Spied! Is this the 2013 Ram 1500?

Photos and words by KGP Photography

It appears that Chrysler has begun working on a mid-cycle facelift for the Ram 1500 pickup. A group of prototypes were caught hot-weather testing in Death Valley, showing signs of a redesigned grille and front bumper, along with possible headlight revisions. We assume powertrain upgrades will also be part of the package, including the all-new 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6.



I hope the new one will have a front fascia closer to the Ram HD that look better to me.

Refresh in 2013
Redesign in 2015

Does that sound right?

It is good to see that Chrysler (Ram) is not wasting any time coming out with updates. Keepin' it fresh! Way to go Chrysler!

I hope one of the pickup truck vendor finally put a diesel in a 1/2 ton truck. I think there is a lot of demand.

Yep looks like they sharpened up the lines like the HD, took some of the softness away, don't know if the headlights need much thou, looks like s split between head and direc.park lghts, bumper might be more sporty looking, with more air intake area. I do hope the newV-6 w/ new trans. makes the cut, It realy needs it! the V-8 needs the new 8spd. when that does become available it will change things around!

Alright, General Motors (Chevrolet & G.M.C.) you are next. Time for the "Big (domestic) 3" to gain even more ground over the competition!!!

Couldn't agree more. I don't know Why GM never did a midcycle refresh on the half tons like they did with the HD's. They are looking so dated right now. Give them a new grill, headlights and bumper and some interior stuff for now, then give them the big re-design.

Bad news for Chevy and Toyota. Silverado and Tundra will lose more market share.

Interesting! You know, with the new GM trucks coming mid-2013, refreshed Rams around that time, and a recent new F-150, you have to wonder when Ford will get around to giving us a new Super Duty. The Super Duty, though it has new powertrains, is a sadly out-of-date truck. Basically a reskinned 1999 with little really new other than coil springs on the front instead of leafs (a change that everyone admits didn't do anything but give a better turning ratio), it is time to move on. Both the GM HD's (with their new chassis) and the new Ram HD's handle and ride worlds better than the old Super Duty. And, more importantly, both the GM's and the Rams have a stiffer, stronger boxed frame than the Super Duty with it's old C channel frame. The Super Duty can tow a lot, but compare what a new GM HD can tow. And, the GM's don't require a weight distributing hitch like the Super Duty does. It really is time for a new Super Duty, if for no other reason Ford can't make the headlights and grille any larger.

@Bob if it ain't broke don't fix it

I'm with others praying they are testing a baby Cummins.

Bring the half ton diesel!

Looks to me like the grill is more upright and like the one on the 2006 models. Maybe they are testing the same 4cyl that was being tested in the Titan?

Good Ram. Refresh is very much needed. I have always thought the new Rams were a little whale like. Last generation had more crispness and ready to roll look. And sat up in a better way. And if they don't use the new V-6 and trans it will be for nothing. Ford rules right now and GM needs to get in the fight too.

I have to agree with Bob. Ford needs to play really hard to win back the top spot in performance.

Diesel would stop the EcoBoost market share growth in it's tracks. The performance and fuel economy of a diesel engine would crush it, period.

3.6, 5.7, and 6.4 with 8 speeds please!

Must say I'd agree with the baby Cummings. I love the tundra but a ram with a diesel I'd go for it in a heartbeat. Seems like a lot of support here.

Also is there any support out there for a 1/2 ton manual these days?

Hands down, the Ram beats the F150 and Silverado in the styling department. Now if they can do something to improve the gas mileage..something about 22 or 23 mpg on the highway..then they would have a much more competitive truck.

@UncleBud, If the Super Duty ain't broke, don't fix it..but just how many times can or is Ford going to make improvements to the frame/suspension, make small exterior changes, update the interior, redesign the frontend, and design new engines or make improvements to the engine lineup and call it a "new" truck?

I've lost count at how many times since '99 that Ford has made changes to the SD, and they call it a "new" truck.

The 8 speed and 5.7 Hemi is going to be an UNBEATABLE combination.

Bob and others, Can you stay on topic ever? The topic is Ram half ton. Not Ford Super Duty vs GM. Remember these rules before you post:

Stay on topic. We want to hear your opinions and thoughts, but please only comment about the specified topic in the blog post.

I would leave my tundra for a Ram 1500 diesel with a different transmission as well but not for just a new grill, bumper and headlights.

