The Pentastar V6 and eight-speed TorqueFlite 8 transmission combine to deliver EPA 17 mpg city/25 mpg highway in two-wheel-drive models. The powertrain is an option over the 5.7L V8 and six-speed. The new eight-speed is also available with the 5.7-liter V8 with Fuel Saver Technology. A dash-mounted rotary gear selection switch was chosen to accommodate the electronic transmission.
Another unique option is the Ram Active Level air suspension, which features five height settings for optimum ride and aerodynamic performance. It operates automatically, or may be controlled manually via console or key fob controls.
Normal ride height is 8.7 in. of clearance as measured from the base of the door sill. The 2013 Ram 1500’s Aero mode lowers the vehicle .6 in. to improve efficiency by up to 1% and is activated by vehicle speed, adjusting for optimal performance and fuel economy. Off-Road 1 mode lifts the truck 1.2 in. from normal ride height for clearing obstacles. Off-Road 2 mode increases ground clearance by 2 in. over normal ride height. Park mode lowers the vehicle 2 in. from normal ride height for easy entry/exit and cargo loading. Another neat feature: the truck self levels when weight is added to the box.
Electric power steering is another innovation creeping into the industry as manufacturers search for fuel savings. An electric motor powering the truck’s rack-and-pinion steering relieves the engine from the burden of turning a hydraulic pump, improving fuel efficiency up to 1.8% and adding 5 hp.
The 2013 Ram 1500 combines an array of fuel efficiency improvements that, each by itself, may not seem significant. Added together, they deliver noticeable economy. For example, a concerted effort to improve aerodynamics takes the pickup to a .363 coefficient of drag.
Ram Trucks upgrades 2500/3500 heavy-duty Trucks
The 2013 Ram 2500 and 3500 heavy-duty trucks will boast improved towing and Gross Combined Weight Ratings (GCWRs) with new frame and suspension and upgraded powertrain options.
“To answer the needs and wants of our customers, Ram Trucks has taken a big step forward in capability, while improving the cost of ownership and efficiency,” says Diaz.
The backbone of the trucks is a frame constructed of high-strength, 50,000-psi steel, which adds much more capability than the 30,000-psi steel typically used. In the rear portion of the new frame, the structure includes fully boxed rear rails and a factory-installed rear axle crossmember with provisions for fifth-wheel and gooseneck hitches.
The conventional trailer hitch system has been upgraded to Class 5 with a 17,000-lb. load capability and 1,800 lbs. of tongue weight for use with 2-in. or 2.5-in. receiver hitches.
New powertrain options compliment the frames and further enhance capability. The 5.7-liter HEMI V8 that is standard in the Ram 2500 Heavy Duty makes its debut in the Ram 3500 Heavy Duty single rear-wheel-drive pickup as standard equipment. This engine pumps out 383 hp at 5,600 rpm and generates peak torque of 400 lbs.-ft. at 3,950 rpm. It is mated to a 66RFE six-speed automatic transmission.
For those who prefer a diesel, the 6.7-liter Cummins High-Output Turbo Diesel I-6 is now available in three versions. The first version, paired with a six-speed manual transmission, delivers 350 hp at 2,800 rpm and 660 lbs.-ft. of torque at 1,500 rpm. This is an increase from 600 lbs.-ft. of torque last year. The second option matches the Cummins to the 68RFE six-speed automatic transmission. This combination cranks out 370 hp at 2,800 rpm and 800 lbs.-ft. of torque at 1,600 rpm.
Finally, the Cummins for the Ram 3500 is paired with a new Aisin six-speed automatic transmission to produce 385 hp at 2,800 rpm and 850 lbs.-ft. of torque at 1,600 rpm. This transmission features wide gear ratios that contribute to upgraded shift performance and improved driveability.
The Cummins engines have a 15,000-mile oil change interval. A 10% improvement in fuel efficiency is partially due to the design of the SCR system with a larger EGR cooler and a high-pressure common rail fuel system. These diesels are also compatible with B-20 fuel.
Diesel-equipped Heavy Duty pickups feature the Ram Active Air intake system. When the intake system senses extreme heat, it draws cool air from the front of the vehicle. This function also engages at high altitudes for improved throttle response in low-oxygen environments. When conditions are wet from snow, ice or water-fording, the system pulls air from an underhood inlet clear from snow packing and water ingestion.