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Chrysler unveils 2013 Ram with array of new systems focused on fuel economy

2013 Ram 1500 at the New York International Auto Show. Click to enlarge.

Chrysler unveiled the 2013 Ram pickup, featuring an array of fuel-saving systems including a more fuel efficient and more powerful 3.6-liter V-6 engine; eight-speed automatic transmission; stop-start system; thermal management system; pulse-width modulation to reduce parasitic electrical load; and active aerodynamics, including grille shutters and air suspension.

The new 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine (Ward’s 10 Best Engines Award two years in a row) with variable-valve timing (VVT) offers best-in-class standard 305 hp (227 kW), with 269 lb-ft (365 N·m) of torque and best-in-class fuel economy for V-6 trucks, according to Chrysler. (Specific fuel economy figures are note available yet.) The new V-6 features 42% more horsepower, 13% more torque and at least 20% better fuel economy when compared to the previous 3.7-liter V-6 powertrain.

2013 Ram 1500 Pentastar V-6 engine and 8-speed automatic transmission deliver up to 20 percent better fuel economy when compared to the previous V-6 powertrain. Click to enlarge.

The 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 with fuel-saving cylinder shut-off and VVT provides 395 hp (295 kW), 407 lb-ft (552 N·m) of torque and best-in-class fuel economy for V-8 trucks (at least 10% better fuel economy when compared to 2012 V-8 powertrain). Chrysler says the HEMI also delivers best-in-class towing and payload—11,500 pounds and 3,125 pounds respectively, with Ram 1500 Tradesman Heavy Duty.

8-speed. The class-exclusive eight-speed automatic transmission (TorqueFlite 8), standard equipment with 3.6-liter V-6 Pentastar, doubles the number 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 5.7-liter V-8 HEMI—Chrysler’s first application with a V-8 (TorqueFlite 8 with V-8 is late availability).

Interactive decel fuel shut-off expands opportunities for turning off fuel to the engine during deceleration events thereby improving fuel economy in both city and highway driving. Click to enlarge.

The exclusive new transmission is operated by a 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.

Thermal management. Another segment exclusive with the eight-speed transmission 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%.

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.

Stop-start technology increases fuel efficiency up to 3.3%. Click to enlarge.

Stop-start. 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%, an increase of about one mile-per-gallon 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.

Aerodynamics. Extensive wind-tunnel testing honed the 2013 Ram 1500 exterior shape. The cooperative application of active aerodynamics and modern styling led to a 6% aerodynamic improvement on the new truck. 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.

Electric power steering. The 2013 Ram 1500 features electric power steering (EPS). By using an electric motor to power the truck’s rack and pinion steering system, the engine is relieved from the task of constantly turning a hydraulic pump, improving fuel efficiency up to 1.8% and adding five horsepower. Also, the introduction of EPS reduces complexity by removing the previous hydraulic pump, high-pressure hydraulic hoses and cooling apparatus.

Weight reduction. Weight reduction is an important variable in the fuel economy equation. Reducing the weight of components 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 (13.6 kg) 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 (11.8 kg).

Underneath the hood, the combination of the new Pentastar V-6 and new TorqueFlite 8 transmission reduces the weight by approximately 76 pounds (34.5 kg). The V-8 and TorqueFlite 8 together reduce weight by more than 30 pounds (13.6 kg).

Pulse-width modulation. 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% 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, advanced materials and millions of miles of testing result in greater fuel efficiency.

Chassis. 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%, depending on drive cycle. Front rails feature 20% 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 (13.6 kg). 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.

Uconnect. 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.

Ram truck owners will be able to access select, certified in-vehicle applications. Driving-relevant applications will be introduced over time and are designed specifically for in-vehicle use. The certified applications are easily controlled with natural voice recognition or steering wheel controls to keep drivers focused on the road.

Applications are updatable over the air and are downloaded directly to the Uconnect Media Center, so features remain current. Ram truck owners will be able to evolve their in-vehicle connectivity experience by downloading app updates or new applications as they become available directly to the Uconnect Media Center from inside the car, via the 8.4-inch touchscreen.

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.

Sprint is the strategic wireless partner for the next generation Uconnect Access system.

Powernet electrical architecture. As the Ram 1500 continues to offer more feature content, it created the need for a technology that allows more information to be electronically communicated within the truck. The new Powernet system, used for the first time on a Ram 1500, 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.

Safety and security. On the safety and security front, 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.

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.



Is it true that this new truck will do an average of 11 mpg instead of 9.5 mpg for its predecessor?


The total cost of all these new features plus the markup Chrysler will add to the MSRP (and the negligible benefits/savings one would get) means anyone who buys one of these, brand new, is insane...unless its a small business owner than can buy one & write it off for their taxes.


Do ordinary people need 305 hp trucks, and why is this advertised on GCC ?

Nick Lyons

Some people actually do use pickup trucks for their intended purpose--and increasing their fuel efficiency is a good thing.

Fewer people are buying trucks for basic transportation these days.


I have a friend who hauls horse trailers. The truck has to be a certain weight not to get flipped over by a potentially 5,000 pound trailer. That kind of user has an excuse to drive a truck like this.

