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2013 RAM 1500: A Retrospective Look

by Frank
2013 ram 1500

2013 RAM 1500: Pioneering Performance and Innovation in Pickup Trucks

Back in 2013, the RAM 1500 set new standards in the pickup segment, notably for its exceptional fuel efficiency, boasting best-in-class ratings of 18 MPG in the city and 25 MPG on the highway. This remarkable performance was largely due to its advanced 3.6-liter V-6 engine, which not only offered enhanced fuel efficiency but also increased power.

2023 Ram 1500 Trim Levels and Standard Features Explained

Innovations in Transmission and Aerodynamics

The 2013 RAM 1500 was a pioneer in integrating first-of-its-kind technologies in its class. It featured an eight-speed automatic transmission, a novel stop-start system, a sophisticated thermal management system, and pulse-width modulation. In terms of active aerodynamics, it introduced innovations such as grille shutters and an air suspension system, setting a new benchmark in the pickup truck category.

Pricing and Value Proposition

Reflecting on the pricing strategy from 2013, the 2013 RAM 1500 maintained a competitive edge. The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) experienced a modest increase of just over 1 percent compared to the 2012 model, starting at $23,585, which included a $995 destination charge. This pricing positioned the 2013 RAM 1500 as the best-value full-size pickup in America at that time.

A Holistic Upgrade: From Aesthetics to Capability

Fred Diaz, the then President and CEO of Ram Truck Brand and Chrysler de Mexico, part of Chrysler Group LLC, had aptly summarized the essence of the 2013 RAM 1500. He highlighted its comprehensive upgrades ranging from a newly designed frame with air suspension, a new eight-speed transmission, and a revamped interior featuring the next-generation Uconnect® system. Diaz emphasized the truck’s unparalleled towing and payload capacities, ride and handling, and aerodynamics, proudly declaring the 2013 RAM 1500 as the most capable and best-looking half-ton pickup in the world.

Enhancing the Powertrain of the 2013 RAM 1500

2013 ram 1500 hemi engineThe Revolutionary 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 Engine

In 2013, the RAM 1500 introduced the new 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine, a recipient of the prestigious Ward’s 10 Best Engines Award for two consecutive years. This engine, equipped with variable-valve timing (VVT), set a new standard for V-6 trucks, offering an impressive 305 horsepower and 269 lb.-ft. of torque. Not only did it provide best-in-class power, but it also achieved remarkable fuel efficiency improvements. Compared to its predecessor, the 3.7-liter V-6, the new engine boasted a 42 percent increase in horsepower, a 13 percent rise in torque, and at least a 20 percent improvement in fuel economy. Additionally, it delivered a best-in-class towing capacity of 6,500 pounds, showcasing its robust capabilities.

The Iconic 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 Engine

The 2013 RAM 1500 also featured the legendary 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 engine, renowned for its fuel-saving cylinder shut-off and VVT technology. This powerhouse offered 395 horsepower and 407 lb.-ft. of torque, leading the pack in terms of fuel economy for V-8 trucks.

Groundbreaking Eight-Speed Automatic Transmission

A class-exclusive feature in the 2013 RAM 1500 was the eight-speed automatic transmission (TorqueFlite 8), which was standard with the 3.6-liter V-6 Pentastar. This transmission marked a significant advancement, doubling the number of gears from the previously available four-speed automatic transmission, thereby enhancing drivability and fuel efficiency. The eight-speed was also made available with the 5.7-liter HEMI V-8, marking the company’s first such combination.

Innovative Rotary E-Shift Dial

The 2013 model introduced an innovative rotary e-shift dial, a notable change from the traditional column and floor shifters. This feature provided a direct and confident feel, simplifying operation even when wearing gloves. Positioned conveniently on the dash, the rotary e-shift dial allowed for quick and easy transitions between gears, especially useful when towing or navigating challenging conditions. This innovation not only enhanced functionality but also freed up space for additional storage in the console.

Advanced Thermal Management System

Another segment-exclusive feature was the thermal management system, designed to rapidly elevate engine and transmission fluid temperatures. By optimizing fluid temperatures, the system effectively reduced parasitic losses, improving fuel efficiency by 1.7 percent. This system played a crucial role in enhancing the overall efficiency and performance of the powertrain.

