Quick Drive: Traffic Jam in a Ram 1500

Ram Longhorn Chicago II

It's not every day I get to commute to work in a full-size pickup truck. As an editor at Cars.com I test all types of vehicles, and many of them get put through my commute from the suburbs to downtown Chicago.

It's not a fun drive, sitting in congestion for an hour or more to go roughly 20 miles. But I get to test a few things in that setting, namely the high-tech multimedia systems and fuel economy in one of the most efficiency-sapping settings you can find.

I had a top-of-the-line 2013 Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn Edition Crew Cab 4x4 with the 5.7-liter V-8 and eight-speed automatic transmission to test for two days, totaling four commutes - two inbound, two outbound. The Ram was lucky enough to come when bad weather and daylight saving time hit, a recipe for especially bad traffic.

If you have trouble reading the results in the image above, here's how the leather-appointed truck did:

Distance: 107.3 miles
Average MPG: 14.3 mpg
Average MPH: 23 mph
Elapsed Time: 4:29:31

Typically in this setting cars and SUVs I test return close to their city EPA rating. If they score significantly below I'm concerned.

The Hemi-powered truck delivered right below its 15 mpg city rating by the EPA. And it should be added this was in temperatures in the mid-30s to high teens. I had the truck in 4x2 mode and in Drive during the entire test. 

RamMPG560

Ram Chicago 2 II

Comments

What a sweet looking truck!

Thats one Purdy Truck, I think I'm getting a sport model though.

Is this how it's going to be ,truck reviews driving through the Windy City ???
What has happened to half ton trucks ! They are starting to look like yuppie mobiles .
I can't wait for the next installment !!! Boring !!!!!!!!

It's a nice looking truck. The comment about bad weather is confusing though. Streets are all clear and they never used 4wd. Is this what they call bad weather in the city?

I do like what Ram is doing with their trucks. That ones definitely a looker! And I'm a Ford guy!

Why is he driving with the tailgate and bed extender out when the bed is empty? Not a good Idea in the city your just asking somebody or something to bump the tailgate and then its warped.

Apparently the car driver isn't used to the truck's brakes though, judging from the picture of him stopped in the middle of the crosswalk. :-)

The tailgate down typically reduces fuel economy. That's a pretty odd thing to do with an empty truck being tested.

That truck is gorgeous. If you took away our Platinum F-150, this is the truck I would buy. In Limited edition without the country stuff.

Nice truck,dumbass review,if that is what it was supposed to be.

In my opinion, this truck looks ten times better then the Ford, this truck has decent lines unlike the Ford with the syling of a shoe box.

Yeah you tried it in the winter but try it in the summer when you have the air conditioning running and the less efficient summer fuel blend and I'm sure you'll come in at much lower mpg.

Either way, it's 14/15mpg is still nothing to brag about. There's no reason that couldn't have been running on an electric motor at that speed and distance.

We don't use AC in Chicago we run with the windows open for a nice breeze.

For stop/start driving in the city, an average of 14.3 mpg is pretty good. Looking forward to the EcoDiesel review.

WHat was the hand calculated mileage? I don't trust the dash readouts, more often than not they are on the high side.

My dad recenty bought a 2012 Hemi 4x2 reg cab and can only get ~12-13MPH in the city and that is on a light foot. He likes the truck but his only complaint is the mileage is horrible compared to his previous reg cab 4x2 GMC 5.3 he had before.

Tailgate up or down is not going to make a bit of difference when your only averaging 23mph...

@Cameron,

Tailgate down is worse for economy on the highway. That has been proven wrong long enough that I still chuckle when I see people driving around with their tailgates down thinking they are saving gas.

The comment of driving with tailgate down to improve fuel economy is a myth.
This was disspelled on Myth Busters. Long story short, you want to drive with gate up because as truck was designed, because air coming over cab adds some downward pressure to rear wheels for stability. As far as economy, TV showed examples of how air rushing over cab both gate up and down and due to the way it acts, economy was best with gate UP! They ran trucks with gate up and down. Saw study on TV a few yrs ago.

