A ton of new features and a vast improvement in fuel economy.
Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG
- April 6, 2012
Meet the all-new RAM 1500 with an 18/24 mpgUS rating possibly?
During our 2012 NYIAS coverage
yesterday, RAM let loose its latest and greatest. The folks behind the new RAM 1500 are promising the best LD P/U truck fuel economy on the road with a number of firsts including a more fuel efficient and more powerful 3.6L Pentastar V-6 engine, eight-speed automatic transmission, stop-start system, thermal management system, pulse-width modulation and active aerodynamics, including grille shutters and air suspension to lower the truck at highway cruise.
The new 305 HP and 269 lb.-ft. of torque 3.6L Pentastar V6 with variable-valve timing (VVT) features 42 percent more HP, 13 percent more torque and AT LEAST 20 Percent Better Fuel Economy
when compared to the previous 3.7L V-6 powertrain. Doing the math, the new RAM could arrive with a Monroney sporting an 18/24 mpgUS city/highway rating!
The 5.7L HEMI V-8 with fuel-saving cylinder shut-off and VVT provides 395 horsepower, 407 lb.-ft. of torque and best-in-class fuel economy for V-8 trucks. Also, the HEMI delivers best-in-class towing and payload – 11,500 pounds and 3,125 pounds respectively.
The eight-speed automatic transmission (TorqueFlite 8), standard equipment with 3.6L, doubles the amount of gears compared to previously available four-speed automatic transmission, which improves drivability and enhances fuel efficiency. The new eight-speed also is available with the 5.7L. The new transmission is operated by an “innovative
” dash-mounted rotary e-shift dial
which enables quick blind-shift transitions from “Reverse” to “Drive” when towing or navigating out of mud, snow or busy parking lots. I am skeptical that this will be a hit as it does not spell “TRUCK” in any form or fashion?
The new rotary e-shift dial also yields space for more functional and usable storage in the console.
Another segment exclusive is a new thermal management system that is designed to quickly raise engine and transmission fluid temperatures. By raising fluid temperatures, parasitic losses resulting from high-viscosity engine oil and transmission fluid can be reduced, improving fuel efficiency by 1.7 percent. As the engine temperature increases to pre-determined levels, warm engine coolant is circulated through a thermal exchange unit, which also contains dedicated pathways for transmission fluid. As the thermal exchange unit heats up, it also heats up the transmission fluid. This action dramatically reduces warm up time for the transmission, improving fuel economy, drivability and shift quality. In most powertrain configurations, the transmission heats up independently of the engine, delaying warm-up time and reducing efficiency.
Adding to industry firsts in a pickup truck is the application of Stop/Start
, another fuel saving feature available on select 2013 Ram 1500 models. This new system improves fuel economy by up to 3.3 percent, an increase of about one mpg to the truck’s city drive cycle.
Stop/Start increases fuel efficiency by shutting the engine off when the truck comes to a complete stop. Amenities (radio, gauges, heating or air conditioning, etc.) continue to operate, making the operation transparent to the driver. The engine restarts automatically when the driver releases the brake, allowing seamless acceleration.
Enabling components have been upgraded for heavy-duty operation on models equipped with the stop-start feature.
2013 Ram 1500
Ready to take on the F-150 with EcoBoost.
on a truck? You betcha! The new 2013 Ram 1500 maintains its rugged exterior but new is extensive wind-tunnel testing of the exterior shape has resulted in a best-in-class aerodynamics profile. The application of active aerodynamics (grille shutter) and modern styling led to a six percent aerodynamic improvement. The 2013 Ram 1500 Regular Cab 4x2 coefficient of drag (Cd) is .363 compared with a Cd of .386 for a 2012 Ram 1500 Regular Cab 4x2.
on a truck? Another you betcha! The Best-in-class ride and handling gets even better. The 2013 Ram 1500 is now available with an all-new air suspension system featuring five height settings for optimum ride and aerodynamic performance
. The feature operates automatically, or may be controlled manually via console or key fob controls:
- Normal Ride Height (NRH): 8.7 inches of clearance (measured from the base of the door sill) is the default, load-leveled ride height.
- Aero Mode: Lowers the vehicle 1.1 inches from NRH. Aero Mode improves fuel efficiency by up to one percent and is activated by vehicle speed, adjusting for optimal performance and fuel economy.
- Off-road 1: Lifts the truck 1.2 inches from NRH for added height in clearing obstacles.
