2013 Ram 1500 pickup: fuel efficiency, new technology and new features
Chrysler reports that the 2013 Ram 1500 delivers best-in-class fuel economy of 18 MPG city and 25 MPG highway with a truckload of pioneering, fuel-saving systems including a more fuel efficient and more powerful 3.6-liter V-6 engine and first-in-segment technologies: eight-speed automatic transmission, stop-start system, thermal management system, pulse-width modulation and active aerodynamics, including grille shutters and air suspension.
“The new 2013 Ram 1500 is the most capable, best-looking half-ton pickup in the world and delivers best-in-class fuel efficiency, new technology and new features while upgrading the interior and exterior,” said Fred Diaz, President and CEO of Ram Truck Brand and Chrysler de Mexico – Chrysler Group LLC. “We changed every area of the truck – from a newly designed frame with air suspension, to a new eight-speed transmission to a new interior with the next-generation Uconnect system.
“With best-in-class towing and payload, best-in-class ride and handling and best-in-class aerodynamics, the 2013 Ram 1500 delivers unmatched content, performance and capability to our customers,” Diaz added.
The new 3.6-litre Pentastar V-6 engine (Ward’s 10 Best Engines Award two years in a row) with variable-valve timing (VVT) offers best-in-class standard 305 horsepower, 269 lb.-ft. of torque and best-in-class fuel economy for V-6 trucks. New V-6 features 42 percent more horsepower, 13 percent more torque and at least 20 percent better fuel economy when compared to the previous 3.7-litre V-6 powertrain. Also, the standard V-6 delivers best-in-class towing – 6,500 pounds.
The legendary 5.7-litre HEMI V-8 with fuel-saving cylinder shut-off and VVT provides 395 horsepower, 407 lb.-ft. of torque and best-in-class fuel economy for V-8 trucks.
The class-exclusive eight-speed automatic transmission (TorqueFlite 8), standard equipment with 3.6-litre V-6 Pentastar, doubles the amount of gears compared to previously available four-speed automatic transmission, which improves drivability and enhances fuel efficiency. The new eight-speed also is available with the 5.7-litre HEMI V-8– the Company’s first application with a V-8 (TorqueFlite 8 with V-8 is late availability).
Owners will appreciate an innovative rotary e-shift dial for trucks equipped with the new TorqueFlite 8-speed transmission that replaces both column and floor shifters. The exclusive rotary e-shift dial enables intuitive operation with a direct and confident feel, even with gloves on. The convenient, dash-mounted, easy-to-understand and operate system provides total control of the sophisticated eight-speed transmission and is Ram Truck's innovative approach to electronic shifters, already used in Class 6-8 trucks. This new design allows quick blind-shift transitions from “Reverse” to “Drive” when towing or navigating out of mud, snow or busy parking lots and crowded worksites. The new rotary e-shift dial also yields space for more functional and usable storage in the console.
Another segment exclusive with the eight-speed transmission is a new thermal management system that is designed to quickly raise engine and transmission fluid temperatures. By raising fluid temperatures, parasitic losses resulting from high-viscosity engine oil and transmission fluid can be reduced, improving fuel efficiency by 1.7 percent. As the engine temperature increases to pre-determined levels, warm engine coolant is circulated through a thermal exchange unit, which also contains dedicated pathways for transmission fluid. As the thermal exchange unit heats up, it also heats up the transmission fluid. This action dramatically reduces warm up time for the transmission, improving fuel economy, drivability and shift quality. In most powertrain configurations, the transmission heats up independently of the engine, delaying warm-up time and reducing efficiency.
Adding to industry firsts in a pickup truck is the application of stop-start, another fuel saving feature available on select 2013 Ram 1500 models. This new system improves fuel economy by up to 3.3 percent, an increase of about one mile-per-gallon to the truck’s city drive cycle.
Stop-start increases fuel efficiency by shutting the engine off when the truck comes to a complete stop. Amenities (radio, gauges, heating or air conditioning, etc.) continue to operate, making the operation transparent to the driver. The engine restarts automatically when the driver releases the brake, allowing seamless acceleration.
Enabling components have been upgraded for heavy-duty operation on models equipped with the stop-start feature.
Although the new 2013 Ram 1500 boasts numerous segment-exclusive features, many aren’t readily visible, but deliver best-in-class fuel efficiency, ride and handling.
