First Drive: 2013 Ram 1500

Ram Longhorn action II

We first saw Ram’s ambitious plan at the 2012 New York International Auto Show, and now we’ve had the chance to drive quite a few versions of the 2013 Ram 1500.

We’re not going to recap all the new technology and features — you can do that by clicking here — but we will let you know which parts and pieces caught our attention as we move through a full spectrum of Ram 1500 models.

The Big News

The new Rams will go on sale around October, but only with the new Pentastar V-6 with the TorqueFlite 8 transmission, as well as both the Hemi 5.7-liter V-8 and 4.7-liter V-8 with the 65RFE six-speed. The eight-speed transmission can be ordered with the Hemi, but those trucks won’t get to dealerships until the first quarter of 2013. Likewise, the new 149.5-inch wheelbase that will house the crew cab and 6-foot 4-inch bed won’t start production until the end of the second quarter of 2013. Unfortunately, the only version we couldn’t drive was the new, longer crew-cab Ram.

The other big news for this truck is that the HFE (high fuel economy) model will have the best half-ton gas-mileage numbers of any full-size pickup, ripping the title away from the 3.7-liter V-6 Ford F-150. The HFE Ram is expected to get 18/25 mpg city/highway and 21 mpg combined. Also, it will be the first and only model in the Ram lineup to have the new Fiat-sourced start/stop engine technology.

Ram start-stop II

We assume the HFE model will be popular with fleet buyers and commercial-use companies, but we’ll have to wait and see if the start/stop feature is invisible enough for the average consumer. For now, the new engine-shutoff tech will have limited availability, though it could roll out to more models later next year. Non-HFE models will still have strong fuel economy numbers, rated at 17/25 mpg.

Getting this kind of fuel economy improvement means a lot of big and small changes. Just to name a few of the new features: There is a new, lighter frame, aluminum hood and suspension pieces; the new Pentastar and transmission save about 75 pounds; new electric power-assist steering reduces drag; the TorqueFlite 8 has both taller and shorter gears (which means taller, smaller axle gears will work); active grille shutters reduce drag as well; thermal management gets the engine to optimum temperatures more quickly; harder tires improve rolling resistance; the new airbag suspension allows the truck to sit lower; and the lower valance helps the truck cut through the wind like never before.

Behind the Wheel

From the moment we got behind the wheel, it’s obvious that the Ram guys took full advantage of making a segment leader, not just a good-enough replacement for the previous Ram. Some might argue they had nothing to lose, so why not swing for the fences, but we know better. Making big changes, no matter what the vehicle, is always a huge risk, and if your bosses don’t understand how much there is to gain, they’re likely not to give their full support.

The new interiors, across the entire lineup, are the most obvious example that the Chrysler leadership is giving the Ram Truck team a lot of room to experiment. Our first truck was a Laramie Longhorn with Canyon Brown interior. The door design, seat leather, and newly arranged and skinned dashboard and center stack look impressive. Seams are tight, materials feel like living room furniture, and the amount of information you can access is mountainous, yet well-organized.

Behind the Wheel II

The new gauge cluster still has the tachometer and speedometer in the same places, but now there is a scrolling data screen embedded in the tach that gives you access to all sorts of truck and engine info. Depending on what package you have and the options included, you can access plenty of info, from suspension ride height, to engine temperatures, to trip info and much more.

On Ram 1500s equipped with the UConnect multimedia system (which includes a smarter navigation), a huge high-definition 8.4-inch screen acts as a concierge. You can get weather updates, check sports scores and record select radio-station shows. Or you can download Ram Truck apps that give you even more specialized info. The new system is eventually meant to be part personal computer (it will act as a hotspot) and part smartphone. As near as we could tell, the system seemed easy to use and understand, but we’ll have to live with it for a while to make any meaningful determinations. We’ve read too many stories regarding MyFord Touch to think we know enough from only a day’s drive.

Once we got onto the open road, what impressed us was the new four-corner air suspension (called Ram Active Level). This new option has its roots in the new Jeep Grand Cherokee, but it seems to have adapted pretty well to the half-ton pickup chassis. We did not get a chance to drive any of the trucks at or near maximum payload ratings, but we did drive three good-sized trailers (two with weight-distributing hitches) — one large boat, one long camper trailer and one mini-bulldozer.

The airbags allow for strong load leveling in all situations, but they also give the driver real-time feedback when the tongue weight is over or getting close to the truck’s maximum limits. We’d love to see a warning system like this on all pickup trucks, as well as some kind of readout that tells us exactly how much load (presumably in pounds) we’re hauling. Once the sensors are there, turning the bags into a scale shouldn’t be too difficult. We’d also like to see the Ram use some kind of active-suspension capability at some point, specifically designed to help keep the truck stable when cornering or dealing with shifting loads.

Ram 1500s OR II

Off the Road

We tested the air suspension in an Outdoorsman on a custom-made off-road trail set up by the Ram guys. It wasn’t anything too serious, but it let us play with the two Off Road settings. Off Road 2 gives you just over an inch more ground clearance; unfortunately, it led to a stiffer ride, which we didn’t like too much.

