The new 2013 Ram 1500 is the Ram Truck brand’s latest entry into the ultra-competitive full-size, light-duty pickup truck segment. The new truck represents the brand’s first iteration to its most recognized truck since the inception of the Ram nameplate in 2011.
The new 2013 Ram 1500 is the latest innovation off Ram’s full-size, body-on-frame truck architecture, designed, engineered and executed to strike at the emotional chords of the “Guts and Glory” mindset of enthusiasts and potential buyers. In form and function, the new 2013 Ram 1500 conveys boldness, valor, virtue and power-oriented capability like no other in its class, but it does so, aesthetically and functionally, at a different level.
The light-duty full-size pickup truck segment has evolved from “brute capability and acceptable efficiency” to an engineering and execution that combine desirable size, configurations, capability, refinement, efficiency, technology and quality.
The new 2013 Ram 1500 will offer the most fuel-efficient model in its class, and more available functional, innovative and interactive technologies than the competition. The new truck will have capability on par with or better than anything in its class and more quality-validated than anything in it class.
The ride and handling compares favorably with premium-oriented sedans, but sacrifices nothing in terms of payload and towing capabilities for which it is best-in-class. The 2013 Ram 1500 conveys confidence with responsive steering, brake-pedal feel and great ride characteristics.
Ram’s newest truck also offers more factory-installed exterior options and systems than anything in its class. The distinctive, brand-oriented design and refined mechanical interior and exterior executions deliver on the concept of “bold opulence.” Customers in this category will view it as being far more expensive than its competitors, but the new Ram 1500 remains a great value.
Like its 2012 predecessor, the new 2013 Ram 1500 will be available in three cab configurations (two-door Regular Cab, four-door extended Quad Cab® and four-door Crew Cab) with three box sizes – 5-foot-7-inch box, 6-foot-4-inch box and 8-foot box.
The new truck will be offered in 11 models/packages: ST, Tradesman, Express, SLT, Big Horn, Lone Star, Outdoorsman, Sport, R/T, Laramie and Laramie Longhorn.
The new 2013 Ram 1500 competitors are: Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra, Nissan Titan and Toyota Tundra.
Start of production of the 2013 MY Ram 1500 is scheduled for third quarter of 2012. Regular Cab configured vehicles will be produced at the Saltillo Truck Assembly Plant in Saltillo, Mexico; Quad and Crew Cab configured vehicles will be manufactured at the Warren Truck Assembly Plant in Warren, Mich.
Major changes under the hood of the new 2013 Ram 1500 will help deliver best-in-class fuel economy and substantial increases in power and performance with the Chrysler Group’s award-winning Pentastar 3.6-liter V-6 engine coupled with the first use of an eight-speed TorqueFlite 8 transmission in a pickup truck.
The 5.7-liter HEMI® also will benefit with the first use of an eight-speed automatic transmission. The new, TorqueFlite 8 is available with the V-8 engine and features a higher capacity torque converter and is scheduled for availability in late 2012.
Coupled with the debut of an eight-speed transmission, select Ram 1500 models will offer a new stop-start feature that automatically shuts the engine off when the truck comes to a complete stop, conserving fuel. The engine restarts when driving is resumed.
“The coupling of our legendary 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 and Ward’s 10-best, 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 to a new eight-speed automatic transmission led the way to best-in-class fuel economy for the 2013 Ram 1500,” said Bob Lee, Vice President, Powertrain and Electrified Propulsion Systems Engineering — Chrysler Group LLC. “Although the addition of a new eight-speed achieved double-digit percentage gains in fuel economy, we also added a number of segment exclusive technologies such as thermal management, stop-start and active grille shutters to further improve efficiency.”
Best-in-class V-6 Fuel Economy – Pentastar V-6 Engine
With best-in-class standard horsepower rated at 305 at 6,400 rpm and torque of 269 lb.-ft. at 4,175 rpm, the 2013 Ram 1500 goes from zero to 60mph, three seconds faster than the previous V-6 powertrain. The new Ram 1500 becomes the latest vehicle to benefit from the advanced technology Pentastar engine. Features include Dual Overhead Camshafts (DOHC), high-torque over a broad rpm range, low exhaust emissions, E85 capability, exceptional fuel economy, and best-in-class noise, vibration and harshness (NVH).