The new 2013 Ram 1500 continues to maintain its ruggedly handsome appearance with new exterior design elements. Extensive wind-tunnel testing honed the 2013 Ram 1500 exterior shape, resulting in continued best-in-class aerodynamics. Also, the cooperative application of active aerodynamics and modern styling led to a six percent aerodynamic improvement on the new truck. The 2013 Ram 1500 Regular Cab 4x2 coefficient of drag (Cd) is .360 – compared with a Cd of .386 for a 2012 Ram 1500 Regular Cab 4x2.
Best-in-class ride and handling gets even better. The 2013 Ram 1500 is now available with an all-new air suspension system featuring five height settings for optimum ride and aerodynamic performance. The feature operates automatically, or may be controlled manually via console or key fob controls:
• Normal Ride Height (NRH): 8.7 inches of clearance (measured from the base of the door sill) is the default, load-leveled ride height
• Aero Mode: Lowers the vehicle .6 inches from NRH. Aero Mode improves fuel efficiency by up to one percent and is activated by vehicle speed, adjusting for optimal performance and fuel economy
• Off-road 1: Lifts the truck 1.2 inches from NRH for added height in clearing obstacles
• Off-road 2: Delivers more off-road capability, increasing ground clearance by 2 inches over NRH
• Park Mode: Lowers the vehicle two inches from NRH for easy entry/exit and cargo loading
The new air suspension system adds up to four inches of lift span, offering best-in-class step-in height of 21 inches, best-in-class ground clearance of 10.7 inches, best-in-class departure angle of 27.8 degrees, and best-in-class breakover angle of 24.2 degrees supported by four-corner air springs that provide a cushioned, premium ride.
Another benefit to the new air suspension is load-leveling capability, which automatically detects load on the suspension from a trailer or payload. The air pressure increases until the vehicle reaches normal ride height, leveling the truck and improving the loaded ride.
Additionally, a separate button on the key fob gives the operator the ability to manually lower the truck, allowing for ease of passenger entry and reduced tailgate lift-over height.
Electric power steering
The 2013 Ram 1500 features electric power steering (EPS). By using an electric motor to power the truck’s rack and pinion steering system, the engine is relieved from the task of constantly turning a hydraulic pump, improving fuel efficiency up to 1.8 percent and adding five horsepower. Also, the introduction of EPS reduces complexity by removing the previous hydraulic pump, high-pressure hydraulic hoses and cooling apparatus.
Weight reduction is an important variable in the fuel economy equation. Reducing the weight of components improves fuel economy and allows for more content without affecting payload or towing capability.
A newly redesigned frame benefits from a weight reduction of up to 30 pounds by using advanced high-strength steels. Also benefitting from advanced metal, new box floor cross-members in the bed eliminates seven pounds and a new front bumper design removes four pounds. Additionally, aluminum lower control arms in the front suspension contribute to additional weight reduction and handling. The Ram 1500 also features an aluminum hood – saving 26 pounds.
Underneath the hood, the combination of the new Pentastar V-6 and new TorqueFlite 8 transmission reduces the weight by approximately 76 pounds. The V-8 and TorqueFlite 8 together reduce weight by more than 30 pounds.
The weight reductions not only allow for more convenience, comfort and entertainment features but also best-in-class fuel-saving technology such as thermal management, stop-start and active aerodynamics.
Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is a new fuel-saving technology for the Ram 1500, which reduces parasitic electrical load. The technology not only eliminates unnecessary load on the alternator but also improves the durability of benefitting systems. Fuel delivery and the forward cooling fan are two systems that take advantage of PWM, adding a 0.4 percent improvement in fuel efficiency.
The 2013 Ram 1500 features standard low-rolling-resistance tires to minimize wasted energy and decrease required rolling effort. Tread patterns, advanced materials and millions of miles of testing result in greater fuel efficiency.
The 2013 Ram 1500 uses a newly designed frame with improved, low torsion (stiffness) attributes that increase stability and handling precision while decreasing noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) up to 30 percent, depending on drive cycle. Front rails feature 20 percent increased yield strength from the use of high-strength steel. Among other features, the new frame design incorporates a new powertrain, new air suspension and new body-mounting technology.
Portions of the frame are hydroformed for dimensional accuracy (hydroforming reduces the amount of welding that leads to distortion), and side rails are fully boxed. The front frame section incorporates advanced, high-strength steel that maintains overall strength and durability while saving approximately 30 pounds. To further improve NVH, new larger body mounts are located on the front frame rails and at the C-pillar.