On the tallest setting — basically at full airbag extension — we appreciated the extra ground clearance, but we would have liked a little more flex and cushion when navigating the off-angle ruts and mounds. We’re guessing much of the 4x4 benefits of the Outdoorsman have to do with the 265/70 Goodyear Wrangler tires as much as anything else. With that said, we really liked the look of the blacked-out wheels and the new Diesel Gray interior on the black Outdoorsman we drove.  

We didn’t have any problems with either of the two transfer cases that will be offered in the new Ram, both sporting 2.64:1 low-range ratios. For the more entry-level models, typically mated with the six-speed transmission, the part-time system offers 2WD, 4WD Lock and 4WD Low with a dial, falling easily to the driver’s right hand (where the eight-speed dial would be, if equipped). The second four-wheel-drive system, typically offered on the higher-end packages, is paired with the TorqueFlite 8, and it offers several buttons under the electric e-dial: 2WD, 4WD Auto, 4WD Lock, 4WD Low and Neutral. On Rams equipped with the air suspension, a center gauge screen allows the driver to see, via an icon of your truck, exactly what ride height your truck is set at 

Ram 1500 OR gauge II

On the Road

If we had to choose one piece of technology that defines the new Ram, it would be the new transmission and computer controller. What these two TorqueFlite 8 transmissions do for this truck (8HP45 and 8HP70, each with a different maximum torque rating) cannot be overstated, and we include the computer controller and software algorithms as part of this impressive technology because they all work very well together.

We found the transmission wonderfully comfortable during light cruising when empty, yet quick to shift when we wanted to get more enthusiastic. We’re not huge fans of having the “tap up, tap down” shifter for the transmission setup on the steering wheel, but we never had any trouble finding it and quickly getting the transmission to do what we wanted.

The eight-speed allows you to select which and how many top gears you want to lock out and can show you exactly what gear you’re in at any given moment; however, the numbers can easily get lost with all sorts of information stuffed into the center gauge cluster. We caught ourselves a few times trying to move that info to a more prominent spot in the cluster, or at least change it to a larger font, to no avail.

Ram 1500 boat 3 II

Likewise, on some of the lower trim packages equipped with the six-speed (which you can get on the 4.7- and 5.7-liter V-8s but not the V-6), there is no way to get any gear information other than the top gear selected or what you are manually controlling. It seems to us that any driver, no matter what the trim level of the pickup, should be allowed to see exactly what the transmission is doing at any given moment, whether it’s a six-speed or newer eight-speed.

While pulling the trailers, the eight-speed did fine, solidly shifting through the gears and not giving us any hard hits from one gear to the next. We noted that with Tow/Haul mode engaged (via a small button, almost hidden, deep on the bottom row of the center stack), the gears held a little longer, but we would have preferred a slightly more aggressive downshifting rate. We couldn’t quite figure out if the grade-shifting capability wasn’t working or if it wasn’t getting enough inputs to trigger more aggressive shifts. We’d need to live with a truck a little longer and possibly take a heavy trailer on a bigger mountain slope. (Do I smell a Davis Dam or Loveland Pass road trip?)

The gearing of the eight-speed is impressive, with 1st gear at 4.7:1. This makes for some very solid launches on flat ground, whether equipped with the V-8 or V-6. Even when pointed down a fairly steep hill, taking off from a dead stop, the truck smoothly upshifted to 2nd then 3rd quite fast, keeping shifts seamless, as if sensing the driver wasn’t much interested in holding the lower gear. Overall, we did not mind the e-dial on the dash. Thankfully, both the rubber-covered (lower trim levels) and billet-feeling (upper packages) shifter dial feels solid and substantial, even when "clicking" from one of the four detents (P, R, N, D) to another. 

Pentastar cutaway II

No doubt a smarter and smaller (and lighter) transmission allowed Ram engineers to be more flexibility with axle ratios. They told us they expect the majority of axle ratios in the crew-cab trucks to be either 3.21:1 or 3.55:1. However, they assured us they understand there will still be plenty of truck guys who will want those 3.92:1 gears, so they’re keeping that option open as well. And with two relatively high overdrive gears in the eight-speed, there’s almost no penalty for the shorter gears. (FYI, there will be a 4.10:1 option, but we’re guessing it will be offered only on the coming R/T model.)

How Much?

Pricing information shouldn't surprise anyone. Ram needs to continue to be aggressive in order to keep its full-size pickup truck momentum. With the exception of a few new models that look to be priced underneath their direct competition, it looks like most of the carryover models are up about 1 percent from 2012 pricing. We're guessing this will help sales quite a bit and should continue their strong move to growing market share, especially with the new GM offering still six to 10 months away. Some of highlights inlcude a starting price for the half-ton at $23,585, with the base engine for the lineup being the familiar 4.7-liter V-8. And for an extra $1,000, you can have a smaller engine (the Pentastar 3.6-liter V-6) and a transmission with the two more gears (the TorqueFlite 8, 8HP45).

Finally, we've just heard the Ram Active Level air suspension option will cost $1,595, pretty much across the entire lineup. Expect more stories to come as we get our hands on more versions as they make their way into press fleets and we put together more direct head-to-head comparison tests. More to come. (Unfortunately, at the time of our media drive, we didn't have any pricing information, so we can't offer any pricing information for the trucks we drove.)