- Off-road 2: Delivers more off-road capability, increasing ground clearance by 2 inches over NRH.
- Park Mode: Lowers the vehicle 2 inches from NRH for easy ingress/egress and cargo loading.
If only we could drive around in Park Mode
The new air suspension system adds up to 4 inches of lift span, offering best-in-class step-in height of 21 inches, best-in-class ground clearance of 10.7 inches, best-in-class departure angle of 27.8 degrees, and best-in-class breakover angle of 24.2 degrees supported by four-corner air springs that provide a cushioned, premium ride.
Another benefit to the new air suspension is load-leveling capability, which automatically detects load on the suspension from a trailer or payload. The air pressure increases until the vehicle reaches normal ride height, leveling the truck and improving the loaded ride.
Additionally, a separate button on the key fob gives the operator the ability to manually lower the truck, allowing for ease of passenger entry and reduced tailgate lift-over height.
Electric Power Steering
The 2013 Ram 1500 features electric power steering (EPS) improving fuel efficiency up to 1.8 percent and adding five horsepower. The introduction of EPS reduces complexity by removing the previous hydraulic pump, high-pressure hydraulic hoses and cooling apparatus.
improves fuel economy and allows for more content without affecting payload or towing capability.
A newly redesigned frame benefits from a weight reduction of up to 30 pounds by using advanced high-strength steels. Also benefitting from advanced metal, new box floor cross-members in the bed eliminates seven pounds and a new front bumper design removes four pounds. Additionally, aluminum lower control arms in the front suspension contribute to additional weight reduction and handling. The Ram 1500 also features an aluminum hood saving 26 pounds.
Underneath the hood, the combination of the new Pentastar V-6 and new 8-speed AT reduce weight by approximately 76 pounds. The V-8 and 8-speed AT together reduce weight by more than 30 pounds.
Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is a new fuel-saving technology for the Ram 1500, which reduces parasitic electrical load. The technology not only eliminates unnecessary load on the alternator but also improves the durability of benefitting systems. Fuel delivery and the forward cooling fan are two systems that take advantage of PWM, adding a 0.4 percent improvement in fuel efficiency.
Low rolling-resistance Tires
The 2013 Ram 1500 features standard low rolling-resistance tires to minimize wasted energy and decrease required rolling effort. Tread patterns and advanced materials result in greater fuel efficiency.
The 2013 Ram 1500 uses a newly designed frame with improved, low torsion (stiffness) attributes that increase stability and handling precision while decreasing noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) up to 30 percent, depending on drive cycle. Front rails feature 20 percent increased yield strength from the use of high-strength steel. Among other features, the new frame design incorporates a new powertrain, new air suspension and new body-mounting technology.
Portions of the frame are hydroformed for dimensional accuracy (hydroforming reduces the amount of welding that leads to distortion), and side rails are fully boxed. The front frame section incorporates advanced, high-strength steel that maintains overall strength and durability while saving approximately 30 pounds. To further improve NVH, new larger body mounts are located on the front frame rails and at the C-pillar.
New standard front independent suspension combines redesigned upper control arms, aluminum lower control arms and retuned geometry with coil springs for improved responsiveness and handling. New, more robust ball joints on the front suspension yield greater durability and are engineered with improved sealing methods.
The new 2013 Ram 1500 retains its rugged appearance with all-new interior and exterior design, improved aerodynamics and all-new, segment-leading technology – and every Ram 1500 truck benefits from new content specifically designed to match each model’s unique style.
Ram Truck brand designers started with the Ram grille making it not only taller by an inch but it is “saddled” within the new upper fascia panel for a more integrated appearance. The classic Ram crosshair horizontal and vertical grille bars are now flush at the top and bottom of the grille surround.
The new front bumper design includes larger openings around the front tow hooks (four-wheel drive models) allow for easy access to the hooks.
The 2013 Ram 1500 quad headlamp design has improved light spread, pattern consistency, distance and 30 percent more lumens. An all-new premium headlamp lighting system is a bi-functional halogen projector design with 15 amber LEDs for park/turn/position lamp and three amber LEDs for the side marker.
For 2013, the Ram 1500 offers 12 different colors, including five new shades. Black Gold, Copperhead, Maximum Steel Metallic, Prairie and Western Brown are all new and available in a monotone and/or two-tone depending on the model.