Introduction of Stop-Start Technology

The 2013 RAM 1500 also saw the introduction of stop-start technology in select models, further emphasizing its commitment to fuel efficiency. This system, which turned off the engine at complete stops and seamlessly restarted it upon brake release, contributed to a fuel economy improvement of up to 3.3 percent. This innovative feature was designed to operate transparently, maintaining the functionality of in-cabin amenities and ensuring a smooth driving experience. Components for models equipped with this technology were upgraded to support heavy-duty operation, showcasing RAM’s dedication to durability and performance.

Engineering Excellence in the 2013 RAM 1500

2013 ram 1500 engineeringAdvanced Aerodynamics

The 2013 RAM 1500, while maintaining its ruggedly handsome appearance, incorporated numerous segment-exclusive features, many of which enhanced its aerodynamic efficiency. Extensive wind tunnel testing was employed to refine the exterior design of the 2013 RAM 1500, resulting in best-in-class aerodynamics. The truck’s design not only adhered to modern styling trends but also included active aerodynamics, achieving a six percent improvement in aerodynamic efficiency compared to its predecessor. The Regular Cab 4×2 model, in particular, boasted a coefficient of drag (Cd) of .360, a significant improvement over the .386 Cd of the 2012 model.

State-of-the-Art Air Suspension System

The 2013 RAM 1500 took ride and handling to a new level with its all-new air suspension system. This system featured five height settings, optimizing both ride quality and aerodynamic performance. The settings included:

  • Normal Ride Height (NRH): This default setting provided 8.7 inches of clearance, balancing comfort and efficiency.
  • Aero Mode: Activated at higher speeds, it lowered the truck by 0.6 inches from NRH, enhancing fuel efficiency by up to one percent.
  • Off-road 1: Increased height by 1.2 inches from NRH, offering greater obstacle clearance.
  • Off-road 2: Provided an additional 2 inches over NRH for superior off-road capability.
  • Park Mode: Lowered the truck by 2 inches from NRH for easier entry, exit, and cargo loading.

This innovative air suspension system not only offered a best-in-class step-in height of 21 inches, ground clearance of 10.7 inches, departure angle of 27.8 degrees, and breakover angle of 24.2 degrees but also ensured a comfortable ride with its four-corner air springs.

Load-Leveling Capability

An integral part of the new air suspension system was its load-leveling capability. This feature automatically detected any added load from a trailer or payload and adjusted the air pressure to maintain normal ride height, ensuring the truck remained level and stable. This system not only improved the loaded ride experience but also contributed to the vehicle’s overall handling and safety.

Enhanced Accessibility

The 2013 RAM 1500 also featured a user-friendly option to manually lower the vehicle using a separate button on the key fob. This function facilitated easier passenger entry and exit, as well as reducing the effort required for cargo loading in the tailgate area.

Enhanced Efficiency in the 2013 RAM 1500

2013 ram 1500 performanceElectric Power Steering: A Leap in Efficiency

The 2013 RAM 1500 marked a significant advancement in its steering system by introducing electric power steering (EPS). This system, powered by an electric motor, relieved the engine from operating a hydraulic pump, leading to an improvement in fuel efficiency by up to 1.8 percent and adding an extra five horsepower. The EPS system simplified the truck’s mechanics by eliminating the need for a hydraulic pump, high-pressure hoses, and cooling equipment, contributing to a more efficient and less complex vehicle design.

Strategic Weight Reduction for Optimal Performance

Weight reduction played a crucial role in enhancing the fuel economy of the 2013 RAM 1500. By using advanced high-strength steels, the newly redesigned frame shed up to 30 pounds. Further weight reductions were achieved with new box floor cross-members in the bed (saving seven pounds), a new front bumper design (removing four pounds), and the use of aluminum in the lower control arms of the front suspension and the hood (saving 26 pounds).

Under the hood, the combination of the new Pentastar V-6 engine and the TorqueFlite 8 transmission reduced the weight by approximately 76 pounds. Similarly, the integration of the V-8 engine with the TorqueFlite 8 transmission resulted in a weight reduction of over 30 pounds. These reductions not only enhanced fuel economy but also allowed for the inclusion of additional convenience, comfort, and entertainment features without compromising payload or towing capabilities.

Pulse-Width Modulation: Reducing Electrical Load

The 2013 model introduced pulse-width modulation (PWM), a technology that significantly reduced the parasitic electrical load. PWM optimized the efficiency of the electrical system, reducing the load on the alternator and enhancing the durability of systems that benefited from it, such as fuel delivery and the forward cooling fan. This technology contributed a 0.4 percent improvement in fuel efficiency.