To download the full specifications on the 2013 Ram 1500, click here

To download maximum payload and towing numbers for the crew cab RamBox configurations, click here

To get the most up-to-date pricing information on the most popular configurations, click here

If you haven't found them already, check out the bottom of the PUTC homepage for our 2013 Ram 1500 videos.

 

Ram 1500 Trade II



Comments

Wow. I'd take an f-150 over my 09 ram. But this new ram looks like serious improvements. I'm amazed the price is about the same. My only question is reliability.

I'm ordering one tomorrow. To bad I'll have to wait till the "first quarter of 2013" to get a Hemi 8 speed:(

Very Nice ! My next truck will be a Dodge again !

Had a 03 Ram and inloved it,it got wrecked in a crash then bought F-150's since 04 because I worked at a Ford dealership as a tech so I got a great deal.Now not at a dealer garage so...RAM here I come in 2013,it will feel great to drive a Mopar again ! Cant wait !

@beebe,
Are you talking about the new 8spd tranny,if so its probably bulletproof reliable as was the previous tranny,the 90's tranny with the 5.2 & 5.9 (318,360) had its problems but the 02 up are reliable.Overall truck Reliability isnt a factor,they are more reliable than any truck,I am a mechanic for over 22 years and I have seen it all and these trucks are bulletproof reliable.Again alot of reliabilty problems are from the way you drive it,sure some are duds as from any manufacturer,but where I work now we service a fleet of trucks and the Dodge Ram's seem to hold up better then other brands GM/Ford even a few Toyota municipality trucks .I drive a Ford now and it has been fairly reliable for the most part but i dont like the Eco-Boost,should have bought the 5.0 at least ! For the quality,ride quality and looks,performance and having a V-8 with 6cyl fuel economy the RAM wins !! And is my next truck.Got my bills paid,mortgage is paid ,half a million .. ! I still owe almost $4000 on my Ford,but by Dec its totally paid for,then in the spring when the dealers have a load of 2013 RAM's with the 8spd its mine ! Now the problem is what model,Sport,Big Horn and color,Black or dark Blue..how about Red ? Hemi Ram here I come...ugghhh 7 months from now,dont know if i can wait !

So they have a "Diesel Gray" interior. How about a diesel under the hood of that 1500?

Is it still rated 17/25 if you don't pay $1600 for the active air suspension?

Winning, Yes! 17/25 BABY.

GUTS
GLORY
ALL CLASS LEADING MPG
RAM!!!!


mechanic, you got that..... dead on! Ram pickup leads group of Most Dangerous Cars In America!

http://www.autoblog.com/2012/05/30/ram-pickup-leads-group-of-most-dangerous-cars-in-america/

GUTS
GLORY

RAM!!!!

why does your facebook page state "best in class V6 towing"? This truck doesn't meet the specs of the V6 ecoboost for towing capability.
Ecoboost smokes the Pennstar for both hp and torque.

notnks, Best in Class V-6 fuel economy, Best in Class V-6 towing, and Best in Class in 8-spd trannys!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

GUTS
GLORY
BEST IN CLASS V6 8 SPEED TRANNY
RAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That's a serious truck. Chevy had better have thrown us a curve ball with all those interior and exterior spy shots because if it is released looking anything like we've seen, only the die-hard blind-loyalists would ever choose one over this truck!

Only thing I can see that I don't like is how the key is placed. I got alot of keys on my key ring looks like it would be slapping or hitting you're knee all the time. It's not a big problem but probaby could get annoying.

I'd like to stay in a truck, and have been waiting for news on the new GM & Ram. Had both Ford and GMC; but this looks like a promising package. Certainly now taking it off my wish list, just waiting to see how the mileage holds up in real world testing.

Like my nuts

Back in the '60s, Chrysler hurt its reputation by offering cutting-edge technologies before they were fully vetted. Things like push-button transmissions and other relatively unusual features had a tendency to break down in the first year model or two and by the time they got the problems fixed, nobody would choose that option any more. In some ways this sounds like they're headed in the same direction, though I note some significant caveats.

Starting with the transmission, the paddle shifters are now pretty old hat on performance cars and essentially what the transmissions have become are auto-clutch shifters giving you both the quick lock-up of mechanical clutch plates as well as the required slip for idling in gear. I'll point out right now I don't know a thing about the new transmissions' innards, but if--only if--they've managed to eliminate the torque converter, then this technology could be far more reliable than any automatic transmission before it. I burned through three torque converters over the course of 160,000 miles in a 1996 6cyl Camaro because every time I crossed one of the white stripes at a traffic light, the tires would spin on the 'paint' and slam back through the transmission when they hit real pavement again. Yes, I had a lead foot and that Camaro, despite only being the 3.8L engine, loved to run. The manual transmission in my Jeep never notices those stripes.

Personally, this article has made me very strongly interested in the RAM trucks, though I'm still not a fan of road whales. The interior reminds me a lot of my '86 Toronado with the ability to access all the engine information from the driver's seat without having to plug in any kind of reader. The air bag suspension reminds me of the air shocks used in the '70 Caddy Coupe series (unfortunately of which my father had to replace about every other year because he kept hitching his 5000# trailer wrong.)

