There's no single magic bullet that will meet every truck owner's needs, so even an entry payload model range like the 2013 Ram 1500 has to have far more breadth and depth than its forebears of a decade ago did. To demonstrate its half-ton's ability to cover the entire market, Ram delivered an SLT equipped with Chrysler's 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 on the efficient and luxurious side and a 5.7-liter Hemi V-8-powered Sport leaning toward power and performance for our 2013 Truck of the Year testing.
Ram is further refining powertrain options by offering its more efficient engines bolted to a new, optional eight-speed transmissions. At launch, V-8s will be available only with the current six-speed automatic, with the new transmission coming later.
The addition of air suspension to the Ram is a giant leap for half-ton trucks. Although it may cause as much concern as Ford's turbos on the reliability front, we can tell you these modern air springs use materials that are more resistant to tearing and puncture.
Inside, Chrysler's Uconnect main infotainment screen now measures 8.4 inches, the system is upgradable with apps, and it can provide an in-vehicle Wi-Fi hotspot. It was at times slow to respond, and the navigation system occasionally seemed to lose the truck while in motion.
Another issue is the small, steering-wheel-mounted push buttons for manually shifting gears. The upshift/downshift buttons are located right above the cruise control buttons and aren't well-differentiated. If Ram is truly concerned about drivers being able to operate everything while wearing gloves, the buttons are not the answer. Paddles are the answer.
Other Truck of the Year WOT Contender Preview Posts:
* Ford F-150 EcoBoost SuperCrew
* Nissan NV3500 Passenger Van
Check back to TruckTrend.com on December 6 at 8:30 a.m. PST / 11:30 a.m. EST to discover what will become the 2013 Motor Trend Truck of the Year!
Read more about the Ram 1500: 2013 Ram 1500 First Drive