Low-Rolling-Resistance Tires for Improved Fuel Efficiency

In line with its commitment to efficiency, the 2013 RAM 1500 was equipped with standard low-rolling-resistance tires. These tires were designed to minimize energy waste and reduce the effort required to maintain motion. The advanced tread patterns and materials used in these tires were the result of extensive testing, contributing to the vehicle’s overall fuel efficiency.

Chassis and Design Innovations in the 2013 RAM 1500

2013 ram 1500 chassis (1)Chassis: Enhanced Stability and Comfort

The 2013 RAM 1500 introduced a newly designed frame that significantly improved stability and handling precision while reducing noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) by up to 30 percent, depending on the drive cycle. The front rails of the frame were reinforced with high-strength steel, increasing yield strength by 20 percent. This frame was engineered to support a new powertrain, novel air suspension, and advanced body-mounting technology.

Hydroforming was employed in parts of the frame to ensure dimensional accuracy and reduce welding-induced distortion. The side rails were fully boxed, and the front frame section utilized advanced high-strength steel, saving approximately 30 pounds and further contributing to noise reduction. Additionally, new larger body mounts were strategically placed on the front frame rails and at the C-pillar to improve NVH levels.

The independent front suspension was redesigned with new upper control arms, aluminum lower control arms, and revised geometry, complemented by coil springs. This resulted in enhanced responsiveness and handling. Durability was also improved with new, more robust ball joints featuring advanced sealing methods.

Design: Ruggedly Handsome with Enhanced Functionality

Exterior Design

The exterior of the 2013 RAM 1500 underwent significant design enhancements while retaining its rugged appeal. Key changes included:

  • Grille and Fascia: The grille was made larger and more integrated into the upper fascia panel, maintaining the classic Ram crosshair design. It became flush at the top and bottom of the grille surround for a more cohesive look.
  • Front Bumper and Fog Lamps: The new front bumper complemented the grille design, with vertically oriented fog lamps for improved illumination. Larger openings around the front tow hooks on four-wheel-drive models provided easier access.
  • Headlamps: The quad headlamp design was improved for better light spread and intensity. The premium headlamp system included a bi-functional halogen projector design and LED accents.
  • Color Options: Twelve color options were available, including five new shades: Black Gold, Copperhead, Maximum Steel Metallic, Prairie, and Western Brown.
  • Running Boards: New, polished stainless steel running boards with a box cross-section design offered enhanced aerodynamics and functionality. The wheel-to-wheel design improved access to the truck bed.
  • Bed Options: A new 6-foot-4-inch bed option for Crew Cab models provided a larger four-door/bed combination. Premium tail lamps with LED technology were standard.

The 2013 RAM 1500: A Revolution in Interior Design and Technology

2013 ram 1500 interiorUpgraded Interior with Enhanced Features

The 2013 RAM 1500 underwent a significant interior transformation, introducing new features and technologies that led to improved material quality, fit, finish, and an array of interior themes with various colors and materials. An all-new HVAC control system and state-of-the-art multimedia systems were among the key upgrades. Unique to this model was the introduction of an eight-speed transmission with an innovative rotary e-shift dial design.

Attention to Detail for All Occupants

The focus on quality and comfort was not limited to the driver. Rear passengers were treated to the same level of attention, with premium materials, colors, and designs applied to all four doors. Soft-touch materials were used on armrests and upper bolsters, enhancing the tactile experience in the cabin.

Next-Generation Uconnect System

The centerpiece of the 2013 RAM 1500’s technological advancement was the next-generation 8.4-inch Uconnect system. This system featured tailor-made background screens, aligned with specific Ram models and themes, and was housed in an upgraded center stack that matched the interior’s premium materials. The Laramie Longhorn edition, for example, showcased a unique Walnut grain with a distinctive burl, adding an exclusive touch to the interior.

Refined HVAC and Control Systems

The all-new HVAC controls were designed for simplicity and intuitive use, adhering to the highest human-machine interface standards. The system could be operated via the 8.4-inch touchscreen or manual controls. A new switch bank was strategically placed for easy access to various controls, depending on the vehicle model and options. The integrated trailer brake control was prominently positioned for convenient adjustment.

Innovative Rotary E-Shift Dial

The introduction of the exclusive eight-speed transmission necessitated a novel approach to gear shifting in pickups. The traditional center console gate shifter was replaced by a rotary e-shift dial, strategically placed for easy access and intuitive use. This change represented a significant shift in traditional truck design and functionality.