In other words, this truck is bringing together a lot of established technologies in much the same way Apple brings together technologies to introduce a new product that works better than any previous similar device. This means that the RAM trucks may actually be superior in the long run even if the others can surpass it in details. Just like in Nascar, it's usually the most consistent runner that wins the championship.

impressive Ram WTG !

however i did have to note that to beat the F150 the Ram had to:
There is a new, lighter frame, aluminum hood and suspension pieces; the new Pentastar and transmission save about 75 pounds; new electric power-assist steering reduces drag; the TorqueFlite 8 has both taller and shorter gears, active grille shutters reduce drag as well; thermal management gets the engine to optimum temperatures more quickly; harder tires improve rolling resistance; the new airbag suspension allows the truck to sit lower; and the lower valance helps the truck cut through the wind like never before and the start/stop technology, all this to beat the F150 by 1 mpg takes away the impressive title a bit for me. Mind you the Ford has electric steering and an aluminum hood and possibly a couple of the other things the new Ram has but on the whole thats alot of stuff needed to beat the F150, im wondering what price tag all this would add? maybe buying the F150 and losing the 1 mpg is still worth it

still WTG Ram, looks like they have really pulled up theirs socks here !!!

Great truck there. If I hadn't switched from Chevy to Ford in 2009, I would have gone to Dodge instead. These things looks really good. I'm very impressed by their interiors now too. They used to be as bad as the Chevy's. Kudo's to Dodge for building quality trucks again!

@Ray

I think the reliability question isn't the major mechanical bits, its the other technology driven items like air suspension, start stop, active shutters. New items that are going to be used ALOT. Look at landrover, all the technologies they have and the electronic gremlins they have. Their drivetrains are bullet proof but electronics that cross and switch aren't. I personally don't want a full air suspension, give me a couple bags in the back that once enough weight is applied it can help out the leaf springs. Having the truck go up and down with speeds a 100 times every trip is alot of work on the air compressor, pump, ect. Like wise having those shutters opening and closing a 100 times a trip fighting raod grime, bugs, wind, ice and snow with little actuators could eventually get stuck closed (hope they built a safety in to get stuck open if at all possible) restricting cooling. Start stop, having to turn over a big motor a 100 times a trip can cause that to fail less than 100k miles. I hope they did a dual set up, one for start stop and one for intial key start just in case the start stop one fails you can turn it over with the key and not get stuck. Its things like that. I know that is where all the makers are heading as they need to in order to comply with new government restrictions but that stuff just concerns me when I own a truck for 8 years and a 150k miles. how much would something be to replace an air compressor, grill shutter or starter motor? What if it is electronis and you have to do a whole computer module for $1800? I do stuff on my own, that isn;t something I can do on my own.

The other day I had a tire sensor fail, had to get a new one done since I don't have a tire machine for $80. I check my tires, since others don't and die and sue its another check in place I have to pay for when it goes bad. Sensors fail, electronics fail or have gremlins, I know the mechanicals are much more reliable than ever before and I love it, but now it is other things causing issues. Look at ford and the myford thing they have. While the vehicles that have them really aren't having any mechanical issues, they are at the bottom of the reliabiliy list because of a phone connection voice recognition thing... Don't get me wrong, I like technolog to a point. I love bluetooth for the rare times I talk on the phone, or a back up camera for when I need to hitch something up with out a guide. But things that cause headaches or driveability problems are just concerning.

it will be interesting to see what/if there are any bugs out there in the next year or two. Also with the GM and Ford when they bring out their all new trucks in the coming years with insane technology loaded on each one. I wonder how much weight wires have added over the years with all these new technologies?

DODGE will DESTROY CHEVROLET within 12 Months!!! #2 sales spot, HERE WE COME!! C-ya Chevy...

Why no impressions of the V6/8spd combo?

Why is the 4.7 V8 still around? Drop that.
Drop the fake six speed automatic-65RFE
Only two engines are necessary.
5.7 V8: 4x2: 3.21; 4x4: 3.55
3.6 V6: 4x2: 3.55; 4x4: 3.92

I trully belive that they are leaving the off road half ton pickup market to ford.

The ram runner kit would need to be redesigned to work with the new frame and susspenssion set ups, and i don't think that would be a worthwhile investment.

I agree that the more tech the more stuf that can break like land rovers air susspensions.

i need ground clernce and locking rear axel f150 fx4,xlt/lariat off road and raptor , Titan pro 4x are the only trucks that meet the bill, if i wanted something that rode as low as the stop start ram id buy a car or minivan witht the same ground clearance.

My 2 cents

DODGE will DESTROY CHEVROLET within 12 Months!!! #2 sales spot, HERE WE COME!! C-ya Chevy...

Posted by: MoparMadness | Aug 24, 2012 10:23:13 AM


DREAM ON RAM SPAM/FANBOI!!!!!!! Dodge IS and ALWAYS WILL BE THIRD PLACE!! Let it be written. Let it be DONE.

Wow wow wow... I'm impressed, but I do have some of the same worries as the guys above though. I keep my vehicles for a long time, and active grill shutters, start stop, and air bags seem like things that will break no matter how good they're made. I know they're all going there, but hopefully they'll make it so that when those things break, the truck will keep running with only a minor loss in fuel economy...

