Motor Trend magazine selected the 2013 Ram 1500 as its Truck of the Year.
The announcement, made via a comprehensive feature on MotorTrend.com and a special presentation on the Motor Trend YouTube Channel, comes after contenders were put through Motor Trend’s extensive battery of testing, designed to evaluate virtually every aspect of each vehicle. In addition to the Ram 1500, the judges examined the other all-new or significantly updated trucks the industry produced this year: the Nissan NV Passenger Van and the Ford F-150.
To determine which truck deserved top honors, the Motor Trend judges drove the trio of contenders to Chrysler Automotive Proving Grounds in Kingman, Ariz., while evaluating ride, comfort, amenities and fuel economy. On-site, the Motor Trend judges tested each truck’s performance with the following exercises:
1. Standard testing (without load): 0–60 mph and 1/4-mile acceleration, 60-0 mph braking, and maximum lateral grip.
2. Limit handling (without load): closed course cornering, cruising, and light off-roading maneuvers.
3. Tow testing: Acceleration tests repeated with trailers attached, each loaded to 75 percent of each truck’s maximum tow rating (as equipped).
4. Road looping: Highway and real-world driving.
After testing at the proving grounds, the team took the three trucks and their load-equalized trailers up the Davis Dam route on nearby Highway 68. This legendary incline is the site of an industry standard (SAE standard J2807) for evaluating towing on a grade. The grade begins at an elevation of about 500 feet at Bullhead City, rising to 3,563 feet during its 12-mile climb to summit at Union Pass.
For Motor Trend’s purposes, the focus was on an 8.5-mile section offering a particularly relentless 5-degree grade. The trucks and trailers ran up the hill at 55 mph, simultaneously engaging the throttle eight separate times, while the team recorded observations and measurements regarding transmission and engine performance.
Once the testing was completed, the judges reconvened to determine which truck would be crowned Truck of the Year. The winner is not chosen from a direct comparison against the other contenders, but rather as a result of how each contender measures up against the award’s six criteria: Design Advancement, Engineering Excellence, Efficiency, Safety, Value, and Performance of Intended Function.
After the judging, Ram 1500 clearly emerged as Motor Trend’s 2013 Truck of the Year. The judges were particularly impressed with Ram 1500’s V-6 and V-8 engine performance, especially when paired with the new eight-speed transmission. Ram’s optional air suspension system also scored high marks in Engineering Excellence, as it delivered a smooth ride and excellent handling no matter the terrain. On the design front, Ram 1500 impressed with improvements to its style, packaging, and interior ergonomics. The breadth of the lineup was another compelling factor; whether outfitted as a basic work truck or optioned out to a near-luxury vehicle, Ram 1500 provides all of the capability needed in a truck.
“We had a small but solid field of contenders for Motor Trend's Truck of the Year," said Edward Loh, Editor-in-Chief of Motor Trend. "But in the end, the choice was clear: Ram 1500 not only withstood our rigorous testing, it impressed at every step along the way. Our judges were won over by the performance of Ram 1500’s broad array of standard and optional equipment. It’s a truck that can be tailored to meet most anyone’s needs. For these reasons and more, we're excited to name the Ram 1500 the Motor Trend 2013 Truck of the Year.”
“Every truck-maker aspires to win Motor Trend’s Truck of the Year Award,” said Fred Diaz, President and CEO, Ram Truck Brand and Chrysler de Mexico. “The 2013 Ram 1500 is a technological triumph. In no other truck will you find Ram’s incredible combination of best-in-class 25 mpg fuel efficiency, PentaStar and HEMI engines matched to TorqueFlite eight-speed transmissions, active air suspension, the new Uconnect Access and 12 fuel-saving technologies that raise the bar in the fullsize pickup segment.”
Truck of the Year is one of several coveted honors Motor Trend bestows on automakers, including Best Driver’s Car, Sport/Utility of the Year, and Car of the Year.