Advanced Gauge Cluster Technology

The 2013 RAM 1500 also made strides in its gauge cluster technology. The standard 3.5-inch vehicle information screen was now available on ST and SLT models. The new thin-film transistor (TFT) 7-inch multiview display, standard on higher trims, offered full customization and various background screens to match the truck’s theme.

Uconnect: A New Era of Connectivity

2013 ram 1500 uconnectUconnect Access: Seamless Integration and Connectivity

The Uconnect 8.4A and 8.4AN systems provided the 2013 RAM 1500 with built-in wireless connections, enabling a range of services. Vehicle occupants could remotely lock, unlock, or start the vehicle, and the system included a direct 911 button and an “ASSIST” button for roadside assistance or customer care.

In-Vehicle Applications and Updates

The Uconnect system allowed access to select, certified in-vehicle applications with voice recognition and steering wheel controls for safe operation. The 8.4-inch touchscreen featured a user-friendly interface with large icons. Significantly, the system was designed to be updatable over the air, allowing for the latest features and services to be downloaded directly.

Comprehensive Functionality

The Uconnect Access system in the 2013 RAM 1500 introduced HD Radio, SiriusXM Radio, hands-free phone, and navigation operations, and hands-free texting with compatible phones. The system was designed to provide focused and contextual information without distracting the driver, emphasizing safety and convenience.

Advanced Control and Connectivity in the 2013 RAM 1500

2013 ram 1500 infotainmentIntuitive Uconnect Access Controls

The 2013 RAM 1500 set a new standard for in-vehicle control and entertainment. Uconnect Access controls were strategically placed on the steering wheel, a design choice influenced by customer preferences. Audio controls were positioned at the rear of the steering wheel, with the left side handling station and track changes and the right side managing volume and audio sources. This design allowed drivers to safely enjoy a variety of entertainment content without taking their hands off the wheel.

Versatile Media Console

The media console of the 2013 RAM 1500 offered a range of options, neatly integrated within the upper storage tier of the center console. This included USB, SD card, and auxiliary inputs, allowing for control of various media devices through the touchscreen and steering-wheel-mounted controls. The console also featured a powerful 2.5-amp USB port and a 12-volt outlet for charging electronic devices.

Cutting-Edge 7-inch Multiview Display

The gauge cluster in front of the driver boasted an available 7-inch, color, premium multiview display. This advanced feature allowed RAM 1500 customers to customize their dashboard display with a variety of information, from digital speed to detailed vehicle status. The display was user-friendly, with easy-to-understand icons and steering wheel controls for customization.

Powernet Electrical Architecture

The 2013 model introduced the new Powernet system, accommodating both high- and low-speed data networks and up to 40 individual modules. This system was designed to improve vehicle performance and enhance driver and passenger comfort and safety, allowing for efficient communication between various vehicle systems.

Sprint-Powered Uconnect Access

Sprint was the strategic wireless partner for the Uconnect Access system, providing a seamless integration of connected services and applications. This technology enhanced the driving experience by offering voice commands and controls to minimize driving distractions.

Safety and Security Enhancements

2013 ram 1500 bedThe 2013 RAM 1500 was equipped with over 45 active and passive safety and security features. These included standard airbags, an Enhanced Accident Response System, electronic stability control with integrated technologies like trailer-sway control and Hill-start Assist, and available features like ParkSense rear park assist and ParkView rear backup camera.

Keyless Enter ’n Go technology was introduced, allowing for keyless entry and ignition. Remote central locking extended to the RamBox cargo management system and tailgate, and an available remote start feature allowed the vehicle to be started from a distance. Additional safety features included auto rain-sensing wipers and SmartBeam headlamps.

Additional Features and Unsurpassed Warranty

The 2013 model introduced power folding mirrors, a combination power and rear-sliding window with defrost, and a new bed size option for the Crew Cab. The truck was backed by a best-in-class 5-year/100,000-mile Powertrain Limited Warranty and a 3-year/36,000-mile Basic Limited Warranty.

Commitment to Quality and Manufacturing Excellence

Extensive testing ensured the reliability and durability of the 2013 RAM 1500. The vehicle underwent rigorous validation processes, including simulated wear and tear testing that replicated a lifetime of use in a short period. The truck was manufactured at the Warren Truck Assembly Plant in Michigan and the Saltillo Truck Assembly Plant in Mexico, facilities known for their long history of producing quality trucks.

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