P.s. jesus christ chevy! How long does it take for you release an updated truck?!?!

Nice work Ram!
I heard Chevy might just take a pass on this round of re-designed trucks and hope to catch up by the next round. They do have enough trucks stock piled on dealer lots to hold them for a few years anyway, especially now that Ram will be taking a good chunk of their market share.

The 8-speed and air ride are options for now but I think i'll wait for a blow out price on a 2012. I haven't liked a new truck as much as these new Ram's in a long time.

@Ray.
Interesting that you have a ford but prefer the dodge. I have a dodge but prefer the ford. I don't worry about the powertrain so much. When I bought my truck it came with a lifetime/unlimited miles warranty which I will be cashing in on someday since I run a farm with many trucks I'll just keep it indefinitely. My worry as stated above is the small electronic parts and motors etc. I loved my dodge at first. Then little things started breaking like the ignition switch (really crappy weak plastic) the seat started coming apart at 40,000 miles (crappy cloth interior) window switches, etc. I take care of my trucks but I work them really hard. I've had the best luck with fords. Haven't had many chevys since I can't stand the low quality/cramped interiors. This technology is pretty cool, I just hope it holds up in the long run. Any word on when we'll see an 8 speed from ford or chevy? How about the suspension and shutters? I've enjoyed seeing ford's dominance and I hope they one up the competition soon. Chevy has a long ways to go.

SO when you overload the pin with the air bags, what exactly happens? Just a constant warning on the dash? Anything else?

Ram engineers, why no numbers on the dash gauges. The
L-H ,H-C needs to go. My 2000 Ram has full number spread on the gauges. The current 2500 has numbers so why does the 1500 buyer lack them.

Dodge has really upted the ante for the new GM trucks in Fuel mileage and interior design.

Seems like Chrysler/Fiat has really got their act togeather.

@Mello Yello.

Probably, but I'm sure that data gets put in the computer too so if you damage your truck while overloaded they might not warranty it...probably within reason however. We all know that pick up trucks can be overloaded at times. They're trucks after all so if it was once in a blue moon and something broke, then I don't see it being a warranty issue. But if the service guys download the data and see that you were constantly overweight then that might have an impact.
Then again, maybe not. Who knows?
I'd like the idea of a payload scale built in that would display on the dash. Then you could see exactly how much you're truck is carrying.

DREAM ON RAM SPAM/FANBOI!!!!!!! Dodge IS and ALWAYS WILL BE THIRD PLACE!! Let it be written. Let it be DONE.

@MichiganBob, Keep dreaming like John Lennon. The once very respectable Chevrolet Motor Company is done with. GM/GMC has destroyed them for the sake of cost cutting measures and trying to pimp up their other pointless brands.. If you think Chevy trucks and their once mighty CK/Silverado will ever hold on to the #2 spot in sales against the modern Dodge Ram you're in la la land. We all saw the spy shots of the new Silverado a few weeks ago. Interior and exterior. That thing looks Horrible. The interior was almost like a bad joke. Abysmal is the proper word here. It doesn't even compare to this Dodge. And the body designs of Chevy trucks have sucked since the GMT-400 ended. This new upcoming 1500 Chevy truck looks like nothing but a warmed over current HD. Poor design, terribly square wheel openings with no wheel liners unlike Dodge has, poor interior, I'm sure they still use cheap wax on their frames and that's just the 1500.

The Chevy HD will be the same subpar truck with the exception of a low slung frame and stiff torsion bars. On the contrary the Dodge HD will be the same high quality truck but has a tucked away frame and has a SFA like the Ford HD/SD. Tucked away frames and coils are where it's at. Not torsion bars and low slung frames. That why GM ditched torsion bars on their 1500's. They Know they suck and are simply a Cheap cost cutting way of doing things. You won't win the #2 spot in 1500 sales any longer... And you'll never touch either Ford or Dodge in the 2500 sales. Your good HD trucks died in 1987. Your good 1500 trucks died in 1998. R.I.P. Chevrolet....

That's a serious truck. Chevy had better have thrown us a curve ball with all those interior and exterior spy shots because if it is released looking anything like we've seen, only the die-hard blind-loyalists would ever choose one over this truck!

-THIS.

Nice work Ram!
I heard Chevy might just take a pass on this round of re-designed trucks and hope to catch up by the next round. They do have enough trucks stock piled on dealer lots to hold them for a few years anyway, especially now that Ram will be taking a good chunk of their market share.

@Ford850, So True!! WTF happened to Chevy? It's been a downward spiral from yanking their SFA in 87 to ending production of their ass kicking 400 series in 98. It's like after that they just didn't give a crap anymore and quit. It's been 14 years of Junk Chevy trucks and counting now!! Good luck unloading the rest of these wavy rear quarter sheet metal, drum brake, cheap interior, rusty frame, ugly ass 900's. You'll be able to buy them for pennies on the dollar within a year.

