2013 Ram 1500 Design: Deep Dive

Design aero front

At first glance, it’s difficult to tell how much has really changed on the 2013 Ram 1500, but don’t let first impressions fool you. Ram has done a full review of the entire truck’s look, inside and out. The Ram team looked at every inch of the truck and asked two questions: Can we make it nicer? Can we make it better?

Yes, the aerodynamics is vastly improved, but the biggest changes, from a design point of view, are seen in the interior.

Outside: Freshened Face, Better Airflow

Design front
Ram engineers and designers knew they wanted to keep the truck’s unique look consistent, but they also needed to squeeze out every ounce of improved airflow they could — not an easy task for the inherent disadvantages of the pickup truck shape.

The designers reshaped the crosshair grille, sculpting the bottom angles and making it taller by about an inch. Depending on which model you’re looking at, there will be four distinct grille designs. ST, SLT and R/T models have a new molded-in black “Hex-Link” design; Big Horn and Sport models get a “Billet-Perf” texture available in two different finishes; the Laramie features a “Hex-Perf” texture in chrome; and the Laramie Longhorn’s grille sports an upscale “Wave-Mesh” texture.

To get better aerodynamic efficiency, engineers made small changes to the front-end face, grille and hood to make sure the wind cuts and slips past body panels as quickly as possible with minimal turbulence. As a result, the bumper and air dam seams have been closed, and all the surfaces and openings for the fog light, tow hook and headlamps have been redone. The previous coefficient of drag for the Ram was 0.387 Cd; the coefficient for the 2013 Ram is 0.363 Cd, a number competes with some impressive sports cars.

Design sideview
The new headlights on premium models will have a bifunctional halogen projector lamp with 15 amber LEDs (think Audi or Chrysler 300). The standard quad headlamp design on lower-level packages has an improved spread pattern and better luminosity. In fact, the Ram design team went out of its way to create some visual entertainment with the headlights by including unique cut lines and angles, as well as placing the Ram logo right on the outer lens. The taillights are also redesigned, giving the new truck a sharper, flashier look.

Another small but notable change relates to the rearranged formatting of the side name badges. Previous badges were horizontally lined, running along the door, while the new model will have the names stacked. This will likely be good news to independent contractors and business owners who will now have more door real estate for magnetic signs or company graphics. Another new exterior feature we like is the new stainless-steel running board option that goes the entire length between the wheel wells. This is especially useful for quad and crew-cab models because it allows easier access into the forward portion of the truck bed as well as into the cab.

Inside: New Center Stack and More

Design int full
The interior of the new Ram offers an all-new dash, gauge and center stack layout that not only looks more unified but also makes it easier to find all the important buttons and switches. Big improvements in fit and finish and material choices are obvious as well. Accent stitching and major surface materials are obvious places where money was spent, but we also like the soft-touch padding on the door and center console armrests. Knobs and switches are much larger and easier to see than before. The look and feel of the trim packages we saw at the New York International Auto Show (included in the media photos as well) are a huge improvements over the previous design. 

Rear passengers get the many of the same benefits in quality, fit and finish as the driver. New premium materials, colors and designs now appear on all four doors, not just the front two. Soft-touch materials enhance armrests and upper bolsters. ST packages are available in Black/Diesel interior color trim. SLT is available in Canyon Brown/Light Frost or Black/Diesel, and the Sport model features all-Black materials. Stepping up to Laramie gives customers a choice of all-black or Canyon Brown/Light Frost. Laramie Longhorn has a new Cattle Tan/Black or a Canyon Brown/Light Frost option.

In the center stack, which can include the new 8.4-inch Uconnect screen on select models, the background screens can be customized to reflect many of the style and themes of the various trim levels. Each trim package has a different interior design that offers different materials and colors in the dash, doors and seats. We especially like the smart use of the new center stack layout with manual switches for the new air-conditioning unit immediately below the information touch-screen (where you can also control the air conditioning), with a number of switches underneath to control functions like the air suspension, stop/start, stability control, tow/haul and park sensors.

Design int cent
The newly relocated brake controller (if equipped) sits next to the two rows of feature controls. The new console center stack includes a 115-volt outlet and new drawer at the base of the stack, with a smooth, toolbox-like slide action. A 12-volt outlet is on either side of the drawer and an optional USB port is on the driver’s side.

