2013 Ram 1500 Review

Tooling around the city in a new breed of truck.

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December 23, 2012

2013 Ram 1500 Review

A long highway jaunt was more agreeable in the Ram than one would expect.

Pickup trucks are popular rides in this country, and high gas prices and rising fuel prices aren't doing anything to change that. Automakers know this, but they aren't just coasting on popularity--they're also working to improve fuel economy. Towing numbers aren't the only specifications arms race among full-size trucks.

Enter the 2013 Ram 1500. A V-6 engine and an eight-speed automatic transmission are key parts to the refreshed 1500's mission, which is to achieve better miles per gallon ratings while still serving its role as a full-size truck well.

We spent a week living with the truck in the city--not exactly the Ram's preferred environment. Here's what we found.

2013 Dodge Ram Pickup 1500 Truckin' on the Road Acceleration from the 3.6-liter V-6 (produces 305 horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque) was fine for around-town duty, which will be fine for most owners, since we don't anticipate that too many of them will be doing any drag racing.

Ride and handling fall into the same boat. The Ram handled well for a truck, but at the end of the day, it's still a truck, and it's not meant to be much fun in cornering. Where it did shine is in ride. Although no full-size pickup with an unloaded bed will ever ride perfectly, and the Ram was no exception to that rule, the truck was pretty civilized. A long highway jaunt was more agreeable in the Ram than one would expect.

One detail we appreciated was the adjustable ride height--one push of a button can raise and lower the truck's ground clearance, thanks to electronic trickery in the suspension. While we had no real reason to mess with it--the only off-roading we did was through an unpaved alley--it's a nice feature to have. When we did mess with it, just because we felt like it, we thought it's operation was seamless and barely perceptible.
2013 Dodge Ram Pickup 1500 Interior We dug the large center stack and the relatively easy-to-use infotainment system, and we found all the controls to be easy to use, even the unusual rotary dial used to shift the eight-speed automatic transmission.

We also liked the large volume of space available--the truck rivals some of our homes in terms of interior cubic feet.
2013 Dodge Ram Pickup 1500 Exterior Ram kept the 1500's looks similar to the last generation model, which is fine with us, since it makes for one handsome truck. It looks masculine and aggressive without being either too conservative (like its GM rivals) or too weird (like Ford's F-150). We didn't use the Ram Box storage bins (mounted on the side of the pickup bed), but we think they're a cool innovation.
2013 Dodge Ram Pickup 1500 Final Thoughts Pickup trucks are much more citified than in the past, and the Ram does an exceptional job of balancing the mission of a pickup truck with the comfort of its occupants. And it's less of a chore to drive in urban environments than one would expect (parking it is a different matter).

Ram may sound like a silly name for a brand, but there's nothing silly about this truck.
2013 Dodge Ram Pickup 1500 Specs, Features, and Prices Engine: 3.6-liter V-6

Transmission: Eight-speed automatic

Drive Wheels: Four-wheel-drive

Fuel Economy: 16 mpg city/23 mpg highway

Base Price: $34,585

As-Tested Price: $45,445 (includes $995 destination fee)

Available Features: UConnect infotainment system, rear parking assist, satellite radio, Bluetooth, Rambox side storage, height-adjustable suspension, fog lamps, rearview camera, spray-in bedliner, sunroof, trailer brake control, tow hooks, transfer case skid plate, front suspension skid plate, 60/40 split folding rear seat.

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