Chevrolet's biggest problem is GMC (The so dubbed GovtMoCo truck). That brand needs to be dumped. I wouldn't own one anyway. Resources, talents, designs, trims, quality and efforts all need to be focused and concentrated into the single line of Chevrolet trucks. Not just here in America but throughout the world. That Bowtie on the front of your new truck should be the status quo symbol of quality throughout America and the rest of the world stating flat out that you own the best truck money can buy. Light Duty, Heavy Duty and Off Road. All of them. The Chevrolet V8 engine should likewise be the status quo engine of envy. It always was before. Small Block and Big Block Chevrolet's alike were always considered #1. Running 2 truck lines and splitting resources like this is getting so ridiculous it's not even funny anymore. GM is really getting on my nerves these days. And I agree with a few others, if those interior and exterior spy shots of the new Silverado are legitimate, I'm not impressed one single bit. I'd just assume drive Ford or Dodge trucks and cars from here on out. I'm sick of this. And I'm about sick of GM period.

Michigan Bob,

If the rumors we have read are true, the Chevy already has this Ram beat with 27+ mpg on the highway. GM is supposed to unveil it in January in Detroit, right?

@RedMan--Isn't GM suppose to go out of business because of the tax writeoffs and government loans? Gee GMs sales are really falling and they are on the verge of another bailout. The sky is falling, the sky is falling! Let's have some more talk about GM bailouts maybe we could continue harping about bailouts until GM either goes under or pays all the government loans and maybe then we could continue for the next ten years while others are trying to have an intelligent and meaningful discussion about trucks. Oh I forgot there is little intelligent life on this website.

On a positive note this truck looks nice and I am glad to see the positive changes in Chrysler since the Fiat ownership. Oh I said something positive its time for all the negativity to creep in and blog about all the bad things. Come on guys theres lot of negative things to say about those Jap trucks, Obama motors, and how the government is going to take away our big trucks. Oh I forgot was this article about the new Ram 1300 and the first drive? I guess so but lets start brand bashing.

I would of thought that the air ride suspension would be more money. The other thing I find surprising is that if you believe "mechanic" from the goat-herder tribe, the mpg is the same for a non air-ride truck versus air-ride. If that is the case, I'd skip the air ride. It sounds like a good system for towing/hauling. We need more information about what happens when you overload it. I don't like the sound of how stiff it is when in "offroad" mode. The 8 speed transmission sounds like it will be the benchmark for the industry.
This truck is supposed to be a mid cycle refresh for Ram.
Kudo's.
Chevy better bring their A game or Bob will jump off a bridge ;)

@Tyler: Aren't you making some assumptions on that tech? Air bag 100 times per trip? Why? The sensors read the load once and set the bags to accommodate. Maybe the sensors read your highway speed and lower the whole rig a bit--you won't even notice. The pumps? Hey, Cadillac had air shocks before '79 and they did a pretty good job--the shocks wore out long before that Caddy's pump complained. In fact, I don't think my dad ever had the pump replaced--it was still going strong when he sold the car after towing a 5,000# travel trailer through something like 42 of our 48 contiguous States. (He bought a motor home to visit those other 6 states and took three months to do it.)

The shutters behind the grill? Really, do you think engine temperature fluctuates THAT much? You already have a thermostat in the coolant line to control water flow but even that struggles on a cold morning to get that engine warmed up to temperature (just look at the trucks and busses that put some sort of baffle over the grill in the colder months) and in the hotter months they're likely to stay open the entire trip--again once the engine is up to temperature. Sure, the electronics have the capability to adjust them more frequently, but how often will you actually see that happen?

Ok, I do know (and know very well) that temperature extremes can and will eventually cause car electronics to fail. However, on average it takes from 8 to 10 years for that to happen with a car that lives in the elements all its life while a garaged car will certainly last longer simply due to to a reduction in those extremes. More often than not the failure becomes a broken solder joint (I've repaired AC controllers, car radios, etc. that only had that problem) which is usually easily--but not necessarily economically--replaced. Swapping it out is far easier and usually not that much more than having it fixed simply due to the time it takes to locate and re-solder the broken connection.

Ok. Technology can break. Show me any car manufactured today that doesn't have some sort of computerized system on board--usually dozens of them--just as much at risk as the tech on the new RAM. The only difference is that... It's different.

It is a nice truck and it should sell well. It is nice to see Ram (always be Dodge to me) doing so well. My grandfather would be happy to see this if he were alive, he owned several Dodge cars and trucks. Good job Chrysler & Fiat. Keep up the good work.

2013 is supposed to be a short run i think. 2014 should have 3.6 with 8 speed, 3.0 diesel with 8 speed, and hopefully they will finally drop the 6 speed from the hemi leaving 5.7 with 8 speed. maybe a 6.4 will come to the 1500s as well. guys this is only the introduction.

@JeffS, I have no issues with the bailout and supported saving the auto industry as a whole. Even as a Conservative. My point was GMC is now GovtMoCo by nearly everyone I know now because of it. It's a damaged nameplate and it's not even a necessary one. My point was and is that all hands should be on the same deck building 1 truck. All resources and all talents. There needs to be some serious soul searching here. Chevrolet is getting hammered by Ford and looking closely at these new Dodge's, I'm not so sure that same scenario won't play out there too. You don't need 2 trucks. You need 1 truck to destroy all others. The competition is getting far too brutal in the truck world now to be playing around like this. All hands and all resources need to be on the same deck here and I firmly believe that's the only way to fight this and survive into the future. That was my point. Most people prefer Chevrolet's anyway. Sale's have shown that year after year, time and time again with possibly the exception of this bodystyle which is completely understandable. The stampings got ridiculous on the Silverado.

