No doubt model year 2013 was very good for the Ram 1500, as it collected enough hardware to fill the cargo box: Motor Trend Truck of the Year, North American Truck of the Year, AOL Truck of the Year, Four Wheeler Magazine Pickup Truck of the Year, Consumer Guide Best Buy, Decisive Magazine Urban Truck of the Year, Automobile Magazine All-Star and Ward’s 10Best Interiors, just to name a few.
It all started one frigid January morning in downtown Detroit outside the North American International Auto Show in 2008. Anticipation was in the air (along with our frozen breath), as thousands of journalists eagerly awaited the thunderous roar that was coming around the street corner.
Then Chrysler Group truck brand Dodge (since changed to Ram) decided to introduce the all-new Ram 1500 pickup to the world in a unique fashion – a cattle drive through the streets of Motor City.
Pickup trucks will always have a place in our society, as they are the backbone of the working force. They tow and they haul and they carry all the junk we would not think of putting in our precious cars or luxury crossovers – in short, they do the work nothing else can or will do.
Pickups are also extremely important to US automakers, as they historically account for the most units sold here, bringing with them the largest profits.
To be competitive in the marketplace, truck makers have added more convenience and comfort to truck lines while also addressing fuel economy issues as quickly as they can. Modern engines are producing more power than ever while at the same time edging up on the environmentally friendly scale as well.
The current Ram 1500 is a huge changeover from previous generations. Inside and out, Ram has made significant enhancements and improvements including changing the rear suspension design from leaf springs to coils – herecy to some truck aficionados but the improved ride and handling will quickly silence many of the naysayers.
Seating is comfortable and spacious, and engine power can be rioutuos with powertrain choices now ranging from the new fuel-sipping Pentastar 3.6-liter V-6 to a big HEMI V-8, and coming for 2014 will be the first turbodiesel option for a light duty pickup.
Our recent 2013 Ram 1500 SLT Crew Cab 4×4 tester came with the aforementioned V-6, generating a decent 305hp and 269 lb. ft. of torque while delivering the best fuel economy in a half-ton pickup at 18 mpg city/25 mpg highway for 2WD models and 16 mpg city/23 mpg highway in our 4×4. Also improving fuel economy is the availability of the new TorqueFlite 8 eight-speed automatic transmission – a first in a truck – complete with rotary knob shifter on the dashboard to enhance cabin space and aesthetics.
Other segment firsts featured in new Ram 1500 trucks included solid axle, coil spring, multi-link rear suspension, versatile cargo management system including weatherproof, lockable, illuminated, drainable RamBox storage bins, store-in-the-floor bins with removable liners, factory-installed 4-inch dual exhaust, live Sirius Backseat TV and surround audio systems.
All-new interiors feature significantly upgraded materials and nearly double the storage options to 42, while 35 safety and security features are thrown in for good measure.
We love the new Ram for its styling, comfort and handling, but when made to work like a truck (serious towing and hauling) it begins showing some slight weaknesses, especially when stacked up against the likes of the F-150. Those rear coil springs might be comfy but they just don’t stand up as well to big loads.
The new Ram offers quite a bit in the way of new technology including remote start, start-stop and active grille shutters for enhanced fuel economy, air ride suspension system, next-generation Uconnect with Wi-Fi hotspot capability, 8.4-inch touchscreen center dash display, voice recognition, trailer brake controller, ParkView rear backup camera and ParkSense rear park assist.
Pricing for our 2013 Ram 1500 SLT Crew Cab 4×4 tester began at $37,040 with the final sticker coming to $43,510 after a few package add-ons.
Yes, it’s been a big year for Ram 1500 with perhaps the most significant news item being the man who rode herd on the truck division since it broke Ram out from Dodge in 2009, Fred Diaz, has left to take over the reins of the U.S. division at Nissan.
Cowboy up, Ram, cowboy up.