Yes, we know that a V6 was already available in the RAM, but it was a pretty weak one, and only available in 2-wheel-drive models. The 2013 RAM 1500 is a whole different animal, with its Pentastar V6 packing V8-like performance in a more fuel efficient package; the same draw used sucessfully by Ford with its EcoBoost. And speaking of packaging, the new Ram’s rugged exterior wrappings have also gotten some updating. Nothing drastic, but a new front fascia with an even more imposing grille, updated quad headlights, and available LED turn signals all work to bring this beast up to date. Active grille shutters help make aerodynamics best in the full-size truck ranks, while an aluminum hood and suspension pieces help reduce weight.
Crew Cab models are now available with a 6-foot 4-inch bed, so you no longer have to choose between people or cargo room. RAM 1500 lettering on the doors is now stacked to make additional room for business signage, resolving a common complaint of current Ram owners.
Things continue mostly the same in back save for some new LED tail lights set between a substantial tail gate. 17-inch steel wheels are standard, while SLT’s come with 17-inch aluminum hoops; 20’s and even 22’s are also available.
But, this is really all about the drivetrain, and here in the new RAM 1500, the Pentastar 3.6-liter FlexFuel V6 cranks out 305-horsepower and 269 lb-ft. of torque. Combined with a new standard “TorqueFlite” 8-speed automatic transmission you can tow up to 6,500 lbs. Way less than EcoBoost, but still class best for a normally aspirated V6. The optional HEMI V8 tows over 9,000-pounds. Tranny gear selection is by a rather unmanly-like electronic rotary shifter. But it does free up console space and works so well, it’s hard to complain about it.
The 4X4 transfer case is also electronically controlled with buttons located just under the shifter. Both part-time and on-demand systems are available. An integrated trailer brake controller is also offered.
Other much appreciated updates inside the cabin include premium materials throughout and a new TFT multi-view configurable gauge display. Fit-and-finish has been improved and most controls are easier to operate. Chrysler’s next generation Uconnect Access makes its debut in the Ram 1500 with an 8.4-inch touch-screen and Wi-Fi hot spot. Rear seat room in our Crew Cab SLT was more than plentiful, and softer materials on the doors make for a more pleasant experience. Seat bottoms fold up for additional storage space.
While the RAM was already one of the smoothest riding pick-ups on the market, a lighter but stiffer frame and new available air suspension smooth things even further. Offering up to 4-inches of adjustability, from a low “park-and-load” mode, to a pair of off-road modes that increase ground clearance a full 2-inches over normal ride height. In addition, automatic load-leveling will ensure a level stance when fully loaded with cargo or towing a trailer.
We left the cargo behind and hauled our way to 60 in 8.5-seconds. About 2 seconds slower than an EcoBoost but not bad for a big pickup. Off the line grunt is close to a V8, and power comes on fairly strong down the quarter mile where we hit 84 miles-per-hour in 16.7-seconds. Braking from 60 was great for a full size truck as we averaged stops of just 131-feet from the standard 4-wheel disc with ABS. The RAM plowed its way through the cones however, with predictable understeer and body roll that reminds you of its full-size stature. But new electric power steering maintains a consistent feel, while reducing weight, and further improving fuel economy.
Even without the available automatic stop/start system, the RAM 1500 Pentastar boasts best in class Government Fuel Economy Ratings. Our 4X4 rates 16-City, 23-Highway, and 19-Combined. Overall that’s 2 MPG better than a comparable F150 EcoBoost, and that’s without the complexity of a turbo. Still, this is a full-size truck and Energy Impact Scores are below average at 17.3-barrels of annual oil consumption, with yearly CO2 emissions of 7.7-tons.
Full pricing was not announced at this writing, but the 1500 Regular Cab 4X2 begins at $23,585. That’s up over last year, but just barely. And that would put our Crew Cab SLT 4X4 around $35,000 to start.
The Pentastar-packing 2013 RAM 1500 truly has the guts to deliver real world truck usefulness; all while getting class best fuel economy and delivering a killer ride. It may not have the extra boost of its blue oval rival, but it has what it takes to charge through the full-size pickup truck ranks at ramming speed.
Long Term Updates
Date: September 2013
If you’ve kept up with America’s favorite vehicles, full-size pickup trucks, you know a lot is happening with fuel economy. And, no truck illustrates this better than the Ram 1500. The first with a modern V6, 8-speed automatic, and active grill shutters, and now with a diesel on the way, this light duty hauler is going for fuel economy gold. And, after our Ram 4x4’s first month with us, a City-Highway average of 19.5 miles per gallon of regular is exactly what the government rating predicted.
The tradeoff for more MPGS is the lack of big pickup umpth that comes from a traditional, and thirstier V8.
Our Ram SLT Quad Cab is equipped with RamBox cargo bins. They do limit bed room a little, but as secure storage, and portable ice chests, they make up for it.
Date: November 2013
No vehicle works harder than a full-size pickup truck. But, trucks like our Quad Cab 2013 Ram 1500 4X4 can play just as hard.
Our fuel conscious SLT is equipped with a V6, an 8-speed automatic, and even active grille shutters for a most respectable 22.6 miles per gallon of regular.
Some of our staff feared that the Ram Box cargo system would compromise cargo space. But, in reality, you still have plenty of room, and the benefit of lockable outside storage.
You ride high, wide and handsome in the Ram 1500. So far a completely reliable choice, for our uniquely American lifestyle.
Date: December 2013
When it comes to the fuel economy crown and trucks, Chrysler’s Ram pickup is in hot pursuit. Ram was the first to team a modern overhead-cam V6 engine with an 8-speed automatic transmission and active grille shutters. That’s how our 2013 SLT Quad Cab 4X4 is equipped and we’re glad.