Introduced less than two years ago, the new V-6 engine has become the workhorse engine across the Chrysler lineup and has replaced seven previous V-6 engines. The Pentastar won Ward’s 10 Best Engines award in its debut year of 2011 and repeated this honor in 2012.
The compact, 60 degree, all-aluminum block is constructed of high strength die-cast T380 aluminum with cast iron bore liners. Six bolt main bearing caps contribute to an extremely rigid lower engine structure. Cast aluminum pistons are fitted to forged connecting rods. Aluminum cylinder heads with dual overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder include integral exhaust manifolds. High flow, tumble intake ports and a 10.2:1 compression ratio deliver an optimal balance of power, fuel efficiency and refinement.
Despite the high compression ratio, the Pentastar V-6 is designed to run on regular 87 octane fuel to reduce the cost of ownership. The 3.6-liter Pentastar also is E85 compliant across all 50 states.
To help deliver better fuel efficiency and better volumetric efficiency across a wide torque band, the engine also includes variable-valve timing (VVT) with dual-independent cam phasing. Nearly 90 percent of the engine’s peak torque is available from 1,800 to 6,400 rpm – an important consideration when towing or hauling a load.
With increases in both horsepower and torque, there is no shortage of capability. For 2013, customers can opt for a V-6 engine with a 4×4 powertrain and in crew cab models.
Long associated with power, enhanced fuel efficiency also is provided with the legendary HEMI® through the use of variable-valve timing (VVT) and cylinder shut-off technology. The 2013 Ram 1500 is the first vehicle to combine the new eight-speed automatic and the HEMI V-8 engine (late availability).
With 395 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 407 lb.-ft. of torque at 3,950 rpm, the 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 delivers performance and best-in-class towing and payload — 11,500 pounds and 3,125 pounds, respectively with the Ram 1500 Tradesman Heavy Duty. Equipped with VVT, the engine is designed to deliver power across a wide torque band.
Fuel enhancing features with the HEMI include cylinder shut-off technology, which deactivates four cylinders of the engine during light acceleration or cruising situations on the highway when full V-8 power is not needed. Depending on the driving, cylinder shutoff can increase fuel economy from 5 to 20 percent. Transparent to the driver, the system operates between 1,000 and 3,000 rpm and provides V-8 power for acceleration and heavy loads and four-cylinder operation when the torque requirement is less than the maximum available from four cylinders, saving fuel.
Additionally, VVT technology improves fuel economy by first, reducing the engine’s pumping work by closing the intake valve later, and second by increasing the expansion process of the combustion event. This allows more energy to be transferred to the wheels instead of being lost out of the exhaust as heat. VVT also improves engine breathing, which improves engine efficiency and power.
Fuel savings also are realized through an Interactive Deceleration Fuel Shut Off feature (iDFSO), which expands opportunities for turning off fuel to the engine during deceleration events thereby improving fuel economy in both city and highway driving.
TorqueFlite 8 Automatic Transmissions
The new, 8HP45 eight-speed automatic transmission is the new standard transmission for Ram 1500 with V-6. For HEMI® V-8 – equipped Ram 1500 models, the higher torque capacity version 8HP70 will be available in the first quarter of 2013.
Owners will appreciate an innovative rotary e-shift dial for trucks equipped with the new TorqueFlite 8-speed transmission that replaces both column and floor shifters. The exclusive 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 Truck’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.
Fully electronic, both the 8HP45 and 8HP70 transmissions feature on-the-fly shift map changing. More than 40 individual shift maps for very specific conditions optimize shift quality and shift points for fuel economy, performance and drivability. The intelligent software takes into account variables including engine torque gradients, kick down events, longitudinal and lateral acceleration, hill detection, friction detection and downshift detection to determine the appropriate shift map. Additional parameters integrated into the control strategy include vehicle speed control, electronic stability control interaction and temperature. The result is automatic shifting ideally attuned to the performance requirements of almost any driving demand.
The transmission efficiency and wide ratio spread provide the best possible fuel economy by operating at a lower engine rpm in both city and highway environments. Driving at a lower rpm also helps to effectively reduce emissions by nearly 11 percent. Internally, identical transmission gear ratios are used in both the 8HP45 and 8HP70 transmissions.
