraded leather (with or without western-style filigree detailing), real walnut wood trim, leather-and-wood heated steering wheel, navigation system, and heated rear seats. Longhorn only comes as a Crew Cab. Both bed lengths are available.
The option list is long. A few of the highlights include two styles of side steps, RamBox cargo management, power trailer tow side mirrors, tonneau cover, rear-window defroster, and several different option packages. Quad and Crew Cab models are offered with a multi-position air suspension.
2013 Ram 1500: Engines, Transmissions, and Drive Wheels
Standard on HFE and SLT is a 305-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 engine. It mates to an 8-speed automatic transmission.
A 310-horsepower 4.7-liter V8 is standard on Tradesman and optional on SLT. It pairs to a 6-speed automatic transmission.
The 5.7-liter “Hemi” V8 is standard on Express, Big Horn, Lone Star, Outdoorsman, Sport, Laramie, and Laramie Longhorn. At the start of the model year, the 5.7 will mate with a 6-speed automatic transmission. In early 2013, most models that use the 5.7-liter engine will switch to a 8-speed automatic gearbox. The exception is the Express which will carry on with the 6-speed unit. The 5.7-liter V8 and 8-speed automatic combination will be optional on the HFE later in the model year.
All are available with rear-wheel drive. Most versions offer part-time 4-wheel drive that includes low-range gearing but should not be left engaged on dry pavement. Big Horn, Lone Star, Sport, Laramie, and Laramie Longhorn use a four-wheel-drive system that includes an automatic 4WD setting that can be left engaged all the time. This system includes low-range gearing as well.
2013 Ram 1500: Fuel Economy
As of this writing, EPA estimated fuel economy is only available for 2013 Ram 1500 models powered by the 3.6-liter V6 engine which rates 17 mpg city and 25 mpg highway. The V6-powered HFE model rates 18 city/25 highway.
The V6 and 4.7-liter V8 use regular-grade gasoline. Chrysler recommends mid-grade 89-octane gas for the 5.7-liter V8, but it can use regular. The 5.7 includes cylinder deactivation as a fuel-saving measure. The V6 and the 4.7 V8 can also run on E85 ethanol-blended fuel.
Consumer Guide has not yet had the opportunity to measure the 2013 Ram 1500′s fuel economy.
2013 Ram 1500: Safety Features
The 2013 Ram 1500 includes all expected and federally mandated safety features.
Note, this evaluation is based on preview test drives of pre-production vehicles.