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by Jay Traugott
Quite possibly the best-looking full-size pickup on the market.
Even during a time of when prices at the pump are reaching records highs throughout the country, Americans are still buying full-size pickups in droves. In fact, both Ford and Chrysler have even eliminated their compact pickups in favor of their full-size (and thirstier) counterparts. Perhaps it's because no good thing ever dies. And as this full-size pickup war continues on, Ram continues to fight back with their heavily revised 2013 1500.
Granted it's not a complete redesign, but the 2013 model has received plenty of upgrades, mostly from within. Fuel economy, perhaps the most relevant issue to buyers today, is something that Chrysler is fully aware of. That's why buyers can choose between the automaker's new 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 with 305hp and 269lb-ft of torque, which is a 42 percent increase in horsepower and 13 percent more torque when compared to the previous 3.7-liter unit. All told, this gives the V6-powered 1500 at least 20 percent better fuel economy than before, thanks partially to it being 76 pounds lighter than the old 3.7.
For those opting for the 395hp 5.7-liter Hemi V8 (which has an additional 5hp than the 2012 model), they'll also be treated to some new fuel-saving technologies such as cylinder shut-off and stop-start. Not only does it have best-in-class fuel economy, but the Hemi-powered Ram 1500 also delivers best-in-class towing and payload capacity - a total of 11,500 pounds and 3,125 pounds, respectively (for the Ram 1500 Tradesman). Another fuel-saving element is the addition of a new eight-speed automatic transmission, which is standard on the V6 model.
This gearbox is also available for the Hemi model, which is the main contributor to its also 20 percent fuel economy improvement. Chrysler will announce official fuel economy numbers at a later date. Other upgrades for 2013 include some tweaks to the exterior styling, a more luxurious cabin, and even a stiffer chassis that helps to decrease noise and vibration. The dash also has an improved, but optional, 8.4-inch Uconnect navigation screen. There's also a new film transistor (TFT) 7-inch screen that features fully customizable function and configurability.
It now comes standard on the Sport, Laramie and Laramie Longhorn models, but is optional on the SLT. Official pricing hasn't been released, but it's clear that Ram has a winner on their hands. The Ford F-150 is still the dominant truck in this segment, but the new 2013 Ram 1500 will certainly shake things up. Ford should take notice.