First Look

Movin’ Up

2013 Ram 1500 unveiled; a new V-6, 8-speed automatic and high-tech innovations bring greater efficiency to the jobsite

By Bruce W. Smith (Photos courtesy of Ram Trucks)


An eight-speed automatic that’s shifted by turning a dial on the dash, paired with either the venerable 395hp Hemi V8 or the new 305hp Pentastar V6, pulls the 2013 Ram 1500 ahead of the light-duty pickup class in both power and fuel economy according to the latest news out of Warren, Michigan, where the new pickups are being built.

But that’s just the tip of the technological iceberg that will be rolling into Ram dealers later this year.

Dash-mounted rotary transmission selector allows rapid shift transitions from “Reverse” to “Drive.” The same eight-speed automatic technology is already being used in Class 6 to 8 trucks.

According to Ram, the new TorqueFlite 8 eight-speed is operated by an innovative, dash-mounted rotary e-shift dial replaces the conventional floor- or column-shifters of old. It’s standard on the new V6 and optional on the Hemi.

The electronic-shifted transmission, which is already in use in Class 6 to 8 trucks, allows the driver to make quick blind-shift transitions from “Reverse” to “Drive” when towing or navigating out of mud, snow or busy parking lots.

Ram engineers have also spent a lot of time on improving the new pickup’s fuel economy using state-of-the art technology and aerodynamic features.

The 5.7L Hemi in the 2013 Ram will feature variable-valve timing (VVT), auto stop-start when the truck comes to a complete stop, a thermal management system that quickly warms lubricants, an adjustable air suspension and automatic shutters in the grille that open/close for better cooling control and aerodynamics.

The combination of all these elements bring the new pickup to the head of the fuel economy class in each segment according to Ram; the 3.6L Pentastar V6 is said to be 20 percent more fuel efficient than its 3.7L predecessor, while the Hemi gets at least a 10 percent boost in fuel mileage.

2013 Ram 1500 Pentastar V6 engine and eight-speed automatic transmission.

Ram teamed up with Sirius XM Radio and Sprint to maximize both wireless connectivity and entertainment options.

The new pickup features voice-recognition technology, steering wheel controls, touchscreen displays and traditional controls to give Ram 1500 owners a variety of ways to interact with their mobile phones, music, navigation system and applications.

From a work truck perspective, the optional air suspension allows the driver to select one of five modes (Normal, Aero, Off-Road 1, Off-Road 2, and Park) to adjust the ride height a total of four inches according to need.

Optional air suspension can increase/decrease ride height 2 inches from “normal” position depending on driver needs.

In Normal mode the bottom doorsill height is 8.7 inches. In the Aero mode it drops the body 1.1 inches; Off-Road 1 lifts the body 1.2 inches while Off-Road 2 raises the truck two inches. The Park Mode drops the truck two inches from the normal ride height.

Ram also brings a 6.4-foot bed to the Crew Cab models for added cargo ­capability. The new Rams also get electric power steering, integrated central locking to the RamBoxes, doors and tailgate, more robust ball joints and a slightly stiffer, yet lighter chassis. (For the full list of innovations, go to

We’ll bring you actual road test data just as soon as we get an opportunity to get behind the wheel of one of the 2013 Ram 1500s. It should be an interesting driving experience.