@RedMan--I see your point but if GMC is profitable for GM even if the sales numbers are not that high then at the very least they need to offer the same trim and packages on the Chevy brand since it is their sales leader. I have read these comments in the past and my observations from the comments is GM needs to make the packages at least equal and clean the lines up of the Silverado to look more like the Sierra. The Sierra in my opinion is a much more attractive package but either make Silverado equal or discontinue GMC and if they want the Buick dealerships to have a truck sell Chevy trucks along side with Buicks. Actually if they would just make the two trucks identical and just change the emblems they could save themselves millions and then the cost difference would be negligable. I agree GM should not mess with Chevy. I have had one Chevy truck and 2 Chevy cars and overall they have been reliable. I can say the same thing with the two Fords I have had but the Mercury was not so good. The Chrysler 5th Avenue I had was an excellent car. There are too many loyal Chevy fans out there and GM needs to read these blogs and give them what they want. Contrary to what a lot of CEOs think the customer is always right.

I do applaud Ford for their efforts and Chrysler as well. Even though I have a preference for smaller trucks and vehicles I have a lot of respect for both. I still have a good choice in the compact to midsize truck market between Nissan, Toyota, and Chevy and that probably is all I need.

Nothing personal RedMan about the prior comments it just gets tiring to go on about GM and the bailout which probably was not the best choice but what is done is done. Hopefully GM will be competitive again, but if not they will either go under or be bought out by another corporation which I think might be the Chinese. Life goes on and you might as well enjoy it.

@redman

By everyone you know? So your four friends call it that because you call it that because you are ignorant to the fact it is the same truck, same umbrella brand as Chevy... If GMC is Government motors than so is Chevy and Dodge and Ford since they all took money from the government.

@DWfields

That is a guesstimate, say a 40 minute trip a full air suspension based on the jeep automatically makes adjustments all the time to compensate and maintain a level ride. It isn't a towing only air bag in the back that lifts the back to level and that is it, it now has to take in to consideration the front, steering angle, body angle, throttle, braking and a whole list of things, it will constantly be making corrections (ie constantly running and adjusting)

Lincoln and Ford had air suspension systems to, how many of those systems do you see failed running around with the bag end sagging? All I am saying is that it is another thing to break and fail, I wouldn't trust a full system to work correctly for 8 years and a 150k miles (especially through hard work loaded often, going off road or towing frequently), and if or when something does go wrong it will be expensive to fix...

You are talking up north, I am talking down south. Try having those shutters closed (lets say it is just three rows that cover the entire radiator) and if two of those rows are stuck closed you can be dang sure down here your truck will not have anywhere near enough flow to keep it cool, especially in traffic and probably not even on the highway. That can cause catastrophic failure. I know all the manufacturers will be heading to that and over time it will be come more and more reliable, just right now like i said earlier it is another thing that moves, deals with elements and can break. But I am cheering for it, it will just take many years to see how reliable.

Your wire comment is speaking about a lone wire that is easy to access, try to find a lone wire in a connector box full of 100's of wires hidden back behind a dash board. Point being it is not a simple task to try and find a, the cause, b the location and c the correction. Chances are it will be buried in a large loom of wires wrapped by tape or some other wrapping mechanism and surrounded by very similar color wires and markings. I hate electronic work, the more electronics the more that it can fail. I bet you wouldn't be able to track down a electronic gremlin in the off road mode of a new grand Cherokee when the system fails to lift. It would take a expensive fancy computer just to diagnose it and then it would probably have the whole conglomerate replaced as opposed to fixing that one wire that may have rubbed through or got pinched or who else know. Cars have only gotten a hair bigger over the years yet the amount of wires in the cars have probably increased ten fold, and that is probably low balling it.

I certainly do agree with you that technology can and does break, how many times has your smart phone froze, or dropped a call or done who knows what else? Technology is great, I certainly love technology, I am impressed by the steps Dodge has taken and the tech they have put on their truck to help meet the cafe requirements, I am also glad that my next truck won't be the guinea pig for these technologies. Let them take Ford's place with failing quality remarks because of technology short falls. I will be interested to see how this works over time.

I am not saying go against all tech period because ever manufacturer has computerized systems on board ad it will continue to evolve and get more and more complicated, so much so that us normal car guys will have to go to best buy to diagnose a computer problem to avoid paying the insane dealer charges for the same diagnostic report. But I am not so much talking about normal tech like nav, gps, computation for gas and loads but more the moving electronic parts that affect driveability. I am more concerned the truck would get stuck in lowered mode or not run cool enough than my phone doesn't pair to the bluetooth, my sub doesn't work or the computer can't tell me what my mpg's are over the last trip.

If it were me, I would have just done rear air springs (still a segment first for trucks and towing) and the grill shutters. I don't know enough about grill shutters on how they exactly they are working but I am pulling for them to work and be reliable. I was just giving some scenarios on what may or may not happen.