The new, polished stainless steel running boards have a sturdy box cross-section design. Also, the new wheel-to-wheel exclusive running board design offers aerodynamic improvements over the current version and provides customer’s improved access to the forward portion of the truck bed.
A new 6’-4” bed option is now available on Crew Cab models giving customers the ability to combine Ram 1500’s largest available cab with the largest four-door/bed combination. All-new premium tail lamps are standard and consist of 15 red LEDs with three red LEDs for the side marker.
2013 Ram 1500 Interior
Already a class leader in light duty work trucks from an interior standpoint, 2013 brings new features and technologies with material upgrades; improved fit and finish; all-new interior themes with different colors and materials; all-new HVAC controls and new multimedia systems.
Rear occupants can enjoy the same quality, fit and finish as the driver. With points of contact a priority, new premium materials, colors and designs are now on all four doors. Soft-touch materials enhance armrests and upper bolsters with expanded use of premium surfaces.
The 2013 Ram 1500 features the next generation 8.4” Uconnect system with background screens tailor-made to specific Ram models and themes. To make room for the new big screen, the center stack is upgraded with matching materials found throughout the interior. To complement the range of Ram 1500 models, the interior design team created new, individualized themes with different colors and materials. For the Laramie Longhorn, the Ram design team sought out a very rare Walnut grain with a unique burl that was unintentionally created by ranchers using trees as fence posts for barbed wire.
Eventually, the trees grow over the rusting metal wire, creating a swirl coloring pattern and tone that is not found anywhere else.
<-- We have got to see this in action
The all-new HVAC controls feature simple function meeting the highest Human Machine Interface (HMI) standards. The HVAC system includes a redundant architecture allowing the operator to use either the 8.4-inch touchscreen or manual controls to alter the truck’s environment. Below the upgraded HVAC arrangement is a new switch bank with relocated, easy-to-use controls for a number of features depending on vehicle models and options. All buttons in the comfort bank also are redundant on the Uconnect system. Contiguous to the switch bank is a prominently placed, adjustable integrated trailer brake control allowing the driver to add or reduce trailer brake function on the fly.
New technology also moves to the gauge cluster. Right out of the upcoming Dart, the new thin film transistor (TFT), 7-inch screen is now available on SLT, standard on Sport, Laramie and Laramie Longhorn models. The 7-inch screen features fully customizable function and configurability. Similar to the 8.4-inch Uconnect screen, select 7-inch cluster background screens are tailor-made to specific Ram models, with designs that match the truck’s theme.
Infotainment in detail
Ram is leveraging what is arguably the best infotainment system available from anyone from their Uconnect System.
The Uconnect Media Centers R3 and R4 provide the Ram 1500 with a built-in cellular connection so vehicle occupants are automatically connected to a variety of new services and the internet with WiFi hotspot capability. The new Uconnect Media Centers provide a direct connection to emergency services when the new 911 button found on the rearview mirror is pushed. Ram 1500 customers also will automatically receive regular vehicle health reports and be able to remotely lock or unlock truck doors, start the vehicle, and flash lights from any distance via the web or a smartphone application.
The Ram 1500’s new Uconnect Access system features best-in-class functionality, integrating new entertainment content and is the first time Ram will offer HD Radio to its customers. Ram customers also will have access to SiriusXM satellite radio, handsfree mobile phone operation, handsfree navigation, handsfree texting
with compatible phones and handsfree control of music. Additionally, new connected services and applications provide real-time access to information and content that Ram 1500 customers want and need while on the road. Uconnect is designed to provide drivers and passengers with relevant, focused and contextual information that is not distracting and easy to use, allowing drivers to remain focused on the road.
Also enhancing driver convenience, Uconnect features one-step voice command of navigation, the ability to check real-time fuel prices and listen and respond to text messages, combined with familiar knobs for climate and comfort controls.
Control Your Content
? Ram has you covered. Uconnect Access controls are placed on the steering wheel with audio rocker switch controls located at the rear of the steering wheel. Audio system controls, including next station, radio preset and previous station or track, are located on the left. Volume up or down and change audio source are located on the right.
Within the upper storage tier of the center console, a new multimedia input includes USB, SD card and auxiliary connections. The USB allows control of iPod or other media device through the large touchscreen displays and steering-wheel-mounted audio controls. A more powerful 2.5 amp, USB port and 12-volt outlet also provide mobile recharging for electronic devices. In addition, MP3 and WMA audio files on a USB memory device may also be played and controlled via the Uconnect system.