O.K., back on topic! I still say a Ram 1500 diesel would probably be a mistake, because by the time you got all the emission control equipment on a 1500, coupled with the added expense of a diesel engine and uprated transmission to take the low r.p.m. torque, the truck would likely be within a few thousand dollars of a 3/4 ton, and would not offer much better fuel economy that either a 3/4 ton diesel or a 1/2 ton gas engine. The economics of 1/2 full size diesel trucks are just not there, and this is the reason why we don't have a 4.5L Duramax, 4.4L Powerstroke, or (at least now) a small Cummins in the Ram. GM and Ford spent a lot of money on those smaller diesels, and basically threw them in the trash can before they even came out. Hybrids and Ecoboost type turbocharged gasoline engines are what you will see in your 1/2 tons, not diesels. No one is going to buy a $45,000 1/2 ton.

Looks to me like they must be testing new powertrain. New front clip is more than a refresh. We can only hope it's a baby cummins under the hood.

@Bob I would. It would be sooooo much more truck than a gasburner. You would get the premium back at resale anyway.

Pentastar engine shots coming shortly!

I know I am going to get killed for this but I have to wonder when the 5.7L Hemi will become a DOHC as Fiat was one the first auto compaines to use it http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overhead_camshaft and multiair according to allpar wont work on the current 5.7L Hemi http://www.allpar.com/mopar/new-mopar-hemi.html.

Coil springs have gotta go, or Ram has to at least upgrade them so they can handle more. I'm also guessing it will have an 8 speed auto now?

@Mike Levine, When will the next-gen silverado be released? 2013 or 2014?

@Jumpy: April 2013 as MY2014

I hope it doesn't look like an overgrown Dakota!

Any spy shots of the new Chev or GM?

LOL 5.3:
MultiAir is currently not adapted to work with DOHC, just single OHC. MultiAir’s current size creates a packaging issue, not enough room under the valve covers. So a DOHC Hemi is completely out of the question.
I also don't see a block redesign in the Hemi's future to OHC; as MultiAir can be adapted to work on Cam-in-Block engines. It only needs a small engineering change so it can be placed on the top of the rods, instead of on the side of the cam, like the OHC setup is.

I expect an airbag setup for a max towing/hauling package.

Do not underestimate the mighty O.H.V. V8! It is still a world beater. Look at the Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1!

Go pushrod motors! Simple and effective.


Yes it sounds right,look at the previous Dodge Ram trucks the 2002-2008 had a mid model front end change.

Plus just about every year they changed something on them..

2003 lost the slt or sport on the c pillar.
2004 different steering wheel.
2005 no Dodge name on tailgate,instead the logo in the middle.
2006 new interior,front end,suspension changes.
2007 New headlight design again (no amber parklight strip) and new tail lights.
2008 just RAM on side doors no 1500 and the 4.7 got 310 h.p !

I love the front end on the current Ram 1500's !!

Cant wait to see the new Ram 1500 !!

In my opinion and several others I have spoken with (some not Dodge RAM owners) agree,the heavyduty front ends would not look good on a 1500,as you cant really mess with the best looking truck EVER !!

Anyone else notice the DODGE on the doors !!

Still confuses me they dont advertize the Ram as a Dodge but they say it will always be part of Dodge..Even the new 2012 Rams at the lot (a few heavy duty Rams arrived) say Dodge on the dash and still say its a Dodge Ram 3500 on the window sticker...

For the love of God,just call them a Dodge Ram again !!! Because it is !! And sales are up because it is a hot looking,best driving truck around !!!And the HEMI V-8 gets gas mileage like a 6 cyl !!

"And the HEMI V-8 gets gas mileage like a 6 cyl"
You must be refering to GM's old 4.3 V6. The best I ever got with that engine was 18 city, and 22 highway. (Canadian MPG) Most of the time it was more like 15 city and 20 highway.

Cheap interiors? It is interesting that as relatively plain as they were, the 2002 Ram redesign had the same level of refinement as the GM trucks still use, other than the Denalis or Nav of course. Ford on the other hand, has the nicest interior and they will really kill it when they update the F150s to be like the new Explorer MyTouch/Sync.

