As a former Ford F-150 Eco-Boost truck owner I got behind the wheel of the all new 2013 RAM Truck line for the first time last week in Nashville and I came away quite surprised and MORE than impressed with this outstanding truck.
And I could go into a full on boring review and make you work like lots of other sites to REALLY figure out what they thought.
So I'm going to make this easy seeing the ONLY real question from anyone that will read this review is how does it compare to the Ford F-150 and the others in the segment.
2013 RAM Truck Photo Gallery
So first, let's look at what's new...
2013 Ram 1500 Offers Best-in-class Fuel Efficiency, New Technology and New Features Without Sacrificing Capability
Best-in-class fuel economy 18 city 25 highway:
New 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine (Ward’s 10 Best Engines) features 42 percent more horsepower, 13 percent more torque and at least 20 percent better fuel economy when compared to the previous 3.7-liter V-6 powertrain
5.7-liter HEMI® V-8 with Fuel Saver Technology and variable-valve timing (VVT) provides 395 horsepower, 407 lb.-ft. of torque and best-in-class fuel economy for V-8 trucks, beating competitive turbo V-6 engines
Class-exclusive eight-speed automatic transmission (TorqueFlite 8) standard equipment with 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine, doubles the amount of gears compared to previously available four-speed automatic transmission to greatly improve fuel economy and contribute to best-in-class standard V-6 towing
New eight-speed also available with the 5.7-liter HEMI V-8– the Company’s first application with a V-8 (TorqueFlite 8 late availability)
New TorqueFlite 8 operated by an innovative dash-mounted, rotary e-shift design
First-in-segment Fuel Saver Technology: eight-speed automatic transmission, stop-start, thermal management system, pulse-width modulation and active aerodynamics, including grille shutters and air suspension
2013 Ram 1500 Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Prices average just over 1 percent higher than 2012 prices
Ram 1500 continues to be the best-value fullsize pickup in America with starting price of $23,585, including $995 destination charge
Class-exclusive air suspension enhances fuel economy, improves ride control and off-road capability along with improved entry/exit and loading, and features automatic load leveling
New exterior design cues including all-new grille/fascia, improved quad projection headlamps and LED front turn signals and taillamps
Best-in-class aerodynamics, coefficient of drag (Cd) at 0.360
New, upgraded interior features include: standard and premium multiview display, passive entry, Keyless Enter ’n Go, steering wheel and controls, wood accents, updated door panels, instrument panel, interior colors and premium materials
All-new, next-generation Uconnect Access debuts on the 2013 Ram 1500 with Wi-Fi hotspot capability
Uconnect Access combines a new lineup of smart media centers with a powerful new wireless platform
With Uconnect Access, Ram 1500 owners will have alternative ways to access new connected services and applications via the vehicle’s 8.4-inch touchscreen display or the web
Next generation Uconnect system is designed to be forward-thinking, providing the freedom to upgrade to the latest features and services
Voice-recognition technology, steering wheel controls, touchscreen displays and traditional controls provide Ram 1500 customers with a variety of ways to interact with their mobile phones, music, navigation system and applications
Ram 1500 now available with a premium, customizable, full-color 7-inch multiview display
Addition of Powernet vehicle architecture system allows new content with improved data speeds
Chrysler Group offers Ram 1500 customers expanded SiriusXM Radio channel lineup, with exclusive programming including new SiriusXM Latino channels, an automotive industry first
Sprint selected as the strategic partner to bring wireless connectivity and service delivery to the vehicle
New remote central locking RamBox cargo management system and tailgate combined with door locks
New rain sensing wipers, SmartBeam headlamps, power folding mirrors and power sliding rear window with defrost
Best-in-class powertrain warranty – 5 years/100,000 miles
That sums up the MASSIVE list of improvements for the 2013 model year.
And now I can give you my laundry list of where the new RAM BEATS the Ford and others and where it falls short.
The RAM wins over Ford in these key areas:
1. And this is a BIG one...It's hands down the better driver. I loved my F-150 but the Ford steering feels very vague and soft compared to the BMW-like 'carve up the road' feeling you get driving the RAM.
2. The new RAM equipped with optional air suspension will change your mind FOREVER about the ride and drive of pickup trucks. I can't think of many cars OR trucks that would be a better daily or long haul driver than this new RAM. UNREAL and in our eyes the biggest breakthrough on the truck. Test drive it and you WILL be seduced.
3. Ford changed the pickup truck game a few years ago when it came to interiors but the RAM high end models (Longhorn, etc.) set the new standard. GORGEOUS.
4. The new U-Connect system is now the king of the hill in trucks over Ford's SYNC. Really well executed.
5. The gas mileage is BETTER than the Eco-Boost Ford's without having to rely on turbocharging. That means a LOT of you like to tow stuff. The stop start technology (first on a pickup) and 8-speed tranny do wonders. I was getting 23 on the HEMI 8 Longhorn during my highway test.
6. The RAM has lots of little cool features like locking the doors locks the side cargo storage AND tailgate with one button.
Where the RAM still lags behind the F-150:
1. And this is totally subjective and I know many disagree with me, I still think the F-150 has a better looking face and exterior. And the F-150 has stepped it up even higher on their 2013 which I'm hoping to drive shortly.
2. The Ford has better cab/box configuration choices. If I bought a RAM, I couldn't get a supercrew AND a 6 1/2 ft. bed in order to take advantage of the full small business tax deduction (section 179).
3. The interior of the beds on the Ford's are deeper and larger to my eye.
4. You can't get the cool tailgate step on the RAM.
5. Resale on the F-150 is next to impossible to beat.
6. I prefer the flat hood and vision of the F-150 vs. the big powerdome style hood of the RAM when maneuvering the truck in tighter areas and in parking.
7. I got spoiled by the numeric keypad on the door of the Ford because it allows you to lock the keys in the truck when you go to the beach and have no safe place to put the key when you go in the water.
8. Totally flat floor in second row. Chrysler hinted that was coming next year...
So what's my FINAL verdict?
If I were in the market right now, I would have to give a slight edge to the RAM because of these two key things that are most important to me.
1. The RAM is just nicer to drive and that new air suspension is AMAZING!
2. I like the new RAM interior better than the F-150. Looks way more expensive in the high end models.
So there you have it. In my eyes, the RAM is the champ for ME.
That's saying a lot because you all know I've always liked and OWNED the F-150.
I also believe it has a damn good chance to win North American Truck of the Year at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show and will steal sales from ALL the competition.
Take a look at our RAM photos, some cool places in Nashville and chime in with your thoughts of my assessment...
2013 RAM Truck Photo Gallery
2013 RAM Truck Photo Gallery
*Chrysler provided transportation and lodging in Nashville to facilitate this advance review.