I think the purpose of the tailgate down, and bed extender out, was to show that between that and the Rambox, the trim level with all but the kitchen sink, they used almost the heaviest 1500 Ram truck (as opposed to a single cab 4x4 with 17" tires which gets the same rating) It's probably about 400 pounds heavier then a same configuration Hemi crew 4x4 Tradesman would be. If somebody doesn't think that makes a differance, they just don't know. A regular cab 4x4 Tradesman Hemi with 265/70 17 tires would get alot more mileage, and would be rated the same.

So if it was two trips in, two out, that was a minemum of 4 starts. They have worked on thermal management and improved it, but a cold engine will eat more fuel till warmed up. That's also why they tested in the cold. Wouldn't the a/c compressor be getting worked to run the defroster? (As opposed to somebodies comment about the a/c in the middle of summer).

@Sandman_73: does your dad ever haul with that truck? He would notice the power there, while that Chevy 5.3 is working harder to tow, or even get up steep hills empty. I had a 310 HP 5.3 Chevy in an ext cab 4x4 with 3.42 gears, in the hills the mileage was no better then my Ram 5.7 quad 4x4, and my Ram is much heavier. Now add more gears to both of them, and getting moving is effortless.

SWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEET!!!!!

Sandman, dont ever try to compare a 5.3 315hp motor to a 5.7 390hp motor in gas milage. the 5.3 will always win, need to do apples to apples, if your dad had a gmc with the 6.2 then we could talk, otherwise he should not be suprised getting less mileage with much more HP and trq.

My 09 ram is a 4x4 and gets 13 city with the hemi

TRX-4, a tradesman will get the same MPG as the loaded versoin. I know I have a reg cab 4x2 with the 5.7 and a lot lighter but I still get 13MPG.

As "uncool" of a test as this may seem. I'm excited to see it since it's exactly how I use my truck 5 days a week. I'm even happier to see that it took an hour to go 20 miles. Your average speed is better than mine but now I have an idea of what kind of mileage to expect (as with all the other posters as well).

With the big bad 8 speed and virtually nothing left untouched on the new 2013 Ram, 14 mpg empty is concerning. Fred Diaz said it would be class leading.

Driving 20 miles in from the suburbs includes some highway miles. A 23mph average, considering he was "sitting in congestion for an hour or more" shows his mileage split was probably 75% city and 25% highway. I wonder if the MPGs were so low due to the cooler temps and the more complex 8 speed. I've read some good things about the 8 speed, so this low mileage surprises me. As I understood it, it was supposed to excel in city driving the most with the added lower gears.

@Gabe: actually, the Tradesman can't get the 8 speed yet, and that's a mistake on my part. But say a lighter truck then this pictured here, an SLT or whatever the lowest level lightest truck regular cab that would get an 8 speed hemi, equiped with 17" tires, will do better. I aint gonna sit here and argue, it's common sence, less weight, less mass, smaller tires to get moving, better mileage. They will all be rated the same, 4x4 and trans combo.

You can compare your 6 speed pre 8 speed without thermal management and electronic power steering all day long, but you didn't run the exact course this truck did, so it's not a direct comparison.

This thread will turn out just like the v-6 towing test, Joe Bob writes to say his brand X truck gets X amount of mileage, and it's so much better, then again he forgets to say his trailer is a flatbed, and he was towing at 55-60 with no wind in the flatest envirement, at 70 degrees, and with only starting the truck once.

Why is everyone complaining about this article? Its a city boy writing about how the RAM did in the city. What's wrong with that? Most people do majority city driving anyway, so it's nice to see how the HEMI 8 speed stacks in bad city driving. Not everyone lives in and around highways.

Awesome truck, funky location for a review.

Anything with that long a wheelbase is a real beech to park in the city. The stop/go driving does not let this baby shine.

