First Drive: 2013 Ram 1500

Posted on 24. Aug, 2012 by in Auto News

We saw Ram's ambitious plan at the 2012 New York International Auto Show, and now we had the chance to drive several versions of the 2013 Ram 1500th

We are not going to recap all the new technologies and features – you can see that by doing this – but we will let you know what parts and pieces caught our attention, as we move through a full spectrum of Ram 1500 models.

The Big News

The new Rams will go on sale around October, but only with the new Pentastar V-6 with the TorqueFlite 8 transmission and the two 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 and 4.7-liter V-8 with the six-speed 65RFE. The eight-speed transmission can be ordered with the Hemi, but these vehicles are not available at dealers until the first quarter of 2013. Likewise, the new 149.5-inch wheelbase, the crew cab and 6-foot 4-inch bed hospital will not start in 2013 until the end of the second quarter. Unfortunately, the only version that we could not drive was the new, longer Crew Cab Ram.

The other big news for this vehicle is that the HFE (high fuel consumption) model the best half ton gas mileage figures have any full-size pickup snatch the title away from the 3.7-liter V-6 Ford F-150th The HFE Ram is expected to get 18/25 mpg city / highway and 21 mpg combined. Also it is the first and only model in the Ram lineup for the new Fiat-source start / have his stop engine technology.

We assume the HFE model is popular with fleet buyers and commercial use businesses, but we must wait and see if the start / stop function invisible enough for the average consumer. For now, the new engine is shutdown tech are limited, although it could roll to more models later next year. Non-HFE models are still strong fuel economy figures, rated at 17/25 mpg.

Getting this type of fuel consumption improvement means a lot of big and small changes. For just a few of the new features: has There is a new, lightweight frame, aluminum hood and suspension pieces that save new Pentastar and gear about 75 pounds, new electric power steering reduces drag, the TorqueFlite 8 both bigger and closer gear ( which means higher, lower transaxle) functions, active grille shutters reduce the resistance as well as, heat management receives the engine speed at optimal temperatures, improve harder tire rolling resistance, the new air bag suspension allows the truck to sit lower, and the lower valance helps the truck cut through the wind like never before.

Behind the Wheel

From the moment we have behind the wheel, it's obvious that the guys took full Ram, a segment leader, not just a good enough replacement for the previous Ram. One could argue they had nothing to lose, so why not swing for the fences, but we know better. Make big changes, no matter what the vehicle, is still a major risk, and if your boss does not understand how to win a lot of it, they are not likely to give their full support.

The new interiors throughout the lineup are the most obvious example, the guide gives the Chrysler Ram Truck team a lot of room for experimentation. Our first truck was a Laramie Longhorn with Canyon Brown interior. The door design, leather seat and re-arranged and skinned dashboard and center console impressive. Seams are tight, feel like living room furniture materials, and the amount of information you can access is mountainous, but well organized.

The new instrument cluster still has the tachometer and speedometer in the same places, but now there is a scrolling data screen in the tach, with which you are all kinds of truck and engine manufacturers access embedded info. Depending on what package you have and the options that you can a lot of information, ground clearance of the suspension to stumble engine temperature information, and more.

On Ram 1500 with the UConnect multimedia system (the more intelligent navigation), a huge high-definition 8.4-inch screen has equipped as a concierge. You can get weather updates, check sports scores, and select recording radio station shows. Or download Ram truck apps that give you even more specialized info. The new system will eventually want some personal computer (it will serve as a hotspot) and part of its smartphone. As far as we could tell, the system seemed to be easy to use and understand, but we have to live with it for a while to make any meaningful conclusions. We think to read too many stories about MyFord Touch, we know enough of just one day by car.

Once we got on the open road, what impressed us was the new four-corner air suspension (called Ram Active Level). This new option has its roots in the new Jeep Grand Cherokee, but it seems to have adapted quite well to the half-ton pickup chassis. We did not get the chance to drive one of the trucks at or near maximum payload ratings, but we had three good size trailer (two with weight distribution margins) drive – a big boat, a long camper trailer and a mini excavator .

The airbags provide strong load balancing in all situations, but they also give the driver real-time feedback, if the tongue weight or. Near the truck limits We look forward to an early warning system, as in all pickup trucks, as well as a kind of selection, which tells us how much load (probably in pounds) haul we see. Once the sensors are, the bags turn into a scale should not be too difficult. We would also like to see the help Ram use some kind of active substance suspension capability at some point too, especially that. Truck stable during cornering or dealing with changing loads

Off the Road

We tested the air suspension in an outdoorsman in customized off-road route set by the Ram guys. It was nothing too serious, but let's play with the two off-road settings. Off Road 2 gives you a little over an inch more ground clearance, unfortunately, this led to a stiffer ride, which we did not like too much. (Be sure to check out our 2013 Ram 1500 videos, because we pretty much recorded footage of the off-road course.)

At the highest setting – basically at full airbag expansion – we appreciate the extra ground clearance, but we would have liked a little more flex and cushion when navigating the off-angle ridges and hills. We guess a lot of the advantages of 4×4 Outdoorsman have to do with the 265/70 Goodyear Wrangler tires as much as anything else. With that said, we really liked the look of the darkened wheels and the new Diesel Gray interior on the black market Outdoorsman we drove.

