The Ram 1500: 2013 North American Truck of the Year

By Michael Lockhart

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{"pbembedwidget":"gallery","id":"14636","size":"medium","alignment":"left"}The Ram—or any pickup, for that matter—isn’t the first on most lists of commuter vehicles, despite being named 2013 North American Truck of the Year; however, we were geared up and ready to see whether it has the guts to handle driving to, in, and around the downtown core plus everything else a Ram promises in size, performance, and storage.

We vowed to get the most out of our muted red Outdoorsman tester model in the week the guys at Dodge trusted us with the keys. At first we toyed with the idea of recreating their saucy ad for the truck with Playmates (see the video below), but we figured they could just come along for the ride. Judging by the size of the cab, that’s an entire Bunny House full.

Our first challenge: rush-hour traffic. The Ram stood out in a sea of compacts and luxury attempts at modest A-to-B sedans; the hour or so of stop-and-go went by smoothly in the comfort of the radically redesigned cabin. The 8.4” touchscreen Uconnect infotainment system controls everything from heated steering and seats to the on-board navigation and satellite radio system; we blasted some bluegrass before switching over to Playboy Radio for a few laughs courtesy of the Morning Show.

Once we reached the city core we realized how responsive the Ram could be darting in and out of cab-laced traffic and construction; the extended truck length persuaded cars behind us to back off or face the trailer hitch. This bonus isn’t without a downside, as we discovered that city parking garages aren’t usually equipped with spaces totaling the Ram’s length.

On the open highway the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 really got to shine. The 305 horses, with a decent 269 pound-feet of torque, are managed through an eight-speed automatic TorqueFlite transmission, delivering about 6,500 pounds of towing power. For those power buffs who need—or just want—that extra dose of power in their 1500, the 5.7-liter HEMI V8 gives drivers 395 horsepower and 407 pound-feet out of the gate. The Ram’s air suspension adjusted our ride height six inches as we got up to speed to enhance fuel economy, ride control and reduce drag, giving it a coefficient of just 0.360 cd.

We took advantage of our ride for the week to complete a side project. The Ram has no issues toting 14-foot timbers from the bed through the powered back window and onto the front armrest. While the scratch-resistant coating was great for keeping the back looking great, the remote control–locking RamBox cargo management system was our favorite feature.

From downtown to the country, hauling hardware to carting a crew to a wedding, the Ram 1500 delivered on its promises. However, the most impressive element that puts this vehicle into the running for a commuter—or all-around multitasker—has got to be the superb mileage and fuel economy.

With 18 miles per gallon in the city and 25 on the highway, the Ram 1500 V6 easily wins best in class. Fully loaded with features; the functionality of a dedicated pickup; a smooth, comfortable ride; the latest technology and gas consumption that rivals your typical sedan, the 2013 Ram 1500 is the best truck we’ve seen in years.

Starting at just $23,585, this Ram won’t break the bank. Available now in dealerships; check out www.ramtrucks.com for more information.


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