Take it up to the Upper Peninsula with a camper in tow. That would be the test to write about. Or get it on 1-75 for a trip down to the Smokies. Road trip!!!

Can't wait to see a full test of the hemi 8. Waiting on reviews before I make my purchase.

I liked last year's wheels better. Can you still get them on a Longhorn or just these?

I can't wait for the diesel review.

14mpg? With an eight speed in the winter. Will the mpg's drop to 13mpg in the summer or less. I would have been hoping for more.

With CAFE/EPA changing the rules it will have to improve.

The diesel will be a far better option when it comes out for commutes in the city.

Judging by the load a V6 would have gotten the same job done as well or a single cab long wheelbase Taco 2.7.

Looks are subjective and the Ram is a little "Korean" in style, it has Ssyanyong ques in some of the lines.

It will interesting to see how the 3.2 Pentastar will go in the trucks in heavy traffic.

Maybe half or less of the people can afford to own or operate this vehicle in the US. But, if you can afford it why not.

I guess the point really is, "Who can actually afford to run this truck?" At least Nissan brought an improved option list for the Frontier and dropped the overall price a bit even if the body and chassis are a bit dated. When you can't leave the dealer lot without paying 30K for a low end new model, a used model with a mid trim package like an F150 XLT with less than 50K on the odometer that is less than 4 years old looks more appealing to the regular folks living here in reality where we can't afford a $500 per month truck payment. At least you are only forking over $300 per month for the 3-4 year old used truck.

Who cares how a 3.2 Pentastar would do? Is there one going to be out this year or next? No. Many years down the line. How about something more realistic? Like a crewcab Pentastar 4x4 which somebody doing this drive might like, or one of Fords two v-6s, which ARE available, and not some dream. The 3.6s which should be direct injected possibly for 2014.

Korean looks? Whatever you think. Some people like Mazda BT-50s, some like F-150s, or Tundras, or Chevy 1500s.

Too bad you can barely fit two people in a single cab Tacoma, or 5 people can stuff into a "double"cab Tacoma. Whatever suits a persons needs.

Why would the mileage drop in the summer to sub 13s? If he used the A/C compressor to run the defroster, it is somewhat the same as running A/C, right? Last I checked, engines in the middle of summer are much quicker to get to normal operating temps, which is one key for better mileage. If you had a smaller engine, but the same size A/C compressor, it would strain a smaller engine more.

The diesel won't work for everybody, it's good for those that haul heavy as mileage won't drop as much. But what about the increased engine price, diesel exhaust fluid cost, extra price for diesel? Extra cost to maintain? People making short trips with diesel engines might not get them up to normal operating temp, as they are built to stay cool under a heavy load. Diesel, great for long trips, or if your engine runs constantly, not always great for short trips.

Gotta love it when somebody that lives in some warm invirement tells us how good or bad the mileage is, and they have no idea how the trucks like the one in this story but a few years older would do in the winter, because they don't even have a v-8, or haven't most likely in years.

FWIW: My 2010 4x4 Quad cab Ram was getting sub 13s in 15 degree weather driving around a city right after I first bought it, which was one of thge few times it was driven for all out city driving. Nowadays I don't do much city driving. So 14 mpg is pretty decent.

Another story where you wish they had two or three other trucks to compare to.

^ Good point, the air is denser in the winter, but the truck gets worse mileage, with colder and thicker fluids, longer idle times, and the winter blend fuel. I agree that the 3.2 would not get better fuel economy than the 3.6, just less torque!

If my truck averaged 14 mpg in stop n go traffic, I would be happy. My friend with a '09 5.3 Silverado and my father in law with a '10 5.3 crew cab both agree.

And Maxx, what is your source that says summer blend gas yields WORSE mpg's on vehicles? Please direct me to a link where I can read more about this. Everything I've read says the exact opposite. (And to be clear, we're assuming the AC is OFF when comparing both blends.) Thanks!