Cheers!

Is the new model still shod with the horrid Goodyear's, or is Dodge stepping up to the plate and bringing us a real improvement, with Michelin LTX MS2 tires?

By everyone you know? So your four friends call it that because you call it that because you are ignorant to the fact it is the same truck, same umbrella brand as Chevy... If GMC is Government motors than so is Chevy and Dodge and Ford since they all took money from the government.

@Tyler, the answer to your question is a resounding Yes. Everyone and I literally mean everyone in the circles I run with or work with call GM Government Motors now. GMC's are called Government Motors Company trucks. I have one guy who works for me that has a GMC and he took off the badges all over the truck after the bailout and Literally changed his license plate to GMC SUX. He drives it every day to make a point I guess. I can guarantee you his next truck won't be a GMC. If GM ever intended to keep the business of guys like this they better step it up with Chevrolet or lose these guys to Ford and Dodge. Chevrolet, Ford and Dodge do not have the GM initials in their name. That is the difference. GM-GM'c' is damaged goods. There's a lot more people than you think that have no clue that Chevrolet is part of GM. It would be wise to keep it that way.

Some of these improvements might steer some buyers to get a 2012 now.

Active shutters could be great, but go offroading when it's muddy and will the shutters still work? How about a good rain, followed by a freeze......will the shutters freeze shut? If snows build up will it stop the shutters from operating due to an accumulation of snow? If snows build up then melts and freezes, will the shutters be frozen shut?

Electronic power steering bothers me too. All to save a slight bit of HP drain and mpg, the expensive racks that accompany EPS aren't worth it. They sure fail alot more too according to most threads I read.

Airbags are a crapshoot. Will be good if you replace the vehicle every 7 years when the warranty expires. Pity the poor soul who has to find parts for the vehicle 10 years down the road.

Dodge needs to change the shift points so the tranny isn't in 5th/6th gear at 5mph. Get some equal spacing like Toyota puts in their trannies, which are bulletproof. Too many times my Dodge Ram liked to shift from 5th to 2nd, and on anything but a dry, paved road it was a handfull.

Best improvement is the longer bed on the crewcab models. Won't fit in my garage any longer, but I won't be predisposed to buy a quad cab to get the longer bed.

Once again, dump the Goodyear's get some better rubber.

@Tyler again, I missed your "4 friends" crap. You just struck a mighty nerve with me bud. I employ over 25 people who I all consider friends and have far more who have been loyal friends my entire life. You have no clue as to whom you're talking down to. Let me briefly fill you in. A hard working American who built his business as a horse trainer out of an old 1956 Chevy truck back in the 60's. I was drafted into Vietnam for 2 tours and obviously had to take a hiatus from horse training. For over 40 years since I've worked with horses, raised cattle and overseen farm operations of literally millions of acres of fields. I also raced Chevrolet hot rods for a brief moment in time. My childhood friends are still my best friends and I'd take a bullet for anyone of them. I've witnessed more blood shed in front of my eyes for this once mighty country than you'll probably ever see in your life. I will Not for a second tolerate your downtalk. Your childish comment is a prime representation of the sad state of America's youth. I never have and never will step foot in a Chevy powered so called GMC truck. I stated I supported the helping of our auto industry and I do. I've argued many of times with guys I love like brothers over this issue. I want America to be strong again. I didn't fight 2 tours of war for this country to fall apart. I don't however agree with GMC, I don't like what it's initials represent now, I don't like that my taxdollars went to fund 2 unnecessary truck lines when not a single other company in the world needs Two truck lines, I don't like that if I went to buy a new Chevrolet it wouldn't be as good or nice as a Ford or Dodge Because of GMC and I'll flat out say I Firmly don't believe the bailout was even necessary of Chevrolet Motors as an individual entity. American's love Chevrolet when quality product of which they once stood for is there. As part of GM though, Chevrolet is headed for the bottom of the sea like the Titanic. During and after WW2 GM stood for something wonderful. I have no love for GM any longer nor their GM labled truck. Everyone knows it only exists to prop up Buick's which are nothing but money losing Opels of European descent. I disagree with it and am about to the point I won't even support GM inc. via Chevrolet because of it. The way that company was restructured goes against everything this American fought for. I'll Always love Chevrolets. Especially the old ones. What GM did to the Chevrolet Motor company is almost unforgivable though. And being I have no love for GM, it is what it is.

@RedMan--Like anyone else you are entitled to your opinions and to be treated in a respectful manner. I want to thank you for your service to our country and thank all veterans. It would not upset me if Buick or GMC went away but if they are going to stay then respect all the customers past and present who have been loyal to the Chevrolet brand and give them what they want a competitive truck in both price and quality and give them the trim packages that they demand. That is just smart business and those nicer trim packages increase the profit margins of GM.

You might be right about the bailout it might have not been necessary but the verdict is still out and I for one hope my skepticism is unfounded. If in anyway I have been disrespectful I am sincerely sorry. Have a good evening.l

@JeffS, no problems here bud. Thank you for the very kind words. You likewise have a great weekend!

Hmmm. Lets cut and paste the same thing on every Ram thread!



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