The addition of more gear ratios also helps reduce the gaps normally associated with upshifting and downshifting. Gear changes are nearly imperceptible due to the evenly spaced gear steps between each gear ratio. Internally, both transmissions have four gear sets and five shift elements (multi-disc clutches and brakes). Only two shift elements are open at any time. With fewer open shift elements, drag losses due to multiple parts rotating relative to one another are reduced, improving fuel efficiency.
High efforts in shifting have been eliminated with gear selection controlled by a shift-by-wire system. Shift positions, selected by the driver via a rotary e-shift dial on the instrument panel, are transmitted electronically with no mechanical linkage from the shifter to the outside of the transmission. Elimination of this linkage removes any shift effort from the driver’s gear selection but maintains an intuitive operation with a direct and confident feel. Calibration also is improved for smoother shifting in garages or while parking.
Torque capacity for the 8HP45 is 332 lb.-ft. (450Nm). The heavy-duty 8HP70 has a torque capacity rating of 516 lb.-ft. (700Nm).
Two final drive ratios, 3.21 and 3.55, are available on both the 2WD and 4WD models, reducing engine rpm throughout the operating range for better fuel economy.
Four-wheel drive models of the 2013 Ram 1500 use a front axle designed for optional air suspension or standard torsional independent front suspension, incorporating half-shafts that drive front hubs. The axle also has a disconnect system that automatically disengages the axle when four-wheel drive mode is disengaged, for increased fuel economy.
The rear axle uses a new optional air suspension or multi-link mounting design to facilitate a coil-spring setup, with forward-facing shock absorber brackets. Four gear ratios are available: 3.21, 3.55, 3.92 and 4.10.
In addition, an optional helical-gear, limited-slip rear axle is available. The limited-slip function instantaneously divides torque between the rear wheels in proportion to the traction available to each wheel. The system is consistently smooth when turning corners because it responds only to variations in traction.
The 2013 Ram 1500 features the next generation 8.4-inch Uconnect® system with background screens tailor-made to specific Ram models and themes. To make room for the new big screen, the center stack is upgraded with matching materials found throughout the interior. To complement the range of Ram 1500 models, the interior design team created new, individualized themes with different colors and materials. ST receives Dark Foundry coloring with an Iron Gray Metallic bezel. SLT features premium Anodized Driftwood paint with Satin Chrome accents. Sport uses Dark Diesel Anodized with Light Black Chrome and Piano Black finishes for a “street truck” feel. Laramie features Light Anodized Driftwood paint, adding a contemporary Wenge wood pattern. Laramie Longhorn now features real Walnut Burl inserts stained in Canyon Brown or Cattle Tan. Silver Pebble paint covers the bezel and blends with the rich tones used throughout the cockpit. The Ram design team sought out a very rare Walnut grain with a unique burl that was unintentionally created by ranchers using trees as fence posts for barbed wire. Eventually, the trees grow over the rusting metal wire, creating a swirl coloring pattern and tone that is not found anywhere else.
Surrounded by a chrome tracer, the all-new HVAC controls take lessons learned from other Chrysler Group Uconnect Touch applications and feature simple, improved function, meeting the highest Human Machine Interface (HMI) standards. The HVAC system includes a redundant architecture allowing the operator to use either the 8.4-inch touchscreen or manual controls to alter the truck’s environment. Below the upgraded HVAC arrangement is a new switch bank with relocated, easy-to-use controls for a number of features depending on vehicle models and options. The top row is for functional features and includes air-suspension lift, stop/start, stability control, park sense and tow/haul. The bottom row is for “comfort” controls and includes: air suspension lower, heated steering wheel, heated seats and ventilated seats. All buttons in the comfort bank also are redundant in the Uconnect system. Contiguous to the switch bank is a prominently placed, adjustable integrated trailer brake control allowing the driver to add or reduce trailer brake function on the fly. The new console center stack also includes a 115-volt outlet and new drawer at the base of the stack with a smooth, premium feel, tool box-slide action. The new drawer features 12-volt outlets on either side and an optional powered USB on the driver side.