One more think people might miss: If they don't check their tires, they get down in the 20s with this truck, and if the air pressure was put in when it was say 60 degrees in a plant, that could be a 3 psi drop. I would guess they checked them and brought them up in pressure for the colder temps?

Tire pressures can only get warmer and get you better mileage in the heat of the summer. If checked cold. Unlike the cold where they ussually are below setting until warmed a good deal.

The tire pressure indicators are a good way to see how much pressure you gain as a tire gets warm.

The writer didn't say if he just got right in a cranked it and drove, or warmed it up any. Some people burn off alot of fuel waiting for them to get all warmed up, but the best would be obtained from just starting it, and waiting a minute for it to come off high idle. Some people shove them in gear at high idle @1500 or so rpm, not good for trans.

Hey trx4tom
You are making it about you again, and trying to make it a we decision.

You are not indicative of the PUTC contributors, we come from around the world.

Man are you so self centred. Don't multi post this one either.

I suppose if Ram does their usual and release information ages ahead of the actual product, we might not see the 3.2 Pentastar.

No Al, you are making it about what you think will happen in the future. You are the one self centered. We know you don't care about these trucks, and just want to talk crap.

I don't have to listen to you. If you want to say something senseable, fine. You are just here pushing diesel.

Maybe you should look at the big picture, instead of just what works for Big Al?

It would have been nice if the editor had put a little diddy in here, of what the mileage was in the 3.6/8spd SLT 4X4 was, but I did, and the worst mpg the "blue truck ", that was driven emty, up the Davis Dam, was 17.9mpg, now I know that is not the same as in bumper to bumper traffic, in the windy city, but, it is an indication of how it might have done in a side by side with the Hemi/8spd, because like they said in the story, they were driving up to the dam at 70mph!! and that was up hill, so it might be quit close! and there is a big diff. between what the Hemi got, and what you could get with the 3.6/8spd in the city, after all how need a Hemi? unless you do have to tow the extra weight, or carry the weight, but I would suspect that to carry the weight the 3.6/8 would do fine, because lets face it, the Ram is not rated for all that much anyway. Was there anything said about stop/start in either of these trucks, because that would make a sizable difference in the stop and go of the city! I do know in heavy bumper to bumper traffic in my 5.3 Z-71 w/3:42, I get at least 16 mpg, and the F-150 EB 4x4 reg cab I own gets 16 also in the city in stop and go, but neither of them weighs the same as the crew cab Ram in the story, I have driven them both on a scale, and the ext cab Chevy weighs 5,450, and the F-150 reg cab 4x4 8'bed weighs 5,380, I have no ide what that Ram weighs, and I mean on a scale.

I want to know how some of you guys are getting 16 mpg in bumper to bumper traffic in any truck. Even the guys with 5.3s I know have said they are getting 11-12 mpg in mixed driving during winter right now. Now they could be lying I guess...except I don't know why anybody would lie about getting bad gas mileage. Usually its the other way around, no? Just wondering.

So we finally got a test of the HEMI 8 speed and all it focused on was city MPG?? Nice.... That being said my work commute is city like (lots of redlights and 35 mph limits and 12 miles each way). My 13 Ram Hemi gets high 14's low 15's. Our 11 Ecoboost is high 16's low 17's and my 12 PowerStroke gets Mid 16's. So with lots of congestion that sounds about right for the Ram. The 8 speed tranny really can't help if the truck is stopped.

@trx4tom
For someone who doesn't want to "talk" you sure do a lot.

You sure do waste a lot of time causing issues about what I write and responding:) And filling this site full of $hit.

Why?

Why do you state that "everyone" (self centred) in most of your comments and distort?

No, I'm an avid supporter of new diesel tech. In my view it is going to be the fuel of choice.

Plus, why would I support Fiat/Rams?
Come on tom you are playing with yourself.

You don't like what I write because I sometimes counter you, and you can't do anything other than be subjective in your attacks.

