Starting with a 20-percent gain in gas mileage, a new V-6, eight-speed automatic transmissions, air suspensions, and a more carlike interior, the 2013 Ram 1500 trucks have received some notable upgrades. The former 3.7-liter base V-6 was replaced by a Pentastar V-6 rated 305 horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque. Optional Hemi models now have 395 hp and 407 lb-ft, and feature variable valve timing (VVT) and cylinder shut-off systems for greater efficiency.
A new eight-speed automatic transmission is standard on V-6s and most V-8s. The eight-speeds get a rotary shift selector on the left side of the lower center stack. Some Rams with the eight-speed will have stop-start, which turns the engine off at a complete stop and restarts it when the driver releases the brake for better mileage.
Exterior changes are limited, with a taller grille, vertically oriented foglamps and twin-beam projector headlamps with LED running lamps, turn signals, side-markers and tail lights. A 6 feet 4 inch cargo bed is offered in Crew Cab models. The RamBox cargo system is now locked and unlocked with the vehicle’s central locking system.
Interiors are only modestly updated, with new climate-control interfaces and multimedia and infotainment systems. A new air suspension combines with independent rear suspension to improve ride and comfort, with five selectable ride heights. An 8.4-inch Uconnect Touch screen system will be available with voice recognition, apps, and WiFi hotspot capability. There’s a new available seven-inch gauge cluster that replaces a conventional gauge cluster and can be set up with three analog’ gauges at a time, including transmission temperature when towing.
Standard safety features include stability control with a trailer-sway system and Hill-start Assist. 2013 Ram 1500 tow ratings range up to 11,500 pounds, while payload capacity is up to 3,125 pounds in the Tradesman Heavy Duty. The V-6 models are expected to match or exceed Ford F-150’s 23-mpg V-6 highway rating.