The coil springs won't go away, nor should they. Its so simple to beef up the heavy-dutiness by installing a stiffer spring. Race cars use coils with link bars and swap out springs in minutes to make adjustments. I'm surprised that the aftermarket hasn't come out with heavier coil springs for heavy haulers.

@ Mopar21227

I agree with you. I have a high mile 2003 Cummins and spent a lot of time in that truck. The non LTZ/SLT GM interiors are not head and shoulders above the 02' up Ram's if at all. I will deffinately say the seat cushion on the GM is better but there's nothing else about it that's so much better.

The LTZ/SLT is better IMHO than pre-09' Ram but it's back of the pack today when compared to high end pickups.

I also have a NBS LTZ Chevy so I think I'm fairly non-biased.

If I have to get a V6 at least let me have a decent manual for some fun once in a while. They used to sell a bunch of manual V6's pretty recently.


Dumbest comment ever.


Good Point.

Coil springs are not the problem, as somebody pointed out that the locomotive rail cars use them, it is just that they are geared more for comfort with the Ram. Most people, the majority of the time, haul nothing but air in their pickup beds. An ideal application for a softly-sprung pickup.

Quote: "3.6, 5.7, and 6.4 with 8 speeds please!"

Dude, that's the same powertrain lineup I was thinking of!

this new ram needs an option of the 6 speed manual trans available.not all of us like automatics, and it would be the only truck with one, now that gm and ford stopped using them also. use the one from the wrangler.it'll sell great.

if they change the 1500 front end to look like the heavy duty rams i will not buy another Ram! Ram tucks looked horrible until the 2009. the hd's are ugly and look too much like ford. if they put that nose on a new Ram i will be out of the Ram market! Ram finally did something good in 2009 and i am hoping they don't shoot themselves in the foot in 2013 or the future with the body style. I bought an 09 Ram 1500 because i loved the new look and the coil rear suspension. I have been a life long GM fan and everyone i know likes gm and ford. we have all not been shy about bashing ram until 2009. now that the new look and quality has come through, the bashing has been silenced. it will come back if they fug up the mug of the newer rams.

the coil is catching on too. every person i have taken for a ride in my truck is shocked that it is a Ram. they can't get over the way it rides and handles. i have gotten complements from even the most closed minded of ford lovers. the more they lower that hood bump the more trucks they will sell. like it or not trucks sell for looks and interior layout. dependability comes in third. the new Rams get high marks in all three from folks that have never cared for them in the past. the majority of the public is clueless and could care less about anything else. does is look good? how is the inside? will it fall apart in 5 or less years? yes, nice, and nope. I'll take it!

The coil springs need to stay!!! If not for the ride quality, for the traction!!! When you hit it, especially with a Hemi, you don't feel the rear axle twist and bind like you do on GMs and Fords. It just shoots you forward or breaks the tires loose. It's really easy (and cheap - about $150) to add helper air springs inside the rear coils. These help carry the extra weight of heavy loads without giving up the ride comfort.

If Ram does anything to the front end, I say make the main focus the headlights! I have the high-end setup, and the low beams and fog lights are awesome, but the high-beams suck! And Dodge want make it easy for you to force your fog-lights to stay on with your highbeams.

Also, I'd like to see the 4x4s get a little taller ride height - something to distinguish them from the 2wd models.

And I totally second the manual transmission option!!!

The Ram 1500 4X4 has the making of being an awesome off-road pickup.

When the the Jeep Wrangler, ditched it's leaf-springs (rear AND front) in favor of coil-springs all around, it became an even better off-road machine. Much better suspension articulation without leaf-springs!

There are a few manufacturers out there that already make heavier duty direct replacement colis for the rear of the 1500 Rams for those who need it. I don't readily recall the name without checking my email, but one adds 900 lbs over the stock springs and one adds 1800 (combined increase with both springs).

As far as the 2013 Rams yes I too would like to see about an inch or two increase in height over the current 4x4 models. A good friend added a 1.5 inch lift to his 2010 1500 and it looks perfect. Looking at the pic at the top of this page, it looks as if there is a little more room under the front fender ... Perhaps the slight lift we are looking for? Or perhaps it's a result of the tongue weight on the rear of the truck with the trailer attached?

In 2013 I will get a new truck. A 1500 crew cab Laramie with the Pentastar V6 and the 8 speed auto would be perfect for my needs. Hopefully the Pentastar is available on Laramie crews...


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