Why? Have you heard the term vanity, you are so vain. Probably could make a song about you:)

Gasoline engines are fine. V8s are good, but as we are seeing they will become rarer as time goes by.

@Cameron Carlile: Myth Busted. At least on the highway the mileage is better with the tailgate UP. Demonstrated on cable television by the Mythbusters several years ago.

Al, sorry, just talking about gas mileage and trucks. If it bugs you, maybe you might want to go somewhere else while you are waiting on the others to fix a plane.

You actually fill this site up with your share of $hit! Posting links to midsize diesels on a thread about a fullsize Chevy, did somebody even ask for it? No Al, how about staying on topic, instead of spinning things with "I wonder how a 3.2 (Engine not even in use) would do?) Who cares, Al? It's not available. It's like saying "I wonder how an Ecoboost or Tundra 5.7 would do with an 8 speed." Ah, they don't go together, Al.

If anybody is vain, it's you Al. You sit hear and tell us you look into your crystal bal, spare us your BS Al.

I don't mind you having a counter opinion, it's your stupid accusations and the fact that you think anybody who disagrees with you must be me, because we should all gather here to hear the wise old Al speak. "All worship Al!"Pure BS man.

Why don't you say something revelvent to gas mileage and cold weather city driving? Oh wait, you don't live in the cold, you probably haven't owned a vehicle like the story is about, and you live out in the boonies, so we don't all think you have alot of words of wisdom.

Come on Al, get with the subject, instead just spinning it into your dreamworld.

@trx4tom
For someone who doesn't want to "talk" you sure do a lot.

You sure do waste a lot of time causing issues about what I write and responding:) And filling this site full of $hit.

Why?

Why do you state that "everyone" (self centred) in most of your comments and distort?

No, I'm an avid supporter of new diesel tech. In my view it is going to be the fuel of choice.

Plus, why would I support Fiat/Rams?
Come on tom you are playing with yourself.

You don't like what I write because I sometimes counter you, and you can't do anything other than be subjective in your attacks.

Why? Have you heard the term vanity, you are so vain. Probably could make a song about you:)

Gasoline engines are fine. V8s are good, but as we are seeing they will become rarer as time goes by.

@trx4tom
For someone who doesn't want to "talk" you sure do a lot.

You sure do waste a lot of time causing issues about what I write and responding:) And filling this site full of $hit.

Why?

Why do you state that "everyone" (self centred) in most of your comments and distort?

No, I'm an avid supporter of new diesel tech. In my view it is going to be the fuel of choice.

Plus, why would I support Fiat/Rams?
Come on tom you are playing with yourself.

You don't like what I write because I sometimes counter you, and you can't do anything other than be subjective in your attacks.

Why? Have you heard the term vanity, you are so vain. Probably could make a song about you:)

Gasoline engines are fine. V8s are good, but as we are seeing they will become rarer as time goes by.

@trx4tom
For someone who doesn't want to "talk" you sure do a lot.

You sure do waste a lot of time causing issues about what I write and responding:) And filling this site full of $hit.

Why?

Why do you state that "everyone" (self centred) in most of your comments and distort?

No, I'm an avid supporter of new diesel tech. In my view it is going to be the fuel of choice.

Plus, why would I support Fiat/Rams?
Come on tom you are playing with yourself.

You don't like what I write because I sometimes counter you, and you can't do anything other than be subjective in your attacks.

Why? Have you heard the term vanity, you are so vain. Probably could make a song about you:)

Gasoline engines are fine. V8s are good, but as we are seeing they will become rarer as time goes by.

Does anyone know the difference between then and than, who can take your comments seriously when you don't know how to spell. GED at least please...

Sorry al but I'm agreeing with Tom on this one. You post a lot of "info" that has nothing to do with the topic at hand.

Recently, I have been skipping most of your post for that reason.

Unless you fill up before and after to as near as possible the same, And hand calculate the mileage, I call it wishful thinking to expect the dash cluster to be accurate.



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