With a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 that nearly doubles the horsepower of the previous 3.7-liter engine, the 2013 Ram 1500 is an economical workhorse. When it’s outfitted with the 395-horsepower 5.7-liter HEMI V8, the Ram 1500 is a beast. Our test truck for the week had the latter, and featured the exquisite style and comfort of the Laramie Longhorn trim.
Without a doubt, our Laramie Longhorn crew cab test truck was Beauty and the Beast.
But first, a little about the Ram’s 3.6-liter Pentastar engine. It was named one of “Wards 10 Best Engines” for 2013 and was the only truck engine that made the list. It kicks out 305 horsepower – or 42 percent more than last year’s model – and delivers 269 lb.-ft. of torque. The EPA estimates you’ll get 18 miles per
gallon in city driving and 25 mpg on the highway, which Ram says is a 20-percent improvement in fuel economy over the previous version. The starting price for a 2013 Ram 1500 with this Top-10 engine is $23,585, including $995 in freight.
Meanwhile, the 5.7-liter HEMI V8 in our test truck bangs out 395 horsepower and 407 lb.-ft. of torque via a new 8-speed automatic transmission, which is also available on the 3.6-liter V6.
The shifter in the Ram 1500 is on a rotary dial on the dashboard instead of on the steering column or floorboard. Twist the dial one click to the right and you go from park into reverse. Two clicks is neutral and three clicks puts you into drive. After a short time shifting with this intuitive dial, you really don’t even need to look at the dial to shift from reverse into drive. And that’s handier than you might think.
The Laramie Longhorn edition is pretty much as good as it gets when it comes to upscale amenities in trucks. Inside the cab of our “Westerm Brown” Laramie Longhorn test truck, premium leather was everywhere. Custom interior accents like saddlebags on the seatbacks and special floor mats dressed up the already luxurious interior even more. Heated and cooled seats with power lumbar support in front, heated seats in back, dual-zone air, navigation, remote starting and the intuitive Uconnect infotainment system with an 8.4-inch touch screen are all standard. So are a back up camera and a receiver hitch with 7-pin wiring.
Fit and finish in our test truck was excellent, and the technology offerings were among the most sophisticated on the market.
Also, the truck has a new air suspension system that offers five different ride heights to optimize convenience, aerodynamics and fuel economy in various driving conditions:
- Normal Ride Height, which is 8.7 inches of ground clearance.
- Aero Mode, which lowers the truck just .6 inches, but improves fuel efficiency by one percent.
- Off-Road 1, which lifts the truck 1.2 inches from NRH.
- Off-Road 2, which increases ground clearance by 2 inches over NRH.
- Park Mode, which lowers the vehicle 2 inches from NRH for easy entry, exit and cargo loading.
The system operates automatically and notifies the driver when a change in suspension height has been made. The system can also be controlled manually.
We didn’t get a change to haul anything heavy during our week with the test truck, but Ram says the 1500 with the standard V6 can tow up to 6,500 pounds.
Finally, our test truck was equipped with one of the handiest pickup truck innovations to come along in a long time: The Rambox. The Rambox system uses each bed wall for lockable, waterproof storage compartments that will hold fishing rods, chain saws, shotguns or other valuables. Ramboxes also have drainage openings at the bottom, meaning they can also be used as ice chests.
- Engine: 5.7-liter HEMI V8
- Horsepower: 395
- Transmission: 8-speed automatic
- Test model base price: $47,470 ($55,630 as tested)