New standard front independent suspension combines redesigned upper control arms, aluminum lower control arms and retuned geometry with coil springs for improved responsiveness and handling. New, more robust ball joints on the front suspension yield greater durability and are engineered with improved sealing methods.
The new 2013 Ram 1500 retains its ruggedly handsome appearance with all-new interior and exterior design aesthetics, improved aerodynamics and all-new, segment-leading technology – and every Ram 1500 truck benefits from new content specifically designed to match each model’s unique style.
Ram Truck brand designers started with the Ram grille making it not only larger – with the same overall width, but approximately one inch taller – “saddled” within the new upper fascia panel for a more integrated appearance. The classic Ram crosshair horizontal and vertical grille bars are now flush at the top and bottom of the grille surround.
The new front bumper design supports the “saddled” Ram grille theme with new vertically oriented fog lamps for improved light spread, distance and more lumens. Larger openings around the front tow hooks (four-wheel drive models) allow for easy access to the hooks.
The 2013 Ram 1500 quad headlamp design has improved light spread, pattern consistency, distance and 30 percent more lumens.
An all-new premium headlamp lighting system is a bi-functional halogen projector design with 15 amber LEDs for park/turn/position lamp and three amber LEDs for the side marker.
For 2013, the Ram 1500 offers 12 different colors, including five new shades. Black Gold, Copperhead, Maximum Steel Metallic, Prairie and Western Brown are all new and available in a monotone and/or two-tone depending on the model.
The new, polished stainless steel running boards have a sturdy box cross-section design. Also, the new wheel-to-wheel exclusive running board design offers aerodynamic improvements over the current version and provides customer’s improved access to the forward portion of the truck bed.
A new 6-foot-4-inch bed option is now available on Crew Cab models giving customers the ability to combine Ram 1500’s largest available cab with the largest four-door/bed combination. All-new premium tail lamps are standard and consist of 15 red LEDs with three red LEDs for the side marker.
For 2013, new features and technologies create opportunity for a redesigned interior with material upgrades, improved fit and finish, all-new interior themes with different colors and materials, all-new HVAC controls and new multimedia systems. The 2013 Ram 1500 also features an exclusive eight-speed transmission with a new rotary e-shift dial design.
Rear occupants can enjoy the same quality, fit and finish as the driver. With points of contact a priority, new premium materials, colors and designs are now on all four doors. Soft-touch materials enhance armrests and upper bolsters with expanded use of premium surfaces.
The 2013 Ram 1500 features the next generation 8.4-inch Uconnect system with background screens tailor-made to specific Ram models and themes. To make room for the new big screen, the center stack is upgraded with matching materials found throughout the interior. To complement the range of Ram 1500 models, the interior design team created new, individualized themes with different colors and materials. For the Laramie Longhorn, the Ram design team sought out a very rare Walnut grain with a unique burl that was unintentionally created by ranchers using trees as fence posts for barbed wire. Eventually, the trees grow over the rusting metal wire, creating a swirl colouring pattern and tone that is not found anywhere else.
The all-new HVAC controls take lessons learned from other Chrysler Group Uconnect applications and feature simple, improved function, meeting the highest human machine interface (HMI) standards. The HVAC system includes a redundant architecture allowing the operator to use either the 8.4-inch touchscreen or manual controls to alter the truck’s environment. Below the upgraded HVAC arrangement is a new switch bank with relocated, easy-to-use controls for a number of features depending on vehicle models and options. All buttons in the comfort bank also are redundant on the Uconnect system. Contiguous to the switch bank is a prominently placed, adjustable integrated trailer brake control allowing the driver to add or reduce trailer brake function on the fly.
The Ram 1500’s new, exclusive eight-speed transmission created the need for an innovative rotary e-shift dial in the cockpit to replace the center console gate shifter – a first for pickups. The new shifter works in a multitude of seating configurations and will replace floor and column shifters for use in the eight-speed transmission. Realizing this is a dramatic change in the way trucks have historically shifted gears, the interior design team accepted the challenge with a new shift knob, naturally and prominently placed to the driver’s right, at the lower left-hand side of the center stack, in place of the previous transfer case shift knob. The rotary dial enables intuitive blind-shift transitions between “Drive” and “Reverse” with a direct and confident feel. The transfer case retains full capability with push buttons located directly under the e-shift dial.