As noted earlier, the new rotary dial that controls the eight-speed transmission sits on the driver’s side of the center console. The dial has two designs, with the four-wheel-drive push-button controls underneath the dial. The design on the ST, SLT and Sport features black rubber over mold with chrome surround; all Laramie models have a solid, spun-aluminum knob finished in silver. Electronic Range Select for the new eight-speed transmission is on the face of the steering wheel, right side, allowing individual gear selection and top-gear lockout.

New technology also moves to the gauge cluster. Previously available only on premium models, the 3.5-inch vehicle information center screen is now standard on the ST and SLT. The new 7-inch screen is now available on SLT and standard on Sport, Laramie and Laramie Longhorn models. The 7-inch screen features fully customizable function and configurability. Similar to the 8.4-inch Uconnect system, select 7-inch cluster background screens are customized to specific Ram models, with designs that match the truck’s theme.

Design int door
Two new steering wheels are offered, depending on trim package and transmission choice (V-8s only). Also, the center consoles for both the 40/20/40-split bench and bucket seats that have the eight-speed transmission are all-new and designed to optimize storage. The center consoles that will have the standard auto-stick six-speed transmission with either one of the two V-8s will look familiar but will have a new look and more efficient storage areas as well. The bench seat console continues to offer a hidden storage compartment in the seat as before, but the new one will offer more than double the capacity.

Finally, a cool feature that will give the half-ton pickup a more premium feel, regardless of trim package, is tons of Sapphire Blue LED lights on the switches and around the interior to provide a soothing ambient-lighting feel.

Overall, the small improvements the Ram design team has made add up to something much greater than the sum of its parts. All the changes to the exterior were made in the name of efficiency for better fuel economy or business use. However, the interior changes are a clear statement that Ram wants to take a bite out of both Ford and GM’s market share. At this point, Ram has all the right pieces in play, and we’re guessing much of the brand’s success will depend on how Ram Truck prices the 2013 model. Look for full model and option pricing near the end of the year. 

Design gauges


Dang that interior is nice I like how the dial a gear frees up room in the consel, has it been confirment that you can still manualy shift?

Laramie Longhorn... A Real truck interior for Real Working Men! The King Ranch is nice but I like this better. Where's the Cheyenne, Scottsdale, Silverado Outlaw and Outlaw XL I keep hearing about?? Oh ya, sorry Chevy guys. They don't exist. lol

Stick to the pansy ltz. More like ltzero.

Where's the Cheyenne, Scottsdale, Silverado Outlaw and Outlaw XL I keep hearing about??

If we get them, you'd be in a world of hurt.

@Carilloskis: with the rotary dial comes thumb up and down controls on the right side of the paddle shifter, which would be just fine for me. I believe the Allpar site has a good picture of it, if there is not one on here. I didn't like not being able to control it and put it in any gear to hold it in my 07 Dakota I had, hated that 1st, 2nd, or drive, or tow haul.

Cheyenne, Scottsdale, Silverado Outlaw and Outlaw XL

@AmericanChevrolet, I already told my wife I was getting a Silverado Outlaw! It sure as heck better be coming! It's not often she just caves and says "Ok, buy what you want this time". Chevrolet better be on the ball here.

@AmericanChevrolet: just what is so special about those 4 new (atleast for these years, the Scottsdale and Cheyyene had their time.) Just another pacage? Any inavation? Or is Chevy just following along? It's gonna take a alot for them to top this new Ram. An Outlaw? Does that mean it just keeps taking your money? Outlaw Xtra Large? Takes your money cause it's another ugly brick thattakes alot of power to push it? As we know the 5.3 with 3.42 gears and less cab space didn't even better the Hemi with 3.55 gears in the 30K shootout. Couldn't stop with a decent payload, and can't autocross too well either. Come to think of it they sent the most stripped down truck, well, maybe, the Ford wasn't a Supercab, who knows what they could peice together for 30K. They must really give a hell of a deal on those GMs, cause what is so great about them? Oh well, won't be long, the twins will be where they belong, below Ram in sales!

Oh, and Cheyenne is in the mountains. Please make sure the truck even has enough power to drive the mountains at the speed limit!

The guys in Auburn Hills can be proud of this Ram. They did their homework and really upstaged the competition ... game on!