We had no problems with either of the two transfer cases that are offered in the new Ram, both sporting 2.64:1 low-range ratio. For more entry-level models, usually paired with the six-speed transmission, the part-time system 2WD, 4WD Lock and 4WD Low offers a dial, easily fall on the driver's side on the right (where the eight speed dial would, if available) . The second four-wheel drive, usually offered at the high-end packages, coupled with the TorqueFlite 8, and it has several buttons below the electric e-Dial: 2WD, 4WD Auto, 4WD Lock, 4WD Low and Neutral . On Rams equipped with the air suspension allows the center to see the drivers gauge screen, an icon of your truck, just what ground clearance set your truck to

On the Road

If we would choose a piece of technology that sets the new Ram, it would be the new transmission and computer controllers. What these two TorqueFlite to do 8 transmissions for these trucks (8HP45 and 8HP70, each with a different maximum torque) can not be overstated, and we're the computer control and software algorithms as part of this impressive technology, because they all work very well put together.

We found the transmission wonderfully comfortable cruising with light when empty, but to move quickly if we wanted to get more enthusiastic. We are not big fans of the "tap up, tap down" for the transmission setup on the steering wheel, but we never had any problems finding it quickly and get the transmission to do what we wanted shifter.

You eight-speed can choose which and how many top gears lock and can show you exactly what crammed equipment that are in a particular time and want, but the numbers can be lost with all kinds of information the center instrument cluster . We are caught in the act a few times trying to move this information to a prominent place in the cluster, or at least change it to a larger font, with no success.

Likewise, some of the lower trim packages with the six-speed manual (which you can get at the 4.7-and 5.7-liter V-8, but not the V-6) is fitted, there is no way to get any gear selected information other than to the Top Gear or whatever you manually control. It seems to us that any driver, no matter what the trim level of the pickup should have the opportunity to see exactly what to do with the transfer at a certain time, whether it be a six-speed manual or a new eight-speed is.

When pulling the trailer, has the eight-speed fine, solid shift through the gears and not have any hard blows from one gear to the next pass. We have found that with Tow / Haul mode is activated (via a small button, almost hidden, deep in the bottom line of the center console) held the gears a little longer, but we would be a little more aggressive downshifts to have preferred. We could not quite figure out if the note-Shifting function does not work or if there are not enough inputs trigger aggressive shifts. We would have to live with a truck a little longer and may slope a heavy trailer on a larger. (Do I smell Davis Dam or Loveland Pass road trip?)

The teeth of the eight-speed is impressive, with 1st Gang at 4.7:1. This makes for some very solid start on flat ground, whether equipped with the V-8 or V-6. Even if a fairly steep hill noted pulling from a stop, the truck seamlessly second then third shifted up quite quickly to keep shifts seamlessly, as if sensing the driver was not much interested in keeping the lower gear. Overall, we do not mind the e-dial on the dashboard. Fortunately, both the rubberized (lower trim levels) and billet feeling (upper packages) dial shifter feels solid and substantial, though. "Click" on one of the four stops (P, R, N, D) to another

No doubt, an intelligent and smaller (and lighter) allows transmission Ram engineers have more flexibility in axle ratios. They told us that they expect that the majority of 3.21:1 final drive ratios in the crew cabin truck either or 3.55:1. However, they assured us that they understand that there are many types of trucks that this 3.92:1 gears want to keep it so that the option open as well. And two relatively high overdrive gears in the eight-speed, there is almost no penalty for shorter gear. (FYI, it will be a 4.10:1 option, but we are just guessing at the upcoming R / T model will be offered.)

How much?

Pricing information should not surprise anyone. Ram needs to continue to keep their full size pickup swing aggressively. With the exception of a few new models to see which are priced under their direct competition, it looks like most of the carryover models to about one percent of 2012 prices. We suspect this will help quite a bit of revenue and should their strong movement to the growing market share, especially with the new GM still continue offering 6-10 months away. Some of the highlights include an entry-level price for the half ton at $ 23,585, with the base engine for the preparation is the familiar 4.7L V-8. And for an extra $ 1000, you can use a smaller engine (the 3.6L Pentastar V-6) and a transmission with two gears (the TorqueFlite 8 – 8HP45).

Finally, we have just heard, the Ram Air Suspension Active Layer option will be $ 1,595, pretty much across the entire lineup. Expect more stories to come, as we get our hands on more versions as they make their way into the press fleet and we make together more direct head-to-head comparison tests. More information to come. (** Sorry, currently our drive, we can not any pricing information so we do not offer pricing information for the truck we drove.)

** Can see the full specifications on the 2013 Ram 1500 can be downloaded here.

** To a maximum payload and towing capacity download figures for the Crew Cab RamBox configurations, click here.

And ** obtain the most up-to-date pricing information on the most popular configurations, Click here.

Check ** If you do not already found it, first the bottom of our homepage for putc 2013 Ram 1500 videos.