New technology also moves to the gauge cluster. Previously only available on premium models, the 3.5-inch vehicle information screen is now standard on ST and SLT and displays vehicle operating functions. The new thin film transistor (TFT), 7-inch multiview display is now available on SLT, standard on Sport, Laramie and Laramie Longhorn models. The 7-inch multiview display features fully customizable function and configurability. Similar to the 8.4-inch Uconnect screen, select 7-inch cluster background screens are tailor-made to specific Ram models, with designs that match the truck’s theme.
Introducing Uconnect Access: A powerful new platform that provides multiple ways to connect.
The Uconnect 8.4A and 8.4AN provide the Ram 1500 with a built-in wireless connection, allowing vehicle occupants to be automatically connected to a variety of new services. Users can remotely lock or unlock doors or start their vehicles from any distance via the web or a smartphone application. The new Uconnect system includes a 911 button on the rear view mirror for a direct connection to emergency services. An “ASSIST” button also is integrated into the rear view mirror to summon help directly from a roadside assistance provider or connect with Chrysler Group’s Vehicle Customer Care Center.
Ram truck owners will be able to access select, certified in-vehicle applications. Driving-relevant applications will be introduced over time and are designed specifically for in-vehicle use. The certified applications are easily controlled with natural voice recognition or steering wheel controls to keep drivers focused on the road. The responsive 8.4-inch touchscreen includes the award-winning user interface designed by Chrysler Group Human Machine Interface engineers, featuring large icons and visual cues allowing consumers intuitive control of system features.
Uconnect Media Centers are always current
Ram truck owners will be confident to know their truck is designed to be forward thinking, providing the freedom to upgrade to the latest features and services, without having to replace their factory installed Uconnect systems. Applications are updatable over the air and are downloaded directly to the Uconnect Media Center, so features remain current. Ram truck owners will be able to continually evolve their in-vehicle connectivity experience by downloading app updates or new applications as they become available directly to the Uconnect Media Center from inside the car, via the 8.4-inch touchscreen.
The Ram 1500’s new Uconnect Access system features best-in-class functionality, integrating new entertainment content and is the first time Ram will offer HD Radio to its customers. Ram customers also will have access to SiriusXM Radio, handsfree mobile phone operation, handsfree navigation, handsfree texting with compatible phones and handsfree control of music. Additionally, new connected services and applications provide real-time access to information and content that Ram 1500 customers want and need while on the road. Uconnect is designed to provide drivers and passengers with relevant, focused and contextual information that is not distracting and easy to use, allowing drivers to remain focused on the road.
Also enhancing driver convenience, Uconnect features one-step voice command of navigation, the ability to check real-time fuel prices and listen and respond to text messages, combined with familiar knobs for climate and comfort controls.
A variety of ways to control your content
Uconnect Access controls are placed on the steering wheel. Customer research has shown a preference towards audio controls located at the rear of the steering wheel and Ram was the first truck manufacturer to integrate these rocker switches for ease of use. Audio system controls, including next station, radio preset and previous station or track, are located on the left. Volume up or down and change audio source are located on the right. This means Ram truck drivers can keep their hands on the wheel while they enjoy a variety of entertainment content sources.
Media console offers a variety of options
Neatly integrated within the upper storage tier of the center console, a new multimedia input includes USB, SD card and auxiliary connections. The USB allows control of iPod or other media device through the large touchscreen displays and steering-wheel-mounted audio controls. A more powerful 2.5-amp, USB port and 12-volt outlet also provide mobile recharging for electronic devices. In addition, MP3 and WMA audio files on a USB memory device may also be played and controlled via the Uconnect system.
New 7-inch multiview display
Filling the gauge cluster in front of the driver is an available 7-inch, colour, premium multiview display, featuring a new customizable function that enables Ram 1500 customers to personalize information inside the instrument cluster. Similar to the premium Uconnect Systems, select 7-inch instrument cluster background screens are branded with a Ram theme. Ram’s new information display is designed to visually communicate information, using graphics and text, quickly and easily.
The multiview display offers drivers a wide range of customization options, from a basic digital speed read out to specific vehicle status information. Operation of the display is clearly communicated to users with easy-to-understand icons and instructions. Using buttons on the steering wheel, drivers can customize the screen with as much or little information as they desire. The system is intuitive and can be arranged for a variety of views. Up to three analog vehicle status gauges can be added to the display. The main screens found inside the instrument cluster menu are: digital speed, fuel economy, trip A, trip B, trailer-tow, audio, stored messages and screen customization. Additionally, the four corners of the display can be customized to show information at a glance, including current fuel economy, outside temperature, time and compass direction.