Scottsdale-Subtle luxury like the Lariat
Silverado Outlaw-King Ranch
Silverado Outlaw XL-Platinum

@TRX4, The above taken from another thread. As a former Chevrolet customer of many years, the above describes the issues Chevrolet truck guys have with GM. Simply put, Chevy does not compete against Ford anymore and now Dodge for that matter. With those 4 trims, while it may not be earth shattering to you or others, to Chevrolet customers who have stayed loyal through thick and thin to Chevy trucks, it means the world. I left Chevy for Ford and this was one of the biggest reasons. Interiors. Exterior looks were right there with it. It wasn't hill climbing, horsepower numbers, braking, 1/4 mile times or gas mileage. It was solely interior and exterior related. I'm not saying the next Silverado doesn't need all of those powertrain and brake upgrades because it does. No doubt they are behind. Their biggest downfall are their interiors and looks though.

Add to it, with Cheyenne and Scottsdale Chevrolet would be restoring some of their long lost heritage and identity. That is really the foundation to get Chevy Trucks back on track. They need that restored and those two trims #1 and #2 are the perfect starting point. Introducing the Silverado Outlaw to take on the King Ranch and Laramie Longhorn would be Huge to Chevrolet customers and even potential shoppers. The Outlaw XL would just be icing on the cake for a little added luxury. It simply states 'Chevrolet will not be outdone by Ford or Dodge in any way, shape or form'. That's precisely what Chevy needs. There's a legitimate gripe to be made that if the Silverado had competitive interior packages to that of Ford and Dodge that they would be more desirable. When one goes cross shopping the 3, the Silverado comes up on the bottom even taking subjective exterior looks out of the equasion. I've already stated I would entertain the idea of going back to Chevrolet for an Outlaw XL, Scottsdale or even an Outlaw if they were executed properly and the body design was a homerun. I say this driving a Platinum F-150 with an EcoBoost. Probably the nicest truck on the market at the moment. The points made in other threads about stock values and very relevant here as well. The Silverado is (or would be) the largest sole provider of divedend payments to shareholders. Chevrolet/GM, cannot afford to screw the next Silverado up at any cost.

Looks good on the outside but did they improve what is underneath. Poor quality ball joints! Did they put the heater core in a place you can replace it without taking the steering column out first? Did they improve the controls on the air ducts in the dash? You are just getting me started on these poor quality pickups!

Chevy is done for. There's really nothing else to add. 1911-2011... RIP. For 2012 Dodge is taking over. Ford is next.


@DodgeGuy44- Chevy is a joke anymore. I still can't believe after nearly 80 years of brand supremecy how far they fell. Their trucks were almost godlike from the 20's until the late 90's. They've only sold on a Dying brand loyalty for nearly 15 years now. After the loyalty is gone, they have nothing... They're the butt of jokes these days... Low slung frames, no SFA, cheap ass interiors, cheap body build quality. Oh how the mighty have fallen. Even I was fooled by Chevy and their Like A Rock campaign back in the day. Now I realize Dodge was the real deal all along. The first 1/2 ton with a swing arm SFA even. According to Chevy's own fanbase Like A Rock turned into "Like Tinfoil"... lol

Love how Dodge thread turns into all out Chevy discussion. That is why Ram will ALWAYS be #3. Face it boys. It's always going to be about Chevy and Ford.

Here is something for you to chew on.
Here is what Reuss said last week about GM next generation full-size trucks:
"The engines that we use, the powertrain stuff will obviously be more efficient," he said. "We will maintain our mass and design efficiency advantage over our competition in this new truck and I think you'll see some pretty surprising interiors from a design standpoint that will be landmark, I think, in the segment."

From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20120404/AUTO0103/204040470#ixzz1rrdgT400

Smells like ram crap in here. Look out for flying ball joints, busted tie rodes. and holy dashes boys!