10% improvement on 10 mpg could be ~150 gallons per year for a truck driven 15,000 miles per year. At four bucks a gallon, that pays back $6,000 in ten, the extra tech probably makes sense for some buyers. Remember, this also helps Chrysler meet rising CAFE standards.


Maybe the horses - in the trailer - could do a better job.

I have never understood why a vehicle as this one has to have the same air restistance as a brick wall.

I agree with philippe, I do not want to see news as this on GCC.


2011 Dodge Ram 1500 Regular Cab 4X2
Standard Engine 3.7L V6
Standard Transmission 4 Speed Automatic
Cylinders 6
Horsepower @RPM 215@5200
Fuel Economy Cty/Hwy 14/20
Combined Fuel Economy 16

Just a base line for comparison, but if they did get 12 mpg around town and now get 14 mpg that will not save the world, but with millions of trucks it is better than no improvement.

We can say some should change their behavior and wait for that to happen, or we can make it better with the behavior that they have become accustomed to. That is more likely to succeed rather than waiting for human behavior and habits to suddenly see the light.


And, with sales taken into account, they will save much more gas than the all the Mercedes E 400 Hybrids on the road.


There are more than 1 million pickup trucks sold in the U.S. every year and more than 10 million on the road. The fuel saved by going from 12 mpg to 14 mpg over 1 million trucks per year saves more fuel than all the Prius sold each year versus a non hybrid compact. Over a 10 year period, MUCH more fuel is saved.

Some might say that most should never drive pickups at all, they don't do any work with them. Until you are ready to outlaw the sale of any new pickup that does not do work, they will be sold and run on the road all using the same fuel supply every one else uses. Those are the facts and the realities beyond what people SHOULD do.


i wonder what is more economical, buy a RAM for MSRP or get a gm two mode hybrid truck on the used market?


What SJC said. But it is mind-boggling that you cannot buy a 4 cylinder pickup in the US anymore. Where is the 2.0 Ecoboost Ford Ranger? The Chinese will use this market gap to enter the US vehicle market. More stupidity from the big 3


>>There are more than 1 million pickup trucks sold in the U.S. every year and more than 10 million on the road. The fuel saved by going from 12 mpg to 14 mpg over 1 million trucks per year saves more fuel than all the Prius sold each year versus a non hybrid compact. Over a 10 year period, MUCH more fuel is saved.

This may be correct, but I would like to offer a different take on this:

The problem is not that driving a Prius does not make enough of a difference, the problem is that we have all these idiotic pick-up trucks in the first place. The right thing to do is get rid of 5 million pick up trucks that are just driven for vanity and perceived male status enhancement.

Now that would REALLY make a difference.


2012 Chevrolet Colorado Regular Cab 2WD

Standard Engine 2.9L I4
Standard Transmission 5 Speed Manual
Cylinders 4
Horsepower @RPM 185@5600
Fuel Economy Cty/Hwy 18/25
Combined Fuel Economy 21
EPA Class Small 2 Wheel Drive Pickup
Number of Valves 16

Stan Peterson

Technological progress is slow, but cumulative. If a working full size pickup can achieve 17-24, 21 mpg combined, we should continue to celebrate that real world progress.

Particularly on a webblog that applauds automotive efficiency.

There is more news to come that was not announced by Chrysler.

A new "lifestyle" compact pickup will be introduced next year. It will probsably be powered by an I-4 WGE engine, and achieve 23-29, 26 mpg combined. There is also the possibility that a small I-4 diesel likely a 1.9 JTDM diesel may be available option that could exceed 30 mpg. This is the "suburbanites" truck, useful for weekend DYI projects, and/or towing a small boat or camper.

Considering that this Ram 1500 pickup produces 53% better fuel economy then that which could be obtained by the best 1970s era subcompact vehicles, it is quite an improvement. There is the prospect for a small diesel for thre Ram 1500 too. Likely they will produce slightly better city fuel economy and slightly better highway economy too. Likely 19-26 23 mpg combined, while meeting our much tougher T2B5 toxic emissions standards.

But we must beware of the CARBite idiots. They have paid for new research that they have published that indicts diesel soot, PM 2.5; and predicts massive increases in horrible health, projected results.

(Of course in Socialist Europe where dirty diesels two to 4 times dirtier than in the US, constititue 70% of the vehicles extant, no such horrible health results are prevalent.)

That Truth has nothing to do with the need by CARBites to politically condemn diesel powertrains, more importantly protect their sinecures.

Green fools are always fighting on the side of the perfect, in place of the merely good. With the predictable result that they get neither.


Green fools may have many reasons to worry. Our careless attitude has driven many industrial diseases and autism from 1:1000 to 1:88 and increasing at a very fast rate. Very soon, most of us will either suffer from obesity, autism, cancer, Parkinson, Alsheimer, over activity, insomnia, and so many other man made diseases.


Such a pleasant thought for an Easter weekend :)

I think that we will find that petrochemical residue and the chemicals creating and using it leave in our environment are causing many of our health problems. Ironically the modern conveniences are creating worse health.

That is the idea of sustainable, not only can you continue to do it, but it does not cause adverse effects. Once we get our priorities in order and stop listening to the people that do not have our best interests at heart, the better off we will all be.

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