While highway fuel economy in the mid-twenties is normal, even around town the Ram V6 shines. 19.7 miles per gallon of regular in mostly stop and go driving is excellent for a full-size pickup.
Our only mechanical hiccup occurred when the UConnect infotainment system froze up. An ignition restart cleared it up.
And, what a comfortable and convenient truck it is for work or play. The Ram Box cargo system provides covered storage outside, while the extended cab makes room for bulkier things inside.
Now, with the first diesel in a light duty pickup on the way, the Ram 1500 just keeps moving up in stature.
Date: March 2014
Getting around in deep muck turned out to be no problem for our 2013 Ram 1500.
The shift-on-the-fly four-wheel drive system worked smoothly with our truck’s overhead-cam V6 and 8-speed automatic transmission.
We did do more idling than normal, however, and that took a toll on fuel economy. It now stands at 18.9 miles per gallon of regular after 5 months and 8,500 miles. Hopefully that will nudge back up come spring.
Otherwise our SLT Quad Cab is providing comfortable, reliable service with amazingly flexible hauling capabilities. From the SUV-like roomy rear seat, to the saddle bag Ram Box Cargo system, to the deep bed, this Ram’s got it all.
Our only mechanical issue is when the UConnect infotainment system occasionally freezes up. An ignition restart always clears it up.
Indeed, we see more clear sailing ahead for our V6 Ram 1500 4X4.
Date: April 2014
Americans love their pickup trucks and no wonder. Our 2013 Ram 1500 SLT Quad Cab 4X4 is a prime example of a modern extended cab full-size pickup. It has four car-like doors with a tight rear seat that is still adequate for growing teens.
Plus, that seat folds to deliver a flat load floor, and you still have a 6’4” cargo box. Oh, and order our truck’s Ram Box system and you add two lockable side saddle storage bins. No other vehicle type can beat this kind of versatility.
While our Ram is still a fairly thirsty beast, with the Pentastar V6 and 8-speed ZF automatic transmission, it is among the least thirsty of its type. We’re averaging 19.3 miles per gallon of Regular.
We’ve seen only two quality issues. The UConnect infotainment system continues to freeze up once and a while. A restart clears it up. And the center dash storage drawer sticks. And, that’s our Ram’s story after 7 months and 12,000 miles.
Date: June 2014
The Ram 1500 is easily the most innovative full-size pickup you can buy today. From an all-coil spring suspension, to a modern V6 with 8-speed automatic, to side-saddle Ram box storage, not to mention a new turbo diesel, no wonder the RAM’s market share is growing.
Our 2013 Ram 1500 SLT Quad Cab 4X4 is almost the perfect truck; extended cab, four car-like doors, a 6’-4” cargo box, that with the tailgate down can still handle 4x8 foot loads.
If there is any pause it’s that at 10 months and 17,000 miles fuel economy of 19.0 miles per gallon is still pretty thirsty.
We’re not sure if going all-aluminum is the answer to big truck economy or not, but until that’s fleshed out the RAM 1500 is the all-purpose hauler to beat.
Date: July 2014
It is amazing how, in just a few short years, Chrysler has transformed its RAM full-size 1500 pickup from an also-ran to an industry innovator.
From an all-coil spring suspension, to a pair on modern V6s, one gas and one turbo diesel, both with 8-speed automatics, to a power tailgate lock, to side-saddles Ram box storage. And, a record pace of sales have followed.
Like our 2013 Ram 1500 SLT Quad Cab 4X4, most buyers opt for four door models. Although, if you really want a long distance family vehicle this Crew Cab’s extra rear legroom will be a crowd pleaser.
After 11 months and nearly 21,000 varied miles fuel economy sits at 18.9 miles per Regular gallon. Still pretty thirsty but its right were the government says it should be.
Date: August 2014
Chrysler sales are on a roll, and one big reason is the Ram 1500 pickup. This once also-ran full-sizer is now a truck innovator with an all-coil spring suspension, 8-speed transmission, and even a V6 turbocharged diesel.
Our long term 2013 Ram 1500 SLT Quad Cab 4X4 came with the first truly modern gas V6 in a big truck and it has performed flawlessly for almost a year and nearly 23,000 miles.
Moreover, its average 19.0 miles per gallon of regular fuel economy expands well into the twenties on highway trips.
And it’s on long trips where even more innovations stand out, like the U-Connect infotainment system, Ram Box storage compartments, the locking tailgate, and the wide use of four car-like doors. They make even our extended cab Quad Cab a really useful family vehicle.
The Ram 1500 is now a real crowd pleaser that no truck buyer can afford to overlook.
Date: September 2014
With summer roadtrips and camper hauling winding down, so too has our time with the 2013 RAM 1500 pickup.
Our SLT Quad Cab 4x4 served us well in its 12 months in the MotorWeek fleet. The overhead cam Pentastar V6, 8 speed automatic combo netted us a fuel economy average of 19.2 miles per gallon in just under 24,000 miles.
And whether it was hauling cargo, or hauling people, the RAM handled everything we asked of it. Some repeated freeze ups in the Uconnect system occurred, but a simple software upgrade cured that.
Add in innovative features like the Ram Box cargo bins and it’s no wonder RAM has become a top-drawer pickup contender, and we’ll miss the ultra-versatile 1500.
Engine: Pentastar 3.6-liter FlexFuel V6
Torque: 269 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 8.5 seconds
1/4 mile: 16.7 seconds @ 84 mph
EPA: 16 mpg city/ 23 mpg highway
Energy Impact: 17.3 barrels of oil/yr
CO2 Emissions: 7.7 tons/yr