@Greg: I don't know anything about fixing heater cores on a Ram, but the balljoint issue, wasn't that over and done by 2004? You sound like the guys talking about Toyota issues, you talk about issues fixed long ago. "rusty frames, tailgate issues, broken cams, uncontrolled accel (was ALL OF THAT REAL? Maybe, maybe not?) Let's see, how about the quality of the 2006 Chevy E.C. S.B. 1. Headliner was not even fit right so it would sag, and you open the stupid ext cab door and see the edge of the headliner. THAT WAS NEW! And the replacement was same way, same day. 2. ext cab doors make alot more noise over bumps 3. plastic in interior (lots of it) poor fitting, made alot of noise on uneven roads 4. I broke a cab to frame mount, without going offroad, or even maxing payload or trailer tow, not even close! Left Front I think, every time I would turn right, POP! This was noticed on a trip back from Colorado, which was all highway! @ 11,000 miles! 5. Tach made a grinding noise! Now? Transmission bearing issues, on a 6 speed, plus a host of other 6 speed issues! Hard shifting, doesn't know when to shift, it's all confused. How about the great design of where the exhaust fluid goes? Lower then the frame? Oh wait, sorry 2500 and up. Want me to dig? It's performance speaks loud! Or lack of! They need to fix what what is already out, but they won't. Talk about quality. I need a GM quality contol tee shirt. The blue will have two differant shades, the G and M will be mixed sizes, which will not be centered, nor level. Wait, maybe I will hold off on that shirt, it might make me itch!

GM can't top this! Oh hope the new Chevy actually can take a hit! Pretty weak in a wreck!

MAN, there is some UPSET Chevy folks! When they are #3 (three, III,) or worse they will get it! LOL! It's nice you had a fun time being #2!


Sorry, it's more like this:

Cheyenne-Base = F-150 XL
Scottsdale-Subtle = F-150 XLT
Silverado Outlaw = Lariat
Silverado Outlaw XL = Lariat still

King Ranch and Platinum are two different High Quality trims.
The GM twins can't match. One is Cowboy-country, the other not. Only the Laramie Long horn comes close to the King Ranch.

Beautiful interior. Like the soft touches on the door panels. I also like the temperature and alt gauges as well. If the quality and reliability are good then this will sell very well and give Ford and GM a run for the money. I think the next generation of GM trucks will be greatly improved. If this is the case then Ford anc RAM will improve even more. It is great to have some competition and all of us truck owners will win from this competition. Now lets see some more competition in the midsize truck market. Good for RAM!!

@Gregory J

Ever wonder why every chevy thread turns
Into an all ford discussion?

That's why chevy will always be #2

besides the brown, damn... thats a nice interior

Big Roy,
You might be right, only time will tell. It's been holding true for a while now so I can't argue with you there.
But I think next years truck will make a lot of noise. Chevy have been doing a great job keeping everything behind curtains so far, so it's really hard to say what's coming but I think Chevy will deliver! A lot of guys are starving for any news out of Chevy camp. I also think this new truck will bring a lot of guys back to Bowtie's corner. I'll bet you that most of Chevy guys that drive something else these days will be driving a Silverado in a couple of years.

Johnny & Greggy.. I find it laughable you two bring up small issues from long ago. Why don't you look in your own backyard? An engine that debuted in 1997 is STILL Knocking.

I don't see why it has to be that way Jackalope. There's no need for XL, XLT and two Lariats. Ford doesn't even need all that nonsense. Plus we have the FX4 and Harley trims. It's borderline too much. There should be a base trim, mild luxury trim, rough working leather cowboy/western trim like the King Ranch and Laramie Longhorn and then a spin off of the working leather trim without the western theme and more fashionable-city like if you will. That's all Chevrolet needs. Heck, that's all any truck line needs. Cherolet is going to have to compete against Ford and Dodge on all fronts. That's all there is to it if GM is to go on longterm. The Sierra as I understand will be like a luxury Cadillac truck line. That's what Mark Reuss was bragging about. How nobody had that so that's the void that GMC would fill to pay it's own way. His words, not mine. I still find this perfect for the Chevy Silverado and it would make Chevrolet fans rejoice...

Scottsdale-Subtle luxury like the Lariat
Silverado Outlaw-King Ranch
Silverado Outlaw XL-Platinum

As for the GM twins not matching, who said they had to? Style them different. That's all that needs to be done. The GMC could use letter nomenclature like Cadillac does. They are going for the luxury Cadillac crowd are they not?
LTZ-Subtle luxury like the Lariat
Denali-Ultra luxury - Platinum
Denali Limited-LOADED ultra luxury - Beyond Platinum into Cadillac territory.

There, I just solved all of GM's two truck interior issues. I did this before...