All-new Powernet electrical architecture
As the Ram 1500 continues to offer more content, it created the need for a technology that allows more information to be electronically communicated within the truck. The new Powernet system, used for the first time on a Ram 1500, allows both high- and low-speed data networks to be equipped with as many as 40 individual modules, all designed to improve vehicle performance and enhance the comfort and safety of driver and passengers. Within the Powernet high-speed network, each module (e.g., electronic stability control) processes its individual data and transmits the appropriate commands within the vehicle to activate any additional systems (e.g. anti-lock brake system and cruise control). Uconnect leverages Powernet to deliver fast response time, and share critical information between the 8.4-inch touchscreen and the 7-inch multiview display.
Sprint provides wireless platform for next generation Uconnect Access
Sprint is the strategic wireless partner for the next generation Uconnect Access system. The integrated wireless technology inside the Ram 1500 enhances the driving experience by offering new connected services and applications. The services delivered through the partnership are easy to learn, easy to use and offer a seamless experience with the Ram owner’s digital life. An increasing number of features in the new Ram 1500 rely on enhanced user interfaces including voice capabilities and commands to help limit driving distractions and keep the focus on the primary driving task.
SAFETY AND SECURITY
On the safety and security front, the Ram 1500 offers more than 45 active and passive safety and security features, including standard front airbags, front and rear side-curtain air bags and seat-mounted side pelvic-thorax air bags with Enhanced Accident Response System, knee bolsters, seat-belt pretensioners, BeltAlert system; and available adjustable pedals, ParkSense rear park assist and ParkView rear back-up camera. The 2013 Ram 1500 also includes standard electronic stability control (ESC), hosting a number of technologies including all-speed traction control, trailer-sway control, Hill-start Assist and anti-lock brake system (ABS).
The new 2013 Ram 1500 now features available Keyless Enter ’n Go technology, which allows the doors to be unlocked and the vehicle ignition to be started without having to touch the key fob. Also new for 2013, remote central locking includes the RamBox cargo management system and tailgate power locks, creating a convenient solution for locking down the truck with the push of a button. An available remote start feature allows a driver to start their vehicle from up to 300 feet away. Door controls, illuminated entry, engine immobilizer and panic alert are standard features with the Keyless Enter ’n Go system. Auto rain-sensing wipers and SmartBeam headlamps also find their way on to the feature availability list, adding to a truckload of content offered in the new 2013 Ram 1500.
Additional new features
For 2013, Ram 1500 customers can enjoy the convenience of power folding mirrors and a combination power and rear-sliding window with defrost. Also available is a new six-foot-four-inch bed option on the Crew Cab model, allowing for maximum passenger and bed hauling capability.
Unsurpassed Powertrain Warranty – 5 years/100,000 Miles
The 2013 Ram 1500 is backed with a best-in-class, 5-year/100,000-mile Powertrain Limited Warranty. The Powertrain Limited Warranty covers the cost of all parts and labor needed to repair a covered powertrain component – engine, transmission and drive system. Coverage also includes free towing to the nearest Ram dealer, if necessary. The warranty also is transferable allowing customers who sell their truck during the warranty period, to pass the coverage onto the new owner.
The standard 3-year/36,000-mile Basic Limited Warranty provides bumper-to-bumper coverage for the Ram 1500, from the body to the electrical system.
To ensure durability, the Ram development team is putting the 2013 Ram 1500 to the test – actually thousands of checks and almost six million customer equivalent testing miles – to validate its performance and reliability for the long haul.
The 2013 Ram 1500’s quality is scrutinized at the company’s Chrysler Technology Center’s state-of-the-art scientific labs in Auburn Hills, Mich., including the Noise/Vibration/Harshness Lab, Electromagnetic Compatibility Facility, Wind Tunnel and the Road Test Simulator (RTS).
For example, the RTS recreates the abuse a truck endures at the hands of a 95th percentile driver – meaning someone who drives the vehicle in more severe conditions than 95 percent of all customers. The RTS can put a lifetime of wear and tear on a truck in about one month’s time. The Ram development team is committed to finding and fixing any issues before the customer does.
The 2013 Ram 1500 is built at the Warren Truck Assembly Plant (Warren, Mich.), which has built more than 12.5 million trucks since it started operations in 1938. Regular Cab models of the 2013 Ram 1500 are built at the Saltillo Truck Assembly Plant in Saltillo, Mexico.