7-inch Vehicle Information Center
enables Ram 1500 customers to personalize information inside the instrument cluster. The vehicle information display offers drivers a wide range of customization options, from a basic digital speed read out to specific vehicle status information. Using buttons on the steering wheel, drivers can customize the screen with as much or as little information as they desire. The system is intuitive and can be arranged for a variety of views. Up to three analog vehicle status gauges can be added to the display. The main screens found inside the instrument cluster menu are: digital speed, vehicle information and fuel economy, trip A information, trip B information, trailer-tow information, audio, stored messages and screen customization. Additionally, the four corners of the display can be customized to show information at a glance, including current fuel economy, outside temperature, time and compass direction.
Upgraded Electrical System
The new Powernet system allows both high- and low-speed data networks to be equipped with as many as 40 individual modules, all designed to improve vehicle performance and enhance the comfort and safety of driver and passengers. Within the Powernet high-speed network, each module (e.g., electronic stability control) processes its individual data and transmits the appropriate commands within the vehicle to activate any additional systems (e.g. anti-lock brake system and cruise control). Uconnect leverages Powernet to deliver fast response time, and share critical information between the 8.4-inch touchscreen and the vehicle information center. The Powernet architecture also is the backbone that supports the Uconnect Access services and applications, including the Ram 1500 vehicle health report and remote services.
Sprint Provides Wireless Platform for Next Generation Uconnect Access
Sprint is the strategic wireless partner for the next generation Uconnect Access system. The integrated wireless technology inside the Ram 1500 enhances the driving experience by offering new connected services and applications. The services delivered through the partnership will be easy to learn, easy to use and will offer a seamless experience with the Ram owner’s digital life. An increasing number of features in the new Ram 1500 will rely on enhanced user interfaces including voice capabilities and commands to help limit driving distractions and keep the focus on the primary driving task.
The Ram 1500 offers more than 45 active and passive safety and security features, including standard front airbags, front and rear side-curtain air bags and seat-mounted side pelvic-thorax air bags with Enhanced Accident Response System, knee bolsters, seat-belt pretensioners, BeltAlert System; and available adjustable pedals, ParkSense rear park assist and ParkView rear back-up camera. The 2013 Ram 1500 also includes standard electronic stability control (ESC), hosting a number of technologies including all-speed traction control, trailer-sway control, Hill-start Assist and anti-lock brake system (ABS).
The new 2013 Ram 1500 now features available Keyless Enter ’n Go technology, which allows the doors to be unlocked and the vehicle ignition to be started without having to touch the key fob. Also new for 2013, remote central locking includes the RamBox cargo management system and tailgate power locks, creating a convenient solution for locking down the truck with the push of a button. An available remote start feature allows a driver to start their vehicle from up to 300 feet away. Door controls, illuminated entry, engine immobilizer and panic alert are standard features with the Keyless Enter ’n Go system. Auto rain-sensing wipers and SmartBeam also find their way into the feature availability list, adding to a truckload of content offered in the new 2013 Ram 1500.
For 2013, Ram 1500 customers can enjoy the convenience of power folding mirrors and a combination power and rear-sliding window with defrost. Also available is a new six-foot-four-inch bed option on the Crew Cab model, allowing for maximum passenger and bed hauling capability.
Warranty – 5 years/100,000 Miles
The 2013 Ram 1500 is backed with a best-in-class 5-year / 100,000-Mile Powertrain Limited Warranty. The Powertrain Limited Warranty covers the cost of all parts and labor needed to repair a covered powertrain component – engine, transmission and drive system. Coverage also includes free towing to the nearest Ram dealer, if necessary. The warranty also is transferable allowing customers who sell their truck during the warranty period, to pass the coverage onto the new owner.
The standard 3-year / 36,000-Mile Basic Limited Warranty provides bumper-to-bumper coverage for the Ram 1500, from the body to the electrical system.
The 2013 Ram 1500 is built at the Warren Truck Assembly Plant (Warren, Mich.), which has built more than 12.5 million trucks since it started operations in 1938. Regular Cab models of the 2013 Ram 1500 are built at the Saltillo Truck Assembly Plant in Saltillo, Mexico.
24 mpgUS highway and start/stop? Add all the gear listed above and this is a world class light duty. EcoBoost and Pentastar are going to have one hell of a run if they can continue to increase efficiency and convenience at the rate they have over the past 2-years. And this is only the beginning.