And Ron Andersen, good post. As a Ford guy I get the Chevrolet man's grief. If the tables were turned and Ford was in Chevy's position right now I'd be upset as well. It's kind of like the Mustang/Camaro/Challenger wars. Nobody wants Their brand to have the least horsepower, the bad looks or the poorest interior. Everyone wants the best!.. A long long time ago I was a Chevy man so I still have a soft spot for the Bowtie brand. It's all Ford in my world now but there's still a part of me that would like to see the next Silverado and say "Well done Chevy", well done..

@FordTrucks1- I agree with your trim packages. I have to say, you're one of the Ford regulars I respect.. I'll also say these interior packages :
Scottsdale-Subtle luxury like the Lariat
Silverado Outlaw-King Ranch
Silverado Outlaw XL-Platinum

have circulated the John Deere circuit. GM has NO idea how much excitement there is within these walls after reading these. I started here back in the 70's when John Deere was pure Chevy Country. Not GMC's, Chevrolet's.. The farmers all drove Chevy's. Our parking lots were easily 70% Chevy trucks and maybe 20% Ford. I've stated before that over the last decade Ford has flipped those stats upside down. Our parking lots are filled with 70% Fords (Easily if not more), Farmers all drive Fords. Everything is Ford Country now. Ford trucks and cars everywhere. The Corvette and Camaro drivers are in Mustangs now. Wives are driving Explorers instead of Tahoes. It's been a sad few years. Most interior packages sold around here are King Ranches and Platinums. Mostly King Ranches though. Especially to the farmers and our workers. Ford is making a Killing off of what Chevy isn't selling. Point being, after these interior trims were circulated I haven't heard so many positive comments on 'Old Chevy's' and how things used to be. It's almost like GM struck a matchstick and lit an old flame in some of these guys hearts. They need this next Silverado to be a world Killer.

Silverado Outlaw-King Ranch

@FordTrucks, Well that's the one I want. If Chevy isn't putting the Silverado Outlaw in their new truck, a King Ranch or Laramie Longhorn it will be for me. One of these companies is getting 5 new truck purchases out of me. 2 with the Ranch/Western/Cowboy packages and 3 with base trims. I've historically bought Chevrolet's until this last one. It really is up to Chevy if they want my money or not. I don't want a GMC, I don't want a Toyota and I don't want a Nissan. It's Ford-Chevy or Dodge. And this new Dodge is looking mighty nice about now.

I still find this perfect for the Chevy Silverado and it would make Chevrolet fans rejoice...

Scottsdale-Subtle luxury like the Lariat
Silverado Outlaw-King Ranch
Silverado Outlaw XL-Platinum

Awesome interiors FordTrucks1! You're darn right Chevrolet fans would rejoice. I'd rejoice and I don't even own a Chevy now. Those are just plain cool interior packages. Perfect Chevrolet type names too. I don't see how anyone couldn't love those. Heck, I think they're fantastic! Very much needed for the next Silverado for sure. Man, I've been away from PUTC for too long.. I have alot of catching up to do I see. :)

Johnny & Greggy.. I find it laughable you two bring up small issues from long ago. Why don't you look in your own backyard? An engine that debuted in 1997 is STILL Knocking.

Posted by: MoparMadness | Apr 12, 2012 7:32:07 PM

I never had piston slap with my trucks, and if I did I still drive it. Cause changeing ball joints, tie rods, and smoked transmission in dodges just isn't fun.

@Big Roy - ouch, great comment. I'm impressed with Dodge. If I were buying a new truck in 2013 I'd be hard pressed to find a reason not to buy a Ram. (especially with the 6.4 box).
Funny how the hardcore Chevy faithful, ALL TWO OF THEM, are trolling this thread.
There is no joy in GMville for the mighty bowtie has struck out.

I'm the BIGGEST Chrysler fan. And I praise this Truck. But to all you bashing GM. I Guarantee that will stop with the upcoming Trucks they have in store for the Next-Gen. Mark My Words.


Why anyone would trade in their Corvette or Camaro for a "Mustang" is beyond me.. LOL!

I like all of the Ram 2013 changes ( hoping to see a turbo on the V6 soon) with the exception of the instrument cluster. I will have to see one in real life to finally decide, but I find the new instrument cluster awkward, with the little dials encroaching on the big dials. Also I prefer
the speedometer and tach right in the middle as these are primary functions. Instead it appears some sort of secondary function auxiliary message center is in the middle.

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