According to brand CEO Fred Diaz, the 2013 Ram 1500 was due to receive a mid-life freshening. However, what’s ultimately emerged is an extensively re-engineered truck, despite looking familiar on the outside.
Key developments, many in a gesture toward improved fuel economy, include a re-designed frame that’s both lighter and stronger than last year’s true. In addition, there’s also an eight-speed automatic transmission (the TorqueFlite 8), that’s teamed not only with the base 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 but also the 5.7-liter Hemi V8. There’s also a rotary shifter on the center stack designed to make engaging gears easier and free up additional interior room.
But perhaps even more significant, is the introduction of active air suspension – the first time seen on an 1/2 ton pickup. Although there’s no question it improved ride quality, the coil sprung rear axle, first seen on the 2009 truck, was still a compromise in that Ram wasn’t able to match some competitors when it came to payload and towing capacity. Now, with air suspension, the idea is to significantly reduce that compromise, providing a setup that’s able to cope with a wide variety of conditions. It can lower the truck to facilitated easier cab and box access, as well as improving fuel economy and stability at cruising speed. It can also raise the vehicle as well to provide better clearance when running off-road, while enabling substantial payload and towing capability.
Other new features, include active grille shutters (also designed improve fuel economy) a thermal management system that warms up vital fluids faster, to reduce friction and improve efficiency, plus width cooling fan and electric fuel pump to improve reliability, engine stop/start technology and an upgraded UConnect system that essentially transforms the Ram into a rolling wireless hotspot.
Electric power assisted steering reduces parasitic loss, while an upgraded security system that allows the driver to lock all doors, plus the Ram Box and tailgate at the touch of a button and revised interior trim, colours and fixtures are also included.
According to Diaz, in terms efficiency, the new Ram, which boasts a 6 percent lower drag coefficient than its predecessor, is also said to deliver around 20 percent better fuel economy with the V6 motor (10 percent